directed by David Yates / starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Michel Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter
SPOILER ALLERT! for those two people on Earth who haven't read the books yet. (Also, I might advise you to read this post only after you've seen the movie, because I go into details you might not want to know yet.)
I remember when I went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ten years ago. I had just won a huge box of delicious chocolates on a lottery of some sort, and I ate them before and after. When we got back from the cinema, I was just about to tell my little brother what troll bogey had looked like (yes, that was important at the time), when I hit my toe on a closet door or something and it hurt so much I couldn't say anything in a while. I guess I liked the movie. My age has always been fortunately fitting when it comes to the Harry Potter experience: I read the first book when I was around eleven myself, and grew up simutaniously with Harry (and Dan Radcliffe; we're the same age!) as the books and later movies kept coming. So I didn't watch the first movies as critically as I would now, and only later realised how lousy they are. At the same time, very early I learned not to expect too much of a Harry Potter movie. They should always be judged by they own special standars. And the standards are never too strict, because come on, it's Harry Potter, it'll always be awesome anyway.
Oops, I'm rambling. Point was, it's been a decade since the first movie and that seems so impossible. Moving on, to the topic. I was looking forward to this final movie more than any other before. I knew it would be good; part one was excellent, but failed to give me the sense satisfaction, because, obviously, the story was cut in the middle and no circles were closed. So, what I needed from this film was first and foremost that satisfaction, and closure. So that I could, with reasonably high spirits, accept that there will be no more Harry Potter after this, and move on to look forward to other things. And as sad and wistful and wonderfully nostalgic it was to say goodbye to those characters and to that world (again; I think I've gone through this once before, some years ago...), I guess I'm feeling quite happy and satisfied and I got most of my circles closed. I didn't even cry much!
I've still got something to bitch about, naturally. Most of the bitch-worthy things are quite stupid and unnecessary complaints about why my favourite bits from the book didn't make it to the movie - properly or at all. I often frown at people who geek out and keep bitching about little, pointless details from the book that didn't match with the movie. A movie based on a book is always an interpretation, a version, it's not supposed to be a slaveish duplication. But hey, guilty as charged! I guess I paid more attention on the missing details than usually because I'd just been reading the book all day. (I was in quite a hurry to finish it; I had a good 400 pages to wade through before midnight, they had only just escaped from the Ministry. But I made it!)
Now, let us bitch, shall we! No Percy comeback! Sure, they never set up the story in the previous movies, so they couldn't do it of course, but I love those bits in the book. Fred's death was dealt with far too hastily! I mean, come on, it's Fred freaking Weasley, his death is the saddest death in all the books, I wanted to savour that horrible moment for a bit longer. The brilliant (at least in the book it is) first kiss of Ron and Hermione was so anti-climactic! That was one of the moments I was looking most forward to, and it was gone like that! What is more, no awesome reaction from Harry, none at all. Blah! And not enough Dumbledore! I love how in the book he begins to feel like a vilain at certain point and how Harry is all miserable and angry about it.
Then two of my biggest complaints, which almost ruined the whole thing for me, because they left such a, um, dubious taste in my mouth. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort was just too much! They had tried too hard to make it look climactic and visully interesting and grand, and it took a lot away from the emotional aspect of the scene. Less would've been more... The book had it right; Harry was calm and certain that he would beat Voldemort and made his opponent frustrated by knowing things he didn't. There was no need for running (and flying... sigh) around and hysterical screaming.
Finally... the damn epilogue. I'm one of the people who like the epilogue in the book, I think it's fitting and necessary and sweet. In the film, I wanted to buy it but I didn't. Damn. Where's the CGI when we need it? The 'grown-up' characters looked like teenagers wearing their parents' clothes and too much make-up to get into a club without asked to show their ID. This it what we call FAIL. It was half-comical and half-disturbing and it preveted me from cherishing those precious final moments. (And no "Don't let it worry you. It's me. I'm extremely famous." Boohoo!)
Now, enough bitching. Because I liked most of the stuff, anyway! Here's something I especially liked: Shirtless Rupert Grint (we need more of that in this world!). Gringotts and the dragon and the goblins. Luna ("Harry Potter! You listen to me right now!"), awesome as always. Filch, reporting that students are out of bed, and sweeping the floor after the battle. Neville, for being a total bad-ass and for that amazingly touching speech. Long gone are the days of the whimpy little boy who kept losing his toad. Aw! McGonagall, who I grew to respect and love even more than before on this latest reading round. She just rocks! I loved her reference to Seamus's frequently scorched eyebrows, and that one very uncharacteristic but altogether hilarious line ("I always wanted to use that spell").
Furthermore, I liked the added scene where Harry confronts Snape in front of the whole school. Didn't expect that! The whole Snape storyline was actually handled really, really well, I have no complaints here! Also I loved the clips from all the previous film in the Pensieve. Aww. Wee Daniel. Can't get enough of him and the contrast to the present day version. I always enjoy the bits with the Malfoys, because I'm a big fan, and (more or less) secretly always wanted them to leave the Dark Side and become kick-ass heroes. I love that in the end they kind of turn good, or at least less bad, and that the film remembered to show that as well.
Hermione as Bellatrix/Helena Bonham Carter channelling Emma Watson was brilliant! I love me some Helena! Finally, I found it funny and fitting how they dismissed Ron's sudden ability to speak Parsel tonque with a joke ("Harry talks in his sleep, did you know?"); it always was a bit ridiculous.
I have no complaints about the actors. The main threesome did a solid, good job: Emma Watson seems to have given up her eyebrow acting for good, I couldn't help loving Rupert Grint even if he really tried to suck, and Dan really impressed me a few times. Like after he learns he has to die, that look was amazing. Go Daniel!
The grand battle of Hogwarts was of course the highlight of the film, as that was what took most of its running time. It was epic, yes, but maybe just Helm's deep epic, not Pelennor Fields epic. Anyway, I had lots of goosebumps and the book's rousing mood was there; I love how they all unite to fight a mutual cause. Though I wanted to see the house elfs and Trelawney throwing her crystal balls around. And Peeves! I don't get it why there is no Peeves in the movies!
By the way. I'm a bit disappointed that people weren't dressed up for the occasion! It was a midnight sneak preview after all! I saw only a couple of cloaks and one Gruffindor scarf. Where were all those wonderfully weird and daring people I so much love??
That's that then. I don't feel quite as empty as I expected myself to. I guess I know that the Boy Who Lived still lives on and can always be revisited. This is the end of another era, one that I've been living since before I had my first pimples, one I've grown up with and always enjoyed no matter my age. But I don't think it makes much sense to feel too crushed about its end, because this era really never ends, I'm sure.
Goodbye, childhood. I'll be seeing you.
"You'll stay with me?"