THERE BE SPOILERS HERE! But most have you have already read the book anyway. I went to see this movie this afternoon, with my old friend, Ryk. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
The movie is, as you all probably know, the culmination of the Harry Potter enterprise expressed in film. It’s a little hard to believe that the book was published 14 years ago! Harry and his friends seem to be so realistic that they and their exploits / adventures are as real to us as our own friends, and we are also as interested in the arc of their lives.
This final film in the series is important in many respects. Details of the plot lines not before revealed – or occluded – are revealed; romantic alignments come (finally!) to the screen; evil characters receive their just deserts; previously minor characters either fade into the background or are dressed in heroic garb.
Frankly, it would be difficult to bring all of this to the big screen in a coherent manner – especially when the Battle of Hogwarts is being fought on several fronts simultaneously. Corruptions or misalignments of the time line had to have been a major concern of the director and producers – and in this particular film it is my opinion that they addressed these concerns in a manner that was less than satisfying.
For example: the death of Bellatrix Lestrange (greeted with applause and cheers by this afternoon’s audience) seemed stuck arbitrarily into the film. There was no flow. It was abrupt and it appeared to me that the director and editors relied too heavily on the emotional willingness of the audience to see her killed, rather than the structure of the film. It was disappointing.
Another oddly timed sequence was the execution of Nagini, Voldemort’s horcrux snake. It was preceded by sequences of the three major characters rushing around the devastated hallways of Hogwarts, and a rather trite scene of Voldemort’s army coming up against the protective barrier put up by Hogwarts’ defenders. It was not required – that screen time could have been diverted to Bellatrix’s death. It took a long time to get to the snake’s beheading – but it was worth the wait.
One fabulous scene that got a great deal of time was the raid on Bellatrix’s vault at the bank! I especially liked the gamboled “cars” that transport the Goblins and clients through the underground caverns that house the vaults. The pale and abused dragon was perfectly rendered – and the escape was breathtaking!
Other excellent points include Voldemort’s confusion and dismay when things went badly – specifically when another part of his soul perished with the destruction of another horcrux. Professor McGonnagle’s opening attack against Snape was delightful. The sequence in the Room of Requirement and the destruction of Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem was excellent – the fire spell was particularly ferocious and satisfying.
So – all in all a very good experience! A fine film – but certainly flawed.