It’s taken a decade and seven previous films to get here, but it is finally the end of the line for the Harry Potter saga with the latest film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.”
This final chapter of the beloved franchise is a satisfying end to the series, even if it falls short of the promise teased in its slightly superior predecessor.
“Part 2” picks up where the previous film left off, with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and classmates Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) trying to find and destroy the three remaining horcruxes that serve as the source of strength for the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
But the closer the trio get to finishing their quest, the more dangerous Voldemort becomes, leading to a climactic final battle between Potter and the evil lord.
This is the darkest chapter yet in the “Harry Potter” saga, with the stakes at a life-and-death level.
The young actors continue to impress and shine. Seeing them grow up on screen has been fun, and I’m hopeful they can continue to grow now that they move on to different chapters of their careers.
Director David Yates has grown behind the camera as well, delivering a confident-looking film that mixes the wonder and enchantment with the dark subtext. There are some really magical moments that jump off the screen, including an epic battle in Hogwarts.
It’s also kind of neat the way the film manages to piece all the threads together from the previous seven films, building to a satisfying conclusion.
I was such a fan of “Deathly Hallows - Part 1” (which I still contend is the best film in the series), that I admit “Part 2” took a while to get going for me, and it never quite continues the momentum from the previous film.
Once it finds its rhythm, though, there really aren’t many complaints. In fact, this is probably as satisfying of a conclusion as I think you could ask for in a franchise as popular as this.
And like the majority of the series, this is a film that should please the die-hard fans, while bringing something to the table for nonfans as well.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “Limitless” (B-), a visually dazzling and briskly paced drama with a strong lead performance from Bradley Cooper that never quite delivers on its potential.
Still, there is enough to like that audiences shouldn’t be too disappointed.
It starts with Cooper, who plays Eddie, a struggling writer stuck in a rut both personally and professionally.
When his former brother-in-law introduces him to a new drug that allows a person to access every bit of his brain, Eddie reluctantly takes it. But the effect is so great, Eddie is able to use the drug to his advantage, quickly becoming one of the top players in the financial world and drawing the attention of business mogul Carl Van Loon (Robert DeNiro).
Just as it looks as though Eddie’s life has changed for the better, problems start to arise. For one, nasty side effects from the drug begin to emerge. Then, as the stash starts to dwindle, paranoia sets in, and Eddie becomes convinced that hit men are trying to take him out.
From the opening credits, director Neil Burger draws the audience in with a unique visual style that plays off the effects of the drug. There’s a lot of camera movement and playing with colors and lighting that really give “Limitless” some sizzle, making it interesting and perhaps even distracting viewers from a plot that starts to get a little outlandish by the final act.
Cooper’s swagger fits the character well, making his performance that much more believable, while DeNiro makes the most of his small role.
Abbie Cornish also co-stars as Eddie’s on-again, off-again love interest, but her role doesn’t have quite the impact, somewhat wasting Cornish’s talents.
“Limitless” also suffers somewhat from untapped potential. The first half seems to imply that the film is about to delve into social commentary on chemical dependency or corporate greed, but it never comes to fruition. The film evolves into a pretty standard chase picture in the final moments.
The result is a film with a lot of setup, only to produce a flat payoff. Still, there is enough to warrant a positive recommendation - with some reservations.
“Limitless” is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving a drug, violence including disturbing images, sexuality and language, and is now available on DVD.