TEN years in the waiting and at last on Friday the eighth and final chapter in the Harry Potter saga came to the big screen.
You’d have to have been locked in a cupboard under the stairs for a ten years not to have heard of the boy wizard who captured the hearts of millions when he first appeared in JK Rowling’s books in 1997.
Fans of the books have eagerly awaited each film ready to dissect and pounce on any plot changes that weren’t to their tastes.
But for many who haven’t enjoyed the books Harry, (Daniel Radcliffe) Hermione, (Emily Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) exist only on the big screen.
And it’s a testament to Rowling and screen writer Steve Kloves that they’ve once again managed to satisfy both camps, who won’t be disappointed.
The film picks up right where Part 1 left us, throwing us into the action right from the off.
Voldemort is still at large while Harry, Ron and Hermione are hunting down horcruxes – objects which contain parts of Voldemort’s soul and need destroying in order to kill him.
The nature of the film, much like the last, is far darker than the early Potter films released ten years ago.
This is no longer a children’s tale of school bullies, chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean.
Lives are at stake as major characters are killed off in a fight to the death at Harry’s school of witchcraft and wizardry Hogwarts.
As a long time fan of both the books and the films I took the chance to say goodbye to Harry in 3D.
And I’m pleased to report the special effects were as spectacular as the tale itself, which had cinema-goers hooked.
It was great to see that no expense had been spared in the making of the movie with fire dragons, giant spiders and loads of rocks and rubble flying off the screen.
Movie makers could easily have chopped the budget in half for this last hurrah and Potter’s legion of fans would still have queued to see it, twice.
But it was clear from the film, and its associated hype, that everyone involved wanted to make the film great and great it was.
Once again raising the bar in the acting stakes Ralph Fiennes, as Voldemort, stole the show with a performance and make-up that would have terrified me as a youngster.
Alan Rickman was legendary as Snape and also added depth to the film as the audience finally learn about his character’s motivations.
The story’s not-so-youngsters Radcliffe, Watson and Grint coped admirably with the action and a number of kissing scenes that are bound to please fans who have been following the characters’ will-they-won’t-they romances.
The trio offered nothing ground-breaking in terms of their acting but I knew what to expect from the past seven movies and wasn’t going to start worrying about that this late in the franchise.
Part of the enjoyment of these films is the familiar faces and characters and seeing how the actors and actresses have grown up.
Tom Felton did a great job as Malfoy a young teenager caught between his parents and his morales. While Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis, is all grown up and performs seamlessly in a great action scene managing to balance tension with comedy which helps keep the film grounded in the children’s fantasy genre.
For fans of the books, and the movies, the final part in the Harry Potter saga is a must-see summer blockbuster that can’t fail to disappoint. If you’ve not seen any of them then buy the boxset – you’re in for a treat.
by Debbie Lockett
Star rating HHHH