The last few HP movies I’ve ended up seeing twice; there are always other people who I need to see them with: my brother, my high school friends, my DC friends, etc. I mean, Harry Potter, right? This book has such a lock on our consciousness, all of us. Those first few shots, before the title credits in this movie, of the Trio in front of their respective houses: Harry watching the only family he has leave him, Ron standing in front of the Burrow waiting for the world to blow away, and Hermione walking down the street, a 16-year-old girl leaving her parents and having to take her existence into her own hands – well, it just felt right, felt like this is where I belonged. I’ve grown up with these kids, both the characters and the actors, and it all felt very final, very important.
I mean its Harry Potter. It’s the world that me and thousands of kids my age grew up in and around, that we know as well as we know almost anything. I find it hard to look at the books objectively, for just that reason, but there’s unquestionably something about them that catches you, hard, and doesn’t really let go, through Floo Powder and Ginny Weasley and the Elder Wand shenanigans and freaking House Elves. I fully expect many of us to suddenly wake up in our cyborg-exoshells 50 years from now and go, “Wait, why didn’t Mad-Eye just ask for, like, a DNA sample if he needed Harry’s blood so badly?”
It was definitely sillier-seeming on a second viewing. It was harder to ignore some of the over-the-top dialogue, and the constant suspenseful music, and the Rupert Grint, Acting. I was reminded that a lot of the magic in Deathly Hallows feels entirely made up and annoying, like the time my mother tried to teach me how to play Bridge and kept adding new rules whenever she seemed to be losing.
But there was still so much they did right. When I first heard about the two part thing, I didn’t want them to be dragging it out for the sake of making even more millions of dollars, but now I think it was a good choice – it felt like there was more room in this movie, more time to breathe and really hang out with the characters, to take full stock of the stakes. Maybe that’s why it felt like there was more emotion. It didn’t really drag, either – the tents feel like they take forever because they are supposed to feel that way, because JK needed some way to advance the story to Christmas and remind everyone that friendship is what really matters in adversary. The radio and the squeaking noises the Horcrux made were perfect ways to articulate the discomfort, and those locations! Whoever’s job it was to scout incredibly bleak but beautiful English locales clearly had a great time.
Another person who had a great time with their job – the digital effects guys responsible for making Harry and Hermione look like gods, when visions of them come out of the locket to fuck with Ron’s head. The shiny skin! The wavy hair! The voices! They look hilarious. And then they kiss, naked except for strategically placed billows of smoke.
The visual effects people probably also had a really good time on the animation of “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which looked and sounded fantastic, like a real myth, a fairy tale, ancient and true. One moment where the movie that was definitely better than the books. Well, that, and how Harry let his bird fly, instead of carrying her in a cage while he was flying, and that that was what gave him away, instead of that stupid thing about “Expelliarmus”. Oh and that we got to see Hermione obliviate her parents’ memories, instead of just hearing about it in one line. And how they just ignored Ginny (THANK YOU) and then Harry and Hermione danced in the tent, and could have almost made out!
Point is, I think they did a good job on this movie. Who’s excited for Part 2?