Tonight was the beginning of the end for the Harry Potter series, as the seventh film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 finally made its way into theaters. I attended the midnight screening with much anticipation, and also some trepidation; would they stay faithful to the story of J.K. Rowling and give Deathly Hallows the proper adaptation that it deserved? In my opinion, the answer was a definite and resounding yes.
As a fan who has been disappointed in the past by the majority of the changes that has been made to canon, I was pleasantly surprised that there were fewer changes in this film than in the past four. Yes, there were changes and omissions that did bug me, but I feel that overall, David Yates and company did a fabulous job of giving the story the proper respect it deserves. The casting of new characters (Rufus Scrimgeour, Bathilda Bagshot, Pius Thicknesse) was spot-on, as usual and the performances given by the veterans was some of the best I’ve seen. Here are some of my likes and dislikes of the film, and I will include a few spoilers as possible.
- The Tale of the Three Brothers – This sequence in the movie was the BEST in the film, and in my opinion probably the best scene in ANY of the Harry Potter films to date. The look and feel of the animation was so completely different from anything we’ve previously seen in the franchise, and really gave the tale a sort of haunted quality when accompanied by Hermione’s voice.
- RUPERT GRINT – I may be a bit biased in this assessment as Ron is my favorite character, but Rupert Grint was fucking BRILLIANT in this film!! Finally the writing and direction has given Rupert something worthy to work with and to show why Ron is one of the best characters in the series, period. Whether he was being comical, talking some sense into Harry, being affectionate with Hermione, or being vulnerable, Rupert hit the nail on the head every. single. time. with his performance. If he isn’t nominated for any of the usual awards that Dan and Emma are nominated for (People’s Choice, MTV, etc) then I will be ready to Avada Kedavra someone. It is obvious from Rupert’s performances in this film (and also in Half-Blood Prince) that he is the most talented of the trio, although he rarely gets to shine as he has in these past two films.
- Hedwig – Although the details surrounding her death were slightly changed from the book, I think that it was very beautifully done. The fact that she died while trying to protect Harry seemed a much more noble death than when she died as a helpless animal trapped in a cage.
- Destroying the locket horcrux – I think this scene was very well done, although I will admit that the increased sensuality of it threw me for a bit of a loop. In some ways it felt very uncomfortable to watch; kind of like seeing siblings making out. But visually, the scene and the images of Harry and Hermione felt very other-worldly and was very beautiful to look at. And the spiders…again, Rupert’s performance was one of a tortured soul, and I felt it.
- The opening scene – It was heartbreaking to watch Hermione erase her parents’ memories, and then to watch as she disappeared out of the photographs displayed in her home. Just heartbreaking.
- The 7 Potters – Started out just a s funny as I imagined it would, and got so intense so quickly that I was literally on the edge of my seat. The chase scene was well done and really showed how much the Death Eaters were determined to get to Harry.
- The Fall of the Malfoys – The fall out of favor of the Malfoy family is something that is almost fun to watch, until you get a look at Draco’s face at any point in the films. The regret, confusion and fear are all over his face, and it makes you feel sort of sorry for the person who has taken every available opportunity to irritate the trio.
- Nagini and Bathilda Bagshot – WHOA. Enough said.
- Omissions – Although I have learned to view the films as a separate entity from the books, there are just certain scenes that I feel should have been in the movie; the first being Dudley’s “I don’t think you’re a waste of space” line from when the Dursley’s vacated Privet Drive. This would not have added anything to the film, nor did it’s omission take anything away; this is just a nostalgic wish of mine, since this particular moment was the first to make me cry in the books. I also would have liked to hear more about Dumbledore’s background, especially since flashes of “The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore” kept showing up throughout the film.
- The locket horcrux scene – Although I did enjoy seeing this scene come to life, there were a few things that bothered me about the way the scene was written. First, I think the writers did a great disservice to the dynamic between Harry and Ron by taking what was a defining moment in their friendship (after the locket was destroyed) and turning it into a small comic moment. In the book, Harry and Ron have a brief but very heartfelt discussion about the image Ron saw from the locket, in which Harry assures Ron that he loves Hermione “like my sister. I love her like my sister and I reckon she feels the same about me. It’s always been that way. I thought you knew.” With the talents of Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, that scene – done properly – could have easily been one of the best scenes in the film. Instead, we get to follow such a major scene with “now we’ve only got 3 left to destroy?” Big fail on the writers part.
- The portrayal of the Harry/Hermione “romance” and the unnecessary addition of the Harry/Ginny scene – Part of this section of my blog will really surprise anyone who knows about my preferences regarding Harry’s women, but I really feel that if the writers could not do justice to the Harry/Ginny relationship, they should have left well enough alone. In Half-Blood Prince, the implied attraction between Harry and Ginny never seemed natural, as Ginny treated Harry like a child for most of the film (let me feed you, let me tie your shoe, hold my hand, close your eyes…yadda yadda yadda). In Deathly Hallows, we are given a sample of what a Harry/Ginny relationship would be like, just to have so much Harry/Hermione innuendo forced at us for the remainder of the movie. Ginny’s piece of the puzzle has never fit, because the writers never introduced her properly in the films as a love interest for Harry.
- Ron’s emotional outbursts in Malfoy Manor – Maybe it’s just me, but I really wish we could have seen and heard the extreme anguish that Ron experienced while Hermione was being tortured. That scene absolutely broke my heart in the book, and I think Rupert Grint would have pulled it off superbly.
- “Here Lies Dobby – A Free Elf” tombstone – Why was it left out? This one little line is still quoted today amongst Potter fans as one of the best parts of Deathly Hallows. I don’t understand why they couldn’t take an extra 10 seconds to add that in.