39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps You've Missed the Point (with update)
, July 14, 2011
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Audio CD)
I'm quite surprised by the negative reactions to Alexandre Desplat's splendid score for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2." The general consensus is that the score isn't big enough, loud enough, epic enough for this, the final film in the series. Hard to say, given that none of us has actually seen it yet. But I for one am thrilled that Desplat has written nothing like the typical action picture score, all cacophony and bluster. Scores like Howard Shore's for "The Two Towers" or pretty much anything that Hans Zimmer puts his name to bore the pants off me. Not that those scores don't work when you're actually watching them in a theater, but a CD (or MP3) soundtrack is a home listening experience, and as that, I find this latest Harry Potter score extremely successful.
Desplat ratchets up the excitement when he needs to, as in the tracks "The Tunnel" and "Underworld." And "Battlefield," "Broomsticks and Fire" and "Showdown" are all as dramatic as their titles would suggest. But the series (both the books and the films) has never been about action as much as the intimate, personal relationships between the characters; and it's in the quiet moments that Desplat excels. By all accounts, the scene revealing Snape's true nature is the emotional core of this last film, and Desplat has written a gorgeous piece of music to accompany it, full of longing and heartbreak. "Harry Surrenders" and "Procession" are suitably suspenseful and solemn, given what is happening in the story. "Diadem" is mysterious, "A New Beginning" full of the elegiac tone with which JK Rowling herself ended it all. (Of course, we will have to see if this track truly accompanies the film's epilogue.) I'm pleased with the way that Desplat has weaved some of his themes from the film's first half into this one, particularly how "Obliviate" shows up in "Harry's Sacrifice" and the theme for Harry's friends (heard at the top of "Polyjuice Potion") appears in "Neville."
A minor quibble: as lovely and haunting as "Lily's Theme" is, I wonder why it's used again in "Dragon Flight," this time anthemic and soaring. It sounds great, but I'm not sure what Desplat means by evoking Lily at that point. It makes more sense when the theme reappears later in "The Resurrection Stone," but is it about Lily, flying or a horcrux?
As for another reviewer's condemnation of Desplat for not using "Hedwig's Theme" enough: By my estimation he has used it more than any of his post-Williams predecessors, and to brilliant effect. Any musician/composer will tell you that there are subtle variations of the theme all through the last two HP soundtracks, and Desplat's frequent use of it outright shows his true respect and admiration for Williams (as he has often stated). I do find it curious that the theme is not the last thing one hears on this soundtrack, but it may very well be the last we as fans will hear in theaters as the final credits roll. Personally, I hope so.
Fans of the series can thank Warner Brothers and, for the last four films, David Yates for never taking the easy, generic way out. The films have evolved exactly as they should, in my opinion, and so have the soundtracks. Williams, Hooper and Desplat (and to a lesser extent Patrick Doyle, whose "Goblet" score is my least favorite) have all understood that music is what gives a film texture, what creates our clearest emotional link to what we're seeing. I will reserve final judgment until I actually see "HP7.2" tonight, but trust that this score is the right one for this film.
UPDATE: Saw the film last night, and it's superb, an amazing feat of filmmaking. There are the usual issues of what's been left out -- and it's quite a bit -- and some will have trouble with the climactic wand fight; still, I can't imagine a better adaptation. But, as this isn't a film review, I'll move on. The soundtrack works beautifully, as I suspected, and diehard HP fans will be over the moon at how the film -- and therefore the series -- ends musically. If you don't have a significant lump in your throat at the final fade out, then maybe you really HAVE missed the point all along! :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?