angelophile: (Rushmore)
[personal profile] angelophile




So, last week, I made a shopping list of thing I wanted to see in the last Harry Potter movie. Things that weren't slavishly reproducing the last half of the book blow for blow, but variations that I hoped to see in the movie. Stuff like:

  • More than a couple of minutes of Neville badassery.

  • An actual redeptive arc for Draco. Hell, a single redemptive scene would do.

  • Ron and Hermione not just disappearing when the action moves to Hogwarts. You know, giving the major characters of the series something to do in the finale would be nice. And something that isn't just randomly slipped in there. It should be Ron and Hermione's story as much as Harry's.

  • Also Ginny.

  • A finale that isn't the last half hour of the two hour film filled with exposition.

  • The horcruxes actually still being important and difficult to dispose of. Rather than you getting the impression the writer suddenly got bored with that plotline and whipping through the remaining horcruxes as quickly as possible to get them out of the way.

  • Some Slitherin actually sticking around to defend Hogwarts. You know, just one or two in a crowd scene, even.

  • More than a few seconds of Horace Slughorn doing something decent.

  • Snape's ending? 

  • For that matter, showing how major characters die instead of just tossing it out in passing.

  • And if you have a major gay character in the series, why not use the opportunity to mention that on-screen?


  • So, did I get any of what I wanted?

    No.

    The movie is frustrating in every way the book is. Major characters we've followed from story to story pop up, maybe get a single line, then vanish again. Molly? Well, she gets to dispatch Bellatrix, but I can't remember her saying anything but her famous line. Arthur? He was there somewhere. Fred and George? Um... Actually worse than the books because everything happened off screen, which also had the effect of making Molly's moment anti-climactic, because there wasn't any association between one of her offspring being killed and her defense of another. (Or maybe it was the way that, whether a villain died, they just crumbled into dust. What was that about? Good guys don't leave corpses? Anyway...) Hagrid? Oh... two lines, I think?

    And then the fist clenching exposition dumps. The point where Voldemort withdraws from Hogwarts purely so we can time to do the exposition dump that is Snape's memories is particularly noticeable.

    And the one scene I was looking forward to. The one scene. Where Neville, after the Sorting Hat has been set fire to WHILE ON HIS GODDAM HEAD steps up to kick generous levels of ass is disappointingly absent. Yes, Neville gets the chance to shine and splitting his scenes of badassery up to play them up, but that's such a build up of pure magnificence that it loses a lot by diluting it.

    (While I think of it: The sword given to disappearing and the real sword appearing in the Sorting Hat. Explanation for that came there none.)

    So, in that respect, there's actual omissions which disappoint on top of how disappointed I was with the final book on multiple levels anyway. Very frustrating. And everything else I disliked about the book still remains.

    That said, the movie definitely delivers on some levels. Despite the exposition dumps, the pacing for the first half hour at least is strong and they almost nail it. There's some great effects shots, particularly in the vault scenes. With the exception of Daniel Radcliffe who, sadly, seems to have got more one-dimensional as the movies have been and gone, everyone seemed to be bringing their A-game to their performances. What little time Alan Rickman did get on screen was wonderfully judged. Ralph Fiennes was, by turn, both chilling and hilarious. Maggie Smith showed how amazing she is. Evanna Lynch and Matthew Lewis continue to be my favourite people and Kelly MacDonald made a fantastic addition to the cast. There was much to like.

    But, at the end of the day, a close adaptation of a book I found lacking is never going to better the source material unless it takes major deviations and it didn't do so.

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