Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 (2011)

Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V –4; L –1; S/N –1

Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
Isaiah 53:12ab

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
Matthew 16:24-26.

Harry and friends in one of many tense moments.

© 2011 Warner Brothers

Hard to believe it has been ten years since the Harry Potter films first graced our screens. Both the charac ters and young actors have matured before our eyes, and has the tone or mood of the films ever darkened!

There was no problem in bringing small children to the first film or two, but now parents would do well to see this film before exposing a young child to its many scenes that might prove too scary for viewers before middle school age.

The long awaited climax to the series will not disappoint its fans, many of whom have grown up with the films. Indeed, at the screening I attended the audience, a mixture of young and old, enthusiastically applauded as soon as the Warner Brothers logos appeared, and was even more enthusiastic in their clapping at the end.

The film starts out slowly, with Harry kneeling at the grave of his beloved house dwarf Dobby. (No one should go to this without having seen Part 1, and fairly recently at that, the film taking right up where that one left off with a minimum amount of recapping.) Harry , Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) must find the three remaining Horcruxes, objects that contain a portion of the Dark Lord’s soul, and thus which must be destroyed in order to defeat him. Harry makes a deal with the spiteful dwarf Griphook to gain access to the vault in the Gringotts bank where one of the horcrcruxes is hidden, Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. There follows a tense, exciting time of action, betrayal, and for some, when the Dark Lord shows up, death.

Harry’s saga ends where it began, back at his beloved Hogwarts School, where Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) has become the headmaster. But not for long because Harry shows up, challenging his authority, and with most of the professors and students backing him. Snape flees to Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who mounts a siege with his minions of wizards and monsters. Plenty of exciting action and a lot of going back into the past where some fascinating background facts are provided concerning Harry’s nemesis, Prof. Severus Snape, Harry’s parents, and the boy wizard’s destiny. All is not what we had been led to believe—not only concerning the past, but also the fate of Harry.

What has always been implicit in the previous movies, Harry’s cruciform life style, is much more explicit this time, with even a neat bow to the Christian theme of the Communion of Saints. The themes of love, self-sacrifice, and resurrected are blended together to present a fully satisfying moral parable of the Good Life. How anyone can believe that this epic tale of Good vs. Evil is anti-Christian because of the heroes’ use of magic is beyond me. The theme of companionship, and thus not having to go it alone, is especially emphasized in this film. Late in the film, when all seems lost and thus futile to resist the Dark Lord any further, it is Neville Weasley who comes into his own, rousing his companions with his speech, and a little later, saving an important life.

Parents of very young children would do well to heed the rating due to the violent battle scenes and scary dragons. The film’s 3-D is fair to middling, but totally unnecessary, so to save money you might want to attend a 2-D showing. However after a 3-D screening, kids might want to keep their glasses because they are shaped like Harry’s round pair. David Yates, who directed three other Potter films, and screenwriter Steve Kloves have done themselves (and, of course, J.K. Rowling) proud, giving us a film that we will want to go back to many times in order to appreciate its richness of character and hidden theology and moral lessons.

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