In a previous blog post, I have written about my disappointment with the way the final cut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 downplays the religious symbolism which is present both in the novel and in some of the film’s unused set design elements. (You can read about it in this blog post: http://phoenixweasley.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/christian-imagery-in-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-one/) Although there are some Christian images in the theatrical cut of DH1, there are not enough in comparison to the novel. (I really missed Harry and Hermione’s discussion of 1 Corinthians 15:26 in the Godric’s Hollow graveyard scene.) I certainly don’t expect DH2 to be any better in that regard, but apparently some critics are seeing something with regards to Christian symbolism in the plot and themes of the film. Of course, I have not yet seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. It will be released on July 15, 2011 in the United States, so I don’t know exactly what it is that these film critics are seeing. Here are some of the quotes from the latest reviews for consideration:
“These quests pit treachery and self-interest against steadfastness and sacrifice, a fundamental series conflict that’s embodied by Harry and Voldemort, the Christ and Satan at the center of Rowling’s coming-of-age saga. Still, the propulsive film (penned, like all but one of its predecessors, by Steve Kloves) remains interested in such religious notions of martyrdom, fate, and rebirth only insofar as they reflect the story’s overriding celebration of friendship as an unbreakable bond even under the greatest of strains.”
“The final film is heavy on what can now be seen as the series’ Big Themes: mercy, self-sacrifice, forgiveness. In the way the overarching narrative eventually plays out, Rowling’s novels – and the ensuing films – seem deeply indebted to another literary fantasy series from a British author: C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Both use fantastical tales to get at deep truths.”
“Ultimately, though, the heart of the story is simple: a version of the messianic myth, perhaps, or an allegory of growing up and mustering courage, loyalty, and a belief in human decency in the face of evil and death.”
This review has a lot of commentary on the performances given by the various actors and actresses in the film. Be warned that it is filled with spoilers!
In addition to the religious symbolism and all of the deeper layers of meaning that the Harry Potter novels contain, I am enamoured with the character development of Rowling’s heroes, young and old, and I adore the blossoming romance between Harry’s sidekicks, Ron and Hermione. All of these reviews have comments that the Ron/Hermione shippers will appreciate:
“As with all finales, people are getting it on left, right and centre. The long-awaited kiss between Ron and Hermione isn’t a letdown, its sweetness reminding us of their true age and experience. With the maturity they’ve been playing with over the last couple of films, it’s nice to be brought back to something as simple as first love and awkward first kisses.”
“Watson and Grint shine in their few scenes including that long-awaited kiss, and both sob convincingly as their teenage wizards come to terms with the enormity of their loss.” This reviewer is one of many who sees similarities between the war in DH2 and the epic battles in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: “There are echoes of The Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers as the forces of darkness breach the school’s walls with horrific intent.”
“The feeling that Voldemort and his dark minions are close on Harry’s heels is palpable, making small moments of intimacy (Ron and Hermione kiss like adults — then giggle with surprise like children) all the more precious.”
“As the crucial battle against good and evil approaches, the simmering sexual tension between our young heroes is also broken and several romances blossom, with a passionate kiss between Ron and Hermione prompting whoops of delight and applause from the auditorium.”
I have indeed read reports from fans around the world that there were “whoops of delight and applause from the auditorium” when Ron and Hermione have their big moment. I am looking forward to seeing that scene in the theater and hearing the audience’s reaction to it, as well as hearing the audience’s response to Neville’s heroism, the Molly’s duel with Bellatrix, Harry’s self-sacrifice and final battle with Lord Voldemort, and most of all, Alan Rickman’s critically acclaimed performance of Severus Snape. Is it July 15th yet?