It stands to reason that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be the next-to-last offering in what is already the most lucrative film franchise in history, unless author J.K. Rowling succumbs to fan pressure to extend her best-selling series of children's novels. This installment covers the first half of the seventh and presumably last book, with the final adaptation slated to be released in July.
The formulaic film is basically a special effects-driven adventure leading to another epic showdown between righteous and rogue wizards. At the point of departure, we find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his pals, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), dropping out of Hogwarts because the Ministry of Magic has fallen into the hands of the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and the diabolical Death Eaters.
Voldemort convenes a meeting with his minions during which he conspires to kill Harry using a powerful wand borrowed from Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs). Meanwhile, Potter and his pals hatch a counter plan to destroy the seven Horcruxes said to contain the key to Voldemort's immortality.
Our intrepid heroes' ensuing quest takes them into an enchanted forest where, without the guidance of their professors, they are forced to mature quickly in order to survive a host of supernatural ordeals testing not only their wits but their bonds of loyalty. Speaking of maturing, the adventure makes some minor concessions to their budding sexuality courtesy of sensual interludes and eroticized violence.
Still, the movie is mostly about wave after wave of hazardous encounters with dark forces much in the manner of a typical video game. Engaging and entertaining, yes; yet, for all the spells and potions and eye-popping CGI, in the end not much of consequence ever transpires to advance the storyline toward a resolution.
A water-treading sequel sans emotional momentum which simply serves as a setup for this summer's grand finale.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for intense violence, frightening images and brief sensuality.
Running time: 144 Minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
3-Disc Blu-Ray Combo Pack Extras: Sneak peek of Harry Potter 8, additional scenes, soundtrack documentary, DVD version and digital copy of the film, promotional trailer, interactive journey with the cast and crew, and numerous other featurettes.
To see a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, visit The Skanner News Video