Rating: 3.5 of 5
I feel like I almost have to say that since this is Harry Potter – it’s not bad, no matter what criticisms I have. They’re always well produced, they’re working from good source material, the kids acting gets better with every film. Plus, the world is so richly realized in the films, even when they aren’t great, they’re fun just to watch or to have playing in the background, to be a part of that world.
That being said, I didn’t love this one. I guess a major part of it is that I don’t love the first half of the book, either. They did as well as they could with adapting the first half of the book, which is pretty good. But whenever I reread The Deathly Hallows, I start at Malfoy Manor and go from there. So, a movie that just builds up to Malfoy Manor isn’t going to be intriguing or fascinating for me and I was rarely engrossed in the story. There were moments where it was great for a breath, but then other places where it fell flat.
There were also a few places where it was over scored. That’s just one of my pet peeves and not something most people criticize in films. I just don’t like the moments where the score is so strong and so heavy handed. There was only one or two, but it’s still disappointing.
There were a few very tiny pacing problems, an action scene here or there that was hard to follow so I didn’t get caught up in the action, a moment now and then that could have been tightened up. But mostly, it was very well paced. and I’m glad David Yates figured out people don’t like short Harry Potter films.
All that being said, the first moments, where Hermione is erasing her parents memories was really sad and I might have almost cried a little.
I also really like when Hermione is about to erase the snatchers memories in the diner, because Ron suggests killing them and it’s this shift in who they are, what they’re willing to do or what they have to do. So, when he pushes Hermione to take their memories instead she’s so hesitant, it’s like she knows they’re walking into the darker side of this fight, that they’re going to have to make choices that are unbecoming and she’s wrestling with it, which was great. I wish more moments had had that emotional heft.
I did not like what Ron saw when the horcrux opened. The spiders were a nice touch (I didn’t remember them in the book) but Harry and Hermione being naked was just off putting. I think because we’ve seen them as child characters for so long, that even though they’ve grown up, even though romance and love and everything has been well introduced, seeing them kissing would have been enough. making them naked felt gratuitous and out of place in a Harry Potter movie, however discreet it was. It was the one really sour note in the film.
Interestingly enough, I was ok with the tent hopping in the movie. In the book it was way too long and slow, but I didn’t feel like it dragged in the movie because there was enough little difference and things they were dealing with.
I kinda loved the dancing scene with Harry and Hermione. It was sweet and funny and the nice heartwarming moment they both needed.
I also liked Harry’s line about liking her perfume but leaving it off next time. It was so perfectly innocent and incendiary at the same time.
Mostly I’m just looking forward to seeing the next film. and wish I had more Harry Potter on dvd to sit around and watch the rest of the day.