Not-so-wild about Harry

“Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows part 2” ★

“DEATHLY Hallows Part 2” takes 130 minutes to unroll, including closing credits but not a self-praising prologue in which cast members pat each other on the back. Self praise is always cause for suspicion.

With a plot unblemished by novelty, surprises, suspense or excitement, it’s a tedious, awkwardly-constructed, lack-lustre paean to visual effects. Too much of it involves Harry and his evil nemesis Voldemort using wands to shoot destructive auras at each other without apparent effect, or director David Yates destroying buildings and their contents.

Spectacular, perhaps, but scarcely justification for so much of a film that was going to be over-long even before shooting began.

The only smile moment in a dour film comes when Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall expresses pleasure from invoking a spell that she never expected to use.

It looks grey. Colour appears mainly in flashbacks and a coda in which Harry and his wife, together with schoolmates Ron and Hermione, send their children off on the Hogwarts Express.

In a film populated by a considerable tribe of highly-regarded British actors, the performances are unremarkable. In a role that literally drove him to drink, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry appears wan and listless. Ralph Fiennes, aware that Voldemort’s on a hiding to nothing, overplays him with a mixture of relish and fatalism.

It has been said that by giving birth to Harry, author J K Rowling served an important function by persuading a generation of youngsters to read a book. I wonder how many of them went on to read any other author. Some cinemas are showing the film in 3D. I watched the 2D version by choice at a mid-afternoon session among perhaps a score of secondary students and as many others.

For me, the film’s most satisfying moment came when working-class Neville Longbottom decapitated that monstrous serpent that followed Voldemort around like a loyal dog.

Not because it eliminated a threat to Harry’s on-going well-being but because as any herpetologist will tell you, it was a zoological improbability by any measure.

The improbability of the Harry Potter stories is acceptable, just as was “The Lord Of the Rings” that, when you think about it, has much the same plot, but the time has come to give it a well-earned rest. Oh happy day!

At just about every cinema in the country

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