Putting off my last post on Love Wins a little bit because I wanted to write something about the last Harry Potter movie. Four years ago, the last Harry Potter book came out: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. This last week, the last movie came out. All around, it was brilliant. I haven’t been a huge fan of the movies so far(I will never forgive you Mike Newell for ruining the Goblet of Fire), but David Yates has easily made these last three movies the best.
I’m going to do a brief outline of the plot and what I thought of each. Massive spoilers here obviously…
- The Seven Potters: This scene was brilliant. They kept it humorous and then turn into pure excitement in the chase. As soon as everyone broke through those clouds there were curses and death eaters going every which way. And that is how it should have been. The only thing that could have been changed was the fact that the death eaters could already fly, so when Voldemort starts flying it isn’t a huge deal. But this was an unfortunate choice made in the 5th movie.
- At the Burrow: Nothing too important here. Mostly filler time. The Ginny birthday kiss was pretty funny, that was a welcome change I would say. The wedding was done well. Elphias Doge’s part was minimal, more on that later. The escape from the wedding was cool, Kingsley’s patronus was a bit slow talking. At first I really liked that they kept the Tottenham Court Rd scene, but then after the rest of the movie I thought they should have just tossed it(more on this later).
- Ministry of Magic: Kipping out at Grimmuald Place is easily filmed enough. They got to show off Sirius’ room and then they found RAB. They didn’t do a great job at explaining exactly what Kreacher/Regulas accomplished, but it wasn’t really needed in the movie. Breaking into the Ministry of Magic was great. They did a good job showing just how frantic and clueless they trio was during all this. It was fun to see the decoy detonators work their magic in the nazi propaganda assembly line. I don’t understand why the movies insist on having the actor’s voices while transformed by Polyjuice Potion, maybe to confuse the audience less?
- Camping: It was good to see this was kept to a minimum in the movie. While the camping scenes were boring in the book, it was where a lot of the plot development happened with the trio. I was glad to see that the movie wasn’t bogged down with this but they still showed the characters developing. Ron’s departure was maddening and understandable as it was supposed to be. The entire time the locket can be seen smugly atop their chests, draining their hope. Let it be known, I loved the splinching effect they did with Ron. Awkward Harry/Hermione dancing scene is awkward, still not sure who thought could ever be a good idea…Just bad writing really.
- Godric’s Hallow: I was a little disappointed in this scene. Nagini did not erupt out of Bathilda Bagshot’s body like in a horror movie, Bathilda’s body kinda turned into the snake. Maybe they didn’t want a rated R scene, but it was supposed to be terrifyingly creepy. Also, Voldemort never came. That was another moment where Harry escapes his wrath and I still don’t know why they left that out. I mean if Voldemort wasn’t there, Harry and Hermione should have stayed to kill the snake right? They knew it was a horocrux after all.
- Ron’s Return: I never really liked the patronuses(patronai?) they showed in the movies. They looked too…whispy. They didn’t even do Harry’s stag patronus right(I won’t forgive you either Alfonso Cuarón!) in the third or subsequent movies. So the Doe was barely even recognizable I thought, now would it matter since they couldn’t make the connection that the stag+doe = James+Lily. Harry trying to get the sword, the locket trying to drown him, and Ron showing up to save him was all good. What I really liked(I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. On some level I think it should be long in the books) was when the locket was opened up. It was like a bomb. This great big mass of muck shooting out everywhere to fight Ron off was pure genius! The horocrux attempting to crush Ron’s hope was executed perfectly, and when Ron pulls through stabbing the locket with the sword I almost got up and cheered. I was really excited to see such a emotional part of the book done well.
- The Deathly Hallows: Little things I enjoyed after Ron’s return was the humor he brought back with him. The audience knew that Ron regretted leaving and is back to his old self again. Also adding the touch of Harry not being able to use another’s wand as easily was good to see. Very interesting art direction of the Tale of the Three Brothers, I thought it was really good and set the mood well. Again, didn’t like the death eaters flying around crashing into the Lovegood’s house. Dumb useless additions…The end of this scene was pretty sloppy I thought. The trio apparates away from the Lovegood’s residence right into some snatchers by mistake…and tries to run away? What? Just apparate away again! Which brings me back to my Tottenham Court Rd point; there is never any explanation of the fact that the word Voldemort was jinxed so they could find you. They kept the part at Tottenham Court Rd, but never explained why. They could have easily had Harry or Hermione say Voldemort at night after their escape from the Lovegood’s and then get caught, but instead they do this stupid lucky snatcher bit. This was one of my larger gripes with DH part one.
- Malfoy Manor: This was more or less straight from the book. Everyone is terribly excited that they may have caught Harry Potter, Bellatrix goes nuts when she spots the sword and kills most of the snatchers(I loved that they kept that bit in there), and then Ron and Harry are scuttled off to the dungeon while Hermione is tortured for information. Down below, Dobby shows up and starts the rescue. I didn’t like that they didn’t even kill off Wormtail in the movie. I mean what gives, do all the bad guys die except for Wormtail? Harry gets Malfoy’s wand, a very important part of the plot. Then they are at the standoff with Bellatrix about to slit Hermione’s throat, this is where I thought the scene went down hill. Dobby shows up and takes several minutes to unscrew the chandelier(Seriously, what was that about? Was it supposed to be funny?) to fall on top of Bellatrix, who decides that pushing Hermione towards Harry/Ron and falling backwards is the best way to overcome this problem. Then, Dobby decides to make an even longer speech about friendship and Harry Potter while there are about 5 wizards pointing a knife and a couple of wands at their heads. Finally Dobby disapparates them all to shell cottage, but not before the audience BLATANTLY sees Bellatrix throw the knife into their disapparating mess. Now everyone knows that Dobby is going to die, and that kinda ruined it. It was still sad to watch Dobby utter his last words, but it just wasn’t the same feeling as in the book when it was a surprise. Also, in the movie Hermione just watches Dobby die when she can easily use some magic/dittany to save his life, so much for her love of house elves. Overall this scene was good, I just wish it had the same sense of surprise and sadness that JK Rowling accomplished in the book. Not to mention this is where DH part one ends, it should have been a big shocker and go out with a bang instead of trying to force some humor before an obvious death.
- Shell Cottage: Dobby’s grave was nicely done, keeping it being dug by hand was another nicety. Griphook’s responses were the same, but they threw in a HEAVY hint about Snape. I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that. I didn’t like the fact that Ollivander knew, and shared, about the Deathly Hallows. Him not knowing about them made them seem more mystical, more crazy/impossible to be true. They kept Bill’s warnings about Griphook and the goblins in. Didn’t show too much about the planning of their break-in, but I guess they didn’t need to show it.
- Gringotts: I thought they showed the imperious curse very well, which I thought would be pretty hard to pull off. Helena Bonham Carter did a great job being Hermione trying to act like Bellatrix. For some reason they had it appear as if Harry/Griphook were just invisible and not under the cloak. Come to think of it, they didn’t even mention the cloak to be a Hallow. Man they never do explain anything about James Potter, bit of a shame really. They kept the germino charm on the goods in the vault, but didn’t bother with the flagrante curse. The dragon escape was pretty good. After they disembark the dragon Hermione yells at Harry to stop letting Voldemort ‘in’, but Harry is definitely not letting Voldemort ‘in’. They didn’t address this when they should have in Shell Cottage, Harry finally overcomes his occlumency problem. A problem in the plots consistency. Even though I liked that they showed Voldemort killing people out of frustration, I didn’t like how they killed Griphook and show the sword vanish. To heavy a hint, like the one about Snape earlier, kinda ruins the coming surprise.
- Return to Hogwarts: Even though they completely threw out the entire Dumbledore trust issues plot from the book, they kept Aberforth’s appearance. The entire scene in the Hog’s Head is really explaining key plot points that they never really brought up in the first place: Dumbledore’s backstory, the mirror, and witches/wizards giving up hope. I guess this was their way of trying to fit everything in at the last minute. I probably could have forgiven them if they never did anything with Dumbledore. They couldn’t really not explain the mirror. I dunno, I really saw it as a filler scene for the movie; not terribly important but not bad either. When they finally get into Hogwarts its a good sight. The room of requirement is done up right. I’m not sure if I liked the Harry revealing himself bit in the great hall to Snape, I definitely didn’t like the lame McGonagall vs Snape duel(this is sadly the trend for the rest of the personal duels). Where was the epic two(McGonagall & Flitwick) on one(Snape) fight?
- Battle for Hogwarts: This was pretty cool. Artistic license all the way throughout the battle. Big shield surrounding Hogwarts gets set up and is taking shots from the death eaters, McGonagall summons the (stone?) suits of armor to defend Hogwarts(I didn’t care too much about her funny line), Neville’s bridge trap, the deatheaters flying around blowing up parts of the castle, very-fast-shots-of-wizards-getting hexed on both sides, etc. It was all good show, I really enjoyed it. The Ron/Hermione scene was alright, I still say the original scene Rowling wrote is better. After a rather weird scene with Harry and the Grey Lady they are off to the room of requirement to find the diadem. Finding the diadem was kinda lame, when did Harry get horocruxdar? The Fiendfyre was pretty sweet, not exactly how I imagined it but it worked. I do NOT like how Voldemort can feel a Horocrux get destroyed, it goes against what they try to reinforce in the very next part(that Voldemort has become subhuman from his horocrux creation). Voldemort loosing his temper again and killing of Thicknesse was a cool tidbit, seeing his emotional state again.
- Snape’s Memories: Maybe it was just me, but I thought that the Voldemort voice that everyone could hear sounded nothing like Voldemort. The Snape death scene was decent. I always thought it was a bit funny that they were so close to Voldemort during that scene. Not sure what Snape’s memories were doing leaking out of his eyes, weird. They added another line for Snape, “You have your mother’s eyes.” I’m not usually one to like that kind of stuff, but I thought it fit and added more depth to the scene. Then they had the “look at me” line, but Harry’s eyes STILL AREN’T GREEN. Back to the castle; RIP Remus, Tonks, and Fred(JK Rowling I will never forgive you for that). They killed off Lavender for some reason, kinda sad. The actual memories were pretty good. And now LILY’S EYES AREN’T GREEN EITHER. WTF. Alan Rickman didn’t get a big variety in his acting of Snape over the movies, but his scenes in the memories were brilliant. I was very impressed with how they did the Dumbledore scenes in the memories, captured it extremely well I thought. I don’t remember, did they leave in the “Sometimes I think we sort too soon” line?
- Forest Scene: Was not a fan of Harry telling Ron and Hermione he was off to go die. First of all, it just isn’t in Harry’s character. Second, they were too okay with it. They’ve spent the last 7 years facing certain death with Harry, always trying to find their way through, but here they’re just “Oh okay. I guess this is it.” Hermione gives him a little hug and Ron just looks at him. What was that? No last mention to Neville about the snake, more on that later. Resurrection stone was done alright, the snitch opening was pretty cool. Then here comes Harry right into Voldemort’s camp, where we finally get to see Hagrid, to get blasted by Avada Kedavra.
- King’s Cross: Let it be known that I loved this part of the book. Might be my favorite chapter in the entire series. So I was ready to hate on this scene. I can’t. It was near perfect. Voldemort’s sickly damaged soul, Dumbledore’s answers, Harry’s confusion, it was all great. They one thing they didn’t explain was the bit about Voldemort using Harry’s blood, too complex for the movie audience I guess. And that last line stayed the same, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Loved it.
- Final Battle: They kept Narcissa asking if Draco was still alive, that was good. Sadly, this is when the movie takes a turn for the worse. Voldemort and his posse troop back to Hogwarts with ‘dead’ Harry in tow. For som reason there is an awkward hug between Voldemort and Malfoy, who wrote this? Three different characters’ paths were ruined following this scene. First up: Neville Longbottom. Neville was on his way to becoming the BAMF he was in the book. But instead of taking a heroic stand against Voldemort ending in a headless Nagini, Neville makes a long winded speech. By not having Harry tell Neville to kill the snake, Neville has no clear direction of what to do. There is no clear break in the action for Harry to get away without being noticed, and in this movie Harry just gets up and runs. No invisibility cloak here either. Immediately the fight breaks out again and Neville gets blasted backwards into the Great Hall. Now several minutes have passed, Harry and Voldemort have run off fighting somewhere else, and now Neville gets up, looks around confused, picks up the sword and walks away. This isn’t badass Neville. This is the same Neville we saw in movie 4 or before. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. For some reason Neville walks AWAY from the fight in the Great Hall, doesn’t use his wand for anything, and happens upon Ron, Hermione, and Nagini. His reaction was correct, kill the big mean snake that is about to eat my friends, but the setup was all wrong. Next character: Molly Weasely. Yes they kept the scene where she kills Bellatrix. Yes they kept the “Not my daughter you bitch!” line. Rightfully so, both of those things were important to show. But again, the setup was all wrong. Bellatrix looks like a bully pushing Ginny around in front of about four other grown witches/wizards. There wasn’t any epic duel, just Mrs Weasley stepping in and saying a spell or two to get rid of Bellatrix. Mrs. Weasley didn’t even show much fury, her famous line was a little more than a whisper. Disappointment. And the final character: Harry Potter. The running/battling up the stairs in Hogwarts was actually pretty cool. It showed some cool spells/moves from both wizards and it showed how frantic Voldemort had become now that all his horocruxes had been destroyed(post Nagini). Just had a thought, Harry never really knew that Nagini was killed did he, hmmmmm. All the way up to the bell tower they fight…and then it gets stupid. Harry barely mentions his knowledge of the Elder Wand, and then they both fall/fly all the way down to the courtyard. Here it gets even more stupid. This is the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. In the book, this is where Harry calls him Tom Riddle and Voldemort can’t stand it, this is where everyone is watching what is happening, this is where Harry doesn’t out duel Voldemort but plays him for the coward that he is. But in the movie, this is where barely any words are said, no one is watching, and it is confusing as to what actually happens. And then, Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard of all time, dissolves into paper and floats away. What. The. Heck. No suspense, no action, no surprises being revealed. Just a mellow duel with a lot of confusion. Two seconds later, everyone is happily having tea in the Great Hall. There isn’t even a “good job Harry!” Then Harry walks outside with Ron and Hermione and explains to them what actually happened with the Elder Wand. How stupid. It was way better throwing this in Voldemort’s face and seeing the look of panic on his face when he realizes he may have not worked it out correctly on his own. Then, without repairing his old wand mind you, Harry snaps the Elder Wand in two and throws it away. What is he going to do, use Draco’s wand for the rest of his life? Such a sad way to ruin to the climax from what you had going…
- Epilogue: The epilogue was good. All the older-looking kids looked funny, but that’s what you get when you try to make young twenty-year olds look much older I guess. Funny names aside, what Harry says to Albus before he leaves for Hogwarts is always heart warming. No mention of Neville being a Hogwarts professor, another way they shaft him out of what he should be…
Yes I was being extremely critical, it is what I do. Overall, I thought the movie was great. Both part 1 and part 2 of The Deathly Hallows were some of the best film adaptions of a book I have seen. They are easily the best of the Potter films. I look at this last midnight release as the end of my childhood. Here I am graduated from college, holding a fulltime salary job, and looking to buy a house in the coming months to live in. No more new Potter books or movies are coming, but I will always have these 7 books to dive back into when I feel the itch.
Thank you JK Rowling for writing such awesome books about faith, love, friendship, sacrifice, unity and fighting for what’s good and true at all times. They truly were magical.