HP 7: P2

Day 55.

First off, I finally created a blogroll, so check it out when you get a chance. The blogs are  really cool and I may have to use the capsule review technique to write about the five movies I saw recently.

So, back to the point of this post, which is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (just in case you’re not familiar with Harry Potter abbreviations). I’ll let you know right now that I’ve been a huge Harry Potter fan since I started reading the books at 5 years old. However, I’m definitely not obsessive and have only read each of the books once. Nevertheless, I am always disappointed by the Harry Potter movies for a myriad of reasons, save for the Order of the Phoenix, which is my favorite. After the boring and long Deathly Hallows Part 1, I was hoping that Part 2 would be an epic end to the Harry Potter franchise that actually followed the books. How wrong I was.

I get that the expectation was that the viewers had watched Deathly Hallows Part 1, but the opening of Part 2 was simply a repetition of the last scene from the 1st part. There was no intro of any kind, making the movie feel fragmented, almost as if I walked in during the middle of a movie.

The scene in Gringotts, like many of the action-packed scenes, wasn’t as exciting as I expected. I was so annoyed that Harry was able to “sense” the Horcruxes, a la Spidey sense. There was a simple explanation for why Harry knew Hufflepuff’s cup was a Horcrux, Dumbledore showed him a memory. Would it have been so difficult to just have Harry tell Ron and Hermione about the memory even if it wasn’t shown? Or even indicate that not only did the items in the vault multiply, but they also burn one’s skin? I don’t think so.

As for the Battle of Hogwarts, it was nice to be back at the castle and see familiar faces, but it just didn’t feel right. The film was too action movie-esque, and failed to capture the emotion and pain of the battle. However, one stand out scene is when an unconscious Lavender is bitten by Greyback the werewolf. Another scene that failed to follow the book was when Harry decides to sacrifice himself. Hermione and Ron would never let him surrender himself to Voldemort. It would have been a more touching scene if, like in the book, Harry secretly went to sacrifice himself. In the book he is described as wearing his invisibility cloak and looking at all the people he loves fighting for “good” as he makes his solitary trek into the forest. I will note that in the film’s version, Daniel Radcliffe actually manages to show genuine fear and apprehension when he speaks to his mother and godfather before sacrificing himself.

The final battle between Harry and Voldemort was by far the most annoying part of the film to me. Even though I hadn’t read the 7th book since it’s release in 2007, I knew that this scene was not at all like the novel. The battle was anticlimactic and missed important points. I didn’t like the Star Wars like duel which resulted in Voldemort dying from a crack in his wand (Really though?), and subsequently disappearing into thin air like a ghost. The random scene where Harry and Voldemort jump off a bridge and end up in a courtyard was totally unnecessary and a waste of special effects. The ending was perfect the way J.K. Rowling had it written and it wouldn’t have been any more difficult to shoot. The battle should have been in the Great Hall in front of everyone since Voldemort was such a menace. The film should have shown Harry yelling out the disarming spell to highlight the fact that Voldemort’s spell rebounded and he essentially killed himself. I was also looking forward to seeing Voldemort’s demise so I could see his old shriveled up body, indicating that he was human, but all I got was him disintegrating.

Of course there were some parts of the film I did like. As I mentioned before, it felt like a high school reunion when all of Harry’s classmates appeared on-screen. The little jokes like Seamus’s gift of pyrotechnics, were funny and nostalgic. Matthew Thewlis is great as Neville in his semi-hero role and Maggie Smith, who plays McGonagall, is also fabulous. I loved her battle with Snape. She definitely showed her bad-ass side. As for the battle itself, the special effects were amazing and really brought to life what I envisioned as I read the novel. One of my favorite parts is when Voldemort’s voice gets into everyone’s head. It was perfectly terrifying. I also liked Ron and Hermione’s kiss in the Chamber of Secrets. The scenes with Snape’s death and memories were excellent thanks to Alan Rickman‘s always terrific acting. It was kind of silly that they had Snape holding Lily’s dead body since that definitely didn’t happen, but I’ll let it slide. Lastly, the epilogue had me cracking up. The trio with wrinkles and business clothes? Need I say more?

In closing, I was disappointed by a Harry Potter movie, once again. Unfortunately, this last film failed to close out the series properly. The director and screenwriter missed their chance to make an epic finale that captured the spirit of the Harry Potter novels, and for once, followed the book.

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