starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter
screenplay by Steve Kloves, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
directed by David Yates
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Not having read the final book in the Harry Potter series, I fear I spent the last hour-and-a-half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 (hereafter Harry Potter 7.2) thinking that Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) was Harry's father. And there's the problem, really--not that it's so insular that only people who've read the books can understand it, but that it's so myopic in its insularity that it doesn't realize that what it's saying on the screen is pretty contrary to what's explained on the page. It's not that there wasn't time, either, over the course of these five hours, to address obvious misunderstandings and obscurities (why, for instance, doesn't everyone always cast the "kill" spell, since it seems pretty effective), as there was certainly enough time to pack in a horse-cart full of characters pointing to their chests and weepily declaring that their dead pals will "always be right here." Mostly, it reveals an author in J.K. Rowling--who was setting up a genuinely extraordinary ending to her dip in the archetype pool--engaged in a lot of self-pitying sobbing over grandiloquent gestures, group hugs, and an epilogue set 19 years hence that brazenly sucks, simply because she didn't have the muscle to pull the proverbial trigger. More egregiously, by failing to honour her own story with the proper ending, Rowling betrays real post-feminist icon Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), the "most gifted wizard of her generation" (and low-born to boot), squandered to tertiary status in this instalment before being dismissed into domesticity. An author who by the end was driven perhaps too much by her fans (she admits in an interview that she "didn't have the heart" to kill Arthur Weasley--one wonders if she ever considered killing Harry as she ought) is behind a handsome, crisp film that is, alas, ultimately for her fans only.