The final two movies. The final book. We’ve got a lot to cover over the next two posts, so likes dive right in.
To be honest, I don’t really love the seventh book. There’s a lot in there that I do like, but there’s also a lot I had issues with. I never particularly liked the slow pace of the whole camping thing, but I did like the full exploration of both the Horcruxes and the Deathly Hallows. I also like the final fight. As it seems to be with the final few movies, I’ve previously had no strong feelings towards this movie. To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t actually remember too much about it before watching it; I couldn’t even remember where they cut if off for the second part! So this was an interesting rewatch.
One thing that struck me again and again is just how much of the movie relies on the audience to have knowledge of the books, because a lot of what happens is not explained. I am actually curious, what did viewers who never read the books think of this movie? They must have a lot of questions, when you look at what occurs in the seventh movie with no explanations within the movie, or in the previous movies; we suddenly have a new Minister of Magic; throughout the movie Harry looks into a mirror and can see someone looking back, but we don’t know how he got this mirror nor what it is; for some reason, 12 Grimmauld Place from the fifth movie is no longer used, yet Harry can enter it at will and the resident house elf will obey him; and Hermione mentions something called splinching, which happens to Ron for an unexplained reason. We also finally get the explanation of Harry’s and Voldemort’s weird wand thing from the fourth movie, which I’m sure everyone remembered at the time. And then there’s the inconsistency of Harry referring to Voldemort as “You-Know-Who”, when he has literally been using the actual name since the first movie. When he does finally say the name, it alerts the enemy to where there are, but Ron doesn’t explain the taboo curse on the word. So many unexplained parts of the movie!
However, hand in hand with what was undoubtedly some confusing book references, is some incredibly well done movie moments. The sense of build up over the opening sequences of the movie is incredibly clever, and is very powerful. Other scenes I found particularly emotionally powerful include Hermione wiping her parents’ memories and Harry looking into the cupboard under the stairs before leaving the Dursleys’ house. I also liked the first scene at the Malfoy Manor in which Charity Burbage is killed by Voldemort. It really shows how the Malfoys have fallen from grace, and just how intimidating Voldemort is; no wonder even his own followers are terrified of him. I also really like how they portrayed both Ron being affected by the locket, and the stress on the Malfoy family due to their less favourable position in the Death Eater ranks.
There are, however, a couple of things that were left out of the movie which I think could have made it so much better. Since there was no memorial service or funeral for Dumbledore in the sixth movie, I had been hoping- I honestly couldn’t remember- that there would be something in the seventh, but sadly not. I also would have liked Dudley’s attempt at thanking Harry and saying goodbye to him to be in the movie. I know the scene was filmed and later cut, and I honestly think it was a bad decision. I also think incorporating parts of the book version of Ron’s return to the group would make the whole thing sweeter; he manages to catch bits of their conversation whenever they mention his name, and he spends a lot longer apparating around to find them, which isn’t really mentioned in the movie.
Although I actually have pretty good thoughts on this movie (more on that later), there is one part that I think could have been done a lot better; the fight at the Malfoy Manor, and Dobby’s death. Firstly, I expected the torture scene to be a little more intense, but I can understand toning it down for the movie. However, Ron should at least be freaking out more over the pained screams of his loved one. It seems to be over pretty quickly, but I feel like it goes on longer in the book. I’m also sort of irritated that it takes so long for the Death Eaters o really, really believe that Harry is Harry. I completely get Draco’s hesitation, but Lucius clearly knows that Ron and Hermione are Harry’s best friends, and since all three of them have been missing for a while, he should naturally assume they are together. As for Dobby… I can’t really blame this film too much for it. As I mentioned when talking about the fourth movie, Dobby should have made some brief appearances in at least a couple of the other movies to make his death more powerful. Instead, he shows up out of the blue only to be killed, and it honestly just serves the purpose to emotionally manipulate the audience, which is why I’ve never found the movie-version of his death to affect me at all. They also could have clearly escaped during the time in which Dobby and Bellatrix talk, and he would still be alive.
To be honest, I’m actually surprised at how much I enjoyed the seventh movie on this rewatch. We don’t have the grand buildup to a final event like we have in the other movies, and yet this movie never feels stagnant nor boring. Unlike the sixth movie, it seems to have a clearer direction, and just feels a lot tidier and better put together. Surprising, considering its the same director. I still had issues with sound; I spent most of my time reading subtitles rather than listening to voices, particularly when information was presented in the background, but I guess that’s more of a personal issue. The movie also ends at a pretty good point, leaving the audience ready to fire up for the final movie and what we know is going to be a big showdown. Will the final movie live up to what is already laid out in the first part? I don’t know because I can’t remember, so let’s find out together!