Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II

So yeah, everyone who was ever in a Harry Potter flick is back, basically, unless the character was killed off, and sometimes even then. I think I got all the important people in the tags, at least, though I'm still working on why Helena Bonham Carter managed such high billing when she hardly says a word, and half the time, when she does, it's when she's really Hermione. They use that disguise potion again, which is no surprise. The only surprising thing is that not everyone uses it all the time. I know, it's supposed to be really hard to make, but how is that stopping, say, a group of teenage boys from using it to disguise themselves and spy on the girls after gym class? Or broom-flying class, or whatever they have for exercise.

But I digress, which is also no surprise. When last we saw our heroes -- actually, I don't remember what they were doing at the end of the last movie, exactly, though when this movie starts they're hanging out in a beach house. When last we saw our villain, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, though you'd never know it to look at him), he was grave-robbing to get hold of the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand ever. That part I remembered, though they also showed it again here. They recapped all the stuff I remembered and nothing else, sadly, so for the first few minutes I felt like I was scrambling to catch up. Okay, more like the first hour. But they have no pity any more for those of us who haven't read the books, if they ever did.

Anyway, Voldemort -- and let me just say that it alarms me that my spell-checker recognizes that name -- needs three things to become master of the universe: The Elder Wand (check), The Cloak of Invisibility (not check), and the Resurrection Stone (ditto). Harry has those last two things, so he's two-thirds master of the universe already. And actually, now that I think about it, he kind of is. *sigh*

Voldemort's strength is that he's really hard to kill, but it's also his weakness, in a Dungeons & Dragons lich kind of way. His soul is scattered and stored in odd little things called horcruxes that might be pretty much anything. I did enjoy the looks on everyone's faces when Harry was trying to explain to some of the students at Hogwarts that they needed to help him look for "something small and easy to hide". But if you can find the things, destroying the horcruxes will allow Voldemort to be killed, kind of like reading that spell in The Mummy, and since they didn't manage to finish that last time, that's what they're finishing up now, preparing for the big showdown.

And big it is. A friend of mine who has read the books explained that the final fight originally happened pretty much in one spot, whereas it roams all over in the movie. Production value, of course. Things blow up and burn. Stone statues come to life and fight to the, er, death. Giant spiders get in everyone's hair. The kids get drenched, nearly set on fire, and sometimes both at once. Oh, and lots of Death Eaters hang around the place and look threatening. They freaked me out at first, but now they seem familiar and almost quaint. The Resurrection Stone was something of a letdown, too. I thought it would literally bring people back, either in a good way or in a creepy, be careful what you wish for, Monkey's Paw kind of way, but it turns out it's really just like the Speak with Dead spell in D&D. All you're doing is getting the chance to converse with a ghost, and face it -- that happens constantly in the Potterverse.

So while it wasn't a terrible movie by any means, better than the last one in some respects, it still didn't thrill me. My friend mentioned above liked it quite a lot, so she'd probably give it four out of five. The teenage girls sitting behind me, who were clearly rabid fans, liked it overall, but found one of the big scenes at the end that was supposed to be terribly serious to be a little laughable, which isn't a good sign. I found it silly, but until they giggled, I thought it was just me. They might also give four out of five, but me, I'll go with three and three-quarters. Just like the last time. And while I know some of you are in mourning at reaching the end, I'm just glad that I can get away from sequels and back to the superhero movies. Captain America will make a refreshing change. I hope.

The kids are all right. I miss the beaded bag of holding, though.


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