Take a Bow, Mr. Potter
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2"
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by David Yates
It's amazing how easy it is to take things for granted.
Take the "Harry Potter" films. For the last ten years, starting with the release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in November of 2001, moviegoers knew that after one film was over, they would only have to wait a year (or, at most, a year-and-a-half) for the next installment to hit the big screen.
And so it went, throughout the decade, as 2002's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" led into 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which was then followed by 2005's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," and so on, and so on, and so on.
As with all films in a series, some installments are better than others, but the amazing thing about the "Harry Potter" movies is that there really isn't a dud in the bunch. All of the films are either really good or great, with "The Prisoner of Azkaban" being my personal favorite.
But the fact is, no other series that has gone on for this long can lay that claim. Sure, "The Lord of the Rings" movies were amazing, but there were only three of them. Out of the "Star Wars" movies, two were brilliant, one was okay, and three were terrible. And while the James Bond movies date back to 1962, some of the later films were real turkeys.
The success of this extraordinary film series starts, of course, with J.K. Rowling, who created a magical world with her best-selling books. But due credit must also be given to David Heyman, who produced all of the films, and Steve Kloves, who wrote most of them (except for 2007's "Order of the Phoenix," which was written by Michael Goldenberg.)
Then there are the directors, who were able to build upon their predecessors while making each film their own: Chris Columbus ("The Sorcerer's Stone," "The Chamber of Secrets"), Alfonso Cuaron ("The Prisoner of Azkaban"), Mike Newell ("The Goblet of Fire") and David Yates ("The Order of the Phoenix," "The Half-Blood Prince" and "The Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 and 2").
And finally, the actors, all of whom fit their roles perfectly and started off cute and adorable, only to grow up before our very eyes and become fine, mature young actors. The "Harry Potter" series may be over, but it's safe to say that the film careers for Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are just beginning (and what a miracle that none of them have become tabloid targets).
And what of the epic, exhilarating final installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which features the final showdown between the boy wizard and his evil archenemy, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes)? Fans of the books will be happy to know that it follows the source material to the letter, while others might draw more comparisons to the "Stars Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" films.
But as the movie draws to its inevitable conclusion, the knowledge that this is the last film sets in, which will bring both chills to the skin and tears to the eyes. This is it: the last hurrah for Harry. There won't be another film next year, but at least we have the DVDs that we can watch over and over again.
Years from now, with the benefit of perspective and hindsight, the best reviews of the "Harry Potter" film series will be written, and maybe that's when the lasting impact of the franchise as a whole will finally set in. We'll always have these movies, and we'll always be able to feel the magic over and over again.
And that's definitely not something that can be taken for granted.
Verdict: SEE IT!
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