Saturday, August 20, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2

The long awaited conclusion to Harry Potter has finally arrived. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe)  is now older, wiser and he always seems to have a bit of sweat on his brow. With good reason. He's on the hunt for Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Horcrux, meaning the  little creepy pieces of flesh and bone that were re-fashioned from his "death" in previous episodes. Voldemort, at least to me, is part Freddy Kruger with a bit of Darth Vader in spirit. He is very much a creature of dreams and dark sorcery but with none of the humility of Frankenstein's creation. I just expected him to say something a bit more foreboding than "Abracadabra!" at the start of combat. Really???

But kitschy declarations aside, the game is afoot. The die is cast.

There is alot of gothic gloom here, although I know this is the hallowed ground of J.K. Rowling. Cinematically however, I wonder. The towering Hogwarts School, the twisty camera angles, and Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange in her black crepe all remind one of Tim Burton. Did Burton influence Rowling or the director? Or was it Rowling that influenced Burton? At least in the cinematic sense, both Burton and Rowling could be scissor-siblings.

The gang is all here: Hermione (Emma Watson), Ron (Rupert Grint) and beloved Minerva (Maggie Smith).

What follows is a showdown, a Manichean battle of good and evil that might remind some of the confrontation in "Star Wars" between Skywalker and Vader.

There is even an appearance by Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Like Obi-wan in "Star Wars", Dumbledore is a kind of wise mentor to many, and often only he can tell the way the wands will bend.

Hogwarts is plunged into a state of chaos so severe it recalls some of Goya's master artworks. Huge trolls attack students below as granite soldiers rise to defend.

Harry accepts the challenge with the resignation of something  predetermined. As Valdemort says: "the boy who lived, come to die." The real life Father Gabriele Amorth would do well to take notice and rescind his earlier condemnation of the Harry Potter books and films. This showdown is all rather Christian-like. Even Harry must kill a snake. We all know what that means. Also there is a white light sequence before the battle. A kind of weigh-station for those to "move on".

Father Amorth, can Rowling's Christian symbology or goodly intent be any clearer?
Devoted Harry fans will cheer and be on the edge of their seat throughout, even though they probably know what's coming before it happens. For the most part, you will forgive Jim Broadbent looking dazed and just uttering mumbles and Helena Bonham Carter merely screeching, looking like she's in a Tim Burton wedding dress. (After all she's earned it by marriage.)

This is J.K. Rowling throughout and it doesn't disappoint.

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