Wow. The new "Harry Potter" trailer is absolutely masterful in the way it gradually cranks up the mood over the course of its two minute running time, and the imagery on display here is suitably apocalyptic. This really does feel like the end of something.
So is this it? Is this the final theatrical trailer for the "Harry Potter" series? If so, this brings a ten year journey to a close in a way I find very fitting. This series has built to this final film, and instead of wearing out its welcome, I think it's gotten stronger and stronger and smarter and smarter, a rarity for any series of films. And you can't just point at the books and say, "That's why," either. You can have great source material and still totally fumble the adaptations. In this case, so many decisions have been made correctly over the years that it adds up, and as a result, now, when you look at what they're trying to do here, it feels like a genuine accomplishment and not a commercial obligation.
This entire movie comes down to the battle between Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), and the thing that impresses me first as I watch the trailer is that Radcliffe has made that transformation that no one could have predicted, from that open-faced sweet little kid in "Sorcerer's Stone" to the haunted adult we see in this trailer, and without that, none of the rest of the fireworks matter.
We have got to see the toll that this journey has taken on him, and I've said it several times while reviewing the last few films: these young actors got great over the last decade. They have grown into these roles completely, and seeing them broken and bleeding and facing down this enemy like this… I get chills.
I am not a "Harry Potter" superfan, but I respect what they'd accomplished, and as the films have grown up and David Yates has honed the style to the point where it's at right now, I've become more and more impressed. This looks like the ending that the series deserves, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with fingers crossed, hoping this is what they've made it look like.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" opens nationwide on July 15, 2011.