Reviews: Harry Potter

Deathly Hallows Pt2: Goodish

Reviewing this film for your sake is pointless. Most people will have known if they were going to see it for years by now. It's less about the film and more about Potter and what the industry has achieved and it's more event than film.

So I will just give you my opinion without trying to be useful.Minor spoilers ahoy.

The beginning and end are shaky but the middle part, stretching from the time where the Hogwarts teachers show how badass they are to the end of Snapes reveal is all parts awesome, and very very moving. It helped that I was already attached to the characters but their are rumours that my face was nearly damp towards the end of that setting.

The writers made good decisions as to what would leave out. Dumbledore, whose hugely complex life and morality was shown and resolved over the course of one book, was always impossible to include in the film and although the film cannot be as good as the book without it, it was sensible to leave out. The only bits they left in (regarding his brother) felt as awkward as it might. The only shaky cut, is the Hallows business which they cut out entirely (despite being the title of the film and established in the last one) when a certain more-magical-than-normal event happens to Harry you are given no explanations as to why, and in fact the way he's treated the hallows up to this point actually obscures the reason. He doesn't even have all three on him.

The things they added make less sense. They made Neville less bad ass and turned his crowning moment of awesome into a protracted and flukey fight scene. They turned the showdown between Harry and Voldemort into a protracted and flukey fight scene. Rather than how it happened in the books, which was all about, not striking back and taking the suffering (which is why people who hate Harry Potter on christian grounds are treating a slightly more subtle version of the Narnia series as if it was satanic) they just have a fight. It's not even clear why it ends like it does.

The fight with Bellatrix on the other hand, isn't long enough and the extra bits they added to the Gringotts scene add some pretty large plot flaws.

In the end the film excels at setting and imagery and at one amazing moment manages to outshine the book. Until then it's a slightly misty reflection of amazing subject material.

Second Half of Deathly Hallows: Good movie, bad adaptation

I've known that the second half will focus on the final battle ever since hearing about the film coming out in 2 parts, and that said focus will demand sacrifices from details and other subplots that I may have found significant when reading the book. Knowing that for years, however, still didn't quite prepare me for watching this movie.

I just can't bring myself to agree with decisions that were made on what to cut out and what to leave in or add. The first 30 minutes rushed through content like it was nobody's bussiness. It's as if someone was screaming at the characters: "MOVE YOUR ASSES! GET TO THE CASTLE! WE DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS, IT'S BORING!" A key part of Dumbledore's backstory was completely left out, namely everything regarding his sister and how that affected his realtionship with Grindelwald. Was it really that hard to squeeze in an extra minute for a flashback? The scene where Harry stepped out of the crowd in front of Snape instead of trying to remain undetected while searching for the horcrux is probably going to end up in the CMoA page but, to me, it just screamed Narm. The movie was just trying too hard to FORCE awesomeness into scenes that didn't have them in the book or just plain didn't exist. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. It often felt like a scene either ended abruptly or came out of nowhere.

The battle itself recieved all of the attention from the writers and directors, and it shows. It was very visually impressive and awesome. Crowning moments gallore for everybody, as it should be. Unfortunately, the movie focused way too hard on the "awesome" part and forgot about the horrors of war that were so tangible in the book. The Anyone Can Die nature of the conflict was addressed in a throwaway scene where the camera panned over some sad faces and familiar dead bodies. In the book, Fred's death was described in excruciating detail that conveyed a tangible sense of loss, in the movie, his corpse recieved a second or two of screentime.

I know I'm focusing on the negative here and I would like to add that, overall, I did enjoy the movie but not as much as I had hoped I would. It just didn't feel like it does justice to the source material. All the emotions that the book gave when reading it just stomp the movie into the ground by comparison.

Deathly Hallows review - Part 2

....(contd. from review part 1)

- Some other changes - eg: the showdown b/w Harry and Voldy is an actual several-minute long duel instead of the Reason You Suck Speech from the book - are intended towards setting aside the narrative element to concentrate on the visuals of the conclusion, and it pays off with some truly amazing scenes. I can guarantee that Neville Longbottom fans will have the time of their lives in the second half; he is just walking talking awesome. Even gets a kickass Big Damn Heroes moment - and the applause in the theatre was bigger than the one Harry subsequenty got for killing Voldemort. Seriously, the movie's worth watching just for Neville, trust me.

The only major flaw that I can find is that you don't really feel the Anyone Can Die chaos of the battle - in the book, the students who drop dead left and right are the ones we've met and known for years, and it has the right impact. Since the movies never really bothered to give detailed screentime/characterization to these characters, and also because the actors playing them have changed over the years, we don't know these people, so they're just one step above mooks. And all the characters that they did bother to give named roles to - like Luna, Cho, Seamus, the Patil twins, Lee - they all survive the battle. Even Fred and the Lupins' death didn't strike the way I thought it would. On the plus side, the sheer amount of awesome Spectacle could put Michael Bay to shame.

All-in-all, Easily the most HSQ-loaded movie in the series.

Deathly Hallows review - Part 1

I just got back from the night show of Deathly Hallows Part 2 and I have to say IT. IS. FUCKING. AWESOME. I got my hands on the Blu Ray for Part 1 earlier this week, to make sure I could see them both on the same day - watching P1 at home, and half an hour later, P2 in the theatre, I had an almost back-to-back experience.

I didn't think much of Part 1 - it was too slow-paced and Yates seems to be a hardcore Harmony shipper (topless kissing, anyone? Not that I'm complaining about seeing any part of Emma Watson's body, but still...). Anyway, I kinda figured they wanted to get all the boring stuff out of the way with Part 1 so they could concentrate on the Battle of Hogwarts for Part 2, and yup, that's exactly what happened. Less than thirty minutes into the movie, we're back at Hogwarts and the fighting starts.

As usual, they've cut out or changed some stuff that you might or might not have issue with - Arianna's story is never told, for instance, and Snape's childhood friendship with Lily doesn't get enough spotlight - although his love for her does show, and you actually feel for the character - even before the pensieve-flashbacks, when you see Snape standing over the school in the intro, the emo-turmoil shows in his face. Gotta hand it to the actor, doing what he did with what little screen time he had. Other changes include (teeny-tiny spoiler here) Harry snapping the Elder Wand in half and throwing it away instead of returning it to Dumbledore's grave - which IMO is extremely stupid, 'cause I'm pretty sure the most powerful wand in the world, the fucking Deathstick, isn't supposed to just crack in two like that.

(...contd in review Part 2)