Last 'Potter' Movie Is One Of The Best

Harry Potter has headlined seven films over 10 years, and brought in $1 billion in domestic box office sales. The eighth film opens at midnight, and it already has sold more than $32 million in tickets.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The eighth and final Harry Potter film opens at midnight, with more than 32 million in tickets already sold. Film critic Kenneth Turan reviews the final Harry Potter movie for us.

Mr. KENNETH TURAN (Film critic): "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" turns out to be more than the last of its kind. Almost magically, it's also one of the best films of the entire series. It brings us back to the combination of adventure and emotion that conjured the book's popularity in the first place.

Splitting the final novel into two parts enabled this film to concentrate on action. Harry and company's search for the horcruxes that contained hidden pieces of the evil wizard Voldemort's soul; destroy those one by one, and the man will be weakened beyond measure.

(Soundbite of movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)

Mr. DANIEL RADCLIFFE (Actor): (as Harry Potter) He knows. You-Know-Who, he knows we've broken to Gringotts. He knows what we took and he knows we're hunting horcruxes.

Mr. TURAN: The trio of young stars - Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson - are surrounded by a who's who of top flight British acting talent. Alan Rickman, as the devious Severus Snape, has some of his best moments here.

(Soundbite of movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)

Mr. ALAN RICKMAN (Actor): (as Severus Snape) If anyone here has any knowledge of Mr. Potter's movements this evening, I invite them to step forward.

Mr. TURAN: And who can compare to the chilling Ray Fiennes as the evil wizard himself.

(Soundbite of movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)

Mr. RAY FIENNES (Actor): (as Lord Voldemort) The boy who lived, come to die.

Mr. TURAN: All that talent couldn't have come cheap. And the other consistent factor in the Potter universe is the production's refusal to pinch pennies. The film's elaborate and expensive settings are enhanced for the first time with 3-D effects which work best when the action is hot and heavy. The Potter films have rarely been daring, choosing superb craftsmanship over cutting-edge audacity every time. By this point, we don't need the film to be daring because the story itself is so involving.

Near the end of the film, the great wizard Dumbledore speaks from beyond the grave and says, words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. It's not Harry Potter we think of at that moment, but his creator, J.K. Rowling. First and foremost, it's her we have to be grateful to for all these pleasures, and we certainly are.

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

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