Saturday, July 16, 2011
Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The greatest stories reflect something bigger. A desperate longing in all of our hearts for redemption and for freedom from the evil that threatens to undo us at every turn. The greatest stories are about the epic struggle between good and evil, a form that's lasted for thousands of years, yet we never tire of it. Because it's our story. We suffer. Something plagues us, and we need a hero to set us free from the most despicable of evil.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 was the end of one of these epic stories. Throughout the books and the movies based off of them, Voldemort has represented an oppressive evil that has grown and threatens the world's existence. But there is one who is prophesied and destined to defeat him, and he is the hero of our story - Harry Potter. The tension mounts to it's highest peak in HP7.2 as the questions of Harry's future and the future of the world hang in the balance. Will Voldemort kill Harry Potter and become the most powerful man in the universe, free to destroy anyone be pleases? Will evil win? Will good even stand a chance? What will the cost be to rid the world of its greatest evil?
The movie was brilliant, a very compelling ending to the story. I read the books a few years ago, and I was instantly hooked. There's not many stories that compare to J.K. Rowling's masterpiece in my mind. I think most people who read the books would say that the books were better. I would have to agree. There's so many intricate story threads woven throughout the books that the filmmakers just didn't have the time to focus on. (There's a lot more Dumbledore backstory in the book). Yet to see a movie try to capture what the books were about was incredible, from the intensity of their hopeless situation in the beginning to the climactic battle at the end.
There were several things about the movie that were high points for me. I loved seeing Professor McGonagall step into the role that she did as protector of Hogwarts. It was great to see the reunion between Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the rest of Hogwarts. It was good to see some brief reappearances of some old characters like Sirius Black, Harry's parents, and of course, Dumbledore. Severus Snape's climactic death scene was very emotional, as well as the deaths of some of the core characters of the story. Harry Potter's determination and care for others were something we should all strive for in the fight against evil in our world. I loved that Weasley mom was the one to fight Bellatrix LeStrange. Finally, the scene at the end 19 years later was one of my favorites in the book.
There were also some things that could have been better. Snape's revelation as Harry's protector near the end seemed very rushed, especially compared to the book. It didn't seem real clear whether Harry died after Voldemort's Avada Kadavra curse or not. No one ever had the revelation that Harry's invisibility cloak is one of the Deathly Hallows or that Harry's father was one of the descendants of one of the three brothers of the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort's death seemed a little anti-climactic in that it wasn't clear that he died until he started disintegrating.
I think there's a reason why people write stories about someone having to die in order to destroy evil. C.S. Lewis said something similar. It seems like messianic sacrifice has been written into the fabric of our world as the one solution to evil. It seems quite clear, to me at leadt, that Harry was a Christ figure in the story who died and was resurrected so others might live. The stories that people write are never meant to replace the actual story or to reinterpret it. The stories are meant to reveal our desperate need for redemption and a hero to provide that redemption. While I don't think HP7.2 will send everyone to the Bible looking for a hero, I think it gives us a great opportunity for conversation about what we need most.