But, Sir, I thought we weren’t allowed to apparate on Hogwarts grounds….Well, being me has its privileges.

15 Jul

I’ve had enough time to calm down after last night’s premiere, so I’ll get down to the real review.

If you haven’t read this book, and don’t wish to be spoiled, don’t read on.

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There is nothing else in my life, other than my friends and family, that has been a part of me longer than the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling, I dare say that you changed my life.

I’m serious. Half of my life, and we’re nearing the end of the series, on film that is. The book series actually ended two years ago, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

When I read the 6th book, I was enthralled. It was my favorite of the series, most likely because it was after the lengthy, monotonous, annoying book filled with Harry’s overwhelming angst that was the Order of the Phoenix. The Half-Blood Prince gave us what we wanted, without leaving too little to divulge into in the final installment – the Deathly Hallows.

I’m going to try to separate myself from the fandom in this case, because as one knows, a movie based on a book series of this stature can never live up to the complexity of the novel, and the expectations of the fandom. And just to set the record straight, I was disappointed that Director David Yates left out some content – in other words, the lack of the actual Half-Blood Prince – but of the content that he did put in the spotlight – it was done beautifully. Sure, with leaving out most of the storyline about Harry and his mysterious potions textbook gives little significance to the title, and less of a “OMG” factor when Snape comes out and says “yeah, I’m the Half-Blood Prince.” But even so, this movie moved so flawlessly together it almost didn’t seem like it was bits and pieces of a novel.

What HBP and OoTP had that the former movies didn’t was David Yates. Yates took the stories and didn’t so much as make the exact replicas of the books, but made honest-to-god good movies out of them. The first four films were either too closely following the book that they seemed jumbled, or strayed away from the novel so much that it upset all the fans (coughAlfonsoCuaroncough). HBP included more humor than any of the previous installments, which got many laugh out loud moments in the theater even at 2 a.m. With the humor, there needed to be dark moments to keep it from being too silly.

And the zombies guarding the Horcrux was plenty frightening. My sister actually had to pee for half the movie before that point, and she went ten minutes before Harry and Dumbledore ventured into the cave. Thank god, or else she would have pissed her pants when the zombies popped out of the water.

Dumbledore. That was the main thing that Yates did so incredibly right. Dumbledore has always been an anomaly of such, being so utterly fearless and badass, yet so old and wise. Yates didn’t overdue the searches into Dumbledore’s memories, because it would have slowed the movie down. He had just the right amount of delving, and just the right amount of Dumbledore/Harry time. We didn’t get an overload of Dumbledore storyline, which made it even sadder when he did parish off the clocktower at the end when Severus Snape avada kedavra’d him when Draco couldn’t. It made us feel the emotion we were supposed to, without sending the entire theater into a pool of tears.

And by the way, I didn’t actually cry. I teared. My eyes welled. That was it.

It’s almost unbelievable to see how far Daniel, Rupert and Emma have come in the 8 years they’ve been playing Harry, Ron and Hermione. Daniel has gone from a lucky newcomer look-alike to a seasoned actor, having appeared – NAKED! – on Broadway. He still stumbles dreadfully over his words during interviews, but it just makes him more endearing. As well, I was very glad that Tom Felton got some more screen time. Draco’s been on the back burner for the last couple movies, and I was glad that Yates showed the tension between Draco and Harry, as well as the inner tension Draco suffered through the entire book. It made you feel bad for him a little, that he didn’t want to kill Dumbledore in the end. On the inside, he didn’t want to do any of it, but he had to, to live up to his father, and also because he would be killed by You-Know-Who. I don’t remember feeling that bad for him when reading the book, and I think this worked really well for the movie.

I must mention the special effects briefly, because they were amazing. I swear, they’ve just gotten better and better with each movie, and this one even more so. I’m pretty sure the fire/water fight between Dumbledore, Harry and the zombies was so much more epic than anything Michael Bay did in Transformers 2. And I’m serious. Slughorn’s hilarious entrance was also a great representation of the humor and the SFX displayed in the film. I just freaking love Jim Broadbent. I’ve been surprised up until now that he hasn’t made an appearance in the films, but now I’m glad that he got the job as Slughorn, because he’s literally PERFECT for the part. Whoever cast him – kudos, big time.

Some people may have been turned off with the large amounts of teen angst, what with Ginnie and Harry and Hermione/Ron/Lavender, but I felt the opposite. This aspect of Rowling’s novels was the only thing that was remotely close to normalcy. Teenagers have relationship problems. Girls get jealous. Boys don’t notice the jealousy. Girls fight. Girls and boys snog. I comment Yates for adding slightly more screen time to this part of the book compared to the book. Some people may be thinking that HP is trying to compete with the other fantasy teen series that had recently took over, Twilight, but the thing is – the personal relationships is the only part of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s lives that an audience can directly relate to. It’s a nice counterpart to the fictional, fantastical world of Hogwarts.

Harry may be a wizard, he may be the Chosen One, but he’s also a teenager – with hormones.

Just to address my fellow uber fans who are quite upset – just think about if the director had included everything. You’d still be sitting in the theater right now. It’s almost impossible to include everything from Rowling’s 600-some-odd page novel. I’ve given up the false hope that somehow directors will include everything from books. It can’t be done. But they’re going to try with the last book, which is why they’re separating it into 2 movies. Smart move.

With waiting for this movie 8 months longer than I should have, it was well worth the wait. I was satisfied with the film as a part of the HP fandom, but I was astonished with it as a movie buff.

Finally, us Pottermaniacs are back on top (I’m talking to you, Twihards). Now all we have to do is wait for another year and a half for the first installment of the Deathly Hallows. Oh, how I wish I had Hermione’s time-turner right about now.

❤ Abby

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