Matthey Lewis, left, is Neville Longbottom, Emma Watson is Hermione Granger, Rupert Grint is Ron Weasley and Daniel Radcliffe is Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Warner Bros. photo.
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Sharp-toothed goblins sit hunched over bank ledgers, casting deviously suspicious glances at anyone who passes before them. Scores of inky black specters, otherwise known as Death Eaters, swarm the skies. Hundreds of identically clad students, all followers of Lord Voldemort, march the corridors of Hogwarts in a proto-fascist nightmare.
These are but a few of the strange, otherworldly and sometimes terrifying visions that populate “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the concluding installment of the eight-part film franchise about a boy wizard with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
The filmmakers haven’t exactly saved the best for last — that honor still goes to the fourth film in the series, “The Goblet of Fire” — but there’s little to complain about here. As he did in each of the previous three installments, director David Yates fearlessly pushes the proceedings into ever darker and more nerve-jangling terrain, and he races along at a breathless clip.
And he reminds us of the magnificent sleight of hand author J.K. Rowling pulled off: What began as a simple, childlike inquiry into the nature of good versus evil gradually revealed itself to be a series of books about death — the challenge of keeping those we’ve lost in our hearts, the unspeakable pain of having to puzzle your way through the mess of life without your closest champions and loved ones to guide you.
“Deathly Hallows: Part 2” begins where the previous installment left off, with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) grieving over the loss of their beloved elf friend Dobby, racing across the countryside in hopes of collecting “horcruxes” — the hidden pieces of Voldemort’s soul that they must find and destroy in order to triumph over him.
Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition of the Times-News or its enhanced electronic edition.