Harry Potter confronts Lord Voldemort.
If you liked November's Deathly Hallows Part 1, you'll also enjoy the rather grand finale that draws the curtain on the biggest movie/book franchises of modern times. Of course it's the same actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, returning as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. It's also the same mythology, faithfully adapted from J.K Rowling's book series, and that's where it gets a little tricky. If you did not voraciously imbibe Rowling's original novels -- mea culpa -- then Deathly Hallows Part 2 will likely prompt a cavalcade of questions that cropped up in all the previous films: "Who's that?" "Where am I?" and "What the hell is going on?"
For example, when Deathly Hallows Part 2 begins, a glum Harry consorts with a dwarf in a cottage safe house. Why so depressed? Oh, right, last November, the adorable Dobby elf got killed in some dank castle.
The part of the brain responsible for encoding memories feebly begins to fire a few more neurons as other connections fall into place. The freak with no nose (Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes) looks so evil he must be Harry's nemesis. The dour guy with dank hair (Alan Rickman's Severus) also reeks of malice.
There's also a lot of excellent British stage actors in beards to keep track of as they dispatch key parcels of lore-loaded exposition.
Astute Potter devotees doubtless nod with approval each time a minor characters introduced 10 years ago makes obscure references to wizardly arcana. For those in the know, the classy Part 2 offers one last chance to soak in the warm glow of a shared subculture.
As someone who's seen most of the movies without reading the books, there's one magic spell I could use: Please, mighty Dumbledore, grant me the bandwidth to remember the roughly 2000 terms, places, names and secret spells compiled in the unofficial 356-page Harry Potter lexicon.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 offers heart-felt resolution for characters that has become immensely meaningful to millions of fans worldwide.
To fully grok the scope of Potter's journey, fans here's a thought: consume the whole 17 hour opus in one sitting. Call it Diaper Vision. Stock up on junk food, fire up the DVD player and line up the DVD collection that you can be sure will be coming down the pike in a year or two. Watch the whole thing start to finish without commercial interruption.
Diehard fans of the equally complicated ABC series Lost watched 56 hours straight without sleeping. Running a magic home entertaininment marathon is the least you can do for the princely Harry and his wizard chums.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens Friday.