The long-awaited movie adaptation to the final Harry Potter book opens Friday, July 15, and Harry Potter fans young and old will not be disappointed. The last movie picks up where part one left off. Harry (played by Daniel Radcliffe) has just learned the legend of the Deathly Hallows and why the evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) seeks the Hallows, particularly the Elder Wand. With his friends by his side, Harry continues his search and destroy mission for the Horcruxes, which are the key to Voldemort's immortality.
The film takes advantage of its 3D effects from the beginning, especially during the harrowing break-in at Gringotts Bank and a high altitude escape on the back of a dragon. By the time the epic battle at Hogwarts begins, I couldn't imagine not watching the film in 3D and on a Mega Screen.
However, action and adventure are not all fans will love. There were so many quiet and poignant moments when tension was building, preparations were made for battle, and Harry Potter learned the truth about his own existence, his fate and the loyalty of so many others. During these moments, the theater was absolutely silent and the audience collectively held their breath in silence too.
Fans will also enjoy seeing so many characters. Nearly all the characters in the previous seven movies make an appearance in this movie. Even characters that died in previous films reappear to counsel Harry.
The action and poignancy was tempered by humor – Voldemort, a monster incapable of warmth, gave an awkward hug to Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton); after taunting Death Eaters, Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) realized they had destroyed the protective shield between him and the villians. The humor was important given that this movie also included more death, destruction and violence than the prior Harry Potter movies.
The movie has been given a PG-13 rating. I recommend that parents see the movie first before attending with Harry Potter fans younger than 13. The violence and death is more disturbing in this film than in others. There are a number of deaths of characters that fans have grown to love over the course of a decade. The violence is certainly amplified by the 3D effects and large screen. For kids 13 and older, this conclusion to the Harry Potter films will be a great parent-child event to share after years of enjoying the books and movies together.
For avid Harry Potter readers, you'll be glad this movie closely mirrors the last several hundred pages of the book, and you will find yourself cheering and crying at all the same moments you did while reading the book.
The only disappointing part of the movie is that, as the movie posters read, "It All Ends." Part of the Harry Potter excitement has been waiting for the next book and waiting for the next movie. So as the last movie concluded, I felt sadness that now it really does all end.
Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers.
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