Spaz's stuff
Harry Potter 7.2 first impressions

(Sat Jul 16 21:56:29 2011)

the long-awaited disappointment

i didnt re read the book before seeing this film, on purpose. and i still came away more annoyed than pleased.  

there are good things. the treatment of snape's end and the snape in the pensieve was perfect.  i cried so much i could barely see.  as i should have.  it took a minor liberty with petunia, but i was willing to forgive it.

but, to review my gripes hot off the presses, in we go.

since they condensed the timeline on voldemort finding the elder wand, i understood condensing the time at shell cottage to almost nothing.  what they did do there was fine, but the condensing failed to convey, as other things did, the blinds trust in harry, and the agitation of the order not being able to help.

I intensely dislike the whole missing aspect of Remus and Tonks in film 7.  The secondary arc of their marriage, pregnancy, and son is significant to the morals of the film.  You don't see the wizarding prejudice much against the match, you don't have the confrontation between Remus and HArry, so I suppose you couldn't have the resolution when their son is born.  But, we also don't know that HArry is the godfather, which helps give Harry some grounding and helps him realize how important he is as a person to others.  Did I mention that I find that arc as relevant and missing?

A minor matter, in the book, Bellatrix/Hermione presents her wand at Gringotts, because they HAVE it.  That is where seeds of suspicion are started, because the Goblins have heard that her wand was stolen.  More significantly, the multiplying treasure in the Lestrange vault was supposed to BURN and engulf them.  

When the trio apparate into Hogsmeade, wouldn't it have been just as simple to have them apparate accurately in front of the Hog's HEad so Aberforth could argue with Death EAters over the goat patronus as having them apparate elsewhere and run about for awhile before falling upon Aberforth?  I severely appreciated the levity and the interaction of a wizard with death eaters.  It revealed the death eaters are rather simple, which I think important to express.

Neville didn't look nearly so disheveled as he should have.  Just look at the American illustration on the chapter heading and you can see a black eye, ripped robes, long hair and dirt.  None of this were present in the film.  Also, it was implied that those who were holed up in the room of requirement still went to classes, as Neville referred to having gotten punished just that morning for not using the Cruciatus.  They are supposed to have been there for weeks.  It was never alluded to that Neville was the ringleader, that Luna and Ginny were his greatest allies, and all they did for the DA and in Harry's name to do their bit against Voldemort.  

Again, this seems a secondary character BLACK HOLE.  NEville is supposed to be the biggest turn-around in the whole series.  If you don't show what he comes up against, how he reacts to it, and how he comes into his own, it seems more of a fluke that he manages anything.  Even when he, randomly(at least in the film) kills Nagini, nobody but Ron and Hermione saw it, so he does not get the public acknowledgement of his bravery, firm conviction and strong character that set him up for adulthood in the book.  I mean, come ON, Neville was the other babe born as the 7th month ended.  It could have been him, not Harry.  Because it wasn't, and because of how things played out, it took him much longer to come around.  But, he DID!  And you just don't see that in the films.  Frankly, one thing I DON'T mind in the films is that he gets it together with Luna.  I was actually rather put out that they both marry other people in the world of Rowling.  I do think they are a good couple, and that bothered me.  So, to see them actively showing dependence on each other in the film makes for what I think is a positive change from the novel.

Want another BLACK HOLE? GINNY!  We didn't see her, or hear about her suffer for Harry.  We didn't see him scouring over the Marauder's Map looking for her dot.  We didn't see her begging to fight in the final battle.  All we got was a quick snog and a scream of "no!" when Hagrid carries Harry in, 'dead.'  (It was supposed to be McGonagoll screaming, in such a piercing and keening wail that Harry didn't recognize it and almost gave up his playing dead when he realized it.  I was plain MAD when it was NOT Minerva screaming.  I mean - Dame Maggie Smith screaming her heart out in despair?  I wanted that!  I wanted that added picture of how much faith the Order, the authority figures and the adults in HArry's life had in him.  I digress...)  One anguished scream does not an obviously devoted and involved and loving girlfriend make.  You don't see Ginny's depth, her steadiness.  I was looking forward to SEEING that on screen because it is hard to express it on paper.  TOTALLY glossed over.

The Weasley family. poof.  You barely noticed they were all there.  For the first while, you kept seeing Molly and it was quite some time before they even showed Arthur.  They didn't cone through the portrait together.  There was no reunion and peacemaking with Percy (a long-standing family tension that needed resolving to show how not all wizards gone the wrong way were followers of Voldemort, and that not all of them were irredeemable) and biggest of all, no Fred death scene.  I loved that scene.  They had just reunited.  Percy had made a joke, they were fighting TOGETHER, and then a gaping chasm was blown into the Weasley world.  In the film, I could barely be moved by seeing Fred's body, so brief and disconnected was the death from the reunited family.  It plain ticked me off that Percy was just sorta there, and then Fred suddenly wasn't.  This stuff MATTERS, people.

The kiss.  Um.  So, Ron and Hermione didn't tell Harry where they were going ion the book.  They didn't kiss in the chamber of secrets.  Now, it was freaking awesome how the horcruxes violently were ripped apart on film.  Each one differently.  I suppose, since they never showed the resolution of the relationship between HArry and Kreacher, thus there was no fondness for house elves, they couldn't rightly have Ron talk about them.  But, they SHOULD HAVE!  IT is part of Ron's maturation, that he slowly comes to throughout the books.  He started as a typical wizard who took things for granted and didn't even realize it.  3 square meals a day, the position of other magical creatures below wizards as normal.  He just shrugs it off.  He doesn't see it as odd, or wrong.  His statement that they should tell the houselves to get out of the castle because they can't ask them to fight and die for a wizard battle is representative of his real understanding of the worth of other creatures.  He DESERVED to be kissed for that.  And it was glossed.  anyhow, the whole. "So, NOW is the moment?" and "Well, there 's a war on, mate." was really quite side-splitting when you think of a dazed and dreamy Ron draped in an elated Hermione, with an exasperated Harry standing nearby waiting out the hormones.  In the film, the kiss was nice, but it was totally RANDOM.  I simply couldn't get into it.  I"m quite accustomed to being emotionally carried along with the fervor of a resolving kiss.  The kisses in HP really seem a disappointment.  not, in the novels - just on screen.

The battle.  We never see the Carrow's in action, or hear about their reign of terror.  McGonagoll was supposed to evacuate all Slytherins and all others who weren't of age.  Instead, they just mill about in a very panicked way.  Now, I adored McGonagoll's calling the suits of armor to service.  It was done perfectly accurately, and when she afterward said in the film, "I've ALWAYS wanted to use that spell!" in a giddy manner, I laughed with the best of them.  It showed the liveihood present in her person and was a fine addition!  The way to the Grey Lady and the information she gave was...not right.  But, despite glaring omissions, it worked.  The fiendfire scene was good.  Except, the diadem was supposed to be atop a blond, curly wig that sat on the bust of a moustached wizard, not buried and inside a box.  I guess we were supposed to really buy the "I feel horcruxes" angle HSrry had in the films.  Also, Hermione sucks on a broom.  She can barely keep her butt on one.  She hates heights and any sort of flying.  She was supposed to ride on the broom behind Ron and be quite freaked out, not turning on a dime above a room full of possessed and uncontrolled fiendfire.  

A personal sidenote, whenever I pictured Narcissa Malfoy's hair, which I believe was described as blonde, I didn't mind the idea of a dark streak that said, "I'm from the line of 'Black,'" but I always pictured it more along the lines of Terry Pratchett's Susan Sto Helit:, not as mostly brown, messy and unrefined.  Everything about my image of Narcissa was refined.  That hair in the films....just no.

HArry was supposed to wear the cloak out to the forest, and not stop to see Ron and Ginny or Hermione, see the devastation, and stop for a minute to explain to NEville that Nagini NEEDED killing.  Totally missed that poignancy.

His parents, Sirius and Remus were supposed to walk with Harry until the edge of the clearing where Voldemort was, not just a couple of seconds and then, plop, goes the REsurrection stone.

What the hey happened at King's Cross?  Voldemort was done beautifully.  But, Dumbledore was supposed to come clean with Harry and declare him a braver, stronger man than he had ever been.  Instead, he just wandered off.....???  That was pinnacle for Harry.  so, of course, we skipped it.

The killing of Bellatrix was better than I had imagined.  Molly delivered what I think is the only colloquially muggle profanity issued in the novels, with good reason.  And then, she battles Bella.  At first, Bella took it as a game and was easily besting Molly.  Then, Molly blossomed into a red-headed ball of internal fire and dueled with fervor and overtook Bella, killing her in a most interesting and passionate way.  

Of course, there was one problem with that.  Harry and Voldemort were supposed to be there, in the GReat Hall, battling as well.  VOldemort was to have howled in rage that the demise of his most loyal deputy.  Where, however, were HArry and Voldemort in the film?  flitting about outside, where no one could see jack diddly squat.  Did they speak as they dueled? no.  Did Harry reveal the secrets he knew that Voldemort had never discovered? aside from the allegiance of the Elder wand, no.  Did Harry offer Voldemort redemption? no.  Did Voldemort kill himself? no.  Were there any witnesses to the even-handedness and courage and wisdom of Harry Potter? no.  They screwed that over BIG TIME.

and....the Deathly Hallows.  How they can call the movie Deathly Hallows when it doesn't seem to have much to do with them, I don't know.  Of course, they forced it in artificially with Ollivander.  He wasn't supposed to know anything about the Hallows, only about the Death Stick, as it was part of his knowledge of wand lore.  Harry skipped out on the cloak.  He barely used the REsurrection stone.  and he DIDN'T REPAIR HIS WAND with the Elder Wand.  He just chucked the thing.  um, what?  that was supposed to be a small scar on HArry's effectiveness and confidence, the absence of his favored Holly and Phoenix feather wand.  The reparations he made to that wand seemed a signal of the eventual healing that would take place in him now that the great evil had passed.  on screen? skip. grrrrr.

finally - a wardrobe change and a haircut does not 19yrs time lapse make.  Seriously, in this series of films with such a heavy reliance on special effects, some that change the actors faces digitally, couldn't they have tried just a touch harder to add some grey, a wrinkle or two and make their voices sound like that of mature parents, not angsty teens? a general disappointment in these films: the general lack of wizarding robes and garb.  Wizards are generally supposed to dress differently, as a natural and cultural difference.  Only wizarding adults, and not even all of them do that in the films.  They seem content to compete with Muggle fashion trends of bootcut jeans and tank tops on their days out of uniform, not "typical" wizarding ware.  The wizarding culture is supposed to be strong and thriving.  The way it is portrayed in the books reminds me of the unfortunate realities of NAtive American culture.  The native americans of today dress as anyone else, except for a couple of festivals and the occasional wedding.  The portrayal onscreen of something that reminded me of that made me look on the future of wizard-kind with sadness, not bright hope.  IT may seem a small thing, and the director's I believe, thought that dressing the kids like modern teens would make the films more appealing, but I think it damages the core subtext of the wizarding world.  

So, there were some really great parts.  I mentioned a couple.  There were some ok parts.  I skipped ok.  And then there were some glaring problems with HP 7 (1&2).  Yes, I am a novel purist.  But, I hate seeing a beautiful, rich tapestry reduced to a virtual table runner.

there are my thoughts.

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