I had other ideas for today's post... but then I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 last night, and now I just want to talk about it.
So I'm giving you fair warning that if you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to know about it, you should click off this page right now. And if you hate Harry Potter, rest assured that this blog will be back to its regularly scheduled programming again by Tuesday.
I'm a pretty big Harry Potter fan. Not quite get-dressed-up-and-go-to-the-midnight-showing obsessed (Mike would have had to go straight from the movie to work if we did that!), but like when the last book came out I got it at 9 a.m. and sat down and read for 16 hours straight until I was done at 1 a.m. the next morning.
I wasn't nearly as excited for the last movie as I was for the last book -- with the last book, I didn't know what was going to happen; with the last movie, I knew what was supposed to happen, so the only thing to see was whether they got it right or not!
I'm usually pretty understanding when it comes to movies and books being different, but I was severely pissed off at how badly they screwed up the sixth movie. Even ignoring what happens in the book, it made no sense that Draco would spend the whole movie fixing the Vanishing Cabinet so that the Death Eaters could come in and stand around for five minutes and then leave without fighting anyone.
However, I thought the seventh movie was fantastic. It was amazingly close to how I pictured things happening, even if they did add in a few things and obviously had to leave out a lot. So I had high hopes for the last movie. I was glad that I opted not to re-read the seventh book before seeing the movie, because I could just focus on the internal logic of the movie and not on the differences between the book and the movie, other than what I remembered from reading it four years ago.
What I Loved:
- Details I remembered from the book -- like everything multiplying in Bellatrix's vault, the Snitch, and who appeared to Harry in the forest -- were included. It felt like, in general, they really wanted to stay true to the book and not switch things up for no reason.
- I thought they did a fabulous job with showing Snape's memories. In the book, it goes on for pages and pages and there's the whole thing about Petunia being jealous that would have been unnecessary to include. They managed to make the whole series of flashbacks last only a minute or two and yet included just enough that it was easy to follow the story. And yes, I cried.
- The really memorable lines from the book were included: Snape saying, "Look at me." Dumbledore saying, "Of course it's in your head, but that doesn't mean it's not real." And most importantly of all: "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"
- In the book, the whole "Ron faked Parseltongue" things never made any sense, and I thought it was a cop-out on Rowling's part. I loved the "Harry talks in his sleep" line because it was a much better explanation.
- The heavenly King's Cross station looked exactly like I'd pictured it, even what the "flayed baby thing under the bench" looked like. They could have gone all stereotypical with clouds and mist and stuff, but instead it was just as it should have been.
- In general, the whole movie. They did a really, really good job of including the important parts of the book and making sure everything flowed together.
What I Didn't Like:
- When Harry goes to tell Hermione and Ron he's going to the forest, Hermione understands why and they have this whole emotional goodbye with hugging. Ron just stands there. Nobody ever clues him in, and he never asks, and Harry doesn't even say goodbye to him. It was totally weird. Mike and I agreed that they probably originally had Ron say something funny and it got cut out as not being appropriate for the moment. In the book, Harry doesn't say goodbye to either of them (I checked when I got home), which I guess would have looked strange on-screen when you can't tell what's going through his head, but that didn't make the scene they created any less awkward.
- There was a completely unnecessary exchange of dialogue added in between Harry and Dumbledore about Lily's and Snape's patronuses being the same. You already get it from the flashback scene where Dumbledore sees Snape's patronus and says, "Lily." And then when Harry's talking to Dumbledore, he says something like, "Their patronuses were the same. That's a strange coincidence" and Dumbledore says, "Oh, I don't think it was a coincidence." Huh? What? Are you just emphasizing yet again that Snape was in love with her, or are you trying to make some other insinuation? It was just weird and unnecessary, and clearly not from the book.
- In the book, you get a clear explanation that because the Elder Wand was really Harry's, Voldemort's killing curse rebounded on him. They didn't bother trying to explain it in the movie, so instead it looks like Voldemort loses his wand and then just explodes for no real reason. I think they tried to tie it to Nagini's death by having that happen at the same time, like once she died Voldemort couldn't live anymore, but that isn't right.
- I'm glad that they included the epilogue, but the characters didn't look old enough and so it was very strange to try to pretend they were in their late 30s. I read in Entertainment Weekly that initially they made them look too old and it didn't look right at all, so I guess they did their best, but I thought they could have done a bit more to make them not look like college kids.
What I Wish They'd Included:
- One of my favorite moments in the Deathly Hallows book is when Harry gives Regulus Black's locket to Kreacher, and Kreacher transforms into a loyal, fight-to-the-death ally of Harry. In the movies you're just left thinking Kreacher is still off being miserable and grouchy somewhere.
- I thought it was cool in the books when they figured out that the Horcruxes had to do with the different Hogwarts founders. In the movie, they never even mention that the cup is Helga Hufflepuff's, and they figure out the next Horcrux has to do with Rowena Ravenclaw because *ooh, Harry has a vision of her face.* It kept the story moving, but I liked the mystery-solving aspect of figuring out the Horcruxes in the books.
- In the book, the Malfoys take refuge in Hogwarts at the end, and that's how you know that they're not going to be punished for their involvement with Voldemort. In the movie they just Disapparate, and when Harry sees Draco 19 years later there's no interaction between them at all. I guess maybe that was too complex to try to capture on-screen, but it would have been nice.