Reel Views: The Hogwarts saga comes to an epic conclusion

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (2011)

Many of us have grown up with Harry Potter; the lucky ones were 11 when the books came out, just like Harry himself. We read all the books and we saw all the movies — some of us waiting in line for hours to be the first to experience the newest Harry Potter release. In July, the last film was released: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2.

The second half of Deathly Hallows picks up right where the first left off: Harry, Ron and Hermione are at Shell Cottage after rescuing Luna, Olivander and Griphook from the basement of Malfoy Manor. Dobby has been buried, and now the trio sets to work finding and destroying the remaining horcruxes Voldemort has created. This epic conclusion covers everything that was in the novel: breaking into Gringotts; escaping on a dragon; discovering the secrets of the Deathly Hallows, the horcruxes and Snape's past; and the final battle for Hogwarts. The battle between Harry and Voldemort is in there too, as are Harry's experiences with the resurrection stone and limbo. The epilogue, set 19 years in the future, is also included.

The same cast that has always been at Hogwarts remains there still. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and a decidedly grown up Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom. All the rest are there as well, and each and every one of them gives an equally strong performance; there is not a weak acting link in the entirety of the film.

Part two of Deathly Hallows is certainly the darkest of the films; injury, pain and death fill the just over two-hour runtime, with a good portion of the characters either being seriously wounded or dying. Visually the film is stunning, the editing smooth and seamless, and with the final hour and a half of the film's action taking place within a single day, the fast pace and high level of action will have you on the edge of your seat.

Above all the action and gallant fighting, there are more than a few heart-wrenching scenes in the film that are played out beautifully, such as McGonagall and Flitwick casting protective enchantments over the castle and bringing the stone guards to life to defend the students, Neville standing up in two separate but equally heroic moments and, most touchingly, "The Prince's Tale," wherein Harry discovers all of Snape's secrets and loyalties. And that kiss between Ron and Hermoine is absolutely unforgettable.

If you've grown up with them, you need to see them through. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you will not be disappointed with this final installment. In fact, you'll probably want to see it more than once.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars