Jul. 20, 2011 - Issue #822: CASH IN!
Harry Potter and the deathly hallows Pt. II
End of the line for a franchise
David Yates, who directed the previous three instalments, too, clings tediously to connecting-the-FX-action-dots, lots and lots of slow zooms, or a few 360-degree aerial shots. Pacing and logic get shouldered aside: the big showdown's interrupted by a banal afterlife conversation; the arch-nemesis, as if in a bad Bond movie, never bothers to check for himself that his hated foe, the bane of his existence, is actually not breathing (surprise!). There's just one flash of visual dexterity, offering a macabre moment with a death-by-serpent scene.
"Words," says one seemingly sage fellow, " are ... our most inexhaustible source of magic." So why isn't there any playful or thoughtful dialogue here? Instead, the cliché of keeping loved ones in your heart is trotted out, repeatedly. The first semi-joke in the movie actually comes, 90 minutes in, from the venomous Voldemort—looking down on Hogwarts School, he sibilates, "They never learn." The only bursts of colour, and of nicely mixed wonder and melancholy, come in a short flashback.
Back in the deadly hollow present-day, self-seriousness (masquerading as maturity), CGI-laden plot (falling short of spectacle), and predictable action sequences smother all possible acting flourishes, inventive touches or thoughtful moments. The megabudget's race through the shallows of plot shoots the movie past all hope for emotional depth or story profundity. One glimmer of thoughtfulness—when Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) becomes a kind of self-conscious tragic hero, realizing how stifling his fate may be, seeing his future as a prison he must step into—soon mists away. And then the bare truth of the Harry Potter franchise reveals itself: a book series ended up being dully, flatly and scratchily transcribed onto audio-visual tape.
Opens Now playing
Directed by: David Yates
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