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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2


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#41 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:24 PM

Overstreet wrote:
: . . . so many seemingly arbitrary magical items to find, so many seemingly arbitrary ways to destroy them . . .

Arbitrary magical items to find, sure, why not? I mean, the whole point is that Voldemort wanted to put pieces of his soul into a wide range of objects, as a sort of insurance policy against death. The more arbitrary they are -- the harder it is to discern any pattern between them -- then the harder it should be for anyone to find them.

As for arbitrary ways to destroy them ... I don't think so. Most of them are destroyed with the Sword of Gryffindor or with the Basilisk fang, no? And both of these items were introduced to the franchise at least as far back as the second movie, when the first horcrux was destroyed (although we didn't know it was a horcrux at the time).

But even if there IS something arbitrary about all this, I dunno, it doesn't seem all that more arbitrary to me than a lot of things that happen in fairy tales.

FWIW, I've always liked Alan Jacobs' observation that each of the horcruxes is destroyed by a different person: Harry destroyed the first one in the second story, and Dumbledore destroyed the second one prior to the sixth story, but here, in the seventh story, the five remaining horcruxes are all destroyed by others (with two of them being destroyed unwittingly by the villains).

#42 Anders

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:27 PM

Oh well. If we can accept that Obi-Wan Kenobi was lying to Luke Skywalker in Episode IV -- even though, as far as everyone (including George Lucas) knew at the time, he was actually telling the truth -- then I guess we can accept these other things, too.


Saw it last night, and was impressed at the achievement of this series in bringing a beloved fantasy series to a satisfying conclusion. I can't speak for others who remain unimpressed with the Harry Potter phenomenon, because I think it's at least as well done as any other series I can think of.

Peter's comment made me think about how I've really got to write something about how Dumbledore and Obi-Wan are such similar characters, hiding information from our heroes because they think they know better. It's interesting that in the end I am less enthralled with Dumbledore, and I am reminded at how compelling and heartbreaking Snape is as a character.

#43 Overstreet

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 10:37 PM

I wish I could say differently, but the story never made me care. Maybe the books would have, but the movies didn't. I kept thinking of the Star Trek movies, which rarely ever made me feel a thing for anybody: too many powers, too many talismans, too many easy outs (time travel included). I just don't feel any suspense because I have no doubt there'll be a tricky way out of every situation. Other aspects of the story might interest me, but not the central conflict.

When the Hogwarts faculty raise their wands and cast a nice dome over Hogwarts, I found myself losing my concentration because I was thinking about The Simpsons Movie.

In fairy tales, there are some seemingly arbitrary magical things, sure. But fairy tales are usually rather limited in scope. Snow White - the apple, the curse, the mirror, the disguise. That's pushing it, but I can live with it. This one has so many magical tricks, I just sit there thinking... Well, why not try this? Or this? Or this? Lord of the Rings convinces me. I believe in that world, and I know that the heroes can fail, so I feel a great deal is at stake. Game of Thrones - good heavens, there's hardly any magic being thrown around, and central characters are suffering, dying, and just when you think things will get better, they get ten times worse. Harry Potterland is like Peter Pan, only they can fly, create force fields, time travel, become in invisible, shape shift, record their memories in tears, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Oh, that bit about not caring.. I take that back. The dragon. I did care about the dragon. Peter Jackson's got his work cut out for him, having to come up with a more exciting dragon than the one at the beginning of this movie.

And the final showdown... really?
Spoiler
Really? Return of the Jedi sure wins in the final showdown department, as far as I'm concerned. So does Return of the King. Heck, I prefer how The Matrix Revolutions ends to this.

Oh... the bit about Harry's
Spoiler
was a nice bit of ammunition for people who doubt claims of Christological symbolism in the film.

BTW, why did they ask Kelly Macdonald to minimize her Scottish accent and sound more American, I wonder?

Edited by Overstreet, 17 July 2011 - 10:47 PM.


#44 Tyler

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:22 PM

Oh... the bit about Harry's

Spoiler
was a nice bit of ammunition for people who doubt claims of Christological symbolism in the film.


Just BTW, that location is
Spoiler
so it's not like they only trot it out for that one scene.

#45 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:45 PM

*** SPOILERS ***

Overstreet wrote:
: And the final showdown... really?

FWIW, I think the film might have changed the book, here. But I think that might be partly because the film's big "reveal" regarding the Elder Wand has been moved to a considerably later point in the film.

The crucial point here -- at least where the book is concerned, I think -- is not that a wand "fails", but that the villain essentially defeats HIMSELF by failing to understand the true nature of the wand he is using.

: Return of the Jedi sure wins in the final showdown department, as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, there are big logic problems with Return of the Jedi, even before we take the prequels and their new rules about the Sith into account. For starters, why is Darth Vader trying to STOP Luke from killing the Emperor, when, in The Empire Strikes Back, he had been trying to persuade Luke to help him KILL the Emperor? And why is Darth Vader trying to stop Luke from killing the Emperor (which, according to the Emperor, would move Luke over to the Dark Side), if he's just going to turn around and tell Luke to join the Dark Side too? Etc., etc., etc.

Whatever else we might say about the climax to the Harry Potter movies, they at least follow a more consistent character logic.

#46 Overstreet

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:46 PM

Oh, I know. I just think it's great that *that* place gets named during *that* scene. I was being sincere - I think that's a cool detail.

#47 Tyler

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 11:52 PM

*** SPOILERS ***

Overstreet wrote:
: And the final showdown... really?

FWIW, I think the film might have changed the book, here. But I think that might be partly because the film's big "reveal" regarding the Elder Wand has been moved to a considerably later point in the film.

The crucial point here -- at least where the book is concerned, I think -- is not that a wand "fails", but that the villain essentially defeats HIMSELF by failing to understand the true nature of the wand he is using.


Yeah, with the way the last 3rd or so of the series was written, the showdown had to be somewhat anticlimactic. They couldn't face Voldemort until he was already weakened (the horcruxes), and the bit with the Elder Wand and the end of Half-Blood Prince that I finally think I understand now.

#48 Rachel Anne

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 12:20 AM

Oh, there are big logic problems with Return of the Jedi, even before we take the prequels and their new rules about the Sith into account. For starters, why is Darth Vader trying to STOP Luke from killing the Emperor, when, in The Empire Strikes Back, he had been trying to persuade Luke to help him KILL the Emperor? And why is Darth Vader trying to stop Luke from killing the Emperor (which, according to the Emperor, would move Luke over to the Dark Side), if he's just going to turn around and tell Luke to join the Dark Side too? Etc., etc., etc.


Well, Vader wants to kill the emperor so he and Luke can rule the universe together. Luke has rejected that and it was only in partnership with Luke that Vader envisioned killing the Emperor. Luke killing the Emperor while Luke was still Vader's enemy isn't what he was aiming for. Also, it isn't entirely clear whether the Emperor was as helpless as he looked and as dependent on Vader's protection; it could easily have been a test by the Emperor of both of them.

As to the whole relationship between The Force and emotions, I'm not sure that there is any consistent way through the various pronouncements the various characters make on the subject. Any time you get close to that subject, I have no particular defense of the movies to offer.

#49 Thom Wade

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 07:29 AM

SDG wrote:
: As for Voldemort himself — that nightmare terror, that bogeyman, that satanic incarnation of evil — when he and Harry finally cross paths, he seems surprisingly mortal, finite, vulnerable.

Quite. I think his scenes even had a few people giggling, at times, at least at the screening I attended. He's not imposing the way he ought to be.



There was no giggling in the showing I went to. Heck, the audiance clapped excitedly at the end. Me? I was plenty satisfied. I felt like the kids all turned in strong performances, and as SDG pointed out, the return of the humor after the much lower key of part one was nice.

#50 Ryan H.

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:14 AM

I was watching this last night, and our projector pretty much died. Caput. Dead. And so after getting through all the Gringotts stuff, we were shuffled out and told that we would not be seeing HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2. I'm wondering whether I'll take a second stab at seeing it in theaters.

#51 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 12:15 PM

Diane Vincent @ The Scriptorium makes some excellent, excellent points about the changes that this film makes to the book's climactic battle, e.g.:

When you look back to the early Harry Potter movies, it’s hard to remember in this last that you’re in the same world, a world in which there was a multitude of imaginative ways to do just about anything from cooking dinner to incapacitating your enemies. Here in Hallows 2, most dueling seems to be limited to the standard Hollywood toolbox of lasers, wire work, and explosions. In general the magic is boring, and the wonder is gone.

There are some exceptions–the brief duel between McGonagall and Snape in the Great Hall, Voldemort’s cloak enwrapping Harry, the animation of the Hogwarts statues (which mostly then just stand around)–but didn’t you miss the galloping school desks? The house rubies spilling to the floor of the Great Hall? Dear horticutural Neville throwing deadly plants at Death Eaters? In the book, invention, whimsy, and wondrous things are still at work, even in such grave times.

I get that the movie wants to show you that now that Voldemort’s in control, there’s no room for the dewy-eyed wonder of 11-year-old Harry, but this world of mere flashes and bangs turns magic into mere Hollywood blockbuster might. Sparks shooting out of wands is not terribly different from bullets flying out of guns. To be mundane when you should be magical is a tacit agreement with Voldemort’s line: “Magic is Might”. Whatever magic is in Rowling’s work, it is never reduced to mere might, and it never ceases to draw out the wonder hidden in the everyday. . . .

And this is why the movie also fails to be mundane, to be everyday and ordinary and even a bit boring, at the crucial point when it ought to: Voldemort’s death. . . .

bowen wrote:
: Also, it isn't entirely clear whether the Emperor was as helpless as he looked and as dependent on Vader's protection; it could easily have been a test by the Emperor of both of them.

FWIW, the Dark Empire comics produced by Dark Horse in the early '90s claimed that the Emperor knew he would come back to life because there were copies of his body in the cloning chambers left over from the Clone Wars; when Vader threw the Emperor down the shaft and that blue energy wave flew out of the Emperor's body, it was the Emperor's spirit returning to the cloning chambers on Coruscant.

Apocryphal, perhaps. But there WAS a time -- before the prequels started gumming things up -- when Lucasfilm claimed that the novels and comics were all part of a single, officially-approved continuity. And the comic's theory did explain a few things.

Ryan H. wrote:
: I was watching this last night, and our projector pretty much died. Caput. Dead.

Oh weird. I just came across a story of another projector failure that took place during one of the midnight screenings.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 18 July 2011 - 12:15 PM.


#52 Lauren Wilford

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 12:23 PM

RE: Finding arbitrary objects...

In the books, every object is explained by its particular connection/appeal to Tom Riddle. We get so much more information about him as a character, his rise, his followers, etc. The way that Horcruxes can be destroyed is another element that seems arbitrary in the movie that could have been explained-- Horcruxes are a deep dark kind of magic that can only be undone by similarly robust means. Additionally, the books carry much more of a racial plot than the movies do, and this has a big connection to Voldemort's personal ethics and those of the Death Eaters. We get just hints of this in the fifth film, when they go through the Big-Brother Ministry of Magic and see the statue with the Wizards propped up by all the other magical creatures. Hermione has a large role in the books as an activist on the part of House Elves and other abused magical creatures. So in the book, the final battle serves also as a culmination of a lot of the racial tension between these creatures. One of the plot elements that I wished they had included was Harry's inherited House Elf, Kreacher (who belonged originally to Sirius). While Harry is just as abusive to the ungrateful Kreacher in the beginning as anyone, as soon as he begins to show the creature kindness, he displays a complete turnaround, even leading the House Elves into battle at the end to protect his master.

Jeff, as far as not caring about the characters, I think I can understand that. It's hard to separate myself from the books in this regard, and I can't tell if I would have any attachment to the films alone. Part of the reason the books are so long is that they are chock full of all these tiny, funny character moments that let you really live with them. But in the end, I'd have to say the single greatest downfall of the films is the lack of development in the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry. In the fifth book, Harry spends his time in bitterness and rage over an absent Dumbledore who doesn't explain things to him, climaxing in a confrontation in which Harry nearly destroys his office in frustration. But he is soon humbled by the depth of love that Dumbledore displays for him. Harry and Dumbledore's conversations in the sixth book, about Tom Riddle's choices and Harry coming to grips with his task, are mature and profound-- and honestly made me think about my faith in a way I hadn't necessarily before, what with its discussion on what it means to be "chosen," what it means to make choices in light of first being chosen. But then the seventh book is the seeming undoing of Harry's faith in Dumbledore, when he must confront all kinds of truths unearthed about him, about his past failings and weaknesses, failings not even far off from those of Tom Riddle (completely brushed past in the films). When Harry, in the seventh book, claims he is "Dumbledore's man, through and through," it is a moment to bring tears to the eyes-- for here is a young man whose beliefs have been through the fire, whose hero has been sorely tested, and he can finally say that he knows what he is about.

Really thinking about it, the films do present a much more flat "adventure" plot than the books do. There are adventures aplenty in the books, too, but somehow they all seem to come back to the souls of the characters-- there's a lot of talking about things, a lot of connecting things, and maybe others find that boring, but I find it essential. I like watching the films because they do bring things to life, but they really are an outline for a series that has a lot more on its mind than the films can reveal.

#53 Ryan H.

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 12:24 PM

Diane Vincent @ The Scriptorium makes some excellent, excellent points about the changes that this film makes to the book's climactic battle, e.g.:

When you look back to the early Harry Potter movies, it’s hard to remember in this last that you’re in the same world, a world in which there was a multitude of imaginative ways to do just about anything from cooking dinner to incapacitating your enemies. Here in Hallows 2, most dueling seems to be limited to the standard Hollywood toolbox of lasers, wire work, and explosions. In general the magic is boring, and the wonder is gone.

There are some exceptions–the brief duel between McGonagall and Snape in the Great Hall, Voldemort’s cloak enwrapping Harry, the animation of the Hogwarts statues (which mostly then just stand around)–but didn’t you miss the galloping school desks? The house rubies spilling to the floor of the Great Hall? Dear horticutural Neville throwing deadly plants at Death Eaters? In the book, invention, whimsy, and wondrous things are still at work, even in such grave times.

I get that the movie wants to show you that now that Voldemort’s in control, there’s no room for the dewy-eyed wonder of 11-year-old Harry, but this world of mere flashes and bangs turns magic into mere Hollywood blockbuster might. Sparks shooting out of wands is not terribly different from bullets flying out of guns. To be mundane when you should be magical is a tacit agreement with Voldemort’s line: “Magic is Might”. Whatever magic is in Rowling’s work, it is never reduced to mere might, and it never ceases to draw out the wonder hidden in the everyday. . . .

And this is why the movie also fails to be mundane, to be everyday and ordinary and even a bit boring, at the crucial point when it ought to: Voldemort’s death. . . .

I never got this far into the film, but this has always been my issue with Yates' "darkening up" of the series. The whimsy gets lost, just because Yates wants to emphasize how severe everything is, so we get gloomier color palettes and stormy skies and less time spent on the charm of Hogwarts. But just because the stakes are high doesn't mean all the imagination and color has to go by the wayside.

Oh weird. I just came across a story of another projector failure that took place during one of the midnight screenings.

Well, we didn't have to have police come to keep the peace, but our theater was nevertheless pretty grumpy. And with good reason.

#54 Overstreet

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 06:54 PM

Wow, Mike D'Angelo's sum-up makes mine unnecessary. I'm with him every word of the way.

#55 M. Leary

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 08:47 AM

"I wish I could say differently, but the story never made me care. Maybe the books would have, but the movies didn't."

I have read all the books, most of them more than once, and I can understand why you feel this way. Rowling is a good writer, and the Potter universe she has created is memorable. The last book in particular wrapped up the entire story in a pretty gratifying way. But I have never cared much for Harry/Ron/Hermione. Harry remains pretty whiny throughout the entire series, and Ron and Hermione remain generally flat alternatives to Harry's personality.

In comparison to other recent children's series (Chaos Walking, the first Hunger Wars book, Auralia Thread, Giver, Summerland, Gifts, etc...), I don't think these characters have anything to offer my children in terms of identity and ethical formation. I would definitely buy other books for them when they are ready to start reading at this level.

That said, I am looking forward to seeing this tonight.

#56 Tyler

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:18 AM

In comparison to other recent children's series (Chaos Walking


I'd forgotten about the Chaos Walking books. I think their concept is much better than the execution, but I still want to finish the series.

#57 M. Leary

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:48 AM

I haven't read the last one yet. That is one area where Rowling succeed where others (Hunger Games, ahem) fail dramatically. The Potter series is consistently good for its length.

#58 Scholar's Parrot

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 12:22 PM




In comparison to other recent children's series (Chaos Walking


I'd forgotten about the Chaos Walking books. I think their concept is much better than the execution, but I still want to finish the series.


FWIW I loved the last one, but I read them in a giant blur, so I can't really be sure how much stuck with me. I don't think either of the sequels were as good as the first book, but I still adored the series as a whole.

#59 M. Leary

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

There are some exceptions–the brief duel between McGonagall and Snape in the Great Hall, Voldemort’s cloak enwrapping Harry, the animation of the Hogwarts statues (which mostly then just stand around)–but didn’t you miss the galloping school desks? The house rubies spilling to the floor of the Great Hall? Dear horticutural Neville throwing deadly plants at Death Eaters? In the book, invention, whimsy, and wondrous things are still at work, even in such grave times.


This was our exact response. The lengthy end of the book was epic. Every character got their due in a scene that tied either tied together the loose ends of their storylines and presented the strength of their magic as the result of a coming-of-age or allowed us to finally see them in action. So the Neville scenes were very rousing. Hogwarts itself rose to the occasion. We finally get to see Flitwick and McGonagall take care of business. Mrs. Weasley vs. Bellatrix essentially became a microcosm of the whole series. But we get none of this in the film, which is a noticeable loss.

However... Willow needs a best actor nomination for Griphook. All the goblins were fantastic.

#60 metalfoot

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 10:51 AM

In general, having now watched through the entire series of films, I would say that DH1&2 --as a unit-- are a satisfying movie, but neither, on its own, stands well. What I liked best of DH2 was Snape's memoirs, which made me cry. I too wish that there were a little more clarity/closure at the end of the film, and it seems to me that the films work better if you have read the books to fill in what can feel otherwise like plot gaps.

I'll go back to silent lurking now. I feel hugely underqualified talking about movies, anyway.