Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, David Thewlis, Julie Waters, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Natalia Tena, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, Ciaràn Hinds, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent
Synopsis: The final chapter in the popular series of eight films that began ten years ago, based on the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. This is the final battle for Hogwarts, and the time when Harry must face his final confrontation with the evil Lord Voldemort.
Given that this franchise has been with us since 2001, it is almost with a sense of disbelief that with this film, it draws to a close. The film proves a thrilling conclusion, providing fantastic action sequences and special effects, some great character moments and, for those that have not read the books, a few unexpected surprises along the way. If there is one complaint I can level against the film, it is that it is too short. The 130 minutes pass very quickly, and not a minute of it seems wasted.
The films have certainly come away since the original Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The quality of the special effects are amazing, truly taking advantage of advances in technology in the intervening period. More significant, however, is the improvement in the performance of the three leads. Watson’s performances have been of high calibre for many films now, leaving the boys behind, however Grint and Radcliffe have both had substantial acting experiences themselves outside of the Potter franchise, and the benefit of these project shows. Radcliffe gives a very commanding performance, leading no doubt that this young man is capable of the extreme responsibility on his shoulders.
Fans of the novels may be somewhat disappointed. Always the price of an adaptation like this is that some of the finer details get left out. Those fans, myself included, would argue extra time could have been added to this running time to highlight some of these elements more clearly. This in the end is a minor criticism, given that the film does succeed in giving screen time to almost every single significant character from previous films, both living and dead. The fact that most of these characters have been played by some of the most brilliant actors in the UK today is an added treat. They each manage to shine despite many getting scant time on-screen.
In the end, this is the classic battle of good against evil, that addresses thematic concerns as the nature of evil, dealing with loss, and not being too quick to judge others. Some may question some of the choices made in adapting the novel, but apart from this the film delivers everything one could demand for the final instalment of a beloved story.
4 stars out of 5.