It seems strange that I don't have a Harry Potter icon, but such is life.
I went to the movies today and saw THE END OF AN ERA! ...well, actually, I saw the eighth Harry Potter movie, and Alan Rickman made me cry.
Now, before we get into this review. I would just like to say that I'm a firm believer that film is an entirely different medium than books. This belief is supported by a wrath of evidence - for instance, a book consists of words on a page, while a film consists of many images played in succession to give the illusion of movement (most times with sound overlaid). Because of this fundamental difference, things can never be EXACTLY the same in a movie as they are in a book. I don't expect them to be.
So, what follows is a synopsis of what I liked and what I didn't like about the film, without getting into nitpicky "why isn't it exactly like the book?" shenanigans. That being said, the difference between regular films and films that are adapted from books, is that we already know the story with the latter.
HARRY POTTER and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Before I begin, I should say that I missed a few minutes of the movie - I foolishly forgot to go to the bathroom before it starts, so I missed everything between when Ginny says "Snape knows Harry was spotted in Hogsmeade" to when Harry comes out of the crowd in the Great Hall and confronts Snape. Someone will have to fill me in in comments if anything crucial happened in those moments.
Good film! I want to see it again. They did a great job wrapping up the story in an understandable fashion (I thought) given how much of the story they have had to cut in all the films so far. Everyone did a great job acting. Especially Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, and Matthew Lewis. (My love for Rupert Grint and Jason Isaacs continues as well).
What I DIDN'T LIke:
I was thinking about this on my drive home - because I was trying very hard not to review the movie as though I would have only been happy if it were exactly like the book (because that's not true.) And I was concerned that what I didn't like was coming from that geeky-never-satisfied-with-adaptations place....except, that isn't true, because I really liked a lot of the changes they made. So, why did I like some and not others? Simple:
Character Changing Events/Character Revealing Events:
There are plot events and then there are character events. Basically, a character event is exactly how it sounds: It is an event that may be inconsequential to the overall plot, but changes or reveals certain aspects of a protagonists or an antagonists character. If that event doesn't happen, or happens differently, the character is revealed/changed DIFFERENTLY. So, these differences change who the character IS, not in any fundamental way...but in subtle ways.
I'm not sure how quite to explain it, but hopefully my explanations below will explain things better.
1. The Killing of Nagini:
- In the book, I felt it was an important character point that Harry told Neville to kill the snake. Not Ron and Hermione, as he does in the film. To me, it was an important point in both Neville and Harry's character arcs. Neville, who only by chance avoided being The Boy Who Lived, was charged with destroying the final horcrux, whether or not he knew exactly why. Furthermore, Harry TRUSTED him to do so. For Harry, trusting anyone outside of himself, or Ron and Hermione, is a very big deal.
- I also wish that they had kept Neville's moment as it was in the book. Strong, rather than bordering on comical. I know there's something BAMFy about being knocked out and just getting right back up again and fighting like you were never knocked down...and it made for a more dramatic snake-chase scene...but I kind of liked the idea of Neville just slaying Nagini right there in front of Voldemort. But in the grand scheme of things, that's a minor quibble.
- I don't know why they had to throw that in. It kind of diminished the Ron/Hermione, and also doesn't make sense, since Jo has said that Neville eventually ends up with Hannah Abbott. I mean, yeah, on one level Neville/Luna makes sense and it's adorably cute...but...I still don't like it.
3. Fred's Death:
- Where the hell was it? People have been going on about how epically tragic it is and how they were in tears...um, did we watch the same movie? We didn't even see it. Ron finds out in the great hall and bursts into tears. It didn't even linger long enough for me to pick out George from the crowd of people around the body. The death scene was practically written to go directly to film and yet they didn't bother putting it in. Such an odd choice. I was not moved at all...well, ok, Rupert Grint's sobs certainly did something to me...but come on! It could have RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND STOMPED ON IT. Ok, that all being said, I do understand why they didn't give the twins that much screen time...they never have with the films, so why start now. But yeah, I still think they missed an opportunity there.
4. Significant Looks/Direction:
- This was a complaint about the direction in the previous film, and it remains a problem for me in this one. The difference between eye-contact and communication is only an extra second. I really think the director of this movie should watch Supernatural or Sherlock sometime...it doesn't have to be eye-fucking, but if you hold someone's eyes for longer than a glance, you communicate something...look at the final scene in Sherlock 1.03, or any scene in Supernatural where Sam and Dean have an entire conversation in the span of 2 seconds without saying a word. If you just EXTEND a moment for an extra SECOND it becomes SIGNIFICANT, it connects better EMOTIONALLY. It causes your audience to FEEL THINGS...which is supposed to be what art is about. Again, I'm not talking about having grand Dean/Castiel eye-fucking sessions here, I'm talking about the way normal people communicate when there is no time for words. Emma Watson is particularly good at it...she was the shining light for me in this film.
- In the Epilogue scene, there is a MOMENT between Harry, Ron, and Draco that is a CHARACTER REVEALING MOMENT. And it consists of a look and a nod. I did not get that in this movie and it would have been so EASY to have included it.
5. Breaking the Wand:
-Dude dude dude! No! It's a RELIC. Just toss it in the water or something...but don't break it. Idiot.
WHAT I LIKED!
Ok, enough negativity, let's move on to the fantastic:
1. Shell Cottage
- very beautiful. I also really like Bill, I wish we had scene him more (though I understand why we didn't.)
2. Helena BC as Hermione as Bellatrix
- amazing. She totally deserves that Oscar that she won.
3. Hermione realizing Harry might be a horcrux long before Harry finds out.
-Again, it comes down to significant looks, and Emma Watson being amazing at communicating through the eyes...you KNOW she knows, and you know it's breaking her heart, because she knows what it means and she doesn't want to be right.
4. Actually seeing Hermione and Ron in the Chamber of Secrets.
-This one area where the movie trumps the book, because it's not a fixed Harry POV like the book is (beyond the first chapter). I liked the change of reason for/location of THE KISS. Isn't it romantic? Surrounded by a bunch of stone snake heads, a basilisk carcass, and sewer lines....it beats Paris any day. :P Also, it makes much more sense for the films, given that SPEW wasn't a major thread in them, so Ron suddenly caring about House-Elf welfare wouldn't make much sense. Also, that line about Harry talking in his sleep? Hahaha, oh Harry/Ron slashers, I hope you enjoy your silver platter.
5. The Boathouse
- Awesome move of that scene location. I love how close it is to Hogwarts, so it's not such a break in the battle for the trio to go there, rather than going all the way to the Shrieking Shack. I know we lose the irony of Snape dying in the Shrieking Shake, but that's not important to the character/plot.
6. Snape's Memories and Death
- Alan Rickman totally made me cry. You don't get to see WHY he and Lily didn't end up together, which is fine...but my god, the pleading for her safety, his utter devastation when it all fails...his anger at Dumbledore for raising Harry to be killed after everything...his final moments. He was so amazing and perfect and I just wanted to hold him.
- I love the fact that Harry tries to stanch the blood flow...he's had nothing but scorn for Snape, yet he doesn't stand over him and say "Ha! Got what you deserved!"
I can't remember exactly how the scene goes in the book right now (and my book is sadly in Vancouver...and I thought I had my German edition here, but I don't)...so I can't remember if it was the same in the book, but if this is a case of them ADDING a Character Revealing Moment, then it's one I wholeheartedly approve of. ETA: Found my German edition! It IS in the book. Awesome. It had obviously slipped by unnoticed by me in the books, but my goodness it makes for a very poignant visual!
7. Harry says goodbye to Ron and Hermione
- Although I didn't like that he told Ron and Hermione to kill the snake and not Neville, I DID like that they actually say a goodbye in the film. Now of course, the reason it was included was because in the book, the horcrux reveal was very internalized...something they can't do in the movie. Harry NEEDED to spell it out for the audience, and Ron and Hermione provided that...but it also makes for a good moment. Though, in all my ranting about significant looks, the time I do get one, it sort of confuses me...I guess Harry was hugging Ron with his eyes?
8. The Malfoys:
- I like that they made Draco look happy in the epilogue, rather than stiff like he was in the book. I like that he kind of looked like a bit of a hippie, with his goatee.
- I also like how they just wandered away from the battle - that Draco had to be called by his parents back to Voldemorts side, and then they just walked out with him holding his mum's hand...and, yeah, I thought it was a great ambivalent end for him. That you saw his potential for good and the pressure for evil...I mean, one thing I love about Harry Potter is that Harry is successful, in part, because Draco is loved...I like that they kept that.
A Few Final Thoughts:
I'll definitely want to see it again - see those scenes that I missed. I'm assuming Lupin and Tonks introduced the fact of Teddy in them...and that George and Fred said something...or whatever. All in all, I thought it was great. When it comes right down to it, my quibbles, Character Revealing Events and all, are minor.
It was very well done. Beautiful to watch. Well acted. It made me tear up (damn you Snape!) and it was a fitting send-off to the franchise. Oh yeah, and the make-job in the epilogue that aged everyone 19 years was amazing!
I look forward to buying the box set when I'm rich.
If there's anything you want me to talk about that I haven't, please let me know!