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Two 12-year-old Rowling fans review HP7 Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - Theater Review
Release Date: 07/15/2011 - MPAA Rating: PG-13
Clacker Rating: 4 Clacks

My middle schoolers have practically memorized every detail of the seven-book series, so when the movies stray from the books they get miffed. Such was the case with 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.'

(Warning: Spoilers ahead)

My 12-year-old twins and I have been on this Harry Potter road together for some time now. When they were in second grade and became instantly, unquestionably smitten with the series (they were Potter characters for Halloween for several consecutive years), I decided to join them and read the entire series as well.

They’ve read the full seven-book saga countless times over. (I’ve read the books twice through myself.) And we’ve also seen all the films together. So as the final installment of the film series opened this past weekend, I was eager to see what they thought of THE cinematic series of their childhood, something akin to what Star Wars (the original trilogy from, you know, from the Stone Ages) was to mine.

I was initially surprised to learn that my boy-girl twins, who’ll turn 13 next month, weren’t as thoroughly enamored of the film as I was. Then again, I kept sniveling throughout the movie and my son (who, like Harry Potter, has his mother’s eyes) kept leaning over and asking, “Are you … CRYING?!”

A fan of the book series, I adored Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, with all its faults and omissions and questionable additions. As I left the theater having last seen thirtysomething Harry Potter providing love and guidance to his son — things for which he longed when he was but an 11-year-old with a mop of unruly dark hair — I felt nostalgic for not only the first film when Daniel Radcliffe was just a tiny boy, but about how quickly it is that children grow up, as evidenced by Radcliffe himself, as well as my own kids. So I recognized that my response to the film might be totally different from theirs. That being said, here’s what two Potterheads thought about the film that they’ve been wildly anticipating:

My daughter — who declared the movie was “awesome” — was nonetheless critical of the way the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort was altered, not just in venue (from the Great Hall location in the book, to amidst the debris of Hogwarts in the movie), but in the fact that the fated pair weren’t in the middle of the crowd of Hogwarts students and Death Eaters. Also on her list of grievances with the film version: “When Harry killed Voldemort, that scene wasn’t to my liking.”

“The book is always better,” she said, while noting that the scene in Gringotts and the daredevil escape — Hermione’s stroke of brilliance — was her favorite. “They made it look very good.”

Her twin brother shared her deep disappointment with how Voldemort died (in the book, the killing curse rebounded off of Harry and hit Voldemort), saying that the film, overall, felt “too rushed.” “They didn’t focus on anything much before the battle at Hogwarts” other than Gringotts, he griped.

A stickler for details, he expected that the movie would remain faithful to Rowling’s opus and was dissatisfied when HP7 Part 2 wasn’t a silver screen replica. Having the film’s storyline mirror the book is “pretty important,” he said “because [readers] want to see what happened in the book in pictures.”

Their experience with the Potter films, I realized, is nothing like mine with the original Star Wars trilogy in that there was no book series over which to obsess prior to seeing the movies. And, if anything, my kids are loyal to the books, first and foremost. With Star Wars, there was no such conflict for avid young filmgoers. And while I think it’s unfortunate that my children loved the Potter movies less when they deemed them unfaithful to the written words which preceded them, if I were to choose, I’d rather have them pledge their allegiance to the books rather than to the films. For those who haven’t yet read the books, they wouldn’t have any qualms about the movies’ fidelity to the books. Perhaps those viewers would enjoy the cinematic interpretations more than my kids.

But despite their criticism, both of my resident Potter fans and young film critics admitted that they’ll likely watch the film again … and again … and again because they know that I’ll buy it when it comes out on DVD. We own all the other films on DVD, which we’ve viewed countless times, and they rarely pass up a chance to watch a Potter flick when it’s playing for the bazillionth time on ABC Family. And that says something.


Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

Categories: Reviews, Theater Releases

3 Responses to “Two 12-year-old Rowling fans review HP7 Part 2”

July 20, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Excellent points – that Voldemort final showdown irked me. As a film choice, it was fine, but as an adaptation, I didn’t care for it. I also felt it was awfully rushed at times, but in general I found it a better “movie than adaptation”.

July 21, 2011 at 3:42 AM

I like your kids, Meredith, mostly because I agree with them. :) I probably could have forgiven all the teeny changes in the movie if it wasn’t for the change in the climax (also, Neville’s big moment should have been in front of everyone, too!). That’s why I gave it a lower score than Part 1. Still really liked it.

July 21, 2011 at 11:33 PM

Dear Meredith, as a teenager, the thing that angered me most was the fact that: THERE WAS TIME!!! Part 1 was 2hrs 26min. and part 2 2hrs 10 minutes. For heaven’s sake, the first two (the best in my opinion) were 2hrs 45min! It felt to me there could have been a better following to the book. NOTABLY: The battle of Hogwarts, neville’s Charge, the final duel, and WHAT ABOUT DUMBLEDORE’s FAMILY. We definitely see a good portion of Snape, but we don’t see how Dumbledore was similar yet different to Harry. Not to mention no story behind Ariana’s death, and the fact that Harry didn’t tell Voldemort all he had learned made it a disappointing end to the series. Had (Rowling) been more picky with Yates, or any other respectful director, she should have told him, “As I wrote it, you will make it onscreen…BECAUSE WE HAVE THE TIME!”

Unfortunately, the previous sentence didn’t seem to happen. In Fact, the sad thing is that dreamed up sentence didn’t occur in any of the last 4 movies ( Year 5,6, and 7)

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