Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter 7B Review (Spoilers!)

Okay, since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 sold over $476 million worldwide on opening weekend, the ban on HP7B spoilers is officially being lifted.  Let's talk about the film!  

Overall, I loved it. It's my favorite of the series.  But of course, because the book is always better, some of the choices really left me wondering, "WTF?" or "You chose this for the final cut?"

The Split Where HP7A meandered aimlessly around the British countryside, HP7B took a far more action-packed route. HP7B picks up at Shell Cottage in the wake of Dobby's death and then steamrolls through the densest 11 chapters of the book. David Yates had a little over two hours to pack in essential plot points (Gringotts, Diadem, BATTLE OF HOGWARTS, Snape's Tale, Harry's death, King's Cross, The Showdown) so the viewer basically dives in headfirst and comes out gasping for breath 120 minutes later.  Which is what makes this movie great but also harder to watch, especially if you've never read the books (gaaaaah!), because you're constantly trying to keep up and Yates & Co. didn't try as hard this time to explain what's going on.

LOVED McGonagall.  She dueled Snape like a BAMF then switched on the cute at Piertotum Locomotor ("I've always wanted to use that spell!")  It really is a testament to how well Maggie Smith portrayed her character when one minute you're fist-pumping as Snape "does a bunk" under her attacking spells, and the next minute she looks so genuinely frightened, you know stuff's about to go down. 

BUT! They got McGonagall's response to Pansy Parkinson ALL WRONG. After Voldemort's "give me Harry" ultimatum right before the battle, Pansy Parkinson blurts out, "He's right there! Someone grab him!" Movie McGonagall instructs Filch to toss the whole Slytherin lot into the dungeons and everyone cheers.

Which completely undermines the entire point of the HP series, which is tolerance. Book McGonagall evacuates all first years and those who don't want to fight, regardless of House. Implying that Slytherin House is chock full of spineless, self-serving, evil wizards not only contradicts McGonagall's true nature but undermines the spirit of Hogwarts. EPIC FAIL, Steve Kloves.

Snape slayed me. Hands down, "The Prince's Tale" is the best part of the movie. In clipped diction that can turn a simple retort ("No idea") into a mini-symphony of contempt, Alan Rickman shows once again how he masterfully owns every.single.minute. of screen time. REPEAT: Alan Rickman is an effing genius. He is so devastating even when he has no lines. 

Like shallow-breath, chest-shuddering, trying-to-hold-my-mind-together sobbing. His pain was so palpable! My heart crumbled into a million little pieces like a Dementor's buffet.

Also cried at Lupin and Tonks.  Reeaaaaching for each other yet never quite touching...

 Laying on the floor of the Great Hall, hands thisclose in death but still apart...WAH!

LUNA! My dear loony Luna. "Harry Potter you stop right now and listen to me!" is my favorite Luna line of all time. And even though it goes against HP canon (Neville marries Hannah Abbott), Movie Neville and Luna make me happy.  To be honest, they should have gotten together in the book.

Neville! "Yeah? You and whose army?!" LOL.

The Kiss. So cute! Love that we got to see Ron & Hermione kill Hufflepuff's cup since we never see it in the book. Great timing, too - who wouldn't make out after narrowly escaping Voldemort's water-logged effigy?

 And then there's this, which is only slightly less awkward than Voldemort hugging Draco.

BATTLE OF HOGWARTS. In a word, INTENSE. The movie adaptation did a good job of portraying the exhaustive attack on Hogwarts since the book basically laid out a blow-by-blow account of wizarding duels, which wouldn't translate well to screen.

From the sweeping shot of Death Eaters blasting spells at the protective enchantments around Hogwarts to the attacking army of werewolves/Inferi/undead monsters on the bridge, Voldemort's victory seemed imminent.  Grave danger (is there any other kind?) pervaded every corner of the crumbling castle.

Sadly, the Molly/Bellatrix duel was short and rather disappointing. It felt like the filmmakers knew they couldn't cut it and ran out of time, so they just made it as short as possible and stuffed it in somewhere. Voldemort should have seen "the fall of his last and best lieutenant."  Instead, he and Harry were flying through the air, tearing each other's faces off. 

King's Cross. Overall great scene. Understandable that they cut Dumbledore's backstory since they omitted it in HP7A, but Dumbledore was left without redemption for the Ariana kerfuffle. Good thing Movie Aberforth glossed over it all.  

But one thing that should have been a big deal for non-book-readers is that they failed to discuss why Harry can go back (that his mother's blood ties him to life, so while Voldemort lives, Harry lives.)  Did no one wonder why Harry didn't die?!

The Showdown. Not quite what I expected but okay. EXCEPT! The lack of verbal spells bothered me. Yes, shouting spells in the heat of battle may be distracting in a movie, but during The Climax of Epic Proportions? It's crucial for us to see the most Unforgiveable of Curses pitted against the simplest of spells; to see Harry defeat Voldemort not with the Killing Curse but with his signature spell! Was it really too hard to insert two (simultaneous!) lines that reveal the deepest natures of the characters?

Also, it's just a small detail, but why didn't Voldemort thud to the ground instead of disintegrating into ash? That would have underscored the point that Voldemort was just a human after all.

The Epilogue. Hilariously cringeworthy. That's all I have to say about that.


Generally, I loved the movie.  No, it's not perfect. The editing is choppy.  I wanted them to do parts differently.

But overall? They did justice to The End.  

So, what about you? Do you agree with me or am I talking nonsense? What did I get completely wrong? Share your thoughts!


  1. I think non book readers assumed the resurrection stone had something to do with Harry not actually dying. Just my thoughts..they would've been way too confused otherwise.

  2. Interesting thought. I really need for this to come out on DVD already so I can pick it apart!

  3. Yes, DVD is a must. Can't they just release it the week after it opens? :)

    I was a little disappointed that it felt like Neville didn't get his due. They still portrayed him as somewhat bumbling and such, when I feel like in the books he really comes into his own.

    And I wish there'd been time for Teddy.

  4. Agreed, Neville deserved better.

    And Teddy! I still can't tell which one was Teddy in the epilogue. (Was he IN the epilogue?)