Farewell, Harry Potter

15 Jul

Just one last sweet ride on Hogwarts Express.  And bittersweet it was.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 gets my five star rating for best adaptation of the 8-part film series.  Harry, Ron and Hermione are ready to take one last stab at the horcruxes.  And stab these filmmakers do at the heart and conclusion of this generation-changing children’s series.

Since I hate spoiling things and expect you to do your duty and see this film at the theater, preferably this weekend, and then again later on, of course, I’m only going to share the bits with you that impacted me the most.  (And I hope you will come back by and comment with your own thoughts after you’ve seen the film!)

Elements I Love:

– The fun bits for faithful fans.  McGonagall’s line: “I’ve always wanted to use that spell!”  How they stretched Luna’s character to get Harry’s attention at Hogwarts.  Molly Weasley’s courage.

– That so many of Snape’s Pensieve memories made it into the film.  They were the jewel in the diadem, I mean, crown for me.  His love, his choices, his self-sacrifice without ever wanting anyone to know is the key to this story.  Though so many other characters sacrifice, his actions over the course of decades literally sways the course of the future.  His character blows me away.  And so does the casting of this role.  I have loved Alan Rickman since the moment I first watched him die in Robin Hood, and there can be absolutely NO DOUBT (as J.K. Rowling would have written in all caps) that he was the ONLY man for the part.  There was weeping in the theater for Snape.  And I was one of them.  Someday, someday, I’m going to write that man a part.  But I digress…

– That love is put into action by the characters of this series.  Though he is key, Snape is only part of the love demonstrated in this story.  Many characters lay down their life for the lives of others.  That so many characters put themselves last rather than first is remarkable.  The gift of this series is that love isn’t about a lot of words or dancing in the sheets.  Love is something you do, something you give, whether anyone ever knows it or not.  The beauty in the true nature of love.

Opportunities Missed:

– Maybe it was just how it was edited, but I was looking for some powerful but understated emotion in Narcissa’s examination of Harry.  I needed more than the close ups to tell her story.

– At King’s Cross, Harry asks Dumbledore about the doe patronus.  Dumbledore replies that he wasn’t a bit surprised.  Just one more line, just one more was all they needed to really hit the nail on the head and give Snape one shining moment of glory — “You know, I’ve sometimes wondered if we sort too soon at Hogwarts.”  Just.  One.  Line.

– Neville should have grabbed that sword and dispatched Nagini the moment it gleamed in the hat.  Right.  Then.  Waiting killed the moment, rather than the snake.

– Please don’t misunderstand me — the end was big and great and reasonably faithful.  But by the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort I was dying for Voldemort to get it sock in the face with the ‘flaw in his plan.’  Snape was the final nail in his coffin, and I wanted to see the look on Tom Riddle’s face as he went down knowing it.  This time Harry gives no speeches.  There is no demonstration of the final great difference between Voldemort and Harry, the “you’re about to die because you never understood what love is” thing.  And Voldemort does not perish from his own rebounded curse at the end.  If the chapter in the book was Budweiser, the scene in the film would be Bud Lite.

– I laughed so hard at Jenny and Ron’s 19 year later hair I couldn’t take the final farewell seriously.  But that laugh was worth the price of admission.  Can’t you just see those kids in wardrobing that day on the set?  Wish I’d been a fly on that wall.

– But here is the biggest missed opportunity of all: the element of remorse the good guys lack as they sending the killing curses flying.  Tell me I’m wrong.  Tell me that Dumbledore didn’t mean what he said about “pity the living.”  Tell me that the souls of the good guys don’t get split and ravaged like the bad guys’ souls when they kill.  Justice was served, but at a cost to all.  As a fan I was ready to celebrate the justice, but I had hoped that the lesson of the story would permeate into the actors performances, that there would be sadness and loss mingled with the job that had to be done and the joy of being free of the Dark Lord.  Discuss.

And finally…

Things I’d Like to See in the Deleted Scenes Reel:

– Someone please tell me they shot the reunion with Percy and the Weasleys but cut it.  Please.

– Teddy Lupin.  Harry as godfather before he becomes a father himself…I gotta see that.

If you love the books and have followed the series, you’ll love the film.  If you haven’t followed it, it probably won’t mean much to you, but go anyway.  After you’ve watched the other seven films, of course.  Why are you still here?  The box office is waiting.

Farewell, Harry Potter.  It’s been fun hanging out at Hogwarts with you.  Thanks for the impact you’ve had on our culture, for the questions you’ve made us ask ourselves.  Thanks for the entertainment and diversion you’ve given us from the every day…and how you’ve made us appreciate the every day we’ve got.  Thanks for inspiring us and reminding us how important seeking the Magic is.  You will be missed.  Until you come out on Blu-Ray. 🙂

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3 Responses to “Farewell, Harry Potter”

  1. Jason July 18, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Giving it the weekend so that everyone has a chance to see it before I reply, here are my comments on the movie.

    I’ll start with what I didn’t like (it’s always better to get the bad news out there first, and then end on a high note. LOL!):

    The fact that they almost completely ignored the Deathly Hallows. There are three: the Elder Wand, the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak.

    By changing the type of stone it was (from a Philosopher’s to a Resurrection), it does two things. One, it COMPLETELY NEGATES THE ENTIRE FIRST MOVIE OF THE WHOLE SERIES. In hindsight, we can look at that movie and see the logical progression to this one. By looking at that first movie (or book), you can see that all three Hallows were mentioned there. The first movie was ABOUT one of the Deathly Hallows, with the other two mentioned–one more directly than the other–and sets up the rest of the series. By changing the nature of the stone, it ignores everything that has happened up to that point.

    Besides, what fool would ask for a stone that resurrects people from the dead? That’s not what the brother asked for–he asked for an item that would allow HIMSELF to cheat death, not be a master over it. He asked for an item that would prevent death from coming after him. By asking for a resurrection stone–one that only brought back ghosts, as we are being led to believe–then in order for him to cheat death, someone would have to get their hands on it and then use it to bring him back. Not as a living being, but as a GHOST. What is the point of that? PLUS, how on EARTH did Dumbledore get his hands on the Resurrection Stone? By ignoring the nature of the stone, we now no longer know. Yet if they had just stated the obvious–that it’s the Philosopher’s (or Sorcerer’s) Stone, then we know EXACTLY how he got it: Harry gave it to him after finding it in the Mirror.

    The Elder Wand. This one is a little more forgiveable, but not by much. Effectively, the same thing happened in the movie as it did in the book. But not in “reality.” In the book, Harry used it to fix his wand, and then, to hide it, he put it back in Dumbledore’s grave. Leaving it there, Harry’s thoughts were that, no matter who got their hands on it, they wouldn’t be the true master of the wand. When Harry died, Mastery of the wand would pass away. But that’s not what they did in the movie–he did NOT fix his wand (I wonder where he got his replacement from?), and then he broke the Elder Wand. Not exactly the smartest thing to do. I’m honestly hoping that he DID fix his wand first, and that we will see that in the Deleted Scenes of the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy when it releases.

    The Invisibility Cloak. We are never told (in the movie) that Harry’s Cloak is the third Deathly Hallow. It’s like they completely ignored the fact that it’s a family heirloom. That Harry is DIRECTLY RELATED to the three brothers. In the book, they made a point to say that ALL OTHER invisiblity cloaks lose their magic after a while, yet his remains constant. It so effectively hides the person under it that even Death cannot see that person. Rather a large piece of information that they chose to ignore, right? So why did they? Inquiring Minds… Also, in the book, Dumbledore says to Harry that, for so long, he thought the Wand was the mightiest of the three, but had been wrong. The Cloak is.
    The second item that really disturbed me was that they chose to show Voldemort feeling the death of his soul pieces. That’s not the case. He did NOT feel it. Really frustrates me that they made this change, because the Voldemort from the book went into the battle knowing that he was unstoppable.
    Like you, I was rather put off by them holding back on Neville killing Nagini. Sure, it was a fantastic moment in the movie when he did, but at the same time, it would have been SO MUCH BETTER had he done it the way that it happened in the book: facing down Voldemort, reaching into the hat, pulling out the Sword, and then dispatching Nagini. It was his defining moment. Personally, it was his moment to say to Voldemort: “Look, idiot, *I* could have been The One and you would have never known it!”
    My “meh” pieces (or the pieces that I could go either way on):
    The Epilogue. Really guys, REALLY? Thought it was far funnier than poignant, the way it was supposed to be. But it was still OK.
    When Narcissa protected Harry. In the book (yes, I know the book is always better, but this is one of those times that they could have really gotten it right), you could feel her emotional state. You could feel her concern for her son, and her joy at learning he was still alive. You KNEW why she was protecting the fact that Harry was, indeed, alive.
    Speaking of Harry’s “death,” I thought it was rather odd that Hagrid just carried him back, rather than weeping uncontrollably (as we all know Hagrid is prone to do).
    Stuff I loved:
    The final climactic battle scene. It just went on FOREVER. And IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!
    Neville saying he has the “hots” for Luna. Everyone in the room who had ever been that geeky awkward teenage boy at some point in their lives got a warm glow in our hearts.
    Everything about Snape. The scenes in the pensieve were so defining that you could easily see how much he really cared about Harry, because Harry was Lily’s son. “You do have your mother’s eyes” being his last words was so touching and poignant. Everyone who had read the book felt their hearts break with his dying breath. Alan Rickman was absolutely perfect for this character.
    There is always more to talk about, but these are my initial thoughts.

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