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I'm suffering from something of an emotional hangover thanks to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, so consider yourself warned...

FYI, my interview as a scholarly guest with WUTC FM (88.1 in Chattanooga, TN) on today's show about "Pottermania" is now up online here.

More to the point, I haven't loved all of the Harry Potter films, but Deathly Hallows, Part 2 gets two thumbs up from me. The scenes it had to do well, it did; and many more also stole my breath. The theater was packed (mostly with adults my age or thereabouts), and weeping was audible in all directions throughout the second half of the film.

A few of my first impressions:

Deal-Breaker Scenes

This film just had to deliver certain scenes in order to work for me. It did. Here are some of them...

* Neville vs. Nagini: This film was Neville's turn to shine, and he did. The fact that Gryffindor's sword came to him not only because he had need, but also because he was worthy, comes across clearly, and the way this particular moment was filmed - Neville destroying the final horcrux while saving the lives of Ron and Hermione - was epic. The one person in the theater who hadn't read the book (we could all identify her early on, I think) tried to gasp and shriek at the same time when it happened.

* The bodies in the makeshift morgue: The film needed to show how significant the death toll at Hogwarts had become, how dear a price already had been paid. It did. Ron sobbing over Fred's body was amazingly affecting, considering I was prepared for it. There's beautiful symmetry between Lupin and Tonks reaching out for one another when they realize Voldemort's breached the defenses and then, in death, laid out side by side, reaching out again, their fingertips touching.

* The forest scene, in which Harry communes with his parents and Sirius and Remus, was pitch perfect.

* I love the fact there were so many blink-and-you'd-miss-them cameos that gave the impression that the entire Hogwarts family had come together when it mattered most. I'm so glad we had glimpses of Slughorn and Trelawney and Cho Chang and Filch and so many others involved in the battle and/or its aftermath.

Deal-Breaker Lines

They all made it into the film: Snape's "Look at me," Molly's "Not my daughter, you bitch!" and Dumbledore's "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Pleasant Surprises

* Not even Michael Gambon could ruin the King's Cross Station scene. That's saying something.

* The Epilogue, which ranks as my least favorite part of the entire book series by far, actually worked. And it was blessedly short, too; it made its point and promptly ended.

At Last

* Snape and McGonagall at last had their moments, and they were glorious. Snape's final minutes with Voldemort, when he knew he was to die, were especially moving. Not only did he seem resigned; he almost seemed relieved. Oh dear, where are my tissues...

* The contrast between the real Snape (as shown through his memories in the Pensieve) and the public Snape was extremely powerful. Thank you, all The Powers That Be, for giving Alan Rickman the time and space to attack this with all of his considerable talent. (If some of the flashbacks with young Snape and Lily seemed like refugees from a lost Hallmark commercial, I'll let it slide. Adult Severus was SO GOOD I can't be bothered to care.)


* Hogwarts really felt under seige, like a war zone, and the sense this was a "final stand" was beautifully and wrenchingly portrayed.

* The destruction of the physical building itself hit me harder than I was expecting. Seeing Hogwarts in ruins brought me up short.

* The Hermione/Ron relationship seemed natural and fitting. Their kiss, after the destruction of the horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets, was timed and executed well.

* I expected the Grey Lady would be left on the cutting room floor. I'm so glad she wasn't.

* Voldemort communicating to everyone at Hogwarts, issuing his threats, calling out Harry, was deliciously creepy.

* Beautiful visual touches:
-- Snape staring out at the Hogwarts grounds as the students march below in lockstep
-- McGonagall and Molly Weasley on the steps to Hogwarts, surrounded by the stone soldiers as they came to life in the school's defense
-- The shadow of Snape's body falling against the window as Nagini strikes him repeatedly
-- Narcissa and Draco walking resolutely away from Hogwarts, hand in hand, not once looking back, and Lucius running to catch up with them

No, it wasn't a perfect film. But, in my opinion, it was very well done. I hope you enjoyed it, too! If you've seen it, what did you think?

The Deathly Hallows - One Side -

In other news...

* Dwight L. MacPherson's wonderful steampunk webcomic Sidewise is on sale for download. The first issue is free, and the second and third are $.99 each. Check it out and support a great webcomic.

* Happy birthday to knesinka_e, and happy early birthday to ithildyn, melissagay, and faramirgirl. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

McGonagall to Harry: "Do what you have to do. I'll secure the castle."
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
a few thoughts of my own...
it was such a FUNNY film in spots while still being serious... (of course I find odd things funny - Narcissa and Draco heading off with Lucius running behind for example - Narcissa is like "I have had enough of this and we are going now...." and takes off... Draco's reaction to Voldemort was PRICELESS

Some things are only funny if you think about things certain ways - we all laughed when Harry rescued Draco from the fire because the first comment out of our mouths was - "there comes the fan vids"

I approved of most of the changes only because I felt like we got some bits that were even better than the book - I have always been a Neville/Luna shipper and so the bits of Neville/Luna we got were SO worth all the other changes... for that matter, just all the Neville we got was worth it, (though given some of us had given Neville the title of "Hottie of Gryffindor" we were really hoping to get him out of that sweater before he killed Nagini!)
Jul. 16th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
Re: a few thoughts of my own...
You're so right about the humor! I loved Neville's "You and whose army?" and McGonagall pointing out that Seamus always was good at pyrotechnics. And when Seamus mocked Ron when he complained that Ginny didn't even care he'd shown up back at Hogwarts, and Ron just growled, "Shut up, Seamus..."

I did like how they handled the whole Neville and Luna relationship. The shot of them sitting next to each other at the end, not speaking, but smiling, was so well done.
Jul. 16th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm still processing, and must admit that I just seemed a bit distant from it- but I did find myself getting a bit teary at the pensieve scenes, especially with Snape cradling Lily with Harry in the background. That he loved her so much and for so long was amazing to see on the screen. I think my favorite part was watching Helena Bonham Carter playing Hermione-as-Bellatrix. The wobble in the heels! Saying Good Morning! Priceless! :)

Oh, and the eye candy part of me enjoyed watching wet Harry and Ron change into dry shirts after climbing out of the lake. Yes, I'm probably shallow. ;)
Jul. 16th, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
LOL! That bit with Hermione struggling in Bellatrix's shoes was really clever. Speaking of eye candy, how about Ron's disguise there? I agree wholeheartedly about the pensieve scenes with Snape. So well done, especially when he was cradling Lily's dead body. I loved him weeping in front of Dumbledore, too, and Dumbledore reminding him that her son was still alive, and he had his mother's eyes... Augh!
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
I am wholly satisfied about the end of the series.

I'm so glad! I am too. Definitely.
Jul. 16th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Good recap! Hoping to see it next week or if not then the one after that.
Jul. 16th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm going to give it a week or so and then see it again.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Jul. 16th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
I'm going to see it next weekend. I can't wait. :D
Jul. 16th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
Yay! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Jul. 16th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
I just left the theater about an hour ago, and I was knocked out by the film. So many good moments. I liked seeing Severus in the Pensieve the best, followed by Neville's killing Nagini. Alan Rickman was amazing, and like you, I'm glad we got to see him really act.
Jul. 16th, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you loved it, too! I agree about there being so many good moments. After I posted this, I came up with half a dozen more scenes I just adored.

I liked seeing Severus in the Pensieve the best, followed by Neville's killing Nagini.


Alan Rickman really was amazing, wasn't he? I'm so glad the film series ended on such an incredibly powerful note.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 18th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
You're SO RIGHT: Warwick Davis blew me away in that scene. When you think of all of the obstacles he had to overcome - the false tips/nails on his fingers, the prosthetics on his face, and the tinted contact lenses - and still, his performance was so remarkably subtle and compelling. So much was going on under the surface. Thanks for reminding me of this. I remember getting chills watching it.

The one thing I did really like about the epilogue to the book was knowing Harry and Ginny named their son Albus Severus. That really said it all. What bothered me was that it seemed to go on and on about the offspring, as if reducing their lives just to the sum of their children, when I really wanted to know what careers they'd pursued, what their lives were like, etc. Of course, we later learned a lot of this from what JK Rowling said at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere, and I was much happier then! LOL.

The film version didn't seem to have the overkill element that I felt when reading the epilogue, and I also liked the fact they communicated the age of the characters mostly through hair and clothing and makeup, rather than prosthetics and CGI. It was also nicely done, showing how faded and indistinct Harry's scar had become. Nice bit of visual storytelling there!

I'm so glad you liked the movie, too!
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Sidewise and HP7
Well, the Twitter Landing seems to be kaput for the moment, so I am back to anonymous for a bit. Thank you so much for posting about Sidewise.

Now the most emotional line in HP7 for me(and I still get teary eyed when thinking about it) is when Dumbledore states that help will come to those who ask for it. And boy, did help come! Ah, the beauty of those films!

Jul. 27th, 2011 12:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Sidewise and HP7
My pleasure!

when Dumbledore states that help will come to those who ask for it. And boy, did help come!

Oh, good one! That was fabulous. The films are indeed beautiful! I can't wait to watch the DVDs of Parts 1 and 2 back to back.
Jul. 25th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
The visual reality of Hogwarts being destroyed really got to me too... And I'm still a little sensitive from losing the HUB as well. Gorgeously done, but painful. I take solice in the fact(?) that it's a *magic* world and clearly, Hogwarts gets rebuilt (the kids are all going off to attend, right?)

I found the Snape-getting-killed-by-Nagini scene almost unbearable in it's brutaility. I wasn't expecting that. In my head I guess I always envisioned a more sanitized, Shakespearean sort of a thing where he's cleanly "run through" and dies slowly and dramatically. For my own self-preservation, I guess. The movie version (and the artistic filming) will be giving me nightmares for months. :::shudder:::

I'm not entirely happy with the Hallmark flashback/martyr-hero Snape of the movie. I'm really in love with the sweet/sour Snape of the books. But clearly that was too subtle to try and make work in the movie and that being said, better they went the hero route. And Rickman did wonders with it so no harm, no foul.

My short list of first impressions, just posted. I'll definitely be seeing it again. I would love it if our theater would show 1 & 2 together on a weekend or something. Oh, well.
Jul. 27th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
The visual reality of Hogwarts being destroyed really got to me too... And I'm still a little sensitive from losing the HUB as well.

Oh gosh - good point!

You're right, though: they do rebuild. Hogwarts reopens. And Neville becomes the professor of herbology. So there is comfort there.

Still, when they went to the makeshift morgue, and they had to dodge the huge piles of rubble just to get into the hall... very affecting!

I have to say I loved Snape's death scene. I think I would've felt cheated if it hadn't been so real. I especially loved Harry witnessing it from the other side of the window as Nagini struck over and over and Snape's body jerked and slumped. The way it was filmed was just amazing. I'm sorry for your nightmares, though! :(

Oh, how I would love it if the theaters showed 1 and 2 together. That would be fantastic!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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