Movie of the Week: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part II

(Spoilers abound so you’ve been warned)
It would have been pretty hard for them to screw up the second part of Deathly Hallows.  They got all the boring walking, arguing and trying to explain things like Horcruxes and Deathly Hallows out-of-the-way in the first part.  All that was left were the action set pieces.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows was the first book I thought J.K. Rowling wrote with an eye on how it would look on the big screen.  How else could you explain a series that was pretty low on action for the most part ending with a battle that could only be compared to Helms Deep in The Two Towers?

I thought Yates (directing his fourth Potter) did a great job with most of the action pieces.  It was also good to see some of the Hogwarts staff which had been relegated to the background for the last few movies finally have some moments to shine, particularly Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall) and Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick and Griphook).  The all-important Snape backstory was filmed a little over-dramatically but worked mostly because of Alan Rickman’s performance.A couple of nitpicks and thoughts:

  • I don’t like how they messed with the timeline of the end of the book (from Harry’s “death” to Voldemort’s death) so they could stretch it out another 10 minutes.  I thought the way events happened in the book (particularly Neville’s heroic moment) played better in the book. I understand they couldn’t let it end so quickly but having Harry and Voldemort chase each other around Hogwarts like Tom and Jerry with wands got silly after a while.
  • They didn’t do a good job explaining disarming someone of their wand was the equivalent of defeat and therefore transference of wand possession. If I didn’t already know that from the book, I would have been a little confused.
  • I laughed when Kingsley Shacklebolt and Dean Thomas shared a scene and spoke to one another.  That was the first time there have been two Black characters on the screen at the same time.  Needless to say, the wizarding world isn’t very diverse.
  • Another performance I enjoyed was Helena Bonham Carter when she was playing Hermoine pretending to be Bellatrix Lestrange.
  • Bloody fetus Voldemort? Ew.
  • The movies did a worst job than the books trying to convince us there was anything between Harry and Ginny Weasley.
  • Voldemort sure does scream a lot.
  • The hug Voldemort gave Draco Malfoy may be in the top five most awkward hugs ever exchanged in a movie.
  • I wonder if Harry feels guilty that he got everyone in Gringotts killed inadvertently.  Aside from Griphook who double-crossed them (but they were holding him hostage), those goblins were just doing their job.  It makes me think of the “Contractors on the Death Star” scene in Clerks.

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