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imagesThe opening line of “Harry Potter 7.5,” the second to last in the series, is “These are dark times we are living in.” Intoned with great gravitas by the Minister of Magic (Bill Nighy) it foreshadows the tone of the movie which includes a people eating snake, Ron going all “Death Wish” on some bad guys and the slithery presence of the one whose name we dare not speak.

This time out Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), the ginger haired point of the Potter trident, continue their battle with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his evil band of minions, snatchers and Death Eaters. They must locate and destroy the Horcruxes which contains a fragment of a wizard’s soul, battle the fascistic Ministry of Magic and confirm the existence of the three most powerful artifacts of the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.

Like all the Potter movies, this one will appeal to the fans of the books but likely leave anyone who hasn’t read the books as unsatisfied as a Dementor in a soul to suck. If you haven’t been keeping up with the exploits of the boy wizard do yourself a favour and google “Horcrux” and “mudblood” before laying down your twelve bucks. Otherwise get ready for a head scratching experience. The movies are good linear adaptations of JK Rowling’s books, and are filled with moments that will resonate with Potter fans but they do not cater to non-Potterheads.

Like the other movies this one is a big handsome beast, almost 2 ½ hours long, with high production value—it echoes everything from Charles Dickens to Triumph of the Will to the Wizard of Oz—and good performances from every English actor currently employed by British Actors’ Equity. But as nice as the movies look—this one has a spectacular animated sequence telling the story of the Deathly Hallows—and as well intentioned as they are, they are a closed club, really for fans only. That’s OK, because there are millions of fans out there, but they leave me a little cold.

I get the appeal of the films. They’re a clever mix of the worldly—friendship, intrigue, good vs. evil—and the otherworldly—everything else—with some action and amiable characters thrown in, but for me the Potter magic wore off some time ago.

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