(This is a review, therefore references to events in the film will be made and if you haven’t seen it you are liable to be spoiled. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)
Last week I saw the last Harry Potter film. Harry Potter being something which my friends and I grew up with, we naturally decided to go to the midnight showing on July 14th (we would have also gone to the world premiere in Trafalgar Square, were it not for WB’s ridiculous wristband policy and the fact that we weren’t quite dedicated enough to camp in the rain without a tent). The experience itself was fantastic: some people screamed, lots of people dressed up, and everyone applauded at the end. But once the hype had faded, what did we think of the film itself?
Reactions from my friends varied from “my childhood is now complete” to “I really don’t care about half a book”, but the most apt description I heard was that “it was a good film, if you ignore the book.”
This, in my opinion, is good advice when watching any of the films. No matter how close they stay to the films, there will always be changes made, scenes cut (and invariably the ones which you most wanted to see come alive on the screen), moments added for the sake of extra drama. If you go into the cinema determined not to enjoy the film unless it is a carbon copy of the book then, quite frankly, you’re wasting your money. And missing out on what could be a very enjoyable two hours.
The highlight of the film is, of course, the adult characters. Someone (and I’m afraid I really can’t be any more specific than that) once described the films as a club for veteran British actors, and it’s certainly these actors that make the films for me. In this film it was Alan Rickman who stole the show as Snape, although Maggie Smith as McGonagall came in a very close second. And of course Helena Bonham Carter (who I could write an essay about usually, so be grateful that she doesn’t appear more in this particular film) as Hermione-pretending-to-be-Bellatrix, along with Julie Walters, David Thewlis, and a whole host of others.
The younger cast members usually irritate me, but in this installment I found them less annoying than usual (although the scene in which Harry and Ginny are re-united did grate a little). Rupert Grint and Emma Watson managed to make their kiss look much less awkward than any of Daniel Radcliffe’s on-screen attempts, and Evanna Lynch sparkled as usual, managing to make Luna Lovegood even more dippy and endearing than in the books.
Although the plot has been adapted for the purposes of what can only be described as cinematic showing off (as anyone who has seen the part of the trailer in which Harry and Voldemort appear to fall off a building will know), on the whole it remains true to the books. Unfortunately, this includes the epilogue, the only redeeming feature of which is the comedy beards which all the men are now sporting. But in general it was a wonderful film, and a great conclusion that this particular chapter of my childhood.