What's a muggle to do? No more "Harry Potter" movies to count down to? After the dust settles on the excitement surrounding the final "Potter" parable on film, muggles around the world will mourn.
But, wipe away those tears, at least until the last credit rolls because "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" is a satisfying and emotional end to a phenomenal film franchise.
The action picks up where "Part 1" ended. No sooner has Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) said his final goodbyes to goblin Dobby, whose demise was just about the saddest scene in Part 1, it's back to business trying to defeat, and kill, the evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). But Voldemort won't go easy and Part 2 is basically a race to the finish to see if villain or hero will be the one to have the last say.
At the crux of the chase are the famous Horcruxes, pieces of Voldemort's soul that are hidden in precious items. Once all seven are destroyed, the Dark Lord will disintegrate. Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have been on this trail before. But this is the final countdown and the final pieces that will put an end to the madness.
As it was in "Deathly Hallows - Part 1," these are dark and stormy times, literally, and they get even darker. As Voldemort and his Dementors grow more powerful and desperate, they are hellbent on destroying everything. It's sad to see the usually bright and perky Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, home of quiddich games and wizardry classes, now reduced to a prison run by Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). And, after the Dementors have their way with the place, it's completely in ruin.
Old favorites who come in and out of the story are there merely as background support, but that's to be expected. Sidelined, for the most part, are Helena Bonham Carter's kooky Bellatrix LeStrange, Gary Oldman's serious Sirius Black, Maggie Smith's unshakeable Minerva McGonagall and Michael Gambon's solid Albus Dumbledore -- leaving the heavy lifting to the Daring Three. There are some quiet times including a glimpse of a love story that's been brewing between two of the characters through a number of the movies, and a scene where Harry's deceased parents show up to offer him their heartfelt support.
Director David Yates, who has been behind the camera for the last four movie versions of J.K. Rowling's fantastical stories (his first was "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"), has taken the second half of the final book and created a masterful eighth and final movie. For "Deathly Hallows 2," he was faced with quite a heady task -- condense down lots of storyline, but don't lose plot and action.
Yates keeps his eye on the prize, with right-off-the-bat sharp storytelling weaved with action that has quite a kick. He knows how to hit the highlights, too, and uses the 3-D magic to the hilt -- including one very exciting ride through the vaults of Gringotts Bank, coupled by an amazing escape by the trio, hatched by Hermione of course, on the back of an incredibly large dragon. Where this film doesn't quite arrive to four-star status, however, is in some of the CGI that seems forced when looked at through 3-D lenses.
The 140-minute film flies by as fast as the aforementioned roller coaster rides. It's probably for the best since you barely have time to take it in that this will be the last few hours you'll spend with Harry, Hermione and Ron, and the amazing cadre of characters that make up this Wonderful World of Wizardry. This final chapter brings the decade-long voyage to a stirring ending, leaving no doubt why, from the very first "Harry Potter" movie ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") everyone was immediately spellbound and absolutely wild about Harry.