This is the one Muggles far and wide have been waiting for, the final face-off between boy wizard Harry Potter and his nemesis Lord Voldemort. Elder Wand in hand, the merciless leader of the Death Eaters attacks the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, bringing about a fiery showdown between Harry, Hermione and Ron and the dark forces who put both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds at risk.
Richard Crouse: Mark, the decision to break the final Potter book into two movies was criticized as a money grab, just a cheap way to get a few extra dollars out of Potterheads before the franchise ends. But I have to tell you I think they made the right move. The movie is completely satisfying, with a well told story and great action scenes. What did you think?
Mark Breslin: Yes, Richard, you’re right. The movie is completely satisfying. But I think it’s at the expense of the movie that preceded it, which I found inert and talky, the worst of the franchise. But this one felt like a thrilling send-off to characters we’ve grown to love, with some great action set pieces thrown in for good measure.
RC: This is as close to an all out action movie as there is in the Potter series. Harry’s Horcrux hunt (say that fast three times!) takes up much of the movie leading up to some major revelations, an existential train station scene and a heartwarming conclusion, but along the way it’s an exciting ride. A small quibble, though. What did you think of the 3D. It didn’t add much to the experience for me.
MB: The best thing I can say about the 3D is that it was unobtrusive, letting us pay attention to the complex plotting. But I think the movie, unlike most in the series, doesn’t work as a stand alone film. It would make little sense if you haven’t seen the last few installments. And fans of Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort won’t be disappointed: he’s as creepy a villain as you can imagine, with lots of screen time. By the way, I did try saying “Harry’s Horcrux Hunt” and was kicked out of the restaurant I was in.
RC: I thought Alan Rickman stole the show. He has the creepiest vocal tics since Boris Karloff and really brought something to a character that could have been one note. And you’re right, it isn’t a stand alone, but it doesn’t have to be. Harry Potter has stood at the centre of popular culture for the last decade, the franchise is the thing, not just the one picture.
MB: In which case, I ask you, Richard, which were your favourites? Mine were the first three, when the world of Hogwarts was at its most innocent, and this one, with its brisk pace and brutal efficiency.
RC: I have to tell you, I think the new one is the best of the bunch.