Friday, July 29, 2011

Mischief Managed, Part Two.

Here is part two of my review for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (now that's a lot of part twos). You can read part one here. Or you can not read them at all and come back to this here blog next week, when I shall regale you with tales containing much less obsessive geekery. Enjoy!

Me in 2005, trying to magic a light fixture as I show off my fancy threads. Basically I was just as nerdy then as I am now - it's good to know that some things never change, right?

- Speaking of Gred and Forge - they are hardly in this movie. They've been so great in the past films, I would have loved to see more of them. I do love their dialogue with each other right before the baddies come storming in. It's so casually typical, yet poignant especially knowing what is going to...oh, crud. Need more tissues. The teenagers are totally weirded out by my random outbursts of emotion.

- I love the little bits of humor (Neville egging on the baddies on the bridge), it breaks up the tension so nicely. Plus, I'll gladly take more Neville screen time any day (when did I start channeling my inner tween?). I have a feeling Neville is going to BRING IT very, very soon. Go, Neville!

- Hermione destroying the Horcrux + getting drenched with her Wheezy = MAKE OUT TIME. Now THAT'S a kiss! (Aside: Did anyone else feel as if the Harry/Ginny snog was rushed? I know they were preparing for battle, but STILL. I needed more passion!)

- Neville running towards Hogwarts as the bridge crumbles behind him has me on the edge of my seat. He has so come into his own in this movie, such a fine action hero is he! Actually, I feel like all the characters have grown into their roles so well in this final movie. They each wear their characters so naturally now, and have made such an impression on us. They will all be very, very hard to forget. I'm feeling nostalgic and the movie isn't even over. Stop looking at me like I'm crazy, teenagers - one day you'll get old and weepy too.

-  oooh...good close-up of Voldie's wand breaking. Not working out so well for you is it, Mr. V? Hah!

-  Even if it didn't happen in the book, I so adore Neville's declaration of love for Luna. It's sweet and said with just the right amount of earnest intent, not to mention truth "I should tell her, (because) we'll all be dead by dawn". (Well, it's not true for Neville and Luna, but it will be for another well-loved couple...waaah!)

- What on Godric's Green Earth is that fire monster thing that is chasing the trio in the Room of Requirement? Is it a snake? Is it a bear? Is it a dragon? It's CRAZY! Fly, friends! Fly!!!! (I just got what it was. Fiendfyre. 10, 000 Bonus Geek Points for ME.)

- It's great that they kept Draco true to his character, not even a sideways glance to Harry for saving his skinny little butt back there. Well done being a jerkface, Malfoy. Well done.

- I think Hermione just figured out that Nagini isn't the last Horcrux! But will she say anything?? I forget if she knew in the book or if she was told? Who cares! Let's keep watching!

- The battle, although secondary to Harry's personal journey, is shown as no less important to the overall story. You really get a sense of it here as the the trio are running through the courtyard with the battle raging on around them (Lavender Brown died? I never knew that!) - and you're still very much interested in what happens to all the other characters. Well, at least I am. I wonder if the casual movie-goer will care as much.

- PATRONUS POWER! Go Aberforth! What fast pacing for this film, the action doesn't let up - ever!

- Rickman vs. Fiennes - the final standoff. Now this is a potent acting combination. And Fiennes makes a powerful screen villain, does he not? Evil McEvilson, in spite of his noselessness.

- Oh my goodness. The not seeing of Nagini's attack on Snape is even more gruesome than it would have been if we had seen it. Just the sounds and bloody shadows seen through the clouded glass are enough to send me over the edge. It's horribly dramatic when your brain has to fill in those grisly details.

- "You have your mother's eyes." The last thing Snape saw, and the last thing he said - it's just as powerful here as it was in the books (although differently worded, it's no less emotional). Do I hear sniffles coming from somewhere around me?

- Harry stumbles back into Hogwarts, it's as if he's only peripherally noting the dead/wounded. It's more obvious that he feels like he's responsible for it all, setting him up to willingly give up his own life...

- FRED. I'm just...devastated. They didn't show how he died. Although Ron's reaction to his death is heartbreaking, we see it through Harry's eyes and it seems more - detached, somehow? It's definitely not as gut-wrenching as I thought it would be. This could be a good thing. I wish Fred and George had more of a presence in this film - their one line didn't set them up for any sort of real connection with the audience when Fred died.

- Lupin, Tonks. Holding hands. This is hard to see, even if we knew it was coming. I wonder if people watching this movie without reading the books will feel this strongly about beloved (but not main) characters dying. My guess is that they won't quite realize the indelible impression they have made on us...and that's too bad.

- Whoooooa. Snape's pensieve memories are hauntingly beautiful. His childhood begins as if in a dream, it is gorgeous and eerie all at once - and saturated with such color. Oh, how he loved her. I am blown away by the visuals in this film.

- I can NOT handle seeing Lily die. When she is singing to Harry as he sits in the crib...I am losing it. More than I ever did while reading the books. I read this book before I had children. Now I am experiencing this on a whole other level, and it's too much. And goodness, the flashbacks to the earlier movies are so beautifully done.

- I can't figure out the Snape/Dumbledore relationship. It feels to me (although remember, we are seeing this through Snape's memories), that Dumbledore took advantage of Snape's love for Lily. It feels like Dumbledore pushed Snape. A LOT. He pushed him into everything, and I don't know that he ever really understood the depths of Snape's capacity to love. And again, totally entranced by the acting here, everyone is in such fine form - it's mesmerizing.

- Snape died never knowing if he had succeeded in keeping Lily's son safe. He died feeling as though Dumbledore was raising Harry "like a pig for slaughter" (and now Harry knows that he is a Horcrux), and I only wish that Dumbledore told him his grand plan - although I understand why he didn't. It adds to Snape's tragic story, layer upon layer of sadness.

- I've stifled a few sniffles up until this point, but this - this moment when Snape discovers Lily is dead (and backstory: how HE played a part in her death) this is when my tears have begun to flow freely. I would hazard a guess at this moment being the best most powerful moment of the series.

- I want to hug Alan Rickman as he holds Lily's lifeless body - while so obviously ignoring the crying baby. This speaks more than a thousand words. It was all about his love for her, until his very last breath. "You've got your mother's eyes." I NEED MORE TISSUES.

- This part here, where he tells Hermione and Ron that he's off to die - this seems odd. It's a deviation from the book, which is fine - but Ron looks so...constipated maybe? What a bizzare reaction to "I'm the last Horcrux, I have to die now, it's been nice knowing you." He could have been all, "thanks for the memories, mate." but there wasn't even a pat on the back. Just indigestion. Odd. It breaks my heart that Hermione wants to go with Harry. It did seem as if they all knew what had to be done, even without Harry telling's a big moment for the trio and everything they have been through (apart from the tummy issues).

- Will casual observers get that the Resurrection Stone is in the Snitch? Will they care that Harry isn't wearing the invisibility cloak? Should I tell them? Am I insane? YES. They really downplayed the Deathly Hallows in both Parts 1 and 2, didn't they?

- I love that all the lines from the book have been faithfully adapted in the forest scene. It's beautifully done, and if I wasn't already an emotional wreck from Snape's memories I might have cried a bit more here. But this scene was expected - Snape holding dead Lily blew me away and broke my heart.

- Harry's dead (ish). The scene was everything it should have been. I have to admit that when I read the book I totally looked up images of flaying and immediately hurled. I've been curious to see if seeing flayed babymort on screen would make me feel the same way. It did.

- Kings Cross scene: This scene way more profound for me than the forest scene, I don't know why. I wish there was more of Dumbledore’s backstory with his family and Grindelwald but it's understandable that it was cut. This line in particular by Dumbledore has me reeling with emotion: "Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it."What a nod to the world Rowling has created for all of us with her words.

- Very nice touch with Narcissa, as Harry comes back, it speaks volumes about love overcoming fear, etc.

- Now that Harry's dead, Voldie's become completely unhinged. He's prancing around Hogwarts, strutting his stuff like a proud (beakless) rooster, and WHOA. He's HUGGING Draco. AWKWARD. Join the Dark Side, friends! We have cookies! And hugs!

- His laugh is making me laugh. You've gone soft, Voldie!

- Neville's speech is making me cry again. Damn you, Matthew Lewis and your stirring displays of emotion!

- Things are moving super fast again: Harry's alive! Sweet Jellybeans! I love that they kept Molly Weasley bitching Bellatrix out, even if it seems totally random. Harry's going after Voldie, chasing him around the castle, and now flinging both of them off the cliff - what did he think that would accomplish, exactly, sans magic even? MIGHTY MORPHIN' HARRY/VOLDIE FACE! That was the weirdest thing ever.

- Neville gets his golden Horcrux moment. In slow-mo even. That did not disappoint. I think Neville deserves his own spin-off series - but only if Matthew Lewis stars in the movies.

- Elder Wand Power! That'll show you, Voldemort! The final battle is, meh - probably because we all know what is going to happen. And it did! Ew, gross. Voldie flaking away in the throes of death looks like a very bad case of dandruff. It's not visually very pleasing at all. But ding dong, LV is dead! Let us rejoice with some tea and crumpets! How very British.

- Harry broke the Elder Wand? Without using it to fix his own wand first? Small but IMPORTANT detail, script writers. Okay, and this whole trio on the bridge thing is quite funny. The panning out in particular, while they stare off at...what, exactly?

- The epilogue is partly poignant, and partly hilarious. Firstly, there is NO WAY they look that good nineteen years later. I know what nineteen years does to a body, and Ginny needs a mummy tummy. Putting her in a dowdy skirt ain't gonna cut it. Ron, on the other hand, looks like he's wearing a padded tummy - if not, then I just insulted Rupert Grint's abs. Sorry, mate. My abs feel your abs' pain. The HP Next Generation kids are quite adorable, and even though Harry looks like a very unconvincing thirty something year old, his scene with Albus Severus is sweet.

- And the very last shot of the trio looking at the train pulling out of the station, waving goodbye - to their children, to their past, to the books, to us...that is well done, indeed.

- Did they show Harry's scar at the end? I forgot to look!


And that's the review, friends. If you are reading this, then thank you for sticking with it until the end. My overall impression was that this was a spectacular send-off to the Harry Potter movie series, it included so much of what made us fall in love with this story in the first place. There were laughs, there was darkness, constant action, and above all there was magic. Yes, the movie moved at a blindingly fast pace, but that was to be expected, as this was more of an action film than anything else. Still, it was incredibly faithful to the original story, to the overall good-vs-evil plot, and it was so, so well acted.

Now that I've had a few days (and weeks) think about it, I'm even more convinced that this last film will remain as the best of the series. It was the finest kind of film adaptation - even now people are talking about how the final book was brought to life on screen. I couldn't help but notice that in the theater, the people who were crying the hardest (and it didn't matter what gender they were) were the ones who read these books as children themselves. I was quite a bit older when I began the series (and it's telling that I cried the most when Lily died to protect baby Harry) but for those who grew up with these characters, I am sure that saying good bye means much more than simply walking out of a darkened theater. For them, it means an official end to a childhood, and to all the magic and wonder that Harry Potter has brought to all of our lives.

And honestly? Watching this movie made me giddy with anticipation...because I can not wait to share the magic and wonder of this incredible story with my own kids someday very, very soon.

Inara and I, in 2005 - the day Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released. I tried to get her interested in it, but all she wanted to do was eat the pages. Perhaps I misjudged the appropriate age to get her started on HP. By a decade.
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