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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.

Death comes to Hogwarts

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Two hours and ten minutes after the lights went down and the screening of the final Harry Potter movie started, seven avid readers of the books (and one ignorant bystander we tolerated because he got us the tickets) gathered in the theater lobby for a post mortem.

The verdict? If you’re a fan of the movies, but have never read the books, you’ll probably really love this finale. It’s nicely paced with loads of action. You won’t really know what’s going on, but how is that different from any other aspect of your life? If you’re really puzzled you can always ask a reader, easily spotted by the sniffling.

As an adaptation of the book, though, we gave it a C. We wanted to like it more, and really loved parts of it. Director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves worked so hard to make HP&TDH Part 1 faithful to J. K. Rowling’s book that we were all champing at the bit for the conclusion. And they let us down.

Not that there isn’t a lot to love in the movie. The early scenes in Shell Cottage are lovely. The scenes at Gringotts, with Helena Bonham Carter managing to look so innocent playing Hermione. I think the whole theater cheered at the escape from Gringotts on the blind dragon’s back. The spectacular fight scenes at Hogwarts (we missed Grawp, but were happy to see the acromantulas)...these were fun scenes to watch.

(None of this benefited substantially from being shot in 3D. The other seven films did fine without that gimmick, so I don’t know why they felt they had to use it here. Those stupid glasses make me nauseous.)

On the other hand...Why did Alan Rickman have to have Farrah Fawcett hair? Where’s our greasy Snape? And (SPOILER ALERT sort of) why did they have to make it so obvious in the movies which side he was on? Half the fun of reading the books was trying to figure out what was going to happen (and who was going to snuff it).

Neville Longbottom (SPOILER ALERT really) was crucial in the ending of the book. Seriously. Talking about doing what is right. Neville was awesome—and the movie totally misses how truly amazing he has become over the years. And the movie skips the part where (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) Harry tells Lord Voldemort that he has sacrificed himself for the people who believe in him and Voldemort can no longer harm them. What’s your problem, Yates? It’s the crux of the series! Sheesh.

As always there’s the pleasure of watching so many excellent British actors, Welcome additions to the cast were Ciaran Hinds as Abeforth Dumbledore (wish they would have mentioned for goats) and Kelly MacDonald as Helena Ravenclaw. John (“I am not an animal!”) Hurt was brilliant as Ollivander explaining a bit of wand lore. Many other old faces returned at least momentarily, including the inimitable Maggie Smith as Minerva “I always wanted to do that spell” McGonagall; Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn; Miriam Margolyes as Pomona Sprout and Gemma Jones as Poppy Pomfrey. And as always, Ralph Fienne’s non-nose is the best special effect in the whole shebang.

Some of us (me) may be too picky when it comes to Harry Potter. We want the movies to be exactly like the books. Or at least enough like the books to make us happier.

In the end, the film missed the major point of the series: We all have to make choices in our lives, but we must choose what is right over what is easy. David Yates and Steve Kloves—I think you went for the easy route. Better luck next time.

Oh, and J. K. Rowling? I really hate you for killing Fred.

Watch the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

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