Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Miscellaneous Thoughts About the Last HP Film

I went to see Deathly Hallows Part Two yesterday. This is, arguably, the best of the films. I've never liked the films as much as the books and went to see DH Parts One and Two mainly out of completism. I can't claim to have thought much about it or deeply, but here's some shallow thoughts.

The pacing was really good. I went to DH2 expecting action but fearing that the necessary backstory and exposition (Snape's story, wandlore, restatement of what the deathly hallows are for people who didn't see the first film) would either bring the film to a stop several times or else would be so nearly eliminated that viewers who hadn't read the books would be left confused. Instead, the movie kept up a good pace and the wandlore and Snape's memories were blended in seamlessly.

The only thing I think someone who hadn't read the books would have been confused about was the question of who that woman lying beside Remus Lupin was. Yes, filmgoers met her in The Order of the Phoenix, but very briefly and that film was the one that I thought probably was confusing to non-readers. Tonks' romance, marriage, and child with Lupin were pretty much non-existent in the films. There's one or two small things in this film that could have been made more clear (for example, how some of the resisting students were actually living in the Room of Requirement, they weren't just camped out in a hallway) but nothing  important.

I was surprised we didn't see Fred die. The twins were a big enough presence in the films (unlike, say, Percy) that I'd assumed we'd see his death in battle.

The bit with the "baby" in King's Cross station was more clear than in the book.

I once remarked that the sixth book was the book where Harry became a man, but DH2 is the film where Harry became a man. From the very start of this one he no longer seems like a boy, but an adult. Presumably it happened while he was burying Dobby.

Ron seems more grown-up too. The cardboard movie stand-ees at the theater had Ron looking a bit bad-ass, instead of his all-too-frequent goofy befuddlement of the early films.

They did a good job with the blinded dragon underneath Gringott's. Other visual stuff was good too, as we've come to expect in contemporary movies, but the work on the dragon impressed me and moved me to pity the beast.

Neville gets to come into his own. We don't get to learn as much about Neville in the films as in the books, but I like Neville and am glad he gets to be a hero in both.

I wasn't entirely comfortable with McGonagall arbitrarily deciding to lock up the entirety of Slytherin house in the dungeons, rather than giving them a chance to choose their loyalty as individuals.

Were they implying an incipient romance between Neville and Luna? There was a line from Neville I didn't quite catch, so I'm honestly not sure.

Unlike some reviewers, I didn't think the job of aging the young actors to portray thirtysomethings for the film's coda was badly done.

Not everyone was a fan. Moments after the last scene faded I was thinking, well, that's the end of it, and a child piped up behind me, "Yay, it's over." I had to explain to the people I was with why I was laughing.

The MST3K guys once remarked that at some point in, I don't know, the late eighties maybe, filmmakers started crediting far more people at the end than they ever had before, making the MST3K guys' job harder. Between that and all the special effects people involved in making contemporary films, credits really are getting too long. I entertain myself by looking for interesting names among the scores of credited people; FWIW there are some in DH2's credits.

No comments: