So it’s all over. 7 books, 8 films, 14 years of my life, fini! But oh what a way to go out!
Traditionally I have not been a fan of the Harry Potter films. As a lifelong bookworm I found it very hard to accept the differences and gaps which present themselves when a book makes its way to the big screen. Will the characters match those in your imagination? Will the set reflect the places you created? And more importantly will your favourite part make the cut? And with books as intricate as Harry Potter, you were always going to disappoint someone.
But something changed around The Order of the Phoenix in 2007. That was the first film which truly blew me away. I have 2 explanations for this; 1) I stopped reading the book immediately before going to the cinema. I found having the book fresh in my mind just led to expecting a standard the films could never reach. 2) David Yeates took over as director and changed the films for the better. Either way I’m glad it happened!!
So when it came to the final film I was very excited, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. From start (literally right at the start, you get the impression you’ve jumped in mid scene) to finish it takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, adrenalin and in one scene an actual rollercoaster! I believe this adaptation was actually quite true to the book, with only a few diversions, all of which still allowed the film to stand out on its own merits.
I’d like to discuss a few of my highs and lows.
Firstly the explanation of Snapes journey, a delicate matter which needed to reveal a lot of history and a massive turning point in Harrys life. In my opinion this was done tremendously. The snippets of Snapes memories of Lily contained a great deal of emotion, something we have not previously seen in Rickmans portrayal of the greasy Professor. At the same time the dreadful truth of the secret Dumbledore had kept from Harry were revealed. I don’t know about you but when Harry emerged from the pensieve I felt like I’d just heard the news for the first time. A superb scene with incredible acting from all involved. Something I do not often say about Radcliffe. Though I must say, Snape being the first on the scene at the Potter house did lead to some continuity errors in my mind.
One part I was not so enamoured with was Molly Weasleys shining moment. Did anyone else find this a little rushed? I remember the part in the book so vividly…Ginny and Bellatrix locked in a duel and Molly (who had not been there previously) rushing in roaring at Lestrange ‘NOT MY DAUGHTER YOU BITCH!’. It gave me Goosebumps. Molly, the quiet protector, the mother figure who practically adopts Harry…swearing?! This was her moment; it was so satisfying to see another side to her! So to see it sandwiched between scenes, essentially with Molly just standing behind Ginny as Bellatrix fires spells, and then a collection of Weasleys watching as Molly steps forward with the rather lacklustre line. I was so disappointed…and then disturbed as an evil, gleeful smile crosses Walters face after Bonham Carter was obliterated? It just didn’t seem right at all.
Another random moment was when Voldemort has Harry trapped in the flows of his robe. A stunning piece of cinematography, with Fiennes looking elegantly majestic while his archenemy struggles in vein. Then the next time we see them, Harry is running away! Seriously, he was pretty trapped, wrists, ankles, chest and throat all bound…how the hell did he get out of that?!
Harry and Ginny’s kiss? Painful!
Who could help but chuckle at Mcgonagall’s glee… ‘I’ve always wanted to cast that spell!’. I love her 🙂 Also ‘BOOM!’ Brilliant!
Then the ending, for me slightly anticlimactic. The decision to take the final battle out of the Great Hall and away from the crowd was an interesting one. It made the moment entirely about Harry and Voldemort, good vs evil, ‘as we started, together!’. But, once the deed was done and the Dark Lord vanquished…nothing. No cheering, shouting, no congratulations or praise from the friends who’s lives he saved? I understand the losses which had been sustained, it must be quite hard to both convey the pain and relief of that moment, but I feel it could have been done better. At least dub out the horrendous extras who can be heard having a ‘small talk conversation’ as Harry walks through the crowd! ‘How are you?!’ ‘I’m alright, how are you??!’ …oh well I just survived a fight with some of the most evil witches and wizards in the world…so I’m just dandy!! Give me strength.
While this post has been more negative and positive, I loved the movie! I’ve seen it twice already (it only came out on Friday!) and intend to see it again…though maybe not at the cinema. I would say more, but this is my first ever review and I feel I have gone on long enough.
My final point: the 19 years later. Honestly for some reason I wasn’t even expecting it to be the same actors, I found it quite funny to see the attempts at making them into parents. Did anyone else think that only Harry (and Draco, haha!) had been truly aged (short of being given a ‘grown up’ hair cut)? Not all loose ends were tied up, but I guess for that you’ll have to read the book. To be fair, you should have done that anyway!
(My first ever review…how did I do?)