It doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks of Potter 7.2, as of the end of last Monday it will probably have already passed the half-billion dollar mark, next week may well see it comfortably past the billion point if this trend continues. In all likelihood it will easily be the best performing film of the year, but is it any good?
Well, the good news is that it’s better than 7.1 was – the primary issues regarding pacing that that film had seem to have been resolved (although part of the problem may be that they saved all the bigger sequences for this film), everything is a little bit more controlled. It’s stronger than the last two films, although there are still problems – one unfortunately ruins what could have been the highpoint of the series. It’s not quite as good as Prisoner or Order, but it comfortably sits in the top three in terms of quality. However it’s safe to say now, there hasn’t been anything that could classify as a bone-fide classic amongst the series (although three came close).
Considering that the last two films were shot at the same time, there’s a marked improvement in the acting of the three leads – Radcliffe especially nailing the crucial scenes. Fiennes finally delivers serious menace as Voldermort but once again Rickman is given short shrift as Snape. What should have been a high point (Snape’s death – sorry, it has been three years, I’m expecting that the world and his dog now know) is reduced to means of getting to the next scene and suffers from a case of “Explain The Plot!”; the book has the wonderfully simple line of “Look at me”, all the heartache is here removed.
Elsewhere everyone gets there moment, but there’s still the problem of trying to fit everything in rather than adapting the book down to the minimum needed to propel the story – don’t get me wrong it’s worth seeing (although the 3D is post production so don’t waste your time) on a big screen, but there’s the sense as with all of the films that they could be better. The problem has always been that the films have very much relied on the audience having read the books in order to piece together what is going on underneath, these aren’t strictly adaptations in the traditional sense. What they do manage to crack is the sense of fun – these aren’t to be taken too seriously.
However eight films with only a slight dip in quality (I can’t say that there haven’t been any of the films that I haven’t at least enjoyed) is to be applauded, especially given the traditional sequel model. Rowling as well should have some of the applause – her decision to retain creative control meaning that they never lost their unique “British” quality. Perhaps a few more left field directorial choices (respectively Columbus, Columbus, Cuaron, Newell, Yates, Yates, Yates & Yates) like Cuaron could have yielded more interesting results, but for a decade of film the results aren’t too bad.