Before the review, a bit on my pre-midnight experience : It was fomping insane.
My party arrived at 8:00 hoping to catch Bruno before Potter and there was already a line! And not just 3 or 4 freaks, but about 100 people! For a movie four hours away! The local news channel was also there recording and interviewing peopl.Well, Brunowas also sold out and, not wanting to wait in line, we tried another theatre. When that one was sold out too, we decided to get a pack of cards and sit with the Potter nuts.
Because, I guess, we’re kind of Potter nuts ourselves.
When we got back, maybe 8:55, with playing cards and Wendy’s hamburgers in hand, the line had spiralled around the theatre! On quick count, about 400 people were ahead of us. The sad, scary and pathetic part about this was when we finally got moving we were actually in the first third of the line!
It went on as far as the eye could see.
So we just played multiple games of Crazy 8’s Countdown and a number of 21 hands (for imaginary money). It also seemed that everyone driving by had to be douchebag enough to honk their horns incessantly and scream unintelligible sounds. One highlight was when I spotted a person walking towards the line with a sweatshirt that read “RAPE”. Who the hell wears a shirt like that? Upon closer inspection, it actually read “BAPE”. Still, it was hilarious.
Weird was the lack of people who dressed up. I mean, this was a midnight showing for diehard fans and I counted maybe a dozen people who bothered to dress up in English schoolchildren attire + robe. One person had a shower curtain. I expected a much higher turnout and at least one Dumbledore, given this particular Potter story. A lot of people were power reading the novel, though.
Probably to better nitpick with.
But eventually the insanity ceased and we all started moving into the theater at around 11:30. What wasn’t funny was the mad dash for seats everyone made. It was like the end of the world. We snagged relatively comfortable seats nearer the front and in centre. The concession lines were a sight, though. They all spiralled to the side, like the Milky Way’s arms. It was balletic how the lines were.
Anyways, was the movie worth the hoopla?
- Music. This is almost a default because the Harry Potter series has always had excellent orchestral scores and this was no different. It wasn’t quite the John Williams score of the first three, but any rendition of the theme is aces in my books.
- Much darker. I’m glad I weathered the midnight lines because I was watching with fellow adults who could handle it, but even then the scene at the cavern with the Inferni was motherfucking stupidly scary. I can’t even imagine younger children watching that scene. I also love how brutal Draco’s stomp to Harry’s face is.
- Better acting. The longer break paid off because everyone, especially Emma Watson, was a lot better here than in previous Potter films. I can’t really find a sore thumb amongst the bunch minus Radcliffe, but that’s more because Harry’s always been the least interesting character than it has to do with his acting abilities.
- Final confrontation. I thought they did a great job redoing the climatic scene atop the tower. The book was a bit wonky, what with the cloaks involvement and a petrifying spell. Here it was a lot more natural and heartbreaking (I can attest to this because the three girls to my right all sobbed).
- GREAT film making. The film is a sight to behold. It almost seemed that the world was changing because of the growing darkness, with sunlight now coming at a premium. It sets a really forbidding tone that could be downright depressing at times. But everything just looks so great, and most importantly, convincing. Everything seemed real, which is a long way from Harry fighting the troll in the second movie.
- Cut a LOT from the books. I know, a movie is a movie, and a book is a book. BUT, there were still a lot of things that I thought could’ve made the movie and made it better. Things like Dumbledore’s funeral (uh, spoiler?) was washed over completely and Snape’s subplot of trying to get the potion back was dropped completely. All the hints of Snape being the Prince were gone so the payoff at the end wasn’t earned.
- The non-plot elements. I have to admit the movie lost me every time it dragged on and on and on with the relationship bits. I understand they were a necessary evil, but I can’t help but think things could’ve been expedited somewhat.
- Inferni. Damn those things are freaky.
- Poor dining hall. Fuck you Bellatrix.
Verdict: This is easily the best Potter film since the third. It’s got great character drama, the best visual effects the series has ever seen and a compelling story. I’ll admit I didn’t much like the last two movies due to their pacing and weaker stories, but this movie has me amped about The Deathly Hallows. I still don’t understand the need for two movies (seeing that the book has an extended section of them camping in the woods that I want cut) but I’ll still be right there to watch them.