I saw Harry Potter 7.2 for the third time on Monday with Maggie and Ben. I think the movie is great. I would like to muse on it here. SPOILERS.
Everyone has their favorite scenes from the book that they wish the movie hadn't left out (Slytherin having to choose sides is mine). But for the most part all the big scenes are in the movie and they are done well. After watching it I still wonder how Harry came back to life. Is it a near-death experience? Is he resurrected? Is it magic? I get the symbolism of it. I just wonder how JK Rowling would explain it, exactly.
I am also troubled by just how long Snape stays under cover. After killing Dumbledore his fake allegiance to Voldemort doesn't really seem to gain anything. I guess he is still at Hogwarts keeping an eye on things but it's not like he prevents it from getting very, very bleak. I think it's sad (but cool) to see him and McGonagall face off. Sad for Snape, that is. McGonagall doesn't know that they are on the same side. Are they on the same side? I wonder about Snape. True, the HP series is one of the greatest love stories ever but if not for Lily, would he have remained sympathetic to Voldemort's cause? He did join it in the first place. I love Snape. He is complicated. His death is the most gruesome in the movie: "Nagini, Kill." Yikes. Why would I take my kids to see that! Yo. Children need to know about good and evil. They need to be armed for bear. Bear = evil. It's a personal parenting decision. You have to do what's right for your kids. I personally would (and have) let my kids watch the whole Harry Potter series and Star Wars and Lord of the Rings before I would ever subject them to the indecencies of The Smurfs. But that's me. I really want them to know that good triumphs over evil even if the battle is costly.
I love Neville's speech to rally the troops when everyone thinks Harry is dead. In it Neville enlarges the meaning of the Harry Potter story. It's sad if Harry dies, but he's not the point. They are fighting for a bigger cause. It was a pet theory of mine when I read the books that Neville really was "the chosen one" since he and Harry share a birthday. In a way he was the chosen one because he uses the Sword of Griffindor to kill Nagini. If nothing else, Neville deserves for you to see this:
Speaking of growing up, I think it's pretty interesting how Daniel Radcliff never really gets very tall and how that effects the Potter series. I think JK Rowling probably imagined Harry as growing older and becoming more manlike. Radcliff is totally short and remains kind of little-boyish (his future wife grew taller than him 3 movies ago). It makes his stand-off with Voldemort even a little more poignant because he's such a little guy. What if it were Cedric Diggory or even Ron? They turned out to look like grown men. Daniel Radcliff has a hobbit-like quality to him that makes him seem meek, even though he definitely comes of age in the series. His shortness is an attribute JK didn't plan on, and it changes the story. You can't help but imagine him now as you read. I think it would have been great if he had grown into a strapping young man. That's what I imagined when I first read the books before I knew Daniel Radcliff wouldn't grow. But it all worked out in the end. I'm just musing here.
About Dumbledore: I don't love how he is portrayed by Michael Gambon. I would much rather have seen Richard Harris finish the series. But he died. Was that some kind of real-life foreshadowing of Dumbledore's actual (and by actual I mean fictional) death? I really think JK Rowling got sick of everyone second-guessing her and worshiping Dumbledore and comparing him to Gandalf. I think she got sick of him and decided to stress the fallibility of Dumbledore, hence the foibles of his youth. It also seems really mean that he saved Harry to die like a pig for slaughter. But he was a realist and he knew it had to go down like that. It's pretty sad--heartbreaking.
I guess relaying the message about dying like a pig for slaughter was really the only reason Snape stayed under cover so long. But I still feel he could have fought openly for the Order. I think Snape's flashback is about the best thing I've ever seen go from a book to the big screen. Couldn't there be a whole movie about Snape! Don't we all want to know more? And, really, was James Potter just a big jerk? The Lily's of this world never marry the Snapes, do they. I think the doe patronus is about the most beautiful torch anyone has ever carried for an old flame. See what I did there? Mixed metaphor. I actually did it out of laziness. You know what I mean though and it is the best part of the book.
Here here to the actors in part 2. I think it's called selflessness in actor-speak. Many of them have no lines. I think Fred and George have one exchange before Fred dies. (Cry.) Tonks wordlessly reaches out to Remus (Cry) before they are seen among the dead at Hogwarts (Sob...Teddy!...Cry). Ron inconspicuously slinks into his first scene of the movie. No ego. All story. And lest you thought Helena Bonham Carter was just an enthusiastic evil freak--she does a pretty good Hermione too, under bite and all. I have to say, Ralph Fiennes takes a little too much pleasure in playing Voldemort and I wouldn't have it any other way.
And now for the part that chokes me up every time I see it. It's when the teachers go outside to perform protective charms over Hogwarts. Especially when tiny Professor Flitwick extends his wand and murmurs, "Protego Maximus. . . " It's how I feel every day and it's what I'm all about--a tiny person of little consequence doing their best to protect the children in their care.
Am I immature for loving these movies and all movies that tell this story? I guess. But it gives me lots to talk about with 14 year olds--and that's not nothing.
I got Sam two tickets for him and a friend to go to the midnight showing of HP 7.2 on opening night. I asked him which friend he was going to take and he said, "Oh, are there 3 tickets here?"
I know I won't be his plus one forever (cry).