Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Double Your Potter


I've spent much of my time (the little free time I've had that is) over the last few months with my nose in random fiction, particularly in that of Potterland in preparation for the day that finally arrived over a week ago . . . the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 (otherwise known as HPDH1) finally made it's to a theater near you, and near me too.

Despite my desire to see long awaited seventh Potter flick at midnight with all my fellow HP devoted fans, the hubby and I settled for a 7:15pm showing on the day it opened, and I managed to impatiently pass the time by declaring my favorite quotes from the book on my facebook and twitter pages.

When we arrived 45 minutes before the movie began, tickets purchased several days in advance, we unfortunately were part of the last handful of people to arrive for our show time (due only to time constraints with babysitting arrangements), and subsequently were stuck with not so great seats in a dinner movie theatre with waiters that made a better door than window . . . . Nonetheless, the time had come, and I was super excited to see the film I have been waiting to watch since introduced to the books and movies in summer of 2009.

Upon leaving the theatre though, much of my excitement had abated and I felt quite confused and bewildered and decided that if I could sum up HPDH1 in one word it would be…rushed.

It's amazing to me the amount of detail that JK Rowling was able to convey with her writing if they could split the books into two movies, leave out the content they did, and still have to rush through the scenes the writer and director chose to include. I often found myself saying, "What just happened?" and feeling sorry for the ones who never read the books, because this movie would have been very hard to follow w/o having knowledge of the novel(s) to support the story at hand . . . for if you chose to skip the written word of HP you may be asking yourself the following questions: Where did Harry get that mirror and what the hell does it do? Who on earth is that Bill guy and how did he hook up with Fleur? When the hell did Ron start having the hots for Hermione? When the hell did Harry start having the hots for Hermione (which is not in the book, just so you know)? But I digress . . . .

After the first viewing of the flick I was prepared to pick apart all the things I found wrong with it, particularly the sins involving Ron and Hermione (otherwise known at R/Hr), since they and their relationship are my favorite part of this epic tale. I planned to go on about how Ron has been given the shaft and misrepresented, and as such the R/Hr story was not properly developed, making Ron's sudden love and devotion toward Hermione quite surprising and even out of place. I was going to rant and rave about Harry and Hermione (H/Hr) getting to dance and give longing looks at one another, allowing many to misunderstand the true nature of their completely platonic relationship in the book, while R/Hr's book written dance never made it to the big screen . . . Alas, I got the see the movie again before I had the chance to type it up, and have since improved my opinion of this now on-screen story.

Putting R/Hr aside, next to Sorcerer's Stone (SS) and Chamber of Secrets (CoS), HPDH1 is the closest book to screen adaption of this seven story series, and splitting it into two movies was the right thing to do, in my humble opinion (imho) anyway. Despite many of my favorite moments from this popular fiction not making it to the movie, it overall stayed true to Rowling's tale, and more importantly, finally gave Ron his storyline back and the veneration he deserved, but hasn't been getting since PoA, and maybe even before that.

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know that Rupert Grint (Ron) is my favorite actor, so I am probably a bit biased in saying that he really brought it to this film . . . . happy, frustrated, angry, and in love . . . . his face, his voice, his body language conveyed it all. Mr. RG, you are amazing. Emma Watson (Hermione), whose acting hasn't impressed me since CoS, stunned me with her range of emotion in this film, only disappointing me in her reaction to Ron's return – she could have been far more ballistic and banshee like – imho. Dan Radcliffe, the hard working soul he is, has never awed me with his acting ability. As in all the other HP movies, he lacks feeling and remains nearly expressionless throughout the film. However, his best HP acting achievement to date is the scene of the seven Potters in HPDH1. He did a great job convincingly playing the Potter polyjuiced friends. If you are a Harry/Dan fan, that scene alone may be enough reason to buy your $10 ticket to see this motion picture now showing near you, and near me too.

All this being said, I'm not a film critic, and never proclaimed to be one, so if you are looking for a professional review, you're in the wrong place . . . and if you are inclined to argue about cinematic this, and adaption that, I want to remind you that I'm simply a citizen of society that happens to be a book purist, who is just sharing her opinions of the movie that was made out of her favorite book, EVER, and whose only hope since reading HPDH was that this notable narrative was given the proper respect . . . and for the most part it has been, if you consider them having to work with the sins of the past Potter screen plays.

In sum, I recommend you "Double Your Potter," because if you leave scratching your head and focusing on the negative after seeing it once, you will leave loving it after seeing it twice, imho anyway. :)


  1. A Perfect Review, Amber! I could not have worded it any better.

    Being a bok purist myself, I totally understand it when you are saying that the plotline seems rushed and several unexplained, suddenly there story-lines.

    But A BIG YAY to Rupert nailing RON perfectly even though much of his character has been shafted in the earlier movies. Emma was impressive in some scenes too. But she was her usual heaving self in few scenes as well. Dan, I love him, but he seriously still does not get harry's conflicted personality.

    One scene that I am terribly dissappointed is the non-existance of the Ron.Harry reconciliation after the Horcrux destruction. The series is about the purity of relationships especially the role of true friendships, first and foremost being Ron and Harrys and somehow HPDH1 failed in getting that out.

    Oh My! I will stop now. But I am sure you know how passionate I get when I talk anything HP and Ron!

    Good One, Amber.
    Thanks for this. :)

  2. Thanks Amu! LOL about Emma being her usual heaving self. That's not something I really think about, but when you say it, yes, it's so obvious. I don't think Dan gets Harry's personality either, but bless his heart, he really tries.

    After the Horcrux destruction, my biggest disappointment was the misrepresentation of Ron's feelings. In the book he was sobbing and solemn, and in the movie he was making a joke about finding three more horcruxes. As such, I think that's where things went wrong with Ron and Harry having a proper reconciliation. I don't expect things to be text book perfect, but I do expect emotions to be conveyed properly, and I think the screen writer and director really missed the mark on this. Man, I really wanted to see Ron sobbing, should have included that in my review.

  3. Great job girl! Totally loved this. On the Dan comment you know it's funny you say his best moment was the 7 Potters. Well it just proves that Dan is great with comedy. I noticed he wasn't getting too many rave reviews but I think with what Harry is going through his quiet distance attitude sorta worked. Go DAN! And Rupert well uh what the hell is there not to say. He was simply amazing. If you were not a Ron fan before how can you not be after-wards? Rupert was able to play dark so well and yet make the audience understand how he felt and where he was coming from. And Emma totally impressed me too. Anyway I really enjoyed this. Oh and how did you ever get through your dinner while trying to watch RON onscreen for the first time in DH? I could not lol!

  4. I am glad that you agree that the scene feels shafted and totally out of context.

    Maybe it us wanting to see a broken sobbng Rupert but still a few minutes to make that scene as close as possible to the books would have been great. :)

  5. While I certainly think all of your claims are valid, I do disagree with you a bit on some of the things. I'm glad you had a chance to see it again and let that waiver your opinion. I did the same thing when I saw the 3rd one for the first time way back when. I was (and is) my favorite book and there were so many changes to the book, and from movies 1 and 2. It wasn't till I saw it a second time, knowing all the changes beforehand and just let myself enjoy the movie for what it was, and to this day The Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite of the movies.

    I did like this one a lot. While it felt a little rushed at the beginning, I think it smoothed itself out about 30 minutes in. The one thing I didn't like in the book is how long it felt that they were in the Black house, where in the movie it went by quick. While it is personal opinions, I thought Daniel Radcliffe was quite good here, and I think he's been great ever since movie 5. I think director David Yates has been able to get the best performances out of him since they started working together.

    Plus, it was nice to finally see Bill in the movies, though my only complaint is that Harry should have said, "Nice to see you again Bill" instead of "Nice to Meet you Bill". I know Bill has never been in the movies as of this point, but I'd like to think they met each other "off screen." Good review.

  6. Ah, the 3rd movie...granted, I pretty much watched all the movies back to back as I read straight through all seven novels, but that was when I started to get ticked about the adaptation of the books to movies. I do admire the artistry used in film three, but still have issues with how they twisted some of the stories around. C'est la vie... The 3rd book is my husband's favorite book, btw. I find that most male HP fans claim that one as their favorite. I can totally see why.

    I actually just saw DH for the third time this weekend while my mom was down for a visit. Jon had only seen it once and we wanted to watch it in IMAX, which I personally felt was worth it! The third times a charm...I really enjoyed the film, and by now I know what my favorite parts are, so I was better able to focus on those this time around. I'm very excited about the part 2.

    Dan...I go back and forth about him. I should have been clearer, as I definitely feel he has improved his performance over the years, but it just seems like something is missing. For example, when Ron picked a fight with Harry right before his defection, Rupert's performance, to me, seemed very natural for the scene he was performing, he showed the proper level of emotion. Dan seemed to almost be overacting in this scene, and it came off as insincere, as if Harry was only pretending to be upset with Ron. As you said, it's a matter of opinion. I do like Dan Radcliffe in general. I hope to see him on Broadway in the spring when Jon and I have to go to NYC for a wedding. I think stage performance is going to be his thing.

    Good point about Bill. I mean, the mirror obviously occurred off screen, so why not the introduction of Harry and Bill as well? To further emphasize that point, Ron and Dobby never met on screen, but when they saw each other at Grimmauld Place, Dobby said, "Nice to see you again Mr. Weasley." So I definitely agree with you on that point, and feel was a faux pas on the writer's and/or director's part(s).