Wednesday, 22 July 2015

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," David Yates, Film Review

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," David Yates, Film Review

Who is the worst actor out of the three young leads of the Harry Potter films?  Daniel Radcliffe grins like a simpleton in a wind tunnel whenever emotion is required.  Emma Watson sleepwalks through every scene and then there’s Rupert Grint’s clueless gurning.  It’s hard to choose.  Grint has to take the prize though.  Nothing he does is believable and his performance consists of saying ‘bloody hell’ a lot.


After eight films it all gets a little wearing.

It’s beyond me how any Harry Potter film made it onto a Top 250 list, but to have just one on the list and that one to be Deathly Hallows Part 2 is bizarre.  Only the first few films of the series rival Hallows 2 for dullness.  At least episodes 6 and 7 it had the occasional memorable scene.  The only scene that works dramatically in Hallows 2 is the raid on Bellatrix's vault.  There are some nice touches of betrayal, magic and adventure there.  But the rest of the film is a grim flow of exposition and CGI battles between rival sets of pixels.

Near the beginning, Radcliffe interviews a number of characters while Watson and Grint hover mute in the background.  Come on guys, that’s not the same thing as dramatizing a scene.  They might as well have explained the plot points in captions for all the dramatic impact of these scenes.  It reminded me of certain mid-novel interviews in late Ballard novels.  There’s only one thing to do with scenes like that.  Cut them.

Despite being strung-out, Hallows 2 tries to tie up so many loose ends that nothing worthwhile is allowed to stay onscreen long enough to be interesting, especially the more memorable baddies.

Would it be too much to ask to have Hermione going to the dark side in cahoots with Bellatrix for a while, for example?  For a character-based film, the characters are curiously underplayed in this film.

But what about Grint and his acting?  Well, it’s a problem because he is the one who gets the girl.

I guess it’s the personalities of the characters and their various sexual tensions that explain the popularity of the books.  And of course every possible combination of lovers has been analysed into the ground by fanboys and gurls.  But whatever happens in the books (which I haven’t read) the screen versions of the relationships are ridiculous.  Ginny comes out of nowhere to snog Harry, and Hermione and Ron have got all the chemistry of a magnesium strip in a bottle of argon.  Surely it would have been better for, I don’t know, Harry and Hermione to get it together, only for Harry’s vocation to drive them apart, leaving Ron with the sloppy seconds.  Anything would be better than the unearned relationships that are inflicted on us in this film.

It gets an extra mark for not having a quidditch match.

Personal Score: 2/10

This is part of a series of film reviews where I give my comments on IMDB Top 250 films as a writer.  The idea is that over time these posts will build into a wide-ranging writing resource.

For more details about the approach I've taken, including some important points about its strengths and weaknesses (I make no claims about my abilities as a film critic or even the accuracy of my comments... but I do stand by the value of a writer's notes on interesting films), see my introductory post here.

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