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107 out of 211 people found the following review useful:
The Cabin in the Woods is a absolutely thrilling ride into the minds of all things terrible, 12 March 2012
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It rarely happens to leave a screening room on a brisk weekday afternoon with an air of pure excitement for what we have just seen.

Joss Whedon, best known for being the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the equally brilliant Firefly, had just introduced his brand new film to a crowd of roughly fifty film critics and lucky fans. Written and directed by Cloverfield creator Drew Goddard, the film follows a group of hapless teenagers ready to get away from the city and enjoy a weekend in the forest. After finding their destination, albeit "the cabin in the woods", they start to explore, leading to a discovery that none of them could ever of imagined.

Goddard has worked with Whedon in the past on a few episodes of Buffy and, thankfully, their relationship looks as though it has survived as they have created, most probably, a genre-defining film. The jokes (yes, there are jokes in the film) come thick and fast and - without giving too much away – create some fantastic scenes between Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford, who play colleagues Steve and Richard respectively.

As the layers of the film are peeled away, more and more is discovered about the cabin and the fate of the unlucky five-some which only keeps you more enthralled as Whedon manically shows what he can REALLY do with a few dollars and some special effects.

All this ultimately comes to a thrilling climax as the last twenty minutes reveals everything that we could have hoped for. And, most importantly, who those men in the trailer are? Encapsulating everything that the horror genre has delivered in its entire history and probably one of the few films that can say they have a Merman and Nosferatu appearing in the same sequence, The Cabin in the Woods is a absolutely thrilling ride into the minds of all things terrible. It delivers some astounding special effects and, at the same time, brings out the best in a fairly young cast, especially Chris Thor Hemsworth who shows a sold performance as boyfriend Curt. Oh, and not to mention a very special guest appearance that received an applause when they appeared on screen.

Joss Whedon has scored yet again and shows no signs of slowing down with superhero movie to end all superhero movies, The Avengers (penned by Whedon) being released later this year.

Chronicle (2012)
10 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Chronicle is a powerful debut picture that is sure to delight critics and film fans alike on its general release., 25 January 2012
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Once the trailer was released on the video sharing website YouTube roughly four months ago, the buzz for this film could only be described as deafening. Dubbed "Cloverfield meets Heroes", Chronicle is the new handy cam film to hit our cinemas, but it is definitely unlike any other.

Shot by Josh Trank who is best known for creating TV series The Kill Point, Chronicle tracks the life of a socially awkward kid Andrew (Dane DeHaan), who one day decides to film everything he does in a day and then edit it later on his computer. With a volatile relationship thrown in with his violent alcoholic father Richard (Michael Kelly), Andrew is pushed to the edge. Following an incident with his cousin (Alex Russell) and high school friend (Michael B. Jordan), they discover the power of telekinesis and soon find out the limit to their powers.

Using a handful of actors mainly known for their work in American television, Trank has addressed and embraced the "found movie" genre with a young but believable cast who must have had a lot of fun filming.

There are some incredibly clever cinematography techniques that make this film that extra bit special, one being that the majority of the film is shot through Andrew filming, but after discovering he can control the camera to film by floating around him, this allows for a wealth of imaginative angles. However, I am not going to give too much of the plot away as it is a film, like Cloverfield, that is best watched with no knowledge of the storyline.

One aspect to note about Chronicle is the impressive display of CGI and computer imagery that caused the action in the final sequences to be simply superb. I can't help but think this is one film that could have benefited from a 3D release.

However, we don't see much of the three teenagers "playing about" with their new found powers. There are some sequences, such as one involving a little girl and a teddy bear, that work but more would not have gone amiss. Furthermore, the plot is slow and a bit weak in places but overall this is forgotten by a humorous script, together with good acting.

Usually with a film that is shrouded in secrecy previous to its release, the build up for the ending is somewhat disappointing. However, be sure not to be disappointed with Chronicle.

This is a powerful debut picture that is sure to delight critics and film fans alike on its general release.

War Horse (2011)
126 out of 207 people found the following review useful:
With War Horse the usual bloodbath and gory murder scenes are ditched in favour of a genuine story that manages to provoke passion and deep emotion in the audience, 21 December 2011
8/10

When it was announced that Steven Spielberg was directing a film adaptation of War Horse, fans across the UK were a little apprehensive.

After all, the stage play and book were massive hits, so the film would have a lot to live up to. Early reviews are now saying that this film will be in the running for major Academy Awards — a statement that seems accurate after watching the film.

Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, War Horsedepicts the story of Albert Narracott, played by Jeremy Irvine, and his treasured horse Joey in Britain where World War I is about to begin. Joey is sold to the cavalry by Albert's alcoholic father and finds himself trapped in the devastating fields of war while Albert is trying to find him.

Spielberg finds a balance between heartfelt emotion, especially from seeing the war through Joey's eyes and the people he meets along the way, and the tragic problems the main characters face, for example the separation between Joey and Albert after we have watched them bond and connect in the first part of the film. It is those emotional contrasts that Spielberg translates onto the screen well, perhaps the best one being the contrast between the overall setting of the devastation and trauma of World War I and the love between the main character and his horse portrayed throughout the film.

Although some of the cast are newcomers to cinema, they put on a stellar performance. Jeremy Irvine perfectly portrays on screen the character's determination and devotion to find his horse. Practically unknown before this film, his performance in War Horse has now made him one to watch. The rest of the cast include Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston, and Niels Arestrup.

War Horse is the perfect film to settle down with the family for Christmas. It is a touching, beautiful depiction of the relationship between a boy and his horse, and of life in the countryside during World War I. The usual bloodbath and gory murder scenes are ditched in favour of a genuine story that manages to provoke passion and deep emotion in the audience, and overall this fits into the beauty of the narrative.

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103 out of 130 people found the following review useful:
'New Year's Eve' felt mechanical and forced, a project merely designed for profit. This is rather a 118 minute tourist video about how wonderful The Big Apple is, 7 December 2011
4/10

After his last holiday-themed box-office smash Valentine's Day in 2010, director Garry Marshall has carbon-copied the exact same formula for his latest film New Year's Eve which uses its gigantic ensemble cast to document various different relationships and states of emotions over the course of a single day and night in New York City.

The story lines include: a couple awaiting the birth of their child, two people who become trapped together in an elevator and a gentleman who is trying to enjoy his last New Year's Eve on earth as he sadly lays on his deathbed.

Much like Valentine's Day, Marshall's latest film seems to forget the importance of character development and indeed sure-footed narrative; these films feel like the audience are watching Ashton Kutcher flirt with Lea Michele, or Zac Efron helping Michelle Pfeiffer, which – in all honesty – they are. Never are viewers able to break away from the celebrities portraying these supposed characters, which cause great issues when trying to build and present emotion.

The film also has some bizarre cast members, including the incredibly pointless Jon Bon Jovi who slinks about, and may as well be promoting a new Greatest Hits album when he enters the frame. Stars like Halle Berry and Robert De Niro are incredibly redundant here, even though they do benefit from moderate screen-time. Performers like De Niro are worthy of a solid script and something more important to do rather than just stand around holding a theoretical sign saying 'And Robert De Niro'.

Contrary to the opinion of the majority of critics (or males), 'Valentine's Day' was yes fluffy, gooey and forgettable two hours, but also entertaining. It did try very slightly to be different – with a gay romance amongst other things – and whilst this was all still "Hollywood", there were far worse movies released in 2010.

To be fair to 'New Year's Eve', it is not amongst the worst of the year. This might be due to the fact that most of the audience had or have extremely low expectations upon arrival. Expecting a film to be bad makes it all the less painful if the final product is indeed poor and consequently, makes it seem much better than it truly is if a viewer is not disappointed.

'New Year's Eve' felt mechanical and forced, a project merely designed for profit – there is no love nor compassion, no credibility nor realism. This is rather a 118 minute tourist video about how wonderful The Big Apple is, and how beautiful the people who reside in it are. Throw in disgusting amounts of product placement and an old rock star, and hey, you've got a $100 million motion picture! Spend your £8 at the cinema this Christmas on a film that gives like 'Hugo' rather than this, and save the holiday romances for 'Love Actually' on DVD with the family or partner.

Verdict: •• It is better if Marshall does not attempt to make another movie about a commercial holiday again. If we see a trailer with Kutcher dressed as the Easter Bunny for love next year, run for your life.

For more The Upcoming reviews http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/category/culture/cinema/

In Time (2011)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A picture that explodes with creativity, excites with its relentless energy and presents a collection of strong and rounded performances, 31 October 2011

Writer-director Andrew Niccol is a fairly absent talent: he takes prolonged breaks in-between projects in order to really flesh out and mould a picture. After a 7 year hiatus, he is back with In Time, a high-concept Sci-Fi Thriller which he claims to be a "companion piece" to his sensational Gattaca (1997).

In the near future, people stop aging at 25 and are granted another year of life moderated by a digital clock embedded in their skin. In order to prolong life, they must work to earn time, as well as trade and share it. Time is the planet's currency and with that comes responsibilities, power and sadly corruption. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a poor industry worker from Dayton who soon finds himself pursued by timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) after being accused of murder. Salas heads to New Greenwich and takes the rich and beautiful Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) hostage, but their relationship soon changes and the pair realise they share a connection which could change the face of the vicious monopolised system they find themselves a part of.

Despite the new world Niccol has created, what lies under In Time is something many of us have seen before – this is a bandit tale, part Robin Hood part Bonnie and Clyde. Salas and Weis are two people from different worlds who share a redeeming feature: they both wish for equality. In Niccol's future, the poor die young and the rich can live forever. Yet the planet is aware that there is not enough space for everyone and with so many living longer than "they should", prices of living are dramatically increasing in order to bump off those who plead poverty. It would be right to think the current financial and ecological climate had a profound effect on this picture's scripting process because fundamentally, this is "Blade Runner: The Recession Cut".

However, despite the movie's moral values (helping the poor and tackling the wealthy), it is clear a healthy investment aided this picture because it looks astonishing. Sets and props outweigh CGI and pyrotechnics. Every detail is supremely crafted and the world in which the film is set looks fantastic. Every single use of money in the real world is mirrored with time investments here, whether this is during a game of poker, having a quick coffee before work or advancing through a toll point at a bridge – what Niccol has done here to create authenticity is undeniable and consequently forces audiences into this spookily realistic space.

Although the film's principal narrative has been tweaked from timeless stories and folklore, In Time feels modern, singular and unique – it does not play upon the screen like a carbon copy of a past features: it is built with a great deal of creativity and substance, so it is easy to forget its nostalgic undertones. "High-concept" is an overused terminology in the cinematic world but it is a perfect signature stamp here. That, and "postmodern".

In Time is littered with action sequences, dynamic car chases and on-foot frenzies which keep the adrenaline pumping and the audience engaged in the drama which surrounds our two "heroes" – a term one uses very lightly. In fact, although Salas and Weis' behaviour is for the better good, their own morals and ideals are questionable – something fairly unusual in big-budget Hollywood releases. Granted the film does have clear villains: Sylvia's filthy-rich father Philippe (played by Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser who quite frankly is playing a futuristic extension of his character in the show), and Alex Pettyfer's "Minuteman" Fortis who runs the local gang in the ghetto stealing the others' time.

In regard to this being a companion piece to Gattaca, it is quite obvious that Niccol has convinced himself of that fact because these two pictures share no similarities at all. However this is not a criticism, In Time is a breathless and extremely exciting movie that whirlwinds through its 109 minute running time, whilst Gattaca remains his most acclaimed and intelligent piece.

In Time boasts a heap of stars that all bring strong performances – Timberlake makes a great leading man here, who boasts presence and charisma as well as handling the action and emotional sequences. Many critics will say that he was better in The Social Network, but what they risk to forget is that a supporting role is very different from a leading one, and Justine is still trying hard to be competitive in both roles. Seyfried is also excellent and able to balance her snooty high-maintenance background with her new rebellious streak making Sylvia an unpredictable and interesting character. Murphy is strong support, Pettyfer is perfectly fine in his role and other names popping up immerse themselves in Niccol's world, including Johnny Galecki, most noted for his role in The Big Band Theory – which one happens to detest, but he performs capably and naturalistically here.

Verdict: ••••

The film has the odd silly dialogue slip and its primary tale is moderately recycled but these are minor quibbles in a picture that explodes with creativity, excites with its relentless energy and presents a collection of strong and rounded performances.

Read more reviews on The Upcoming http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/category/culture/cinema

189 out of 263 people found the following review useful:
"The Adventures of Tintin" is quintessentially the perfect family film: incredibly joyous, thrilling and comically genius adventure., 16 October 2011

Before his passing in 1983, Hergé said that if any filmmaker was to adapt his collection of timeless tales following the adventures of a Belgian reporter to the big screen, Steven Spielberg was the only man for the job, and after two decades of trial and error, the cinematic version of Tintin has finally reached our screens with the desired director at its helm. Alongside Spielberg sits Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) maestro Peter Jackson as producer and three of Britain's brightest writers (Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) who have that almost impossible task of translating the stories from comic strips to 35mm. This 3D motion-capture and CGI extravaganza combines three of Tintin's most beloved outings (The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure) and hits UK multiplexes just before the school half-term.

After discovering an elegant model of the ship the 'Unicorn' at a market, Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and his loyal dog Snowy are intrigued as to why so many desire it, and comment on the secrets it holds. When the model is stolen, more information surfaces and the pair set out to discover the truth, teaming up, after a surprise meeting, with the boisterous drunkard Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis). The group's adventure spans the globe, with each destination bringing more danger and that crucial step closer towards unravelling the mystery.

From the moment the picture opens, the film's tone and mood is set: mystery and adventure merged with fun and frolics. The classy, hand-drawn, animated titles use the signature silhouette imagery with style and sophistication, making the wit and wonder evident even before audiences have graced their eyes on the monumental motion capture work.

In a rather lacklustre year for animation, with the only true blossom of beauty being Studio Ghibli's impeccable 'Arrietty', Spielberg's latest thankfully ends this dry-run with a picture that explodes with vibrancy, craftsmanship and realism. Unlike Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture entries (The Polar Express [2004] and A Christmas Carol [2009]); The Adventures of Tintin is an entirely different bunch of blistering blue barnacles – every frame enforces impeccable detail and naturalism, and like the best animated pictures, viewers will forget they are watching digitalised representations in no time. Whether the visuals are mind-blowing as in the all-important action sequences – or brilliantly subtle – like the red, sweat-streaked cheeks and brows of Tintin and Haddock as they trek through a desert – this film is a clear example of just how magnificent technology is in this day and age.

Without a shadow of a doubt this is the year's finest animated entry – expect an Oscar nomination and a deserved win. As well as its tremendous visual flair, the feature's script is a revelation: beautifully written and whimsical dialogue that is frequently hilarious and manages to merge the three classic tales so seamlessly. Considering Hergé's stories are separate volumes, the typing trio behind this movie are able to make a sensible structure with the texts, making the film flow as gracefully as its perfect imagery. As well as the laughs, the script provides great character development for those new to the world of Tintin without insulting audiences with an hour's lesson. Young children will have no trouble picking up who's who in the early stages, before settling back for the incredible roller coaster ride of the second and climatic act.

Action fans will gain greatness from this movie too. Expect high octane chases, pirate swordplay and more bullets than a Sylvester Stallone entry – just a lot less gore and swearing. In fact, although The Adventures of Tintin is action-packed, its PG certificate is justified; I cannot recall anything remotely damaging or frightening for young eyes, so parents have nothing to fear with this one when deciding on their half-term picture.

The film also sees the much needed return of composer John Williams who provides yet another dazzling and effective score. The music captures the essence of the film in an instant and compliments it throughout.

The voice casting is collectively brilliant with Bell and Serkis being the obvious standouts. Bell's inquisitive tone and frequent high-pitched bursts mirror the speech bubbles Tintin utters in the comic panels. When reading a Hergé story, this is exactly how the character sounds in your head. Serkis steals the show as Captain Haddock and is given splendid dialogue to growl through bitter Scottish chords. Haddock's often stupid remarks and forgetfulness is beautifully represented through the animated character. Daniel Craig is also fantastic as the less-than-trustworthy Ivanovich Sakharine while Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are side-splitting as the lovable policing dunces Thomson and Thompson. Plus Snowy is absolutely wonderful.

There is no doubt that Spielberg's adaptation will be top of the box office upon release and hopefully those new to Tintin will be influenced to re-visit the books and television shows of yesteryear and become more involved with one of the century's most beloved and important literary creations.

Verdict: ••••• 'The Adventures of Tintin' is quintessentially the perfect family film and has plenty to offer audiences of all ages. This is an incredibly joyous, thrilling and comically genius adventure. Hergé was onto a winner with his thoughts towards Spielberg and he can rest easy now knowing his tales have been faithfully and beautifully translated into a cinematic masterwork. Great Snakes, it's good.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Lion King 3D: a reissue that feels like a new release, 5 October 2011

For Disney The Lion King really is the cat that got the cream. Since the original film opened 17 years ago the film has taken $4.6 billion worldwide and has spawned one of the most successful shows in Broadway history.

With such success one could be forgiven for thinking that the film's new release in 3D was just Disney finding a way of milking a successful franchise. Yet with The Lion King it doesn't feel this way.

The story deserves to be told again for a new audience. Those who grew up with this film will perhaps now have children of their own, or merely want to escape back to their childhood. Either way The Lion King has aged well, the story is as compelling, as emotional and as funny as ever.

This stems from its characters, the story's moral heart and the performances which bring it all to life. Watch any other Disney film and you will struggle to find a character as evil as Scar, nor a scene as moving as Simba's last with his father Mufasa. The cast including Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Broderick and Rowan Atkinson deliver each line with relish.

Yet at the risk of stating the obvious, it is Hans Zimmer's soundtrack and Elton John/Tim Rice's songs which really makes the film sing. People across the world may know the words to "Hakuna Matata", "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?", but what's forgotten is how important they are to the story and how well the whole film fits together with its musical moments.

However despite its status as a timeless classic 3D doesn't work particularly well with the 2D animations of old Disney films. For a start the characters still sing about a circle of life rather than a sphere. To be serious, if you watch this film expecting to have to cower to avoid a herd of wildebeest then you'll be disappointed.

But the 3D does have its own charms, different to other 3D films. There is theatricality about this version of The Lion King that allows you to take in the beauty of the African backdrop whilst still focussing on the story front of stage. It makes each scene's colours more vibrant, stopping a brilliant story beginning to look visually tired and old.

Despite the fact that The Lion King came out 17 years ago, watching this reissue feels like a new release. That is partly due to the facelift Disney has given it but really it is because it was such a good film in the first place. For that alone watching Simba's journey again is well worthwhile.

Verdict: •••• With a story this good Disney could do little wrong and they haven't.

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Contagion (2011)
13 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Soderbergh brings virus movies to their highest quality, 4 September 2011

Another long-awaited movie: planet Earth is under threat as an incredibly contagious–and deadly–virus spreads all over the world. Probably the best directed movie of the year: clean, clear, efficient, interesting, mysterious, entertaining and rich in fantastic actors. The story is a fascinating classic; it is not only the tale of a global emergency but also the intimate story of a father (Matt Damon) who has lost his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and stepson due to the epidemic. He is left with his only daughter and will do everything necessary to keep her safe. The cast can count on two other academy award winners: Kate Winslet (present at the festival with three different pictures), a Department of Health doctor, and Marion Cotillard, a WHO representative. There is also Jude Law, an international blogger who tries to speculate, broadcasting false news, and Lawrence Fishburne, a government officer who is in charge of the American counter-action. A wonderful film that also gives a nod to ecological theories behind the formation and spread of deadly viruses.

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Super 8 (2011)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A film with a mighty big heart, and every inch in the right place. A modern classic in the making and amongst the year's best., 24 August 2011

As summer marches on and the remakes, reboots and adaptations continue to fill our silver screens, we are treated to the occasional little gem and this year's big-budget yet kind hearted feature comes in the form of J.J. Abrams' Super 8.

Set in the small fictitious town of Lillian, Ohio, in 1979, Super 8 follows Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and his group of friends making a zombie film on a Super 8 camera. After convincing Alice (Elle Fanning) to get involved with the project, the group sets off to continue movie-making. During a shoot, a devastating train crash occurs, leaving mountains of burning rubble and debris. Suddenly something unexplainable bursts from the fiery ruins and sets its heart on causing havoc to the town. The group decides to pursue this strange mystery villain and aims to save Lillian from this threat.

Super 8 mixes 80s sci-fi classics E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Super 8 mixes sci-fi classics E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Many have compared this picture to film director and producer Steven Spielberg's earlier works including E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and other 80s escapist pictures such as The Goonies (1985). Some critics also have accused Super 8 of being a carbon-copy of Spielberg's films.

Granted there are similarities between this picture and some of the above, but Super 8 should be compared to actor, director, producer, writer Rob Reiner's masterpiece Stand By Me (1986) – although the film lacks any Sci-Fi element, Super 8 is about friendship, about life and learning through experience; the group of boys set out to find a body and consequently find themselves along the way.

The film's life lives with its characters. The public follows the group of children throughout and finds comfort in their presence. As with many films where children lead, the group is slightly type-cast (the fat one, the geeky one, the brave one, the mad one and so on), but the type-casting and formatting ends there. Thankfully Abrams knows the importance of character and development. Each member of the group is rounded, dimensional and interesting, as well as being frequently funny and effortlessly charming. Director JJ Abrams' fantastic script gives the group believable and naturalistic dialogue, so yes the kids do swear, quite a bit actually but that's how youngsters talk.

Super 8 has been dubbed a family film too by some. I'd slightly argue against this – there are certain themes and messages here that are clearly aimed for the family audience: imagination, wonder, exploration and so forth, but there is also a lot of 'adult' material, and I don't just mean the language. A key narrative theme throughout is loss; the film opens with the funeral of Joe's mother and ideas of loss and misplacement are heavily implied throughout – even everyone's dogs run away. The film is also 'quite' scary and violent in places; there's no gore and just a very tiny amount of blood but the first hour is weighted in tension and suspense, something that may either terrify or bore smaller viewers. I would not see any particular harm in letting an under 12 watch it, just maybe not if they are under 8 or 9.

As well as a brilliant group of characters and a cracking script, the film also sports some wonderful cinematography and breath-taking special effects. The train crash is incredible and one of 2011's best CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) sequences - the epic pyrotechnics, flying carriages and deafening sounds make it a stand-out scene in this grand work. What is even better about the CGI is that there is very little of it. After the train, there isn't much more catastrophic action until the picture's climax, but filling that void is easy due to just how good the young actors are. The picture's duration simply flies by.

Every performance is strong with Fanning and Riley Griffiths, who plays Charles Kaznyk (the fat one), being the show-stoppers. The pair bring charisma, skill and productiveness to their roles. Courtney is also great as Joe and does very well with carrying the emotional sequences as well as the escapist elements.

Super 8 is certainly a homage rather than a 'suck-up'; it's a homage to simpler times, better cinema and the sense of awe and magic that swept through youth. If any film is going to embrace and bear-hug your inner child for 112 minutes, it's this. Abrams has crafted some unforgettable characters, a gripping and often tense environment and has breathed life back into retro science-fiction.

Verdict: ●●●●● Read more on www.theupcoming.co.uk

It's a brilliant farewell to "The Boy Who Lived", the last chapter makes sure his exit is the one he deserved, 24 August 2011

After 10 years and the best part of 20 hours of cinema, J.K Rowling's Harry Potter franchise is departing from our big screens. The cinematic finale of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ sticks with director David Yates for a fourth outing, but has the second part of this epic adventure done justice to the grand source material, and can it be anywhere near as good as its eerie and beautiful predecessor? Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has located the Elder Wand; one of the three components that make up the Deathly Hallows. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are aware that his discovery has granted him incomprehensible power and are in terrible danger. When Harry becomes aware that a Horcrux is located in Hogwarts School, the trio must head back to the place where their adventure began and defeat the vicious wizard who so eagerly longs for Harry's blood.

When adapting a work so adored, it's difficult to know how an audience will react to any changes, realistically however these are only made to better the cinematic experience, not to devalue the novel.This movie finds a balance between the two, it's incredibly faithful to the book and only has a very few slight alterations which work perfectly well within the world of the picture.

Part 2 is easily as good as its predecessor; rather than having the calculated suspense of the first part, this picture bursts with action and energy right from the start. Both films are so different from each other but perfectly capture the spirit of Rowling's final book. This film is a marvellous spectacle; it's exciting and intoxicating with its glorious battle sequences, but as well as its cinematography and set design.

Yates' direction is sumptuously executed. He knows Harry Potter so well and he direct the films with dedication which is clearly evident throughout. This film doesn't just rely on its action and spectacle to be brilliant because the real success story lies in the character drama and emotion.

Without a doubt the finest moment is the lengthy montage of Professor Snape's (Alan Rickman) memories and how he has impacted on Harry's life; it's a beautifully sculpted and timed piece that really digs under his hard façade. The film also fantastically pulls at the viewer's emotional strings with the death and destruction of all the characters involved. For those who have read the book, you already know it has an awfully high body count and we see the effects of this in distressing detail proving how adult this franchise is.

However this last chapter does share one major thing with the 2010′s first part; tone. This film is dark in every sense of the word. It has a deeply unsettling and brooding nature, created through its dim and ambient lighting; some rooms only have light from a flickering candle or the trio's wands aided with the "Lumos" charm.

The success of the story is highlighted through the performances of Dan, Rupert and Emma who, like the story itself, have grown in strength over the last decade.

Radcliffe is certainly strong; particularly with the emotional content. His portrayal of Harry is so beautifully defined and controlled. It's the same story with Grint and Watson too – both have high emotional sequences and indeed intimate as the pair's love for one another grows. As always, the finest performer is Rickman. Snape is such a brilliantly complex character. He is a tragic hero, a tragic villain and a hopeless romantic for a lost soul. Rickman uses and portrays all these elements with such skill.

Verdict: ●●●●●

It's a brilliant farewell to "The Boy Who Lived", and although the departure is deeply saddening, the last chapter makes sure his exit is the one he deserved; an utterly unforgettable one.

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