geek life, movie reviews

Harry Potter Movie Commentary: Deathly Hallows pt 2

Last night I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2, and I think it’s been long enough for me to have processed a few things. My observations are below the “more” cut to contain the spoilers.

  • I loved this movie, and part 1. I think, of all the movies since the first one, they were the most faithful to the book. Very few things were changed, and those that were made sense in terms of making it film-friendly.*
  • One thing that bothered me was the sudden addition of the mirror shard. I don’t recall it from any of the other movies. Given the serious lack of explanation but the importance of the mirror, I’m surprised people weren’t thoroughly confused. I know there have got to be people who’ve seen all the movies and never read the books thinking “what on earth is that?”
  • I loved the scene with the dragon escape. It was beautifully done, and I like that Hermione not only provides a brilliant method for escape but also frees a tormented animal in one go. That fits her so well, and hearkened back to Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • I wanted to see more explanation of the kids in the room of requirement fighting back against the Death Eaters at Hogwarts. In terms of just the movie, I didn’t understand why they were in that room and why they weren’t being punished for not sleeping in the dormitories… but were still expected to be at school assemblies. If that doesn’t make sense, then ponder the fact that they had to be questioned by Snape, but that they didn’t seem to be punished for not being in their (assigned) beds after curfew.
  • Helena Bonham Carter is a really amazing actress, but my favorite thing in this movie was when she was playing Hermione playing Bellatrix. The change in her facial expressions to match Emma Watson was very good.
  • I also loved the change in Alan Rickman; when he portrayed all of the bottled up emotions in Snape it was almost like a totally different character… but at the same time was so true to the character that it was just right.
  • I liked Neville and Luna together in terms of the movie, but I’m still glad that they weren’t together at the end of the books.
  • What happened to Kreacher? One of my favorite scenes from the book was when all the house elves charged forward to defend Hogwarts, led by Kreacher. It would have fit because they already had him in part one.
  • I liked getting to see Hermione destroy a Horcrux. Hers (besides Dumbledore and the ring) is the only one that’s “off-camera” in the book, and I think it made sense, what with Ron, Harry, and Neville all destroying one, that she should have her moment, too. I do wonder why none of the other Horcruxes fought like the locket, though. Didn’t Hermione have to face something scary?
  • The bit where the camera faded on Fred and George and Fred was the first to disappear made me cry in the theater.
  • Why does Ginny stay totally awkward with Harry? What happened to fiery Ginny (from the books) who had an amazing personality and confidence and was probably the most powerful person in her family magically? She’s a match for Harry for a reason, and not because she’s a shy, wilting flower. Come on, filmmakers. You should’ve given the girl some spunk.
  • I didn’t like that Neville didn’t know about the snake. I mean, it was super brave of him and all, but (from a storytelling perspective) I thought it was better when Harry told Neville in order to ensure that the Horcruxes would all get destroyed. As it was, Harry went into the forest unsure if the job would really be finished.
  • The resurrection stone looked different than I imagined, but I still liked it.
  • When did Tonks and Lupin have a baby? I mean, I know they did, but the movie never says so. It alludes to it when Tonks asks Harry (in part one) if he’s heard the news… and then nothing until Harry tells Lupin he’s sorry about his son not knowing him. Or did I miss something?
  • Most of these thoughts occurred to me afterwards, but the thing that bothered me the most while watching was that Harry’s death didn’t protect the people inside Hogwarts. The whole point (besides killing the Horcrux) was that he made the same sacrifice for his friends that his mother made for him, so that none of the spells would touch them. Maybe that was just against Voldemort, but there was an awful lot of bloodshed after the death scene.
  • I want to go see it again.

 

*I am not someone who gets upset when movies don’t follow books exactly, as long as the movies maintain their own inner consistency. The first experience I had with things being changed a lot from a book I loved was when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in 2001; at the time I was beyond frustrated with all of the changes, but at the same time I really loved the movie… and so I learned to separate the two. Books are books and movies are movies; they are produced differently and often reach different audiences, though in the case of huge, popular things there’s a lot of overlap. The thing about movies is that they cannot perfectly reproduce a book scene for scene, or the movies would be several hours long and, frankly, boring. Some things have to be changed to be cinematic, and I’m okay with that. I am bothered by plot holes in the movies, though. The biggest one I can think of at the moment (besides those I’ve mentioned above) was that the Mauraders’ Map** never ever got explained in the Prisoner of Azkaban movie. Who are Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs? Well, we don’t know that unless we’ve read the book. So how does Lupin know how to work the map? Why does Harry’s Patronus take the form of a stag? And so on. That, to me, is a gaping plot hole for anyone who hasn’t read the books.

**I now own my very own Maurader’s Map!! ^_^

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11 thoughts on “Harry Potter Movie Commentary: Deathly Hallows pt 2”

  1. I pretty much agree with your post entirely but, of course, I have some commentary on the commentary! The mirror DID pop up in Part 1; that’s one object where I actually felt bad for the producers. When it was first introduced in OotP it seemed like a complete throwaway item; Harry even appears to destroy it at the end of the book, so cutting it out of the movie didn’t seem like an issue. But then the last book came out after the OotP movie and…whoops.

    The thing that was cut that bothered me the most was the death of Wormtail. I thought his death was important, especially the bit of redemption his character got from it. I was also somewhat annoyed by the lack of protection after Harry’s “death”.

    The only place where I disagree with you is in terms of Neville and Nagini. I actually preferred the way the movie did it; in the book he’s inspired to stand up to Voldemort because of what Harry told him, and he kills the snake because Harry instructs him to do so. I think the movie makes him MORE heroic. His stand against Voldemort is because of his own passion, not a pep talk from Harry, and he kills Nagini not because it was a mission from Harry, but because it was the right and necessary thing to do to save his friends. The fact that he did all of that with only his own passion for inspiration makes him more heroic, in my opinion.

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    1. I definitely see your point about Neville’s bravery. He’s pretty much awesome. What bothered me wasn’t so much Neville, but Harry’s lack of covering his bases (other than reminder R and H to get the snake). He’s been trained for this encounter for basically his whole life, and then he doesn’t make really REALLY sure the last piece falls into place? Eh, I’ll get over it I’m sure. ^_^

      I hadn’t even thought about the death of Wormtail… he wasn’t even mentioned in this movie, and only appeared in a brief “memory” moment. Hm.

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  2. I feel the same way about all these, but we’ve talked about that before.

    And the lack of continuity or leaving holes in a plot is what bothers me most, too. I feel like everything at Hogwarts leading up to the battle was just very rushed. I would have liked an additional 3 minutes or so of Neville explaining to them what all had happened, explaining more about the “staffing changes” and everything, because while they try and SHOW the changes (with the students marching around and the great hall looking like a prison) the fact that 6 of these movies basically all revolved around the school, and that it was Harry’s absolute favorite place and was so happy for him earlier in the story, it would seem like they would want to emphasize more of the changes.

    And that way you don’t just randomly see Hagrid chained up and are like “oh, there he is…”

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    1. Yeah, that would’ve helped fill in the holes. It did feel really rushed, just like parts of Part 1 felt really slow. But they did such a beautiful job setting up everything in Part 1 that they almost shortchanged the payoff for the school’s “big reveal” in Part 2.

      Like we talked about earlier, if they’d given Ron some more information to pass along to them (i.e. Hogwarts status and the birth of Teddy Lupin) then it would’ve easily filled in the gaps.

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  3. I agree with almost all these things, but I was surprised by how many things they did change, as opposed to Part I which was much more faithful. Mostly:
    – The goblin’s out-and-out treachery, which wasn’t as explicit or treacherous in the books.
    – As you said, the lack of explanation of the Room of Requirement and exactly what the other students had been up to all this time. Even the throwaway line of Cho offering to take Harry to Ravenclaw and Ginny coolly insisting that Luna should go instead–a much needed laugh line! That whole part of the book was so cinematic that I was sorry to see it so altered.
    – McGonagall’s howl of grief when she sees Hagrid carrying Harry’s body. That always made me sob when reading, because she’s always so cool and collected and it was a heartbreaking moment. And all the furniture coming to life, and Trelawney dropping crystal balls on the invaders, and the house elves. The book had the final battle include all sorts of familiar faces from Hogwarts banding together to fight the Death Eaters, and I felt there were too many extras/the same 4 characters fighting in the movie battle.

    That was the main part that bothered me–in the battle scenes there were so many moments which I was sure would be included because they were so cinematic to begin with. I liked reading your opinion!

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    1. I agree with you about missing all of those moments– they were our chance to really say goodbye to all of the characters since it was the last time we’d “see” them, and the movie just sort of… ignored them.

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      1. Exactly! And in the past I’ve been pretty understanding about changes from book to movie (except in the case of Cho Chang’s betrayal), but I was SO looking forward to that chaotic scene that I was a little disappointed when it consisted of everyone standing still and watching tensely than action. (even though I generally prefer dramatic tension to action scenes…) I guess I had kind of pictured something similar to the “invasion” scene from Beauty and the Beast, although that was more comical than Harry Potter would have been.

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      2. But I thought the King’s Cross was spot on, and I LOVED the Snape flashback (would have loved it just as much more fleshed out but I’m willing to bend there)–the shot with him cradling Lily’s body and also the earlier shot of Lily trying to soothe tearful baby Harry Potter both made me cry. I also liked seeing Ron and Hermione kill the Horcrux, along with the following kiss! šŸ™‚

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  4. Yes to all of that! ^_^ I loved the way they did Snape/Lily, and that’s always been one of my favorite aspects of the story! I’ve enjoyed re-reading the books and looking at Snape in a whole new way.

    Also, I don’t know if you saw it, but apparently JK Rowling told Alan Rickman the whole story before the first movie was filmed, so if you go back and watch them, he does all these little things that you wouldn’t pick up on unless you were looking for it… Like in the first movie when he’s looking intently at Harry. Harry winces and touches his scar and Snape immediately turns to Quirrel, like he knows. ^_^

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    1. Ooh! Good for her for making that call; give an actor like Alan Rickman a little secret backstory and he’ll make it awesome. šŸ™‚ Clearly I have to go back and re-watch them all…

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