My family has three traditions relating to Harry Potter: (1) I read each book aloud to the family upon publication; (2) we attended the midnight showing of each film upon its release; and (3) we bought each VHS/DVD as it went on sale. Obviously, the first tradition ended a few years ago. The second ended about a half hour ago. And, based on what I saw tonight, I'm hopeful that the third tradition will have ended with the purchase of the DVD for the second-to-last film in the series. The Deathly Hallows Part II is simply a terrible film; the worst in the series (with the possible exception of the fourth). It combined just about all of the worst features from all of the previous films, including stilted (or just plain bad) acting; unnecessary and inappropriate changes to the story line; absence of character development; and poor editing. Maggie Smith's performance was its only redeeming feature, and she was not in enough scenes to save the film. Instead of the sense of loss I thought I would feel at the end of the film, I feel only relief that I will not have to sit through another Warner Brothers adulteration of Harry Potter.
The final installment in the Harry Potter film series confirms my oft-repeated assertion that the only way to do justice to the books is through a (possibly animated) mini-series on television, where the screenwriters, directors, and editors, have ample time and space to tell the story as J.K. Rowling originally and expansively told it in her wonderful books. I won't be holding my breath. Instead, I expect the next we'll see of Harry Potter is on Broadway in musical form. Perhaps an Andrew Lloyd Webber production?