Monday, July 25, 2011

My Patronus is a Honey Badger!

Well...I finally got the opportunity to watch the final Harry Potter movie.  It was one of those movies that I wanted to see, but if I saw it without my wife, I would probably be served divorce papers soon after.  So, I finally got to see it and here are my impressions.

Do wizards not need to bathe?
How was it?  It was a good movie, but overall the Harry Potter movies have never really been "have to" viewing for me.  I know a lot of people have grown up with the books and they touch a cord with them on many levels.  Seeing him grow and mature and fulfilling his destiny have in many ways paralleled their own lives as they grew up and went from elementary school, to junior high, to high school, and beyond.  I am not one of those people.  That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the books.  Obviously they are special to a lot of people and I have never read them, so I am not about to trash something that I haven't read.  I will read them someday.  Books that are really worth their salt are like that.  They don't lose their relevance or impact over time.  So, I am sure I will eventually get around to putting my mind to reading them and pretty sure that they will be just as enjoyable then as they would be now.  Movies on the other hand, they are a little different in many ways.  Visual styles and techniques can change over time and improvements in video and sound quality can greatly affect what is on the screen - just ask George Lucas.  Where am I going with all this?  Well, Harry Potter and Deathly Hollows Part 2 is a good movie, but in many ways relies too much on two things: CGI and the amazing books for which it was based. 

Good actors acting in front of too many green screens with little to go by doesn't produce great cinema.  CGI can produce a lot of amazing set pieces and amazing battles, but without having characters that you can really connect to, they mean nothing.  I am not saying that this is the problem here.  There are lots of good actors in the movie, but most of the moments that you really connect with these characters felt like had happened in other movies and not with what was going on now.  I never felt like I had time to really care about a lot of characters and was too busy watching the pretty fights and magic.  I mean, you know who is good and evil, but a lot of the themes and plot points have been dragged over seven other movies and by the end, it just seemed like there was so much stuff that was missing or were presented as something that you already knew from reading the books that I felt confused more times than I like to admit.  This led into the other problem of relying too heavily on the books.  I am not saying that they should not follow the books, what I am saying is that it felt like there were parts that the director felt like you should already know from the books that didn't need to be explained.  Why did they interrogate the guy about the wands in the beginning?  Why didn't they use Bellatrix's wand to get into the bank as proof of who she was?  Why couldn't three powerful wizards open a locked gate in the town outside of Hogwarts? How did Hagrid end up in the woods? How did Harry come back from the dead? Why doesn't Voldemort have a nose (is that the part of him that Harry got as an infant)? Why did Snape and Harry's mom have the same patronus? Why didn't Harry hug Jenny after he killed Voldemort? Why didn't Harry fix the flippin' school with the most powerful wand ever made before he broke it? Was the nineteen year later thing really necessary?  I just felt lost too many times and the whole end game things felt overly complicated - which I am sure made a lot more sense in the context of a book. 

Don't get me wrong, I did like the movie.  Big and epic and fun...I just didn't connect with the characters like I wish I would have.  It seemed to wrap it all up and everything happened that needed to happen in order for there to be closure after the seven movies that came before it.  I think in the end, your enjoyment is colored by your familiarity with the material and your connection to the characters.  I have no doubt that someday I will eventually have some "ah-ha!" moments when I read the books and look back at the movies.  I really look forward to that.


  1. All of your questions are fair for the movie...but if you DID read the books you would not have had to ask them. They are all answered there. Hope that helps.

  2. That totally does help! I know I need to read them. Hoping that when my kids are a little older, we read them together.