An absolutely wizard send off

 
Timothy Barber
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Film
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II
Cert:12A

THE closing episode in the decade-long Harry Potter saga is pretty much as epic, as entertaining and as impressive as you’d hope it could be. After the flabby slowness of Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part One, this rips us along on a tumultuous tide of action and – crucially – emotion.

Not that I could tell you for sure what a Deathly Hallow is. Even so, the plot – for once – is simple, sensible and exciting. Harry, Ron and Hermione’s quest to destroy horcruxes – objects containing elements of Lord Voldemort’s soul, making him impossible to kill – leads them back to Hogwarts. As students and good wizards make a final, epic stand against Voldemort’s depraved hordes, Harry must face a terrible reckoning and a cataclysmic showdown.

Among the terrific set pieces, an escape from subterranean catacombs on the back of a huge dragon, which fights its way to the surface before spreading its wings for a swooping flight over London, was exceptional; while once-awkward, podgy Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) facing off Voldemort’s entire army, wielding a spectacular sword and getting a girl in the process, is air-punching stuff.

Not before time, the three principles, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, have learned to act, and are given some good material – though most poignant is Alan Rickman’s multi-layered portrayal of Professor Snape. There’s also a surprisingly moving epilogue.

A fitting farewell to a series that has, in the end, been as much of a cinematic landmark as a literary one.