i know, i am actually writing about a movie i left my house to see! and on opening night no less! also i would like to add that this will include spoilers so turn back now if that’s an issue for you …
i can also say, in an effort to fill up the first few lines if you happen to have this on an RSS feed, that i feel i need to see it again to have a firmer, more final opinion on all the particulars, but the short answer is – i liked it. the tone felt right, they’re handling the transition to adulthood well, i think; this one was more cerebral in feeling than GOF, as one might expect, but i did feel sometimes like Newell just went wild with the equivalent of a summer-blockbuster-action-wizard movie. which is not to say i didn’t like it — i liked it also. but i felt like the performances here were really good, really subtle and layered (which incidentally is what i liked about Cuaron’s POA, the layers, subtlety, transitions).
all the main actors turned in really superb performances, even if they did fundamentally change Harry and Sirius both — and here’s my thought on that. in 890-some-odd-pages, there is time to get it. why Harry’s angry, why Sirius is hot and cold, etc. in a film, i’m not sure we’d have had time to get over thinking that Harry was a right little brat. they can’t afford to make the audience dislike the characters outright and then come through that, with everything else that has to be barrelled through, so Yates either explains it – as when Harry says, “i’m so angry and i don’t know why” or inserts it elsewhere, as when Sirius calls Harry ‘James’ in the duel right before his death. also i LOVED the scene in the train station where they managed the transformation and Sirius is sitting there in a raggy old coat! i know it’s not canon, but it was awesome. the tapestry was also cool, if not how i imagined it. the important thing in the book is that they do truly love each other, despite their flaws, and that message came through i thought.
i have never liked Cho, even when Harry did, and i realize she’s a necessary evil and all, for several reasons, but i thought for purposes of economy it was a genius idea to pin the ratting out on her, as it accomplished the following: 1) eliminates another character; 2) eliminates the need for another visit to Hogsmeade, the scene in the tea shop, and several fights, and gives Harry and Cho a reason to call it quits without miles of backstory; 3) covers the use of illegal methods by Umbridge (veritaserum) and leaves Cho in a position where no one will blame her, really really. i was sad not to see “SNEAK” … but… most people in the world are not looking for a miniseries, they want a movie.
OK, Ginny — awesome! she rocks so hard! Yates is making up for her relative unimportance in the movies, i think, so that next time around the movie-viewing audience won’t be all confused. Woo hoo! Go Ginny Weasley! loved how Ron and Hermione are often wearing similar things – stripes at the same time, etc. Luna was very good also, and used well in the film to condense and address some things.
Umbridge was really good and i am glad she giggled instead of trying to do the cough. much safer, same idea. i thought all of that, and how Filch was handled, and the typesetting and look of the decrees, and the KITTENS! were perfect. bang on. Bella … oooh crazy witchy woman. can’t wait to see more of her. also the way the battle was handled with everything swooshing around in light and dark. awesome. IMAX 3-D will be really really amazing. Ralph Fiennes is just so perfectly awful and creepy, esp in that black suit. Kreacher was perfect.
and Snape. Alan Rickman, you are awesome. Snape, as always, perfect. perfectly snarky. delightful. i look forward with interest to the next film, since he will have to get more screen time. i thought the occlumency lesson was actually not a bad way to transition there – and well handled. there were some comments i apparently missed the first time that i will be listening for the next time i see it.
i could go on. there were lots of other nice scenes – Grawp was handled well, the bike bell was kind of heartbreaking … Tonks, the end fight scene between D & V (love how D calls him Tom still btw) etc etc etc.
with that, i will now list my gripes, and my assessment of their importance:
- the brains… how i wanted to see the brains! oh well. i think the full battle scene would have taken too long, and i did get a sense that Yates was trying to be compact and economical.
- more Fred and George, which includes the swamp, the fireworks writing “POO” … sigh. at least we got the dragon.
- st mungo’s. very curious to see it, but again – the book is freaking 800 and change pages! something had to go.
- breaking down the WALL on the Room of Requirement!? i think not. this one is a bigger gripe, which i realize might sound weird. so unnecessary, i felt, and are we just going to assume it ‘fixed’ itself?
- Mrs Black. my biggest gripe. two seconds. it would have taken two seconds. and you know they have the budget. sigh.
so, a couple of small nargles, but on the whole, this was a Hagrid of a film – likeable if slightly flawed, but overflowing with good intentions.