In the final installment in the Harry Potter film series, SNAPE. SNAPE. SEVERUS SNAPE. Oh, and a battle. And magic. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Harry Potter.
It IS pretty weird that this is the final movie we will ever see devoted to the Harry Potter series. I will admit that I am not experiencing the same sense of finality as others are about the series. I’ve only been in the Harry Potter community for just over a year, and while I certainly have a huge attachment to these books, it’s short-lived compared to how long many of you have been reading J.K. Rowling. (I’m not setting this up to claim that this movie didn’t affect me, though. Did I cry? OH GOD.) I still have a lot going on with me and Harry Potter. I had my panel presenting Mark Reads Harry Potter today at LeakyCon 2011. (OH MY GOD IT WAS AMAZING OMG) In a month or so, I’ll be working my way through my reviews of the series to convert them to books, and I’ll still try to find time to re-read the series. On top of that, this was only my second midnight showing.
All that said, I have to admit I felt kind of sad when Deathly Hallows Part II came to an end. No more movies? I don’t get to see my favorite trio onscreen anymore? Am I going to sob softly to myself throughout the day?
I will say, right off the bat: I enjoyed part two way more than the first part, and was impressed by how many essential scenes were treated with the love and respect they deserved. The same problems I had with part one presented themselves here, but I definitely felt that that good well outweighed the bad.
Shall we, my Potter friends?
THE VERY GOOD
- I love how the dementors look in the films in general, but that image in the beginning of them floating over Hogwarts was a spectacular way to set the tone for this final film.
- For the vast majority of Deathly Hallows Part II, the CGI and special effects were not distracting in the slightest. I wanted the effects to accent the story and to replicate the fantastical story during the battle. I wanted it to feel grandiose and ridiculous. (I mean ridiculous in a good way.) Bravo to those who worked on this film, who captured so much of the horrific nature of the Battle of Hogwarts.
- How awesome was the execution of Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault? Not only in size and in detail, but the rapidly multiplying treasure was super creepy and overwhelming.
- Awesome dragon was awesome.
- I felt that, more than any movie, this one dealt with a lot of the more complicated aspects of the story in a way that was both efficient and poetic. From the way Harry’s links to Voldy’s mind were filmed, to things like “The Prince’s Tale” and how Voldemort was defeated, I knew the writers had to explain things to an audience who had not read the books without irritating the fans of the source material. I thought it was done well.
- I wish that Aberforth’s role was a bit fuller in the movie, but again, it was a great way to introduce the idea of Dumbledore’s failures. Obviously, I’ld like if it was as complete it was in the book, but enough was given to make Aberforth’s Patronus casting a satisfactory emotional moment when the Battle of Hogwarts began.
- UGH NEVILLE’S ARRIVAL IN HOG’S HEAD. MY GOD.
- Harry’s arrival into (what I think was) the Gryffindor Common Room was FANTASTIC. But it also made me realize how much I’m going to miss these characters.
- I don’t care how gross this makes me. Dean Thomas is goddamn gorgeous. There. I said it.
- I almost feel like I could spend an entire review discussing The Battle of Hogwarts. I wanted a film version of this to blow me away. With all of the funding and work given to this adaptation, I set my standards high. The scenes in this battle had to be overwhelming. They needed to be terrifying. They needed to make me feel tension, despite that I already knew what was going to happen. I know that this is a difficult demand to meet, but meant to be the biggest, most terrifying battle of the whole series. I’ll address some of the few bizarre things in this film later, but by and large, the Battle of Hogwarts was done beautifully. It was everything I wanted. I got chills when the stone soldiers jumped down, and the awe never went away. It was nice to get a chance to have it fully realized in the way it was here, to give us a chance to see the scope of the Hogwarts ground, and to understand just what they were up against.
- I’m so glad that Professor McGonagal got more screen time than I expected. She’s such a fascinating character here, as she takes a personal, emotional role in protecting the school she’s come to call home. It’s in the worry and determination on her face: she will save this castle even if it takes her life.
- Voldemort’s voice in Hogwarts was done well, as if it was a loud whisper that could simply be heard.
- Snape’s death was made so much more violent and horrifying. When I heard the location had been changed from the Shrieking Shack to some boat house, I worried I wouldn’t like it. But I have no complaints. It was done with the respect the character deserved. This might be a weird thing to say, but I liked that Harry at least tried to stop the bleeding instead of watching him die like in the book.
- The bodies of Lupin and Tonks. UGH HEARTBREAK.
- While I’m on the topic, virtually every moment Alan Rickman was on screen amounted to the best performances of the entire series. I loved the method used to give us “The Prince’s Tale.” I loved that they didn’t shy away from the actual point of that flashback. I loved that they kept the lines, “After all this time?” “Always.” Because I might have teared up? i might have. Rickman’s emotional range in this movie was so much more expressive, and it was great to see him pull of these other sides of his character.
- UGH. THE FOREST AGAIN. PERFECTION. This is the moment I lost it. HOLY SHIT.
- Harry’s death. I was initially a bit weirded out by him going up to tell Hermione and Ron what he was doing in the way he did, but in movie logic, it kind of worked super well, especially when Hermione started bawling. (CUE MY WHOLE THEATER BECOMING SOBBYCON 2011.) His march to his death was exactly as it should have been.
- KING’S CROSS. My god. So beautiful and they even showed Voldy’s dead soul baby thing!
- Every moment after King’s Cross up until that one moment we will discuss was done well. Harry coming back, Narcissa betraying Voldemort, marching to Hogwarts, Neville’s fantastic speech (I LOVE YOU FOREVER NEVILLE), and the re-ignition of the battle. UGH. SO WONDERFUL.
- McGonagall vs. Snape. The subtext dripping from this scene is FANTASTIC. Even before this, you can tell Snape hates what he is doing. You can see that when Harry starts to call him out, he so desperately wants to tell this boy what he’s actually done for seventeen years. And when McGonagall fights him, he’s saddened that he can’t reveal who he really is. For McGonagall, she’s believed Snape to be detrimental to Hogwarts for years, and now she gets to act on it. SO GOOD.
- why can’t mcgonagall and molly hang out all the time
- Ron and Hermione’s kiss. Unexpected and completely necessary.
- The Room of Requirement scene, for the most part. Done pretty much how I imagined, except for a couple things. I’ll address those in a bit.
- THEY KEPT IN MOLLY WEASLEY’S AMAZING LINE. EVERYTHING IS PERFECT.
- Sorry, will never accept the Voldemort Harry hug. Nope. Why are they flying AND hugging????
- Um, the Draco Voldemort hug was also awful? Why are you even touching him?
- NO GRINDELWALD. how dare you remove my queer backstory to dumbly. NO. NO.
- Um, doesn’t the movie audience not even know about Lupin’s kid???? WTF.
- why did Bellatrix/Voldy disintegrate. what.
- I have to complain about this. STOP PUTTING JOKES INTO SUPER SERIOUS SCENES TO BREAK THE TENSION. It gives EVERYTHING an awful pace. Up until the Battle of Hogwarts started, it seemed you could not go more than three minutes without a joke or a visual gag. STOP. DOING. THIS. It is unbearably distracting. I understand the need for humor and it’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but this was overkill. To give an example: WHY WAS THERE A JOKE DURING THE SCENE WHERE NEVILLE GAINS CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER VOLDY’S SPELL HITS HIM?? That did not need to be there! It added nothing! That is a deeply serious scene! (Also, I know realize this sounds like I DON’T LIKE FUN. Oh well.)
- Why the goddamn hell was Blaise Zabini with Draco in the Room of Requirement?
- Not enough Dean Thomas.
- Too much epilogue. Ginny looked like she was 19.
- NO LUPIN TEMPER TANTRUM. BOOO FOREVER.
As you can see, I enjoyed way more than I disliked in Deathly Hallows Part II. I’ve had a chance to discuss it with a lot of people at LeakyCon and I’m definitely happy with the way these films ended. I am feeling a bit more depressed that there are no longer going to be films after this, probably more so than when I started this review.
But I want to know what you all thought about it! Favorite scenes? Least favorite scenes? Were you satisfied?
(On a semi-related note, a post about the Mark Reads Harry Potter panel will go up later today as well, so swing by later on!