I have rarely been as satisfied with anything as I was with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I have rarely been as satisfied with a film adaptation as I was with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Admittedly, I intentionally did not re-read the book so the details would not be fresh in my mind.
That’s mostly what I have to say, but, since this is my blog and I can drone on if I want to, I’ll talk a little about my general impression of the film series. These are my memory impressions. I haven’t watched the first two since Computerguy and I watched them just before the third one came out. I don’t think I’ve ever re-watched the others.
The Chris Columbus films, Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, are faithful adaptations if fairly plodding movies. The books are so short, thus they are able to stick closer to them. I liked them.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is arguably my favorite of the books (yes, I argue this with myself) and I struggle with Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Dead Poet’s Society adaptation. I hated it upon my first viewing, but that was at midnight and I never should have tried it; I’m too old. By the time I watched it with a second group of friends the following evening, I was better with it. I love Lupin [sidenote: all Lupin had to do last night was show up and I started bawling] and I liked a lot of it, but I didn’t think Cuarón really got the British Boarding School thing. It may be the best film, but I don’t think it’s a great adaptation.
Mike Newell’s Goblet of Fire I pretty much hated. Granted, it’s a huge book, so figuring out what to leave in and what to take out is a pretty impossible task. That didn’t bother me as much as what they did to Cedric and Harry’s characters. The final moments in the maze in the book show us the kind of Character these two boys have, and the movie just did it in. It made them competitive instead of cooperative. Sheesh!! Did they get it At All?
So I was pretty happy about David Yates’ Order of the Phoenix. I called it Harry Potter Lite. They Got It, but the book is so long and there is so much in it, it would have been impossible to include everything. My biggest disappointment was how much Ginny was cut, but I understood it, and I didn’t think it got anything intrinsically wrong. I was pretty happy with the decision to have Yates make the rest of the films and I was even happier with the idea of splitting Deathly Hallows into two parts. That allowed the story to remain pretty intact. It did not feel like Harry Potter Lite (which is also pretty much how I felt about Half-Blood Prince).
I was not quite as satisfied with the first part of Deathly Hallows as I was with the second. I was vaguely annoyed with the Harry/Hermione/Ron triangle they tried to introduce. I mean, come on, it was Always Ron and Hermione and Harry and Ginny; Rowling Never suggested anything else in the books. But the dancing scene was kind of sweet even if totally made up. No, my big disappointment was the lack of a thorough Kreacher story. I loved what Rowling did with Kreacher in the book. Again (like Cedric and Harry in GoF), it was about Character (Harry’s) and about Redemption (Kreacher’s). I thought it was crucial, and it was pretty much skipped. But that’s just me.
So. Part II. As I put on that ubiquitous social networking site: Wow. Just wow. It was grand and glorious and meaningful and exciting and right. Beautiful. I might feel differently after I re-read the book (someday), but for now, I just loved it.
Oh, I’m sorry it’s over, but it’s been a fun ride (which really ended in 2007 with the last book, but the films–especially these last four–have been a fun bonus). Funny to think that when I started the books/films I was single, sharing them with students and friends, and now I am married and have two kids whom I look forward to introducing to a certain young wizard in about a decade (maybe 8 years).