Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two

WARNING!!! This post contains spoilers!

When I go to the movies, I try to be optimistic and believe the movie will be good and enjoyable, but I’m realistic. I know today’s movies tend to… well… suck. I’m not saying all movies suck, but there has been a considerable downturn in quality as of late. However, for the first time in years, I went into a movie not only excited but also certain it would be amazing. That movie was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part Two. Imagine my surprise when the movie I knew in my heart would be the most fitting and wonderful conclusion to a beloved series turned out to leave me disappointed and even a little angry.

If you have never read the books, then this movie is a great movie. It is well paced, well acted, and delivers great action. If you are like me and have read The Deathly Hallows ten to fifteen times, then you will find yourself getting absorbed in the movie only to be promptly yanked out of it when certain key moments or exchanges do not happen or are terribly altered.


I know the movies are separate from the books. I know the story needed to concentrate on a central plot. I know many of the side characters would not get as much air-time as they deserved, but in order for me to fully get behind the movie, I needed certain parts to be there. These are what I wanted and how they were altered/cut:

1)   The Families. I was so upset that the Weasley family, excluding Ron and Ginny, was barely a part of the movie. They are there, but due to how the battle at Hogwarts was changed, the Weasleys barely speak. There was no Fred and George banter or Molly Weasley yelling at the kids while hugging the life out them or anything. I don't understand why Bill couldn't have had a line warning Harry not to trust goblins or why Percy's returning to the fold could not have been dealt with. I didn't even know Percy was in the movie until Wilderowens told me. This was an important plot point because it made Fred's death all the more painful. But it's not just the Weasleys I missed. There wasn't enough time to go into detail about Dumbledore's family, but even worse, Neville was denied a great moment because his grandmother doesn't get to join the fight and say how proud she was of him. To top that off, we're also denied Lupin and Harry fully reconciling, Lupin showing off his son and asking Harry to be godfather.

2)   Fred’s death. Why on earth was is not shown? It is one of the most emotionally gut-wrenching moments in the entire book. I cried when it happened. I’ve cried many times because the family has finally been completely reunited, only to have it brutally ripped away. Instead, we are treated to simply seeing his dead body, practically no Percy, and no seeing Ron’s grief and desire for revenge.

3)   “Not my daughter, you bitch!” Yes, it is in the movie, but because they lightened the emotional impact of Fred and barely showed the fight between Ginny and Bellatrix, it was just eh. It was cool, but I wanted to be able to cheer when this happened.

4)   The Elder Wand and Phoenix Wand. There is all this talk about wandlore and how the wand chooses the wizard, yet in the end, Harry explains why the Elder wand worked for him only to Ron and Hermione instead of Voldemort and everyone else. Worst of all, Harry does not use the Elder wand to fix his. He breaks it and tosses it. WTF? What is the point of putting it in if it's just going to be thrown away at the end?

5)   Ron/Hermione kiss. In the book, we all knew it was coming but we didn’t know when, and when it finally did, it was because Ron wanted to help get the house elves out and that meant so much to Hermione. In the movie, they go to get the Basilisk fang, kill the horcrux, get drenched in a trap of some sort, look at each other and kiss. Again, which one is more emotionally impacting? Would it really have killed them to just have Ron ask about the elves once they got back to Harry?

6)   Voldemort vs. Harry. I would have preferred the intense buildup of the book, where Harry is explaining everything to Voldemort as the tension grows until that fateful moment, but instead that’s not in there. The fall in the movie is cool but lacks the kick of Voldemort finding out about Snape, who the real master of the Elder wand is, etc.

7)   Neville and Nagini. One of the most kickass, amazing parts of the Deathly Hallows was  Neville Longbottom. From a gawky, clumsy kid to a young man willing to fight for what he believes in, Neville had one of the best character arcs of the entire series and his shining moment was when he stood up to Voldmort, was nearly killed by the Sorting Hat, rebounded with the Sword of Gryffindor, and sliced off Nagini’s head. It’s fantastic. So what does the movie do? It has Neville find the Sorting Hat, pick it up and see the sword in there, for no reason, and then when Voldemort asks for new Death Eaters, Neville gives a sappy speech about how even though Harry is dead, he still lives on in all of them and the work is not over. He eventually kills Nagini, but that was because it was attacking Ron and Hermione later on, not because Harry had told him to kill him.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of good in the movie too. The best example is how Snape is handled. I’ve always been a little annoyed at how Snape didn’t get nearly enough face time in the movies because a) he’s an important character and b) they had Alan fricking Rickman playing him! How do you not give HIM more screen time? That said his arc was handled perfectly. They finally did him justice. That was when I nearly lost it. It was beautiful.

The epilogue was also great. I loved that. The aging was subtle, but hilarious, particularly Ginny and Draco with Ron coming in third. It was just great. I couldn’t stop laughing. Maggie Smith's Professor McGonagall was fantastic. She's another one who never really got to show what she could do, but her scenes packed a punch. Hermione as Bellatrix was so funny and one of my all-time favorite moments was when the knights came to life. Badassery all around. I became giddy at that sight.

The movie isn’t bad, but I guess because of how practically pitch perfect Part One was, I expected more. I heard that this was the shortest of the Potter movies and if that is true, then they should have added a little more because they complicated parts that did not need complicating and watered down the emotional parts. If they had added just ten minutes with even a handful of what I mentioned above, it would have elevated the movie. What made Harry Potter so great was aside from it being a great fantasy epic, it was grounded by the depth of feelings that came from the characters. I wanted so much more from this movie but in the end, while it is decent, it did not truly live up to the high standards of the Harry Potter franchise. This was not how it was supposed to end.

Like what you just read? Let us know in the comments below and keep up to date by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr!