RECOMMENDED: Let’s table the whole “death of narrative cinema” debate for a moment and simply assume that, yes, this notion is at least passingly true: Does this mean that the Harry Potter franchise is the last thing most of us could all, at once, ever truly agree on? If it is, it’s a pretty great endorsement to bring narrative back after all. A whole generation of kids has grown up in front of these movies now, with all sorts of adults (not just parents) going along for the ride, too. (And thank God for that; without these movies, ABCFamily would have nothing to show all year once Christmas is over.) Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II, of course, is the last installment in the whole saga, and it’s a truly bittersweet pop culture moment; anyone who cares about Harry Potter movies wants but one thing and one thing only: More Harry Potter movies. But yeah, those kids — who, God bless ’em, may be gazillionaires but have essentially given their lives over to the cause — are getting a little long in the tooth. For pre-teen wizards, that is.
Fortunately, the movie doesn’t disappoint at all. Where Part I of Deathly Hallows was supremely dark and ponderous (and kind of delicious in a Beckett For Kids way), that prelude serves Part II really well: Loose ends are tied up, of course, and if you’ve read the books, you know how — if you haven’t, no spoilers here. Just to say that cast all acquit themselves nicely here, the pacing never lets up, and the special effects totally rip. Let it be known here and now: This is the first movie we’ve ever actually recommended to be seen in 3D — the movie truly benefits from the technology. Savor this one, because after this, what will we ever be able to love in the same way that we loved Harry Potter? Twilight? Please; that shit is sick Mormon propaganda. Lemony Snickett, you may have to step up before it’s too late.
ALSO NEW IN THEATERS: Winnie the Pooh, the Disney classic in revival; A Better Life, an immigration drama by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) that looks pretty riveting; and How To Live Forever a doc about people who will die trying to do so.