Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Harry's Last Hurrah

film_harrypotterFinal Potter film, 'Deathly Hallows 2,' emotional and fulfilling

ith series veterans David Yates (directing his fourth Potter film) and Steve Kloves (screenwriter on all but one) at the helm, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 does its damnedest to honor all the complex subtexts of J. K. Rowling's books. And they fare surprisingly well, serving up one of the most thrilling, yet elegiac films in the series. It's not a complete success, but the conscientious mix of action, humor, and emotional backstory will leave most Potter fans fulfilled.

Yates doesn't waste time on explication. Even before the Warner Bros. logo appears, evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) steals the powerful Elder Wand from the tomb of deceased headmaster Dumbledore. Then it's back to the seashore, where Dobby, the noble house elf, was buried at the end of DH Part 1. With a brief pit stop to hear the wandmaker Olivander (John Hurt) explain that a wand can switch its allegiance and choose its wizard, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are off to find and destroy the last of the Horcruxes where Voldemort has hidden bits of his rotting soul to keep himself alive.

Obviously, none but a rabid Potter fan will have a clue what's going on, so if you've never seen a Potter movie before, don't start with this one. But the initiated will adore the wild thrill ride into the underground vaults beneath Gringott's, the goblin bank, and the trio's escape via a giant albino dragon guard. Their return to Hogwarts is exhilarating too, even though it's become a gloomy place, surrounded by wraithlike Dementors, with Harry's nemesis, the officious Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), the new headmaster.

Once Harry and the gang are smuggled in, a ferocious Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) puts Snape to flight and takes charge of the school. Everyone is now assembled, and even though some have only a line or two of dialogue, it's good to see them all again: crusading Hogwarts students Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), and Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), and Order of the Phoenix stalwarts Lupin (David Thewlis), Tonks (Natalia Tena), and the rest of the Weasleys. The stage is set for the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort, to fulfill the prophecy that neither can continue to live as long as the other survives.

Voldemort (imbued by Fiennes with a creepy, dry laugh like splintering twigs) and his evil minions march on the school, and the night sky is ablaze with dueling curses and fireballs. This is as tedious as most fantasy film battles; the action is confusing, and there's little time to mourn the characters lost.

But the redemption of Snape is beautifully handled. Harry finally sees Snapes' life story, from wretched boy to betrayed adult, and the secret devotion from which Snape never swerved that bound him to Harry. Yates can't go into as much depth as Rowling did (the story of Harry's parents, Snape, Lupin and Sirius Black has always gotten regrettably short shrift in the films), but this moving montage of Snape's backstory brought me closer to tears than any other sequence throughout the series.

In addition to watching Harry evolve from "boy wizard" to compassionate hero, it's been fun seeing Daniel Radcliffe morph into an assured young actor of considerable presence. That he can hold the center of a movie so crowded with activity (among so many scene-stealing veterans) is a testament to his quiet intensity. He laces Harry's decision to sacrifice himself to save his friends with a heartbreaking mix of trepidation and resolve. His subsequent interlude in limbo with Dumbledore (the irrepressible Michael Gambon), a buoyant moment of affection, humor and solidarity, is a welcome breather for the audience before Harry dives back into the story for the duel with Voldemort that has been his destiny since Book One.

The upside to cutting out all those subplots and backstories is that Yates and Kloves are able to focus and streamline the narrative of this final act, while sticking to the essentials of Rowling's theme: love, friendship and loyalty are greater than any other power, magical or otherwise. Deathly Hallows 2 delivers this message with film_harrypotterdeathaffecting grace and heart.

HARRY POTTER

AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2

★★★1/2 (out of four) Watch film trailer >>>

With Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, and Michael Gambon. Written by Steve Kloves. From the novel by J. K. Rowling. Directed by David Yates. A Warner Bros. release. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. (Read more about this movie and the Potter universe at Lisa Jensen Online Express, ljo-express.blogspot.com.)

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?