Now armed with the power to destroy the evil Voldemort’s Horcruxes, rendering him finally vulnerable, Harry, Ron and Hermione must hunt down these remaining hidden items. However Voldemort is moving to destroy Hogwarts and will stop at nothing to kill Harry, ‘the boy who lived’. In a desperate race for survival, Harry must now defend his friends, save his loved ones and realise the full extent of his destiny.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) – Director: David Yates

Is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 130 mins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes

Genre: Fantasy

REVIEW

Whereas ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’  (which we review here) built the suspense by being a moody exploration in desperation, ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ unleashes action packed set pieces left, right and centre. After 7 hit films in the hugely popular and successful franchise, it needed something climactic to round off the series and ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ doesn’t disappoint. Much like ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 1’ the plot may be a little difficult to untangle for those who haven’t followed the series to date but that shouldn’t prevent viewers new and established from enjoying the action on offer here.

The only criticism that could really be levelled at ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ is that there is so much going on on-screen that the direction sometimes doesn’t take the opportunity to slow down and give gravity to moments that would have had much more emotional intensity in a novel. However this is more of a niggle than a flaw and it is certainly satisfying to see each character finally get their moment to shine. With a rousing soundtrack, a roster of excellent performances from the cast and special effects giving everything the magical oomph, ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ does justice to closing the unique phenomenon that was Harry Potter.

IS ‘HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ does not have as much in the way of strong upsetting content as ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 1’, but with kids in mind there is still some scenes that we will highlight below as potentially not appropriate.

Fans of the series may remember the character of Ollivander (played by John Hurt) from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (released as ‘the Sorcerer’s Stone’ in the US). Early on in ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ we see that the evil Lord Voldemort has captured Ollivander and is torturing him. This takes place during rapid camera cuts, distorted visuals and an oppressive soundtrack. Although nothing graphic is seen (and indeed it isn’t clear in what manner Ollivander is being tortured) this is a short and intense moment where Ollivander is in obvious pain. In a similar vein, there are moments throughout film where the actions of Harry and co from miles away affect Voldemort. When this happens a similar camera effect is used in the picture distorts on a close up of his face as he yells in pain and anger. This is brief and likely to only be of potential upset to younger children.

Early in the film our heroes break in to the goblin bank of Gringotts, escorted by the goblin Griphook (played by Warwick Davis). Once in the lower vaults we see that a chained up dragon is protecting the basement. In order to subdue the dragon Griphook shakes a rattle. He explains that the dragon has been ‘trained to expect pain’ when it hears the noise, to which Hermione comments ‘that’s barbaric’. Later the dragon breathes a jet of fire over another goblin, killing him. This is seen from a bit of a distance and once the flames engulf the goblin in question we see no more of him, so this is a moderate scene – but it may upset children who may feel that the death was undeserved.

Harry and co are hunting Horcruxes, which are parts of Voldemort’s soul that he had hidden in objects in order to guarantee his immortality. Whenever one is destroyed this sparks a special effects bombardment which results in a huge ghostly version of Voldemort’s face screaming at everyone nearby and launching itself at them. The moments are short but could be scary for kids.

Most of the last third of the movie involves a final stand at Hogwarts. This takes the form of a huge battle between wizards, students, werewolves and giants. The level of violence is moderate with no particular focus on individual suffering or gore. However the tension is high throughout and there are many moments when the outcome looks bleak. Several established characters are killed and although the camera doesn’t focus too much on this, we do see the emotional distress of those close to those characters. Indeed, near the climax of the movie Harry decides that he has to save his friends and goes alone to see Voldemort. As part of this he talks to the ghosts of his family in a very emotional scene, before giving himself up to Voldemort. The distress of Harry may upset children who have become very attached to him. Similarly, Harry is then carried to his friends whilst having blood over his face and all the ‘good’ characters are extremely distraught at this.

In terms of dialogue, ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ contains a lot of verbally threatening behaviour or indications of past violence. Mention of the ‘Cruciatus Curse’ will be understood by those familiar with the series as is it the ‘torture’ spell that causes extreme pain. During a conversation at Hogwarts we hear someone say “Are you bored of practising the Cruciatus curse on first years?” Also, during the battle at Hogwarts, Voldemort says, “I shall kill every last man, woman and child who tries to conceal you.”

There is one part that it is difficult for us to describe in too much detail as it gives away vital plot, but one long-established character gets a violent death. Voldemort orders his giant snake, Nagini, to murder this character. We see the snake launch at the camera initially but then the shot changes to behind a blurred glass wall. The camera then stays fixed but it is clear that the snake is repeatedly striking this character. There are grunts of pain and the silhouette of the body spasms with each hit. During this we see Harry and co hiding behind the glass wall. Once the attack is over they go to talk to this character before the character dies and this is a very emotional moment. It leads directly to another long scene which will continue to make any upset for this character’s death last longer. This is probably the emotional high point of the film but as it is over two-thirds in, you should be able to have gotten a handle on whether or not your child will be alright with this content.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

After 7 hugely successful films there was probably little doubt that this last instalment wouldn’t be a spectacular finale, but even so it was still an excellent example of climactic storytelling. If your child has been alright with the previous Harry Potter films (especially the much more bleak ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 1’) then ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ should be perfectly acceptable. However we advise some caution due to the fact the several established characters do die in this movie. Due to the violence and action we would suggest that ‘Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ is not appropriate for children under 8 years old and ages 8 – 10 will likely require some supervision.

  • Violence:  3/5
  • Emotional Distress: 5/5
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (the sections where the Horcruxes are destroyed result in very loud and close-up  scares)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5       
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (occasional mild cursing)
  • Dialogue: 4/5 (constant threats, talk of death and mentions of torture) 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of self-sacrifice, standing up to bigotry, accepting responsibility and the power of love and friendship.

Words by Mike Record

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