Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
Written by Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling (like bowling)
Directed by David Yates
Starring The same people from all the other ones, but I'm putting an asterisk on Rickman
this time it's for realsies.
The last time I wrote about this I talked specifically about judging these movies separately as adaptations and films. (Note here that I'm not going to concern myself with marking spoilers.) From a critical perspective, I think this was less successful on both fronts. However, it succeeds admirably as "fan service" and that's all that's required to push it over the gargillion-dollar mark.
Looking at the technical, almost everything is at the same level as Part I. Direction is competent if not earth-shattering, with a few standout shots here and there. CG is at the top of the field, and this time they used the cloak where it should have been used. The acting in general is at the same level, with two exceptions: Some of the performances obviously revel in the joy of completing the project and participating in the positive outcome of the story. And in his few scenes, Rickman actually tells his character's story with his eyes rather than the significantly reduced quantity of words that survived the transition from book to film.
As a standalone movie, there would be no point in watching this on its own. It might be an interesting exercise, but I challenge you to find someone with the critical capacity who hadn't seen any of the other movies.
If you view the pair as a four hour movie then it's a decent experience. The story is compelling enough, tension is built and diffused, and while the ending is still telegraphed from the Warner Brothers logo (because, seriously, in how many mainstream studio films does the bad guy win?) I could see it being a fun ride. While you wouldn't get all of the interplay or in-jokes that you would if you'd seen the all the films in the franchise, you'd probably still be near the edge of your seat when the producer wants you to. As a fanboy, the movie needed do only one thing to make me happy, and it put those five words in Molly's mouth. So, there you go.
As an adaptation I have some real issues with how some things came about; and I don't really see a lot of reason why, for example, we needed Neville to go and bomb a bridge instead of making his speech and pulling the sword out of the hat in front of the crowd rather than off on his own. And Harry giving those instructions to Neville was a great little scene in the book. He didn't need another minute with Ron and Hermione. The epilogue was completely unnecessary in both the film and the book; yet they wasted ten minutes on platform 9.75 when they could have given us those last ten minutes in the Headmaster's office, showing Harry fixing his wand. All that would have required is another 30 seconds of dialog in the first movie underlining the importance Harry placed on that wand. They also could have reshaped the epilogue into something else, like a quick scene of the kids being sorted or a quick scene of them in a history class learning about Snape or a few more scenes with some closure on any number of tertiary characters, or even something that Rowling wanted to add that could be a nice Easter egg for people who paid to watch the movie.
At the end of the day, even though it fulfilled my one requirement and even though I cried like a baby all the time, I really wasn't satisfied. But you probably will be, because you're not me.
i don't really remember the book. i always appreciate that when it comes to watching the harry potter movies for the first time. i couldn't tell you most of the things that were different. i could tell you one in particular, but i won't. oh, and it's really vague about the horcrux theme which was weird. if you have two movies portraying one book you have the time to explain voldemort's choices in soul holder thingies. i don't really get why they would leave that out. i guess that's why i liked the first part better. it was more hopeless, and oh shit we have no idea what we're doing no explanation needed. it was just tighter. i enjoyed this one, but i don't know how it stands alone.
still. we will watch this movie 9 trillion times like all the other ones because they are good and interesting...well maybe not the first two, but they are essential.