Australian Council on Children and the Media

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P2

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Not suitable under 12, PG to 14 (Violence; Disturbing themes and scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P2
  • a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 July 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes
Children 12-14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and disturbing themes and scenes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows P2
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy themes and violence
Length 130 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 commences where Part 1 ended. We find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) searching for the remaining three Horcruxes (objects that contain a part of Voldemort’s soul). With the help of the goblin Griphook (Warwick Davis), the friends enter Gringotts Bank where they steal a cup originally belong to Helga Hufflepuff, one of Hogwarts founders. Harry also learns that a tiara belonging to Rowena Ravenclaw and Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini are the remaining two Horcruxes.

 At Hogsmeade, Harry is befriended by Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth (Ciaran Hinds), who assists in getting the friends into Hogwarts Castle. After a confrontation with Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) Harry, assisted by the students of Hogwarts, begins to search the castle for the tiara. However, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) offers the students and teachers of Hogwarts an ultimatum - give up Harry or suffer the consequences. He gives them one hour to hand over Harry, giving Harry one hour to find and destroy the tiara. At the same time, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and the remaining Hogwarts teachers create magic barriers surrounding the castle in a bid to fend off Voldemort’s army of Death Eaters.

 Eventually the barrier fails and the Death Eaters attack the castle. However, Ron and Hermione manage to destroy Helga Hufflepuff’s cup and then manage to locate Rowena Ravenclaw’s tiara. Despite being attacked by Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), they are able to destroy it.

The search for the final Horcrux leads to a showdown with Voldemort and some important discoveries for Harry.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 commences where Part 1 ended. We find Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) searching for the remaining three Horcruxes (objects that contain a part of Voldemort’s soul). With the help of the goblin Griphook (Warwick Davis), the friends enter Gringotts Bank where they steal a cup originally belong to Helga Hufflepuff, one of Hogwarts founders. Harry also learns that a tiara belonging to Rowena Ravenclaw and Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini are the remaining two Horcruxes.

 

At Hogsmeade, Harry is befriended by Dumbledore’s brother Aberforth (Ciaran Hinds), who assists in getting the friends into Hogwarts Castle. After a confrontation with Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) Harry, assisted by the students of Hogwarts, begins to search the castle for the tiara. However, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) offers the students and teachers of Hogwarts an ultimatum - give up Harry or suffer the consequences. He gives them one hour to hand over Harry, giving Harry one hour to find and destroy the tiara. At the same time, Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith) and the remaining Hogwarts teachers create magic barriers surrounding the castle in a bid to fend off Voldemort’s army of Death Eaters.

 

Eventually the barrier fails and the Death Eaters attack the castle. However, Ron and Hermione manage to destroy Helga Hufflepuff’s cup and then manage to locate Rowena Ravenclaw’s tiara. Despite being attacked by Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), they are able to destroy it.

The search for the final Horcrux leads to a showdown with Voldemort and some important discoveries for Harry.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; self sacrifice; death; loss of a loved one; immortality

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 contains intense action violence, battle scenes, killing, death and dead bodies, blood and gore, and emotional trauma. Examples include:  

  • Throughout the film we see images of Hogwarts students with bruised and swollen faces that we are told are the result of punishments inflicted by Hogwarts teachers.
  • A dragon causes mayhem as it escapes from its confinement, destroying buildings and setting fires. Fire from the dragon’s mouth engulfs a goblin.
  • A brief image of the foyer of Gringotts bank shows a large number of dead, blood-smeared goblins. 
  • Harry and another wizard that discuss the death of Dumbledore’s sister, accusing Dumbledore of being responsible for her death.
  • Snape threatens students in a sinister manner, saying that they will be “severely punished” should they be found helping Harry Potter.
  • Harry tells a hall full of Hogwarts students and teachers that he saw Professor Snape murder Dumbledore. Snape fires a bolt of energy at Harry but it is deflected by a second teacher who stands in front of Harry to protect him.
  • Students hold their hands over their ears in a state of horror and distress as they hear Voldemort’s voice inside their heads. The voice demands that Harry Potter is to be handed over, or those who oppose will be killed.
  • An army of Death Eaters stand on a cliff overlooking Hogwarts Castle. They scream and charge at the castle in a frenzied manner, but when they reach a certain point they start to disintegrate and vanish. The Death Eaters firing bolts of energy at a protective energy dome covering the castle and sections of Hogwarts Castle are seen on fire and in ruins with large pieces of stone falling to the ground.
  • Giants attack Hogwarts castle with spiked maces, and smash stone statues.  
  • A group of older Hogwarts students running away from a magical firestorm climb up a series of high book cases with the fire licking their heels, and one student falls to his death into the fire. 
  • After one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes is destroyed, Voldemort clutches at his chest as though in pain. When one of his followers shows concern, Voldemort kills the man with a curse.
  • The final epic battle between Hogwarts students and teachers and Voldemort’s Death Eater Army features the castle on fire and in ruins, battle between giants and other magical creatures, bolts of lighting being fired in all directions, giant spiders and vampires attacking the castle.       
  • A man with blood on his mouth leans over the body of a young girl with blood on her neck.        
  • After the battle the grounds of Hogwarts Castle resemble a  battle field battle with rubble scattered all over the ground, patches of blood, blood smeared bodies, and people splattered and smeared with blood having their wounds bandaged. People kneel over the dead bodies crying in a distressed state and two uncovered dead bodies lie on stretchers.
  • Flashback scenes show Voldemort killing Harry’s mother. The death is inferred, and we see a small infant distressed and crying.
  • Professor Dumbledore tells Professor Snape that Harry must die and that Voldemort must be the one to kill him.
  • A flashback image shows a distraught Professor Snape crying as he holds Lilly Potter’s dead body in his arms.
  • Hagrid is restrained by ropes binding his chest and arms.
  • Voldemort, facing off with Harry, shouts a death curse in a frenzied manner and a beam of green coloured energy shoots towards Harry. When we next see Harry he is lying motionless on the ground and a woman pronounces him dead.  
  • Voldemort fires a bolt of energy from his wand at a Hogwarts student and the student is flung backwards to lie unconscious on the ground.
  • During a wand fight between two women both firing bolts of energy. Eventually one of the women is hit and takes on a petrified appearance, then turns to ash.     
  • A giant snake leaps at a young man who severs the snake’s head with a sword, the snake’s body disintegrating.
  • In the final fight between Voldemort and Harry, Voldemort’s face and body slowly disintegrate with his face and eyes turning to stone and his flesh turning to ash and lifting from his body in flakes. Harry’s face is blackened, covered in ash and smeared with blood.           

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Floating ghost-like figures called Dementors that float through the air dressed in long swirling, black robes. 
  • The goblins are dwarf-like with long pointy noises and ears and sharp teeth.   
  • An albino dragon that is chained up with the chains leaving bloody cuts around its neck.
  • Voldemort is a menacing character with pale skin, a bald head with vein-like marks running across it, and a face that has the characteristics of a snake, with no nose and black eyes.
  • Voldemort’s companion is a scary snake with a mouth full of sharp fangs.
  • Giant stone statues resembling armoured medieval knights come to life.
  • When Hermione and Ron destroy one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, we see a large pool of water rise up, transform into Voldemort’s face, and pursue them.
  • The Death Eaters are swirling black vapours.
  • The giants are brutish creatures with a variety of bones piercing their lips and faces.  
  • Small flying creatures that resemble evil fairies with scary faces.
  • Vampires and giant spiders attack Hogwarts
  • An image of Voldemort as a blood covered foetal form with evil adult characteristics lying under a table. We hear that the thing is dying and that nothing can be done for it. 
  • While in a treasure vault, Harry Ron and Hermione are nearly buried alive when the treasure in the vault begins to multiply and fill the vault.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • a brief, but passionate kiss between Ron and Hermione

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Harry, Ron and Hermione drink butter beer. 

Coarse language

There are some coarse language and putdowns in this movie, including:

  • stupid, bloody hell, bloody fools, like hell, shut up, blithering idiot, lunatic, swine, bitch 

In a nutshell

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a fantasy adventure suited to an adolescent audience. Parents should note that this film is very dark with a continuous feeling of menace and many images capable of scaring and disturbing younger children. The Australian Classification Board issued a media release warning parents to heed the M classification. The film is long and the plot is rather confusing.         

The main message from this movie is that evil must be fought against regardless of the personal cost or sacrifice.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Selflessness/self sacrifice: Many of the film’s lead characters are willing to sacrifice body and soul to protect others and fight against evil.
  • Courage: Harry and many of his friends repeatedly display courage by standing up against wrongdoing and refusing to capitulate to Voldemort’s demands. 

Parents may also wish to discuss the manner in which Harry and his friends fought against the prejudice and discrimination shown by non-magical people and how the issues of prejudice found in the Harry Potter films and books parallel situations in the real world.  

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