I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog, but I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I started reading the books when I was 12 (just over 11 years ago) and was immediately addicted. I’m so sad that the series is ending and torn about having to wait until July to see Part 2. The end of Part 1 left me wanting more but I’m glad that it won’t be over for a while now!
I’ve already seen the film four times and will most likely see it a few more times! (My record is 6 for Half-Blood Prince.) It was so unlike all the other Potter movies but I guess that’s not a surprise since the book was the same. Hogwarts is nowhere in sight and about 3/4 of the film is just the trio on their own. Even my younger sister, who never bothered with the other movies, loved this one because “it didn’t feel like Harry Potter.” Admittedly I have a cousin who wasn’t fond of it for the same reason, but to each her own.
Let’s start with the good stuff!
The acting was outstanding. I’ve always felt Rupert Grint as Ron was the most natural of the trio but up until now he hasn’t had much to work with, usually stuck as comic relief. Finally he got to show off more of his skill in some real dramatic moments. Emma Watson’s Hermione was the weakest to me in the first five films, overacting and constantly wiggling her eyebrows. Thankfully she improved in HBP and got even better this time! I thought the two of them outshone Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, who was good, don’t get me wrong. He just slightly paled in comparison to the other two. The supporting cast was equally good. Peter Mullan was very intimidating as Yaxley and even better than I imagined him in the book. Nick Moran’s Scabior played a bigger role than in the book and was almost alluring in a really creepy way. Helena Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix was a touch toned down from the previous films, which I was grateful for. I was also so glad we finally got to meet Bill Weasley and Mundungus Fletcher.
The soundtrack was really good. I particularly loved Obliviated in the beginning because it caught my attention right away and Farewell to Dobby because it was so beautiful and moving. The cinematography was also excellent. I wasn’t fond of the camping scenes in the book but I didn’t mind them in the movie because of the gorgeous location shots!
Nearly all of the individual scenes were well-done, with a perfect balance of drama, action, and comedy. My favorites were Hermione erasing her parents’ memories and the silver doe. I was confused about the Harry/Hermione dance scene because I felt it was a bit out of character for Harry, but it was actually pretty cute.
The film wasn’t perfect. My two biggest complaints were the lack of explanation for the mirror shard and no use of the invisibility cloak. Since the cloak is one of the Hallows, wouldn’t it have made sense to remind the non-hardcore audience about it? Similarly, those who haven’t read the books will be scratching their heads trying to figure out where Harry got the mirror shard.I also felt Ginny was really a nonentity. Hers and Harry’s romance was poorly treated in HBP as well and I was disappointed that it was more of the same this time.
My other complaints are really minor quibbles in comparison. I missed seeing Dudley and Harry’s handshake, even though the movie works perfectly fine without it. I would have liked to see Harry and Ron hug after the destruction of the locket and have Harry assure Ron that he only sees Hermione as a sister (especially since some viewers thought he was trying to come on to Hermione in the dance scene!). I also felt Malfoy Manor, while a nice scene in itself, paled in comparison to the book. It was slightly rushed and watered down- namely Ron’s reaction and Wormtail’s fate. I suppose this was done for a reason, and it does work in the movie- but the book scene was so much better.
The end only made me want Part II right now! I guess I’ll have to reread the book to satisfy myself until July.
My Rating: 9/10