Why does Joseph Gordon Dash Levitt look like a cross between himself and Kyle Chandler in the preview for Looper? What did they do and how did they do it????? Any thoughts?
One of my friends suggested it’s a prosthetic nose. Perhaps.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is an excellent film in and of itself. It was extremely well made and I loved a lot of the ways the events in the book were portrayed. However, after I was done crying because the movie was over and a decade of my life was over with it, I really started to get really frustrated.
The previous movies weren’t perfect; the first two were practically a joke, a fun magical silly terrible couple of movies that I loved watching but that didn’t have much value by themselves if it weren’t for the books. The third one, which many criticized because it changed things from the first two movies (mostly the Hogwarts grounds and the new Dumbledore), was actually a much better film, albeit with some stupid additions like the talking shrunken heads. The fourth was very good, even though it was way too chopped. The fifth movie is the point where David Yates took over as director and the point where the films begin to have a very distinct style and become much more faithful to the original narrative, while still being great movies that could stand on their own. The seventh movie (Deathly Hallows pt. 1) was incredible. I remember walking out of the theater being amazed at how loyal to the book they had been; I had finished reading it the day before I went to the movie so I noticed quite a few things that made me really happy as a fan of the books. Even tiny details. For example, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are staying in 12 Grimmauld Place, the book mentions that Harry wakes up and sees that Ron and Hermione’s hands are almost touching, like they had fallen asleep holding hands. And they put that in the movie and I was glad. That movie was by far the best one. David Yates was able to take a masterpiece of modern literature and interpret it in film, adding visual aesthetic and making it beautiful and making it distinctively his without changing the narrative hardly at all.
This last movie, however, was strewn with unnecessary changes that just make me angrier the more I think about it. It was actually really great for the first 45 minutes; the Gringotts scene was great, the dragon was animated very well and, unlike lots of CGI creatures, became a character and you could forget it was animated. But from the point that Voldemort realizes that Harry is destroying his horcruxes until the end, the movie took the direction of spectacle over spirit. One of the first noticeable changes is that, for some reason, the grounds have changed again, and somehow there are deep canyons and chasms by the castle. Forgivable though. Minor. But there are things that aren’t forgivable, especially after David Yates proved with Part 1 that he could make an amazing film without changing the story.
There were some changes I didn’t mind, or even enjoyed seeing. Every part they gave Professor McGonagall, for example. She was brilliant. The scene in the Chamber of Secrets was a good addition, I thought, if not a little over the top, and set up “the kiss.”
Changes I didn’t like:
-The Elder Wand begins to split when Voldemort uses it. The Elder Wand would not split. It’s the most powerful wand ever made.
-In the book, when Harry realizes that he has to be killed in order to destroy the part of Voldemort that lives in him, he puts on the invisibility cloak and faces a long lonely walk past his friends, past people who have died, without them seeing him. An emotional silent walk. But the film has him hugging his friends, saying goodbye, almost bragging about what he’s about to do, when in reality (the book is reality here) he has to make that walk alone.
-They didn’t hardly mention Dumbledore’s backstory, which was the way he got the Elder Wand in the first place.
-One of the most powerful and sad moments in the book is when Fred dies; the movie didn’t even show it happen. They didn’t give him his last laugh.
-Neville’s speech was fine; a little corny, nothing amazing, but emotional. However, there was a point where he could have chopped the snake’s head off, easily, and he would have had his shining moment the way it happened in the book. But instead we face a ten-minute dodging contest between the snake and Hermione and Ron which is pointless and stupid. I almost thought they weren’t going to have Neville do it but at least they gave him that, finally. This, though, is an example of how the movie went for spectacle. Why is a drawn-out anti-climactic slow-paced parry on the stairs better than the book? It isn’t.
-The final duel between Harry and Voldemort is basically like watching Transformers. It’s way too long and unnecessary. Flying through the air? Why?
-One thing that bothered me was the way Bellatrix and Voldemort died. It may make me a morbid person but I feel there isn’t as much meaning when someone evil dies if they poof into a cloud of smoke. I want to see the bad guys broken, dead. In the book, it says “Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken, the white hands empty, the snakelike face vacant and unknowing. Voldemort was dead, killed by his own rebounding curse, and Harry stood with two wands in his hand, staring down at his enemy’s shell.” That is the way it should end for a mass murderer, an evil mastermind. Broken, empty, and dead. Not poofed.
-It was great and fine that Harry snapped the Elder Wand in two. It wasn’t exactly like the book but it showed Harry’s desire to have that tale be done with. But it would have taken them literally 5 more seconds just to show him repairing his own wand first.
What bothers me most about these changes is that they really had no excuse. The previous films had the excuses of inexperienced child actors, maybe limited budgets (for the first two at least), shuffling of directors, but this one, after all we’d seen in HP7.1, could have been perfect. So it makes me angry that the producers felt that the masterpiece source material wasn’t good enough. They went for Hollywood-style special effects and explosions instead of focusing on the intimate tragic details. One of the most important realizations in the book is when we find out that, because Harry sacrificed himself in the forest for his friends, Voldemort’s curses had no hold on any of the students or staff of Hogwarts. Just as Harry had been protected by his mother’s love, his friends were protected by his selfless sacrifice. The movie went 20 minutes too long; those 20 minutes, spent on useless flying and explosions, could have been spent touching on way more important details.
However, I loved the movie. In and of itself, it was a great exciting film. It was an emotional experience for me. It sounds silly but the story means a lot to me and many my age, those of us who grew up reading the books, those of us who were the same age as Harry. But that’s why I get so frustrated at the unnecessary changes. I feel like the books don’t mean as much to most people as they do to me. It might sound selfish but that’s how I feel. The movies are but a shadow of the book. And I’m actually glad it will always stay that way. In the future, when I have kids of my own, I think I’m going to try and keep them from seeing the movies until they are old enough to have read the books on their own and allow them to have the magical experience I had as a boy, staying up until 4am on a school night to finish the Sorcerer’s Stone. I can still remember the feeling I had as I read those books, starting from the first page. It was an experience I am grateful to have had. All I can really say is thank you, JK Rowling.