Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - FRONT PAGE - By Da­mon Smith

AL­MOST 10 years af­ter the cin­ema re­lease of Harry Pot­ter And The Philoso­pher’s Stone, the most fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful film fran­chise in his­tory reaches its tragic and spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion. Mil­lions of read­ers, who ner­vously turned the pages of JK Rowl­ing’s fi­nal tome in sum­mer 2007, al­ready know the nar­ra­tive twists that lie ahead for Harry (Rad­cliffe), Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Wat­son). There may be no dra­matic ten­sion but that’s of lit­tle con­se­quence to ar­dent fans be­cause David Yates’s hugely en­ter­tain­ing adap­ta­tion of Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 bids fond farewell to char­ac­ters we have grown to love, and who have lit­er­ally grown up be­fore our eyes. Cer­tainly, the eighth film has its nig­gles. The fi­nal chap­ter rests heav­ily on the shoul­ders of Rad­cliffe and while he has im­proved as an ac­tor, he still doesn’t pos­sess the emo­tional range or vul­ner­a­bil­ity to pro­vide a strong emo­tional con­nec­tion to Harry’s grief. Wat­son and Grint shine in their few scenes in­clud­ing that lon­gawaited kiss, and both sob con­vinc­ingly as their teenage wiz­ards come to terms with the enor­mity of their loss. The ticket levy for 3D cou­pled with our nos­tal­gia will en­sure that Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 be­comes the most suc­cess­ful film of the long-run­ning saga. And it brings down the cur­tain in style. The film opens with Volde­mort (Fi­ennes) steal­ing the pow­er­ful El­der Wand from Dum­ble­dore’s grave, which he will use to slay Harry. Das­tardly acolytes Bel­la­trix Les­trange (Bon­ham Carter) and Lu­cius Mal­foy (Isaacs) press for­ward with their di­a­bol­i­cal plans, while Severus Snape (Rick­man) fills the va­cant post of head­mas­ter at Hog­warts, which is en­cir­cled by De­men­tors. Else­where, Harry, Ron and Hermione con­tinue their mis­sion to track down the fi­nal Hor­cruxes, which con­tain frag­ments of Volde­mort’s black­ened soul.

The quest

“Long-awaited kiss­ing scene”

leads to Hog­warts where fel­low stu­dents Neville Longbottom (Lewis), Luna Love­g­ood (Lynch) and Ginny Weasley (Wright) are ready to lay down their lives to pro­tect Harry from Death Eaters in­clud­ing Draco Mal­foy (Fel­ton) and his Slytherin side­kicks. Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 builds re­lent­lessly to the fi­nal battle at Hog­warts, which is bril­liantly re­alised with a seam­less con­fla­tion of live ac­tion and daz­zling dig­i­tal trick­ery. There are echoes of The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Tow­ers as the forces of dark­ness breach the school’s walls with hor­rific in­tent. An at­tempted break-in at Gringotts Wiz­ard­ing Bank in­tro­duces the blind dragon which guards the Les­trange

Vault and the search for Rowena Raven­claw’s lost di­a­dem in the Room of Re­quire­ment is sim­i­larly thrilling. Aside from the cen­tral trio, the third film be­longs to Lewis as heroic Neville and to Rick­man’s treach­er­ous teacher, whose tragic his­tory is re­vealed in a

“Bat­tling forces

of dark­ness”

heart­break­ing Pen­sieve flashback. The coda, taken di­rectly from Rowl­ing’s book, is an un­in­ten­tion­ally hi­lar­i­ous mis­step cour­tesy of un­con­vinc­ing age­ing make-up. Gig­gles aside, there will be few dry eyes when the end cred­its roll.

MAG­I­CAL: Harry (Rad­cliffe) and Hermione (Emma Wat­son). SPELL­BIND­ING: Daniel Rad­cliffe as Harry Pot­ter.

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