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July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Movie reviews simply don’t come more enthusiastic than those being garnered by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Among the major newspaper reviews, there’s not a single clunker in the lot. It’s hard not to hear the strains of “Rule Britannia” in the back of your mind as one review after another pays tribute to British filmmakers who, the critics say, have a special knack for making blockbusters that satisfy both the entertainment and the intellectual desires of the audience. Manohla Dargis remarks parenthetically in her review, “Perhaps the studios should just hand over more blockbusters to the British.” She goes on: “It isn’t often in the summer that you enjoy the intense pleasure of a certain kind of old-fashioned cinema experience, the sort that sweeps you up in sheer spectacle with bigger-than-life images and yet holds you close with intimately observed characters and the details that keep your eyes and mind busy. Too often it can be hard to see the human touch amid the industrial machinery, which hasn’t been true here.” Or, as Lou Lumenick puts it in the New York Post, it’s “everything a summer blockbuster should be but rarely is.” Credit the actors for that, say many of the critics, who suggest that the three young stars of the movie sometimes play second fiddle to the enormously talented adults. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, writes Claudia Puig in USA Today, have been “bolstered by some of the best actors in Britain, who gave the series gravitas and humor.” Indeed, Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times argues that “such British legends as Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes steal scenes just by standing there.” Ebert bestows particular praise on Fiennes, who as the villain Voldemort, dominates the film, “illustrating the old actors’ axiom that it is better to play the villain than the hero.” But Ty Burr in the Boston Globe distributes his praise beyond the actors and director. “over time, the series has come to represent the ne plus ultra of intelligent blockbuster filmmaking,” he writes, “with contributions from every corner of the lot: music, makeup, costume, sound.” Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News provides the bottom line: “All that matters is this: It’s wonderful. Epic and heartbreaking and just as grand as it needs to be.” Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer sums it all up: “The movie puts a spell on you.” And Amy Biancolli in the Houston Chronicle adds: “Thrilling, thrilling movie.”