Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter 7, Part 2. Quick Review

To a true Harry Potter fan, no review really means much. We will see the movies anyway, give them every benefit of the doubt, and count down the days to J.K. Rowling's new web site.

But since I'm being asked/texted, I'll put some quick thoughts here on the final movie.

I give it 3 stars out of 4... 3 1/2 if you infuse the movie with all you know from the books.

The reason for the loss of star (I totally give part 1 4 stars)? There's a return to stilted, non-acting. Everything feels rushed, but not in a get-your-heart-beating way. In an include-it-all way. The emotions and characters are very flat. Harry portrays intensity by mouth breathing, he and Ginny seem more distant than ever, the only way you know Ron and Hermione are in love is from the books. (You need a little more than obligatory hand holding and one abrupt kiss. There should be chemistry! You know, like there was in Part 1?)

The adult cast delivers, but no one really gets much screen time. I actually wonder if people who haven't read the books leave the theater confused on several levels. Several details are included without being explained. I would think they would leave people without the back story saying, "Huh?"--which, by the way, I'm totally fine with (because everyone seeing these movies should read these books). I'm glad the details are included, but it all seems quite obligatory.

Passionless. The movie really is that on most levels. The chemistry between characters is passionless, and even 99% of the death eaters seem somewhat blase about taking over the world.

But really what hurts this film (for me) is that the director is over his head in the action scenes. He doesn't know what to film and what not to film. Knock Michael Bay all you like, but when you compare the HP magical fighting to Michael Bay's muggles fighting in the recent Transformers movie, the gaping chasm of quality is a bit sad. I'd explain, but that seems spoilery. Needless to say, you're never really worried that Hogwarts will fall before Harry gets what he needs, and the loss of key characters is not something we're part of or are made to feel. We have to lean on the books for that.

So yeah. Those are my quick thoughts. And I probably would have forgiven it all if Rupert Grint and Emma Watson could have pulled some chemistry, or even some eye contact, out of their hats and made me believe they wanted to live through it all to be together. And I would give it 4+ stars if Daniel Radcliffe would stop mouth breathing to try to raise the intensity of a scene and learn how to do a reaction shot that actually moves through a thought process, not just the sustained single expression someone told him to do.

"Stand here. Look there. Try to smile like you're happy."
"Stand here. Look there. Look serious."
"Stand here. Look there. Be awkward."

Fix those two things and I'd forgive the emotionless action scenes as a bonus and decree this movie epic.

The books are epic. One of the movies was on par. This one fell a bit behind.

There you have it. My brief thoughts on HP Part 2.

See it. It's worth it. And let me know what you thought! I'm going to a total nerd party on Saturday where I'm sure we'll talk about it for hours. I'm sure I will meet many who would have me burn for these thoughts, but they are what they are. I wanted more from the movie. More heart. But hopefully by telling you all this and lowering expectations, you'll go in and absolutely LOVE it.

Because chances are, you will LOVE IT!

Hope you enjoy!

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