Film review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 7.2 (SPOILERS AHEAD)

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I’ve now been to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows thrice, once at midnight with some of the girls from Hollins’ Children’s Literature program; the following day with Erin; then again with a group of old, dear friends that I’ve shared Harry Potter with since the beginning.  Each time I’ve come nearer and nearer to true crying, though I don’t know whether that’s a reflection of the movie or my company (I think it’s more likely the latter actually).

I’ve decided that it is, in fact, a good, well-done movie.  The problem is that it is a poorly done cinematic adaptation.

I want to reiterate before I enumerate my quibbles with Yates that I do enjoy the film, that I’ve paid for it thrice.  But Yates missed some key points in his adaptation:  (Beware something of a fan’s rant.)

  • Where’s the love?

There’s no mention of there being a possibility for redemption for Voldemort.  There’s no mention of Harry’s love for his friends having defeated the invincible Elder Wand.  Way to miss the point of the series, Yates.

  • Where’s everyone?

I’m not sure I realized till it wasn’t in the film how much it meant to me that everyone ultimately unites against Voldemort: the house-elves (General Kreacher, I missed you!); Trelawney, who never leaves her tower; Sprout with her mandrakes; the centaurs, who earlier wouldn’t hear of helping Dumbledore or Harry; the giants, who aren’t all bad; all the friends and family of everyone who remained at Hogwarts to fight and the people of Hogsmeade; Percy….  Now, some of these people were in Yates’ battle (Trelawney, Percy, Sprout), but their entrance into the fray was not highlighted.  Percy’s betrayal, let alone apology, was not even mentioned….

  • Where’re the death scenes?

I know Yates was afraid to traumatize us.  Thank you, sir, for your consideration.  One problem, I, and I think many other fans, had hoped the film would bring a sense of closure to these deaths, closure that I really don’t find possible when I’ve been offered even less evidence of the deaths than JKR gave to us originally.  I wanted to bawl in that theater; I expected to do so; I have not yet.

  • If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Voldemort and Harry’s face-off, striped of its exchange, Harry removed from his Dumbledore-esque role of explaining what has been happening, was better in the book.  Neville’s heroic moment, delayed and removed from its original audience and context, was not as epic.  These were disappointing.  This is particularly problematic as Harry and Voldemort’s battle becomes a large part of the film.  I was never keeping a record, but I’d wager a half hour’s time on screen, or certainly a quarter of an hour.  Some other changes I understand: Voldemort, Harry, and Nagini all being effected by the death of a Horcrux, for example.  While it directly counters book canon, it does make for a nice visual, increased tension in the plot as Voldemort knows what is happening and is therefore becoming more aware of his vulnerability.  Another nice touch is Voldemort’s speaking directly into people’s minds rather than just projecting his voice; it’s creepier.  Did the boathouse really better the scene that takes place inside of it?  Not really, but nice touch with the Gryffindor scarf hanging behind him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.  Dir. David Yates.  Heyday Films-Warner Bros, 2011.

This review is not endorsed by J. K. Rowling, Warner Bros, or anyone involved in the making of the Harry Potter films.  It is an independent, honest review by a reader.

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