Fun with Franchises: Final Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

All right… we’ve watched the film, talked about it, had fun with it, and then we went and listed our favorite images from the film yesterday. Now all that’s left is to finish up with what we actually thought about the film as a whole.

This is our space to go over what we liked and didn’t like about each film we watch for Fun with Franchises. We talk about specific things as we get to them during the articles, and we’ll mention our general thoughts during them, but we don’t really ever get to sit and do broad strokes during the articles. So this is why we do these Final Thoughts. We get to take a step back and talk about the films as a whole, rather than discussing specific scenes or images. We’ll talk about how we felt about the film, how we liked it as a film, how we liked it as a member of its franchise, and where we think it falls within that franchise.

Again, it’s not very complicated, but it is a place to find out what we actually thought about certain movies, since, while we’re having fun with them in the articles, it may get difficult to tell sometimes. Because we’ll just rip things to shreds for fun, even if we love them.

So here are our final thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:

Final Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:

Colin:

I feel like I’m giving this film merit based on the first half, but that’s all good. This clearly can’t stand alone on its own, cause then you’d be like, “What’s an Expelliarmus?” or, “Where’s that guy’s nose?”

One thing I do have to say about this film is that it feels very structured. That’s isn’t to say that there’s a beginning, middle and end — though there may well be. What I mean is that this movie takes us from moment to moment, maintaining the drama the whole way. Remember how the first few movies were a lot of exposition or establishment of setting? We had sweeping shots of Hogwarts and entire scenes where the kids were just chilling in the Great Hall. I enjoyed it at first, because it drew you into the universe before you could be drawn into the greater story. But once the story shows up in a big way (effectively at Half-Blood Prince, believe it or not) and we’re on the road to Viridian City find horcruxes, they have to do away with most of those moments. There’s simply too much shit to do, even when you split the final book into two full-length features. Imagine if they had just done the one movie. It’d have been awful.

So what I mean by structured is that during this film, we move from dramatic event to dramatic event — a sequence of climaxes (since movies, like women, can climax multiple times) — punctuated by brief exposition and the progression of action. (Mike Note: Some even fake their climaxes.)  This might have something to do with why our favorite shots list was so damn easy this time around. We chose shots separately, and the vast majority were matches between us, which almost never happens like that. The best moments, and the most important moments, were pretty much laid out for us. Just looking down at Mike’s notes now, I see he’s listed some of them out…so I’ll spare you.

There are a few things I can’t really work with. For one, Neville and Luna. What the fuck was that? That’s not in the book. That was filmmakers wanting something cheesy to throw in. And you’ve already heard about my issues with Ginny in the articles for Half-Blood Prince; she isn’t a part of this movie, and ends up marrying him between the end and the epilogue because it was a remote possibility and we can’t have Harry single in the future, nor can his wife need introduction. So here we are, with them in a relationship that was originally based on mutual nervousness and a kiss in a glorified closet. Well done, guys. Way to wrap it up.

Which brings me to the epilogue itself — why was this necessary? I guess this is a question more for JK Rowling, but what the hell did we need that for? Just end it so we can be a bit ambiguous about things and pretend that Ron and Hermione don’t end up together. I don’t know why Rowling didn’t leave this up to the fan fiction writers, cause that’s sure what it felt like. There was no substance to it at all; it shows all of our characters living their lives perfectly, having named a bunch of kids after characters we’ve just seen killed. What am I supposed to feel about that? “Aw, his name is ALBUS SEVERUS? How PERFECT!” No, it feels cheap, as does the horribly forced name drop. I purposely left the epilogue out of my favorite shot choices because…really?

Okay, so a lot was bad. But more was good. We got closure on a lot of stuff, as well as explanations for some shit we really needed explained. The Snape flashback was awesome, the final duel worked out well, Helm’s Deep was sort of taken and then defended, and Maggie Smith said ‘boom!’ That’s all I demand from any movie.

So supposedly, we’re doing a franchise wrap-up, since this is the last day of Harry Potter. I think most of it is that we gave it the B+ Movie Blog treatment  and went so incredibly in-depth on these, but I enjoyed them WAY more this time around than ever before. For that matter, I think I had only seen half the films before this year. I randomly watched them months ago, before we knew we’d be doing this, and I liked them more than I thought I would. But as a franchise, this was never the one I thought of. I grew up with the books, but never gave a shit about the movies. I’d just remember Daniel Radcliffe’s little goon face and that would be that. But it was pretty neat watching them over again and seeing just how well put-together they were.

And I do have to admit — in terms of sheer exposure, this is the king of franchises. At least for now. That title comes with a disclaimer, though: this was a literary phenomenon first, which is why it got the budget it did, why it got the people it did, and why it did the business at the box office it did. They are great films, but if this had been an original series of films, I don’t think it would have hit the ground running the way it did. Most franchises have this going for them (except maybe Bond — who’s read a Bond book other than hardcore fans? Some people don’t even know they exist), like Marvel with the comics, or Lord of the Rings with the books and previous film attempts. So as it stands, this is the most lucrative franchise for now, but it reigns as a rather decent film take on the most popular set of books in recent memory. Well done. A good time was had by all.

It’s not my favorite universe (cause there’s a universe in which you quit school at 10 to wander the country making animals fight each other for a living, and that one, nobody tries to KILL you), but it’s definitely up there. You know you want to Accio some shit. My favorite franchise has always been Bond, and it’ll remain that way, even though some Bond movies are pretty crappy. But this one has jumped way up in my ranking; I definitely had it undervalued before, and now I put it up there with the big stuff like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. So this has been a rather informative experience. Thanks, B+ Movie Blog!

My Final Thoughts:

It’s really hard to take this half of the film on its own, since you need the first half of the film to make this half work. That said – this is a pretty good half a film.

Granted, it’s kind of hard to talk about, given how it’s basically just all war. But, we get all these great sequences, like Harry confronting Snape in the Great Hall, Snape’s death, the final reveal about who Snape really was, Harry realizing he has to die and going to face it – there are a lot of great, great moments in this movie. I’m not gonna sit and go over them all, since we know what they are.

I will say it’s nice that all the characters (well… most of the chracters) get their moments to shine one last time. And I think that pretty much everything works, even though there are parts that are kind of weak, comparatively, to everything else. The opening break-in of Gringotts, I felt, was better in the book. There was just a sense of tension there, and the stakes were high. In the movie it just kind of felt like they were going through the motions. I think a better director would have worked the tone of that sequence better. (And I hate to rail on David Yates, since he and his writer and DPs have constructed some great shots and scenes over his four movies.)

I think they could have utilized a couple of characters more, like Luna, and Hagrid, and even to an extent Ron. I just felt like we barely see them in this last film, and it’s the last time we’re ever going to see them, so at least give them a little bit of screen time, instead of rushing from scene to scene. Shit, even GINNY gets cut out of this movie, and she’s the “love” of Harry’s life!

So I felt they could have done a better job with that. And then… I had a problem with this in the book, but… I think they could have shown us a bit more of what happens to the characters during the battle, other than a simple, “Oh yeah, Fred’s dead, baby. Fred’s dead,” and, “Oh yeah, Lupin and Tonks are dead too.” I think Bellatrix’s death was basically them going through the motions. I have no idea what that spell Molly Weasley shot was supposed to be, and I think that was just completely tacked on (kind of like it was in the book. They just sort of cut to it over one page and tie up that loose end). And also Voldemort’s death was incredibly confusing as to how they decided to go about it. Why not just go with what was in the book, with the wand refusing to kill Harry because of its allegiance to him and the killing curse rebounding? THE FUCKING FRANCHISE STARTED WITH A REBOUNDING CURSE!

I think the Luna and Neville moment was an abortion, and that’s all I’ll be saying about that.

I think the epilogue was fine, and I think the only real downsides to the movie are the fact that there’s not enough emotional development and they rush through some scenes very quickly. Like Harry with Helena Ravenclaw. We never get a real sense of who she is or what her importance is. We do on paper, but we don’t really. It’s things like that. The plot just moves it along. But overall, it’s easily one of the strongest movies in the franchise. Top three or top four at worst. So that’s not really saying all that much, listing the negatives. There are a lot of positives here, and it works. I’ll still always love the warts on these movies more than I’ll love other entire movies.

In terms of a franchise – I’d be hard-pressed to say this isn’t my second favorite movie franchise ever, after the Bond movies. It’s more about the universe than anything. I love this universe, I grew up with this universe. In other franchises, I might (and will) out and out say that I don’t like certain films in it, but this one – I do actually like all the films. In context, I think some are weak, but as films, I’ll watch them all, any time, no questions asked.

Despite what everyone else has said, this is the king of franchises. Bond is the steady one, that has weathered thick and thin over 50 years, but right now, this franchise is king. To the point where, the minute they said this last movie was going to be split into two parts, it set the standard for all last movies from then on. Now all last movies of young adult franchises are split into two movies. That says a lot. So do box office receipts. For now, anyway. Something will invariably pass this eventually, due to inflation, but for now, this is the undisputed king of franchises. And I’m very happy about that.

I’d say, just to wrap this up as nicely as possible, if I had to rank all eight of these movies in terms of how I like them among one another, I’d say they go as follows:

    1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
    3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

And even then, there are aspects of each one that make me like them more than ones ranked directly above them. This is just in terms of having a list. You know how I like lists. I just figured I’d throw it out there for general reference purposes. I still like Chamber of Secrets more than I like some entries in our next franchise. Which I’ll get to very shortly, since…

That’s it. That’s the end of my final thoughts. I love this film and I love this franchise. Not as much as Bond (as a franchise), but in terms of universe, this is definitely my favorite. I grew up with it, what do you want me to say?

(P.S. Why the fuck did they cut out SPEW?)

– – – – – – – – – –

Is it sad? Does it feel sad? Is it a sad day? Because we are officially FINISHED with the Harry Potter franchise.

That’s it. We went through all eight movies. It’s done. It’s over.

Tomorrow, we start our second franchise on Fun with Franchises. Star Wars.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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One response

  1. BlueFox94

    I’m assuming you guys are starting with 1977 first over 1999?

    May 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

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