Monday, July 18, 2011

Deathly Hallows Part Two: a relentless vent

I'm going to sound like a Harry Potter snob in this post. I accept that.

I was never one to criticize the movies for leaving out certain sub-plots and moments that existed in the books. In fact, I've always defended every movie from those who insisted they weren't faithful to the books. But Deathly Hallows Part Two........

It actually removed parts that I:

a) thought were very important/poignant
b) was looking forward to with great anticipation

Two nights ago, my friend Molly and I were laughing as we listed all the things we thought were ridiculous about this last movie. While we couldn't hate on it completely---because it's Harry Potter and we love everything Harry Potter---we weren't completely thrilled. Let me say, though, that both of us had read Deathly Hallows in some way right before the film (she read the whole book and finished the day of the film; I was speed-reading through the 2nd half of the book right up until the cinema lights dimmed). So the magic of the book was still fresh in our minds. And maaaybe we had higher expectations as a result.

Here goes. Just everything I can think of in one big brain fart. Once I write it all out, I'll be able to get over it.
  • What happened to Dumbledore's backstory with Ariana, his sister, and Grindelwald? thought that was kind of important.
  • Movie Fred and George had four ears, total. Minor, but a silly mistake.
  • Ron and Hermione's kiss was just disappointing. It should've happened in front of Harry (which would've been funnier) and should've had some kind of buildup. Or, you know, a reason for happening. In the book, Ron says something about house elves, which causes Hermione to initiate the kiss. And he responds so enthusiastically that he lifts her off the ground. Afterwards, he's dazed as Harry tries to remind them, "OI! There's a war going on!" That's romantic, sweet, and funny. 
  • I wanted to see Ron's heartbreaking reaction to Fred's death ("I WANNA KILL DEATHEATERS"). It's a great scene that had me in tears while reading it at 3 AM in the morning. Unfortunately it was reduced to a silent, brief shot in the Great Hall. I understand the choice, in a way, but I wasn't as moved.
  • I really wanted to see the Battle of Hogwarts the way it was described in the books. As Molly put it, it was supposed to look like the school itself was attacking the bad guys. Professor Trelawney should've been dropping crystal balls with glee. I wanted to see McGonnagal charging after death eaters with a pack of school desks. I wanted to see an unleashing of mandrakes and other Herbology-specimens-turned-weapons. This was stuff I was looking forward to a LOT.
  • Harry Potter would never have told anyone he was going to the forest to sacrifice himself to Voldemort. In the book, he doesn't tell anyone. On his way to the forest, when Neville asks Harry what he's doing, Harry lies and just tells Neville how important it was that Nagini be killed. In the movie, he never does so, which left me wondering how Neville knew to kill Nagini...
  • To borrow from Molly again: Harry and Voldemort's final duel is a battle of intelligence, not power. Thus Neville should've killed Nagini in one shot. I don't accept Yates' belief that the final fight between Harry and Voldy has been such a long time coming that it has to be dragged out/embellished. Maybe this is justified from a cinematic point of view, but I would have been pleased with the film depicting that final duel the way it played out in the book. It should've happen in the Great Hall, in front of everyone, as Harry talks to Voldemort about why he won't win. The buildup should come from the audience's not knowing if Harry's reasoning will actually work (not from Voldemort chasing Harry, only to have them hit each other with that ridiculous red and green light). Harry should yell Expelliarmus as Voldemort yells Avada Kedavra. Then Voldemort should collapse, with a dull thud, because he's mortal. Mortals do not blow up in shards which then flit away. This goes for Bellatrix Lestrange, too. Have to say, though, I was as giddy as anyone else over Julie Walters' delivery of "Not my daughter."
  • Yes, it's romantic that Snape loved Lily Potter all those years. But to conjure up a scene where Snape cries over the dead body of Lily Potter at Godric Hollow......? It was a little much (and a little hilarious, for me) to see Alan Rickman weeping hysterically over her dead body. Especially because I'm not sure that ever happened. I love Alan Rickman, but I couldn't keep a straight face during that scene.
  • Remember that time when Harry broke one of the Deathly Hallows? Snapped it right across his knees? No? That's because it never happened. This point is more a matter of taste. (Well, all of these points are I suppose.) I know some people who loved that Harry broke the wand. I still like the way it was written, though. 
Excuse me if I wrote with excessive, fangirl zest. I never thought it'd come to this.

To be fair, there are parts of the movie I liked and/or accepted. Like I said, I thought Mrs. Weasley's famous line toward Bellatrix was spot on. I almost accept that Harry told Ron and Hermione that he decided to go to the forest (even though he didn't tell a soul in the book) because when Emma Watson said, "I'll go with you," I bawled. I accept that they let the actors play their older selves 19 Years Later; it would've been weird to end the movie series with foreign faces. Oh, and I thought that the Golden Trio's acting in this movie and its predecessor was fantastic all around. I wish we could've seen more of them together in Part Two, but I can't complain since Part One is focused solely on them.

This vent is rambling and fanatic and nitpicky. Believe it or not, though, I didn't hate the movie. It's just the only movie in the series that bothered me as I was watching it. 

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