When I walked out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, I was flabbergasted. I mean, it was actually…good. As just a movie-watcher, I was pleased with it, but for the first time in a long time I actually thought they managed to make a Harry Potter film that was both decent and faithful to the book. And I guess I should put an obvious disclaimer right here that I am, first and foremost, a fan of the books. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone came out when I was seven years old, and since then I’ve been on board for the whole thing. I was there at midnight on July 21st, 2007 with my fake plastic Potter glasses ready to get a copy of the last book, and I was there at midnight on July 15th, 2011 with my fake plastic Potter glasses ready to get my mind blown by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. And… well…
Part of me feels like I should write two separate reviews, because this film will be two separate experiences for two different groups of people. So, for fans of the films or just Random Movie-Watcher no. 393020188, this is going to be brief. Basically, it’s a good movie. The action is absolutely stellar, the special effects are top-notch, the emotions run high. The ending is satisfactory and ties the whole thing up with a convenient, pretty bow. It’s good.
Now for fans of the book, it depends on what these last ten years of films have left you expecting. Personally, I stopped expecting faithful adaptations after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , but Part 1 of Deathly Hallows left me thinking that the filmmakers and screenwriters had turned themselves around.
Like I said, if you’ve grown accustomed to the films’ departures from the books, the differences between the last book and the last film won’t bother or surprise you very much. Maybe you’ve even learned to accept the films for what they are–a separate, hybrid version of Harry Potter that can be judged on its own– and if you have, truly… I envy you. You weren’t left with the same question that’s plagued me, along with a million other diehard fans, for the past couple of years after these last few film adaptations. And that question is why?
SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT, DO NOT PASS THIS LINE IF YE BE NOT A DIEHARD FAN
Why change things? The Harry Potter series is one of the most beloved book series of all time. The reason the films are successful is because they are based off of these books. So, why does the Killing Curse now make its victims explode into a million pieces? Since when can memories be collected by saving one’s tears in a beaker? These are just two examples of many, many instances of pointless changes in the film adaptation. I know that a lot of the changes were made for purpose of having a more “movie friendly” vibe, and these changes I’m alright with. I’m at peace with the fact that the main battle at Hogwarts would’ve been less epic if the filmmakers stayed true to the book and didn’t suddenly give Voldemort an army of 500,000+ followers. I’m at peace with the fact that the final duel between Harry and Voldy would’ve sucked if they kept it what it was in the book– a conversation and one spell. Those changes I can accept. But needless ones… changes to plot points or details that not only combat what’s in the books but also what they’ve explained in previous films…. I just don’t get it.
Also, I’m sorry, Lord Voldemort would not listen to a speech about love and friendship from Neville Longbottom for more than 10 seconds before saying, “Enough of this,” and sending a jet of green light into that kid’s face.
But, all in all, it could’ve been worse. That’s what I left the theater at three o’ clock in the morning thinking. “It could’ve been worse… it could’ve been Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince!” As an adaptation, the last Harry Potter film may have its flaws, but as a movie it’s solid. Although some changes left me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth, I’m happy that they followed the MAIN plot points faithfully and that our heroes all received their proper ending.
Thank you, Harry, for 10 years of amazing books and 10 years of decent films. On behalf of all the unashamed nerds in the world, we’ll miss you!
(but as Sirius Black says, as long as you’re in our hearts, you’ll never be gone. Awwwwww.)