Thursday, 21 July 2011

Of course it is happening inside of your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

I have just returned from seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 for the second time.  I don't normally write reviews but I feel that this series has been a massive part of my life since I first read The Philosopher's Stone.  In many ways I have grown up with Harry and it is very sad to feel that it is all over.

Now the following contains SPOILERS...












There are many things to love about the latest film.  At first I was disappointed and surprised that they were splitting the last book into two films - I saw it as a cynical way to make more money, but in reality it really helped them to include more of the plot, films 5 and 6 in particular had been really lacking from being too short.  The bad thing is that because of the rushing of the previous two books there were elements of the plot that I think were missing:

  • The film is called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, yet it doesn't at any stage make clear that Harry has the third, and always has had it, the Cloak of Invisibility.  Nor does it show how Dumbledore came to be in possession of the Resurection Stone.   
  • Most glaringly of all, because of the above, it then doesn't make clear that when walking out to face Voldermort in the Forbidden Forest, Harry is effectively the master of all three and therefore the master of death.  It gives no explanation as to how Harry survived this time, not even mentioning that Lord Voldermort had taken Harry's blood inside of him so he lived on in him.
  • A major disappointment was the final confrontation, when Tom Riddle finally dies.  I really enjoyed in the book the way Harry was talking to him about the Hallows and explaining that Tom had underestimated/not understood their true power as he has a habit of doing.  The film could have gotten away with it if they had let Harry explain it to Ron & Hermione afterwards, just before he snaps the wand, but they didn't.
  • I also thought it being in 3D was a bit pointless, not a lot of 3D stuff happens and the CGI 3D effects made it look less realistic - particularly with the dragon.
  • They kept in the 19 years later part.  I guess many people liked that but for me it was all too cheesy.  I'm being hypocritical I guess because I always want to know what happens to characters afterwards but at the same time I like to be able to create my own futures for them in my head.  I guess I just found this future too perfect (and poor Ginny, did she have any say in her children's names? James, Lilly and Albus Severus!)
There are more negatives but I don't wish to dwell on them, there are however some bits that were very positive:
  • Having failed to establish what the other Horcrux's were in advance I thought the way that Harry saw what they were through his connection with Voldermort was good - although they could have emphasised that the cup was Helga Hufflepuff's.  I would have also had Harry explain to the others when he said that it was at Hogwarts that it would be because it meant something to him, as it did Harry.
  • I really liked that he could sense them because he was a Horcrux himself.  That took a lot of effectively luck out of it.
  • In the book I got annoyed that Ron could suddenly speak Parseltongue.  The film keeps this in but Ron then turns to Hermione and says "Harry talks in his sleep - have you not noticed" - at least they try to give an explanation.
  • The Diadam was also killed by a Basalisk fang rather than the fire.  I also thought this was an improvement, the fire killing it in the book seemed like a cop out.  
  • Neville was awesome in the main.
  • The film however was only so good because of the sequence involving Alan Rickman and Severus Snape's memories.  Even second time round I had tears in my eyes.  I thought he was absolutely magnificent. 
Most importantly, they kept in my favourite line, the title of this post.  For me that was what made the books so great, when you were reading them it was all in your head but at the same time it felt so real.  When you finished you had to go back into the real world and there was almost a sense of loss.  The books came to life in your mind and there they were real.  

It was great seeing these images put onto the screen over the years and now I feel sad that it is all over.  The kids grew up and actually became pretty decent actors overall.  I think Rupert is the best of the three but they have all improved massively - some of the others maybe less so.  I'm sure the film series along with the books have touched a huge number of people, J K would have hardly begun to dream of it when she started out so long ago.  I'm sure most of them will take Harry and the rest with them.

I guess all that's left to say is:

Mischief Managed.

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