Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Botched Ending

[Warning: Spoilers ahead. Do not read this review if you haven't read the last book in the Harry Potter Series and don't already know the ending.]

The Devil, they say, is in the details. And it is in the details that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 fails as a faithful adaptation of the book. But since it has its own share of enjoyable moments, let me first gloss over the bigger picture.

The Gringotts episode was amazing. Right from the acting of Helena Bonham Carter to the depiction of the light-starved and tortured blind dragon breaking free over London, it was flawlessly executed. So was, to some extent, the battle of Hogwarts, phase one. I mean, they did not show Fred Weasley die, but they showed his body later, so that was enough for me. Voldemort didn't meet Snape in the Shrieking Shack but in some Hogwarts boathouse (Hogwarts had a boathouse?) but that would be forgivable considering that they showed the teachers, the Order members and the students defending Hogwarts in a very nice manner. I only wish they had shown some of the ghosts.

The Chamber of Secrets, the Room of Requirement, the episode of Kings' Cross station - everything was perfect. Then there was the Prince's tale. Alan Rickman proves once again why he has been given the opportunity to portray the greatest character in the series. The short and beautiful memory sequence which jumped back and forth in time between Snape's childhood, youth and recent events brought tears to my eyes. Yes, Alan rickman is Severus Snape, and nobody could have done it better.

Now the botched up details. First, the minor ones.

This movie never bothers to explain how Harry knew Hufflepuff's cup was the horcrux in the vault, and just how Tom Riddle had found the lost diadem of Ravenclaw. It does concoct some lazy excuses for patching up these plot holes, but we miss the beautiful detailed analysis of Voldemort as a person that Rowling so beautifully wrote in the last two books. Also, at the very end (19 years later), why oh why couldn't they have aged the actors properly? Only Bonny Wright looks convincing as the older Ginny. The rest of the cast... c'mon guys! This is Hollywood, for heaven's sake! Just adding a paunch to a 20 year old does not make him a 40 year old!

Harry used the elder wand to repair his own broken wand before returning it to Dumbledore's grave in the story. Here he breaks the elder wand and tosses it away. No harm done, you say? Agreed. However, it will make any Potter fan unhappy.

But the worst mistake of the movie was the handling of the wandfight between Harry and Voldemort. In the book, they had fought in a room full of people, circling each other and Harry calling Voldemort by his muggle father's name. In my opinion, Harry's real moment of triumph was not when Voldemort died, but when Harry told him, in front of a room full of people, that Severus Snape was Dumbledore's man all along. And they cut out that part! Harry here killed Voldemort who died alone like a sad old man, never knowing what the flaw in his plan was. Why, I thought the last fight of the book was too dramatic, "almost like a movie." And now when they do make it into a movie, they remove it from the script. What irony!

In short, it could have been a great movie, but David Yates narrowly missed that. If you have not read the books and want to understand the plot from the movies alone, stay away. If you are a Pottermaniac like me then you will be disappointed with the ending to the series.

Very, very disappointed.


  1. I always thought Harry Potter movies were never meant for the uninitiated. I liked the movie. But I am biased. Yes they left a lot of things unexplained, but LOTR did explain everything and ended up being way too long for my liking.

  2. I had been waiting for your review on the movie :-) I liked it overall, even though some mistakes like breaking the elder wand was unacceptable to me as well. I felt the same way as to why on earth would they have portrayed the 'after 19 years' characters so poorly.

  3. @Kuntala: I agree that LOTR was too long. But if you see carefully, I have more problems in the way certain events were depicted rather than the screen time devoted to them. Harry and Voldemort flying around the castle arm-in-arm... what was that again? We could have used that time to depict Harry's final speech to Voldemort, where he exposes his failure as the greatest legilimens in the world.

    @Nisha: As a matter of fact, I did not like the childhood depictions of Lily and James too. The child Lily had brown eyes and the child James had light coloured hair. Are green-eyed and dark-haired kids so hard to find? If yes, then why not use make-up and technology to at least change those obvious things!