As most men say when meeting Harry’s acquaintance, “By golly, it’s Harry Potter!” Yes folks, for the seventh time, it’s Harry Potter. The chosen one and his buddies are back for the penultimate instalment of trickery and hocus-pocus.
Picking up after Dumbledore has dropped off, Harry must race against time to destroy the remaining Horcruxes before Voldemort grasps all he needs to rule the world.
With anticipation for this movie as high as Simon Cowell’s trousers, the film doesn’t waste time establishing the tone of events and impending doom; Muggles are packing up and moving out, ghostly Death Eaters are skulking around in the night, Hermione’s in obliteration mode, and Harry is, well, Harry.
Primarily we’re usually privy to school holiday anecdotes, train rides to Hogwarts and an owl in a birdcage. The bird still gets a brief look in, but there’s no Hogwarts this time around. With a drop of magic potion, we’re straight into the “Who’s Harry?” game as he’s blasted to safety. The celebration, however, is short-lived as Harry, Ron and Hermione are forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
It’s here where the film begins to foil. As much as we credited the main protagonists way back when, when they first stepped into the wizard world, 10 years later the trio, sadly, aren’t charismatic, or able enough to carry a good two thirds of the movie unaccompanied. Furthermore, director David Yates opts to slow down the tempo during this period, seemingly to capture an arduous, thoughtful journey – they’re injured, they’re healed, they fight, they make up - but for all the tardiness, we’re not rewarded, as the search ultimately ends with few results.
Through it all, though, there are moments that shine brighter than the rest. In particular, a magnificent, magical animation, courtesy of Ben Hibon, which illustrates the tale of the three brothers and the deathly hallows. It’s a welcomed short married with live-action; however, the juxtaposition of the overall 18th century wizard environment and contemporary London is rather odd.
The presence of the gothic, death eating clan, including the consistently kooky Helena Bonham Carter, the versatile Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes, who plays bad better than good, is also a high point - although they are sorely missed and remain in the shadows for the most part, as their combined screen time extends to about fifteen minutes.
For all the ladies who love Harry, there are also a couple of almost “Equus” moments and a dollop of HP sauce thrown into the mix, as Yates aches to show us that Radcliffe is no longer a boy. The most memorable testament to this involves Harry and Hermione in a scene that'll make you say “Harry Potter and the Deathly, ooh, Allo!” There's also a sweet moment in the film when the duo take to the dance floor in their tent. They've come of age, and this poignant moment symbolizes that.
All in all, Yates hasn’t done a bad job in setting up the next film. The last quarter certainly packs more of a punch, but more of that punch - with the baddies we love to hate and the ensemble cast - would’ve been a real treat. But for what’s lacking in the plot is made up for with some beautifully dark imagery, and with the bird out, the train off the tracks, and the walls of Hogwarts down, the stage is definitely set for the big finale. So for the love of the g-man, bring it on!