I mentioned last time my thoughts on the seventh Harry Potter book, and how I thought The Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a good lead up to the ultimate conclusion. Now, as usual, my previous thoughts on the final movie aren’t too strong; the only thing I can really remember is that awkward Voldemort-Draco hug. So let’s see how I feel after my re-watch. Strap yourself in, this is going to be a long post.
Since the movie’s plot is pretty straightforward, I’ll go through each major event one by one. We shall start with the trio’s adventure into Gringotts to steal Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup… not that you know that’s what it is, because it’s actually not mentioned by name in the movie. Which I found particularly weird. However, I do like the sequence of events leading them into the vault, and the multiplying treasure scene is cool. I think the book version of the treasure burning them when it multiples is pretty terrifying, and it would have been difficult to achieve on screen in the short amount of time they have for it, so I can understand cutting it out. I really like the cuts of the scene with Voldemort going crazy after they’ve stolen the Horcrux, and I think the look of horror on the Malfoy family’s faces really hammers home just how dangerous he is.
The trio swiftly move to Hogwarts, or rather Hogsmeade, where they are helped by Dumbledore’s estranged brother, Aberforth. To be honest, the exchange between Aberforth and Harry just makes Aberforth look like a dick for criticising Dumbleore without reason. It also feels weirdly out of context, and doesn’t really achieve anything; we haven’t had enough of Harry doubting Dumbledore throughout the first part of the Deathly Hallows to warrant it. The weak explanation of the mirror shard is also pointless in this scene. However, I really like the trio getting into the Room of Requirement, and seeing all the students who are daring to stand up to the Death Eaters at Hogwarts. As the trio continue into their Horcrux Hunt, I think it would have been cool to see Harry go into Ravenclaw Tower, but I can understand the decision to have Luna direct him straight to the Grey Lady instead (oh hey, ghosts… it’s only been five movies since we last saw you!). I really love the scene where the trio return to the Room of Requirement trying to find the diadem; it’s so cool with all the props stacked up! I also like the sequence of events of Draco and his cronies attacking Harry, the Fiendfyre, and the escape from the flames.
We get the preparation and the start of the Battle of Hogwarts happening at the same time as the Horcrux hunt. McGonagall and Neville are just so, so awesome in these scenes; they really are the heroes here. I like the detail of the portraits evacuating from the frames, but I don’t understand why there doesn’t seem to be much of an evacuation of the school? We get everyone running around chaotically, but there’s no scene with McGonagall telling all underaged students to leave, and students of age to decide what they want to do. We also don’t really see many of the other Professors helping out, save for Slughorn and Flitwick. We see them later, but how cool would it be having Professor Sprout carrying some dangerous looking plants around in the background? Also, where is Hagrid in all of this? He comes in for Harry’s death but it’s sort of like… oh right, Hagrid… forgot about him. With that, I guess I can’t really grumble about Grawp being there either, right?
Despite some noticeable absences in the battle scene, I do think it was done incredibly well. In the short duels we see, there’s plenty of variety of magic going on, and a large variety of enemies our heroes have to face. I think the scene of Harry, Ron, and Hermione running through the battle to get to Voldemort and Snape is done very, very well, and is probably my favourite sequence of scenes in the movie.
Speaking of Snape… what a horrific death scene. It’s much more violent than in the books, but I think it’s done very well. I also like Harry’s uncertainty and hesitation when he approaches Snape bleeding to death on the floor; he’s the man that Harry hates, but he can’t just stand there and watch him die. Snape obviously gives Harry his memories, and I think the memories and the scenes from the previous movies were incorporated very, very well. In fact, Snape’s whole memory sequence was really well put together. Now, I’m going to point this out right from the start; I am in no way sympathetic towards Snape’s character; I don’t think the reveal of his history with Lily changes the fact that he is an absolute asshole throughout the series. So I’m a little disappointed that his memories pain him in such a good light; where’s Lily’s annoyance at Snape hanging out with the wrong crowd at school? Where’s Snape calling her a mudblood? I can see why people might be more sympathetic towards his character with these important memories cut out, because it’s not obvious that Snape turns to the Dark Arts of his own accord. His motive for betraying it for Lily’s sake only, is in my opinion, extremely selfish. The memories in this movie don’t hammer this home. I also think they could have utilised Snape’s memories more to reveal more about how manipulative Dumbledore is.
All of this, of course, eventually leads to Harry’s death. I think it was handled pretty well, especially when the spirits of James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus appear. The actual confrontation between Voldemort and Harry was really good. There’s no point in complaining about Harry and Dumbledore talking in limbo since so much about Dumbledore was left out of the movies, so it wouldn’t make sense if they suddenly bought it all up. Also, that bloody Voldemort baby thing is so horrifically creepy.
And now, the final battle. Which, honestly, I really prefer the book version. I mean, Harry and Voldemort struggling against each other around the castle, and the Molly-Bellatrix duel is done pretty well, but imagine how much better it could be. Before Molly took her on, Bellatrix was duelling Ginny, Hermione, and Luna simultaneously, but then Molly takes her down without even flinching. It would have been awesome to see! I also wish we had at least the Centaurs (no point in mentioning the House Elves this late in the series) driving everyone into the Main Hall, where the final duel between Harry and Voldemort is witnessed. I can’t help but wonder what Harry did after defeating Voldemort in the movie… awkwardly walk into the battle and announce that Voldemort’s dead? In the book, Bellatrix had just died, Harry reveals himself to be alive, and then everyone watches in deathly silence as he gives Voldemort his last chance to redeem himself by showing remorse. When Voldemort laughs in Harry’s face, they both send their final spells and Voldemort dies, his body soon removed from sight. Having him just shatter in the movie sort of takes away the little humanity he has, don’t you think? While a physical body proves in the end that he is, indeed, just a man.
And finally, the ending scenes. I’m not too sure why Harry didn’t repair his old wand before snapping the Elder Wand in half, but I guess he has Draco’s now? Whatever. As for the epilogue, well I’ve never really liked it, and honestly Harry, do you really think Snape redeemed himself to name your son after him? But this is more an argument against the book than the movie. In the movie, the epilogue is handled well, and the final shot of our trio sending their kids off to Hogwarts on the platform is incredibly powerful and moving.
Overall, I really liked the fast pace of the final movie. A lot of the content and scenes are handled really, really well. I still think certain parts were misrepresented or poorly handled, and the concluding duel between Harry and Voldemort is not as epic as I hoped it would be. However, that hug is still as awkward as it was the first time I watched it. Yikes.