Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2
So I guess it’s about time I share some thoughts about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
I’ve now seen the movie twice, once on opening weekend (Friday night, 6:30 showing) and then again the following Wednesday for a 3:30 matinée. The viewing experience for both was radically different. The initial showing was on a digital screen (not 3D), and the place was packed 25 minutes before previews, which is when me and my friend arrived at the theatre. We were forced to sit four rows from the front, and the row behind us was filled with prepubescent boys who talked constantly throughout the movie, leaned in close to us multiple times to whisper stupid crap, and intentionally kicked their shoes against the back of our chairs or slapping their flipflops against the floor just to make noise. To say I was furious and distracted was an understatement. The following showing was much easier…but my sole complaint was that the print or the screen was about twice as dark as it was the previous week.
So what did I think about the movie? I think it’s awesome. Possibly the slowest part of the movie is right at the beginning before the gang returns to Hogwarts. I know most film critics who viewed the film believe the Gringotts stuff to be the best part of the movie…yawn…but I thought it was alright. It was nice to see Warwick Davis get his due as an actor, a fact Kevin Smith pointed out in his review. That guy has been around since Return of the Jedi and has always been a scene actor; here he got to shine, and did a great job as the goblin. I thought Helena Bonham Carter did a great job portraying Hermione playing Bellatrix; you really got to see her portray different actors in her performance. Helps to also have her voice dubbed over, I guess, but the eyes were where it was at.
Speaking of which, I think I understood just a little why so many film critics were a little harsh with Daniel Radcliffe in this film. There was one scene, which I can’t remember or probably won’t be able to identify again, where Harry was supposed to be emoting some great emotion, frustration or passion or whatever, but when I looked into Daniel Radcliffe’s eyes…they were kinda dead. Kinda bored even. Yet the rest of his face was acting away, and acting well. But the eyes…I just didn’t buy it then. I knew it was an actor playing a role.
The Hogwarts scenes were brilliant. I realize how much they changed the story from the books, but I think everything they did worked, although some of the death scenes needed to be longer in order to have great weight. I’m hoping that there is a bunch of footage that was cut out that can be added to the film later; yeah, I’ve been spoiled by the Lord of the Rings dvds. Anyways, the effects were spectacular, and it was nice to see Neville get to take center stage with so much of the action; he does play such a huge role in the books. Great little humor moments were captured, and you could feel the triumph of Ron and Hermione as they killed the Horcrux.
Regarding the ending – I thought it was handled as well as they could. Audiences, especially modern dumbed down ignorant stupid lacking intelligence audiences, wanted to see a final epic brawl between Harry and Voldemort. Which is what the movie gives them. Yet that’s where it radically differs from the books. Let’s face it, Harry Potter is a sucky wizard. He’s nothing, no skill, no special abilities, nothing. He is freaking lucky and surrounded with people who make up for his shortcomings. That’s the point. He is US, the reader. In the book, the confrontation between Harry Potter and Voldemort is fought over words and ideas. Yes, there is one final spell cast, but the buildup is not some epic fight and confrontation. Harry would get his butt whipped instantly. So while the film maintains a small bit of the plot (who owns the Elder Wand), it’s nearly lost amidst the epic action flight battle scene that audiences wanted to see. Ho hum.
Ralph Fiennes was a superb Voldemort. I saw him grow old and crippled before my eyes. Deliciously evil, controlling, manipulating, and never over the top. He was excelellent. And kudos to the amazing Alan Rickman. The most emotional part of the movie was watching the memories of a young Snape, and Rickman brought every emotion and inch of talent to bare.
And I’m just going to throw this out there: “Well, heeeelllooo Hermione!” Nice little nod to SNL there…
Anyways, good movie. Very good. I’m looking forward to owning it on DVD. The first time around, I missed that feeling of “the end” when the film finished. I was too focused on the fricktards behind me as well as the changes from the book to the film. Yet the Harry Potter franchise is not one that I’ve ever emotionally invested in in theatres. When The Half-Blood Prince came out, I saw it in theatres, enjoyed it, but then was immediately just “eh” when I left. I nearly forgot I watched it. At home is where Harry Potter connects most strongly with me, where I can invest in the books, films, characters, situations, and storyline.
I’m sure, when the DVD is out, and I watch the whole series from start to finish, I’ll finish this last film and it will hit me: this was epic. This was awesome. This was a part of my life growing up and maturing. And it’s over. Yet I’m better for having begun and completed the journey.
A silent tear for those who won’t allow themselves to be children again.