Friday, April 22, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I started to write this last December, but with Christmas and personal issues in the first part of the year, I never finished it. Now the DVD is out, so here it is, a combination of my thoughts about the movie when I saw it in the theater and my thoughts about the content on the BluRay - and I haven't even had a chance to watch all of it yet.

I've been meaning to write something ever since I saw the movie on the first day, and then after I saw it a week later. But Thanksgiving, which was at our house this year so getting to take time out for the movie was all the extra time I had. I did manage to go again the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and then we were busy with decorating for Christmas. Now that the outside lights are up and the tree is decorated, I'm taking a break before I lose the magical feelings I had after watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I.

This was the first Harry Potter movie that I didn't see at midnight since the first two. Sarah and I went on Friday at noon. The advantage was that we didn't have to stand outside in the cold and rain for hours and the theater wasn't full. When I went a week later, the theater was almost full, so maybe we just picked the slow time. No matter - there were enough there to share in the laughter, the tears and the gasps.

I knew going in that there was an added scene with Hermione's parents, but I had no idea that I would start the movie with tears. The other added scene I'd heard about was the dancing in the tent. I'll get to that later.

There were so many things I liked about this movie, so many things they did right, from the Dursleys leaving (abreviated but with the same sense of urgency and lack of caring from Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia towards Harry) to Snape at Malfoy Manor and Dobby, that it's easier to talk about the very few nitpicks I have.

I was curious why they changed the colors of the wedding. I was looking forward to seeing gold and white. However, the dark purple and red and the black phoenixes on Fleur's wedding gown and the black and white of Ginny's bride's maid dress (with her red hair) gave it all the right feel. I always get a little lost with the alchemical images, unless they are obvious. So I think I'm probably missing some of the finer points here. However, Luna and Xenophilius were in yellow and gold, so maybe that is enough. The other thing I noticed when I watched it the second time was how much gold, red and orange there was in the Weasley house when the trio talked to Scrimgeour. I hadn't particularly noticed those colors in previous movies. When Harry, Ron and Hermione are sitting on the sofa, there is a picture on the wall that looks like a sun rising just above her head. The color was striking, and that it was a sun was striking. A sign of hope? I'm not sure, but I liked it. The sun and the colors seemed to be a contrast to the tone of the interview by Scrimgeour.

We didn't get to see the wedding, just the reception dinner. It was lovely. The arrival of the warning by Kingsley was well done. The chaos was vivid and scary and all the things it should be. The scenes that followed with the trio in London were well done. Some changes, but nothing jarring.

I thought the wandering camping trip was appropriate in length and tone. But I didn't mind it in the book like some did. We needed to see (in the book and the movie) that Harry knows what needs to be done but has no clue how to do it.

Ron's leaving and return were fairly in line with the book. I'm glad they took the time to let him explain some of his following the light when he wanted to come back. And before that, rather than having long scenes of Harry and Hermione not talking or exchanging only a few words, we had the dancing in the tent. I didn't think I would like it. There was an awkwardness to it, but that's what made it work. Two girls would have sat and talked about why Hermione was so sad and upset, or why Harry was so frustrated by not being able to find the other Horcruxes. But Harry isn't a girl, and he's never been chatty about his feelings. We've always known what he was thinking in the books, because that is the point of view - we know his thoughts and we also know he doesn't usually share them very well.

Instead, Harry noticed how unhappy Hermione was and took action by leading her into a dance in an effort to comfort her. And the best part is the look on Hermione's face when she puts her head on Harry's shoulder. It's not a look of attraction to Harry, but one that clearly says she was cheered for a few minutes but is still sad and missing Ron. And nothing will change how she feels about Ron. Perfect - and without any words. It's not a romantic dance, but a dance between close friends.

I missed Kreacher's Tale ending in his redemption and devotion to the trio. But I did like the reintroduction of Dobby, since he was missing from the last movies. It needed to be done that way, and for me, it worked. It was enough. The only thing that was missing there was the extent of terror that Kreacher went through in finding the locket Horcrux. In the book, that is one way we see just how cruel and inhuman Voldemort is.

Now that I have the movie, I have watched all the deleted scenes and I do wish they had included the one with Petunia and Dudley saying good-bye. They weren't that long and they were perfect. I don't think the chasing rabbits was necessary, even though it also shows the increasing tension between Harry and Ron.

I have always loved watching the movie with the audio commentary. But this movie is even better. I just haven't had the chance to watch all of it yet. As the movie plays, instead of talking (sometimes babbling to fill time) over the movie, they actually stop and insert commentary by Jason Isaacs, and other actors, the director and others, about the scene. They talk about how it relates to the earlier movies, with reminders of who the characters are, what the situation was, and so forth. They even have Tom Felton (Draco) reading excerpts from the books. I love it. It's the best kind of commentary and it makes me glad I spent the extra money for the BluRay (and glad that we have one).

So that's where I am at the moment. I hope to watch the rest in the next few days, but I quickly realized that it's going to take a while since all these things are added in.

And after seeing a sneak peek at the opening scene for Deathly Hallows, Part II, I can't wait to see the whole movie. They do seem to be doing the thing properly this time. What a great way to end this movie series, that has at times been spot on and at other times has missed. As much as I look forward to the next and last movie, i will miss having a new Harry Potter movie every other year. It's like saying good-bye to a dear friend, knowing that they aren't coming back.

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