Film #24: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

director: David Yates
language: English
length: 130 minutes
watched on: 7 Aug

Apparently nightclubs in Edinburgh all open till 5am during August. Festival’s gotta be good for something, at least. Harry Potter comes into it because I trundled down to the local cinema one Sunday afternoon having been out until half 4 or something the night before. So ridiculously late. Anyway, the local cinema has leather fucking sofas instead of rubbishy chairs, and is particularly spacious, and doesn’t cost anything more than the bigger chains. And thus all was well, and I was able to veg out in front of the final installment of everyone’s favourite wizard. The 8th film, ironically. Kinda like Voldemort’s soul…

Basically, I do think is a big issue around the fact that they decided, in the world’s most rubbishly-disguised ploy for money, to split the final book into two films (the official excuse was to fit more of the material into the film). I think both films suffer as a result. Now, the book isn’t the best of the 7, and we’ll come to that, but it follows the most basic of basic narrative structures: build-up, then climax. Here we now have one film which is all build-up, and one film which is all climax. Part 1 does manage to end on a nice cliffhanger, but it’s not a decent climax – and it’s mostly them being broody in a tent. Part 2 ends up being almost completely centred around the one battle. It begins with a relatively feeble amount of build-up, as most of the emotional scenes between the characters have already happened in Part 1.

But anyway, whatever this film is, it’s hard to make it anything better than its source material… which is, well, not that great. My mind might just be clouded slightly by that god-damn epilogue – it is, after all, the note that the book leaves you on – but the whole ending isn’t really that satisfying to begin with, and I think the story suffers by leaving its original setting of Hogwarts right up until the end – the splitting of the films into 2 does mitigate this effect somewhat, however, as the second film now spends much more time in Hogwarts than the equivalent from the book. The whole thing about the Deathly Hallows (which have been more sensibly renamed relics in basically every other language – what the hell is a hallow?) was confusing to begin with, and not translated very well into the film medium in my opinion.

I think the battle between Harry and Voldemort was extended compared to the book… I certainly don’t remember Voldemort grabbing Harry in the book as he does in the film (see the still above), and I’m fairly sure Harry didn’t spout some cheesy homoerotic line at Voldemort right before they plunge… together… off a tall… tower…

As for Snape’s subplot, a lot of people have pointed it out, and it’s a fairly trivial and obvious error: if you spend the entire film series pointing out that Harry “has his mother’s eyes” – and the line is repeated moments before the offending scene – you don’t then cut almost directly from Daniel Radcliffe with bright blue eyes to the young Lily Potter with very dark brown eyes. It’s as if they couldn’t even be bothered. Or is it meant to be some kind of postmodern commentary on the fact that neither of them actually have green eyes?

That said, the awesome quotient was high, and I do remember Professor McGonagall kicking ass on more than one occasion. So I can’t fault it for that. And it was enjoyable. And I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD so that I can watch it as a marathon with any willing participants.

The fact that this movie was released in two parts, while I’m still musing over the subject, actually calls into question why they didn’t do the same with some of the other movies. Or make them all into a mini-series. I mean they could have filmed buckets of extra material in order to create an extended edition or something. Maybe that’s the next money-grabbing plan…

Oh yeah, another musing: why is it not OK (“unforgivable”, indeed) to use the Avada Kedavra curse, yet it’s OK for Julie Andrews to explode Helena Bonham Carter into thousands of little butterflies after delivering her immortal line? The end result is the same, after all: dead witch. I’ll just leave that one there…

Anyway, so that’s the end of the film series… I know I’ll probably anger a lot of hardcore fans by saying this, but my favourite (of both the book and film series) is definitely the 3rd one, Prisoner of Azkaban. I hear a lot of fans complaining that it’s the least true to the book, and while I agree that it makes a few gaping plotholes, it’s the best directed and the most cinematic of all the movies. And of course it has the best source material, which helps somewhat. I’m not so much of a fan of the first two movies, which seem to keep in line with the books better, but have shite scenery and are probably slightly too kids’ movie for my liking.

I suppose I’ll have to find some other way to appease my occasional Harry Potter appetite now… I can’t find the earlier books at all, even though I quite want to read them again. I could always rewatch one of the films. I’ve been reading various articles online about it all, anyway, and I did recently find out that there is a sequel to A Very Potter Musical (which was brilliant and hilarious), although it’s very long. I’ll get around to it eventually!

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2 Responses to Film #24: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

  1. Maitiu says:

    Isn’t it Julie Walters?

  2. Finlay says:

    Oh… yeah. There’s three or four actresses whose names I constantly get mixed up – it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t Judi Dench in the Mamma Mia film… *embarrassed face*

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