sprezzatura: (DH Poster Snape)
[personal profile] sprezzatura
Not exactly.

Well, I didn't hate it. I haven't quite made up my mind what I did think of it and I definitely need to go and see it again, but it was a million times better than Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Some of it I loved. Hermione's reading from The Tales of Beadle the Bard is illustrated by an absolutely gorgeous animation of the story of the three brothers, which may have been my favourite bit of the whole film. Many scenes looked exactly as I had imagined them, and it was a LOT more faithful to the book than any of the previous films.

Performance wise, no-one really dropped the ball. Emma Watson has finally cut back on the desperately annoying gasp thing and was mostly understated and not annoying. She reminded me a bit of a young Keeley Hawes in this film, which made me hate her a bit less. Rupert Grint was brilliant, much better than he's been in any of the earlier installments, and Daniel Radcliffe his usual excellent self. Bill Nighy channelling Winston Churchill worked well as Scrimgeour, though I'm not sure why he made him Welsh. Rhys Ifans was absolutely perfect as Xenophilius Lovegood, but I expected nothing less. The only newly introduced character that really didn't work for me was Bill Weasley, who looked and sounded all wrong, and made me doubly glad that Charlie was left out all together.

It was better paced than the sixth film. I was expecting the camping trip to be as ploddy as it was in the book, but I actually thought it was quite smooth and it felt more comfortable than some of the earlier scenes. From the Order's departure from Privet Drive to the trio's visit to the Ministry felt incredibly rushed, and suffered the most significant cutting casualties. The biggest disappointment for me was that Harry's argument with Lupin in the Grimmauld Place kitchen was left out, though plot wise, the worst omission was Kreacher's tale of Regulus and the horcrux. I'm not sure the film would make any sense to someone who had not read the book. Also, Wormtail didn't die in Malfoy Manor, which annoyed me, but I imagine they're saving him up for the final battle.

My least favourite bit was the flight from Privet Drive, and the ensuing battle. The bit where the six volunteers all transform into Harry was hilarious, and the Weasley twins particularly good, but the battle was rubbish. There was no "expelliarmus" and Voldemort's identification of Harry was explained by Hedwig, who died trying to protect her master. George's injury was kept in, but there was no mention of Snape, and Bill's announcement of Moody's death was really anticlimactic. Everything between the aftermath of the battle and the wedding reception was dropped.

Snape only appeared in one scene, but naturally, he owned it, and it was one of the best. :-) I loved Malfoy Manor and, though it was heavily cut, the scene in which Charity Burgbage died probably kept more closely to the text than almost any of the others. All the most prominent Death Eaters were fantastic, and the lack of Alan Rickman was made up for slightly - and highly unexpedly - by Nick Moran as the Snatcher, Scabior. He doesn't normally do anything for me but he was very pretty in an Adam Ant-y kind of way.

There were far fewer bizarre non-sequitur made up bits than in some of the earlier adaptations. The only really glaring one occurred just after Ron's departure, and involved an impromptu dance between Harry and Hermione in the tent. This probably would have bugged me a lot more if the music they were dancing to, which was playing on the wizarding wireless, had not been a Nick Cave song! Ed and I disagreed a little over this scene; I suppose it was good as a spirit-lifter but by a look they shared, it seemed to be trying to introduce some UST between Harry and Hermione, which would be ew ew ew wrong! Harry's explanation to Ron that he loves her like a sister is left out, which reinforced the inappropriateness of this scene.

The film ends with Dobby's burial at Shell Cottage, and I will put my hand up to totally blubbing like a baby when he died. The closing scene shows Voldemort breaking into Dumbledore's tomb to steal the wand. It did feel unfinished and made me want to see the second part RIGHT NOW, but on the whole was probably as good a place as any to split the story.

So, yeah, overall it was alright. Much better than I was expecting, really. I'll definitely go and see it again and might post a more coherent review then.
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