With the London premiere of the final installment of the Harry Potter film franchise a mere hours away, the first critical reviews have started to trickle in from the American trades and several British papers. The response seems to be that the millions of Muggles who adore the Harry Potter films will not be disappointed and even those who have just casually followed the series will be able to enjoy it.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter writes a lengthy tribute to the whole series and concludes that The Deathly Hallows, Part II is even an improvement over Part I:
The squabbling of Deathly Hallows Part 1 happily a thing of the past, Ron and Hermione lend stalwart support, but the burdens of the consummation lie squarely upon Harry’s shoulders and lead one to appreciate Radcliffe’s accomplishment here and throughout the series; whatever quibbles and shortcomings have existed in the past, he is Harry, once and for all, and goes out on a high note.
Justin Chang of Variety is mostly positive in his review, but he does mention that the end of the end might be disappointing to die-hard fans of the series:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” surges ahead with tremendous urgency, superb spectacle and powerful, even overwhelming emotion, only to falter with a hasty sendoff that seems to buckle under the weight of audience expectations.
Richard Godwin of The Evening Standard highly praises the technical aspects of the film, but says that J.K. Rowling and David Yates are to blame for some sluggishness in the final moments:
Deathly Hallows the novel had a central problem in that publisher Bloomsbury, by that point, seemed reluctant to edit J K Rowling. On the prose flowed to hundreds of pages, without ever quite coming into focus. That (and perhaps a double-your-money spirit) is why it had to be split in two for the film. You sense Yates wanted to oomph it all up for the climax, but for all the digitally-rendered hocus-pocus as Voldemort‘s dark army faces down the plucky pupils of Hogwarts, there’s not the epic quality you get in the Lord Of The Rings movies.
Philip Womack of The Telegraph writes seems to perfectly sum up the feeling that longtime fans of this enormous franchise will experience when the final installment comes to an end:
This is monumental cinema, awash with gorgeous tones, and carrying an ultimate message that will resonate with every viewer, young or old: there is darkness in all of us, but we can overcome it.
This is not an end. How could it be?
In the last scene, as we watch Harry’s son go off to Hogwarts, we know that even if there will be no more books, these characters will live with us for ever.
Reviews don’t matter for a film like this because millions of people are going to see it anyway. I look forward to the film with slight reluctance, because a part of me really does not want it all to be over.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II will open in the U.S. on July 15, 2011.