The theater was about as empty as expected for having four release weekends behind us, with only about a dozen others (1:30 PM on Monday: good times). We put our due $13.50 toward the accumulating box office total, and it was worth every penny in blissful 2-D. This is just so not a film that will be the same experience on DVD.
PREVIEWS: You know how usually everything looks like a better film when previewed on the theater screen? Not this time. This experience mainly succeeded in making me hate movies.
Arthur Christmas: Predominant feeling of "Get the hell out of my face, you computer animated freak."
Twilight: Breaking Dawn: yuck.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes: just so, so dumb. I could maybe have gotten behind the story, namely James Franco's role, if it used real chimps and was, I don't know, about Nim (the first signing chimpanzee). This is just asinine.
Crazy Stupid Love: I'm glad movies finally got Steve Carell out of The Office, but I will never understand why people hire him.
The Dark Knight Rises: It's official! This is the worst set of trailers ever compiled before a movie I voluntarily paid to see.
THE FILM PROPER
Where to start??
THINGS I LOVED
* The (non-Voldemort-including) opening scene. I liked how the theme of Suffocating Depression enveloped you from the onset, coupled with haunting vocals that sent a shiver up your spine, and absolutely breathtaking aerials of the castle -- and that strangely powerful lingering shot of Snape looking down. I love when movies enhance things that words cannot convey.
* The beautiful (poor abused) dragon, whose raw, bloody patches from the chains haunted me for quite some time after the beast finally flew to its freedom. It was actually one of the most painful things to watch in the whole film.
* Forget Molly Weasley -- McGonagall is the greatest lady of all time. From the moment she fired at Snape -- a moment so incredible that one party in the theater burst into spontaneous applause, good for them! -- and took over as the HBIC, she became my hero of the film. Harry who?
* Really loved the stone soldiers.
* Everything Snape. For a terrible minute, it seemed they were just going to unceremoniously kill him on the other side of the glass and scrap that whole Lily backstory thing, BUT NO! His death scene is by far the saddest, most heartwrenching death in the film franchise. I officially lost it at "You have your mother's eyes."
* And then The Penseive. Oh, sweet Lord. Can I stand up and applaud Alan Rickman now? This left my mouth hanging open. It was eight times better than I ever expected, from their childhood friendship (traditionally very hard to make me care about characters in childhood; even Pushing Daisies failed at that) to begging Dumbledore to protect them, all of them, all the way to that gutting silent scene of him discovering their bodies. Oh, my heart. Oh. As much as I love James Potter in every version, unrequited pining is such A Thing!
"After all this time?"
* And again, much as I enjoyed it in the book, there is nothing quite like watching the horror on his face while Dumbledore casually reveals Harry's ultimate role, or his grief over how Lily was supposed to be protected.
* The epilogue. I know! I know! And while I was biting my fist at the inherent hilarity of the 20-to-22-year-olds parenting kids maybe 10 years younger, doling out head kisses and Wise Fatherly Advice like teens in a high school play, I was actually pretty impressed at the way they succeeded at making them look older. It didn't take much to convince my brain they actually were all grown up, and since they kindly left out the idiocy of mentioning Teddy, or any explicit mention of needing to beat out Slytherin at all times, I actually found it quite touching and heartwarming, on the whole. Harry as a father makes me surprisingly hand-claspy. Who knew?
* Plus, the closing shot of the three heroes -- older, wiser, battle-worn, but still here and still together, all of us saying goodbye one way or another -- got me all choked up. It's the first time I've been happy Harry didn't tragic-heroically die and stay dead.
* The Malfoys, everything about them, especially the way they just turn their backs and leave as a family at the end. Translated so well on the screen. I'm still as fond of their post-DH fic, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow now as I was when it was written.
* The Grey Lady/Helena Ravenclaw!! Beautiful. Ethereal. One of my favorite moments in the series.
* The shot of Remus and Tonks, blithely canon-ignoring though it may be, facing the oncoming threat side by side, with one last look and hands reaching out.
* The I'm-so-glad-you-included-it-in-the-trail
* And even better, them sitting huddled together, heads touching and holding hands, at the bottom of the stairs.
* The too-brief-but-still-totally-beats-the-ot
* Hagrid carrying Harry back, and Ginny screaming at the sight
* Ginny's waist-length hair: so fabulous
* The ceremonial snapping of the wand; I liked that they moved that scene outdoors and made it just the three of them, no intruding portraits.
THINGS ABOUT WHICH I WAS AMBIVALENT
* Ron/Hermione kiss: eh. Underwhelmed. I much preferred how Hermione initiated it in the book.
* Try all you want, but I cannot care about Neville as The Unexpected Hero. I can't, I just can't. I still feel a bit sorry for Nagini.
* The Tale of Darkpast!Dumbledore continues to not faze me in the slightest. I'm glad they didn't dwell on it, though I did expect a tad more backstory on Ariana.
THINGS I DID NOT LIKE
Good news: it's mainly what's in my icon and minor boredom complaints. For the first time ever, there were no changes from the book that activated my rage sensors.
* Other than the first trailer, I resisted every last spoiler, article, or snippet of information about the content of this film because I was holding onto a sliver of a foolish hope that maybe just maybe, with all the other things they forgot to do with Tonks, they would go ahead and forget about killing her, too. Didn't have so much hope when I saw her on the front lines, but still, I was all fingers crossed, silently chanting, "See? You've got your Fred for shock value, so how 'bout please no, no, no...damn it."
Four years later, it seems that the acute soul-destroying grief has finally ebbed to a dull ache if not poked too hard, but the rage? The rage lingers on. The rage will never fade. I had a moment to note, with some bitterness, that I did like the nice touch of their hands being a few inches apart, but artistic posing just so does not make up for the rest!
* As for the Resurrection Stone scene, I continue to have lingering punchy feelings towards Lupin's stupid serene "Others will tell him what his mother and father died for" face. NOT GOOD ENOUGH! *whip*
(plus, given how you managed to never even mention Tonks was pregnant, it's just jackassy to keep that line about his son in. If you were going to insist on keeping the deaths and still not even exercise creative license to give either one a death scene, the least you could have done was ignore them being parents, since their movie relationship is total AU anyway. The
* Apparently not even movie magic can make the end of this battle interesting. Once we get Snape's backstory and my OTP dies, the remainder of the war is extremely dull. King's Cross: don't care! Move it! Endless Harry v. Voldemort showdown: so not interested! finish up this boredom!
* The remaining exposition about the Hallows at the beginning was also really dull. After that great opening scene, the subsequent exposition seemed to take a dreadfully long time.
* It is A Pain In The Heart to watch Hogwarts being destroyed. Really, acutely painful, even though it had to be done.
* I selfishly wanted more Harry/Ginny thrown in at the end. Not even a hug? Really?
In Conclusion: Wonderful, just wonderful. A little part of me wants to see it again just because it's my last chance for big-screen amazement, and even at the crazy price of movie tickets today, I just might give in. So much of what I liked in this movie wasn't individual scenes, so much, as beautiful shots embedded within the whole, or the movie as an experience from start to finish. And yet, I can almost guarantee that with the power of fast-forward at my disposal, I will never watch it beginning to end without at least some fast-forwarding again.
In the meantime, I'm very proud of all the little lawbreakers on YT who are allowing me to watch The Prince's Tale to my heart's content.
And I noticed the music more than I have since the very first film, so I should probably check that out as well.
(edit: and I'm an idiot; the icon-related grief never goes away. I just poked the wound by reading the passage in the book, and naturally I spent 10 minutes crying and will now have to spend twice as much time reading the fanfic antidotes.