Look, you just can’t equate the Harry Potter books and the Harry Potter movies. If you have read the books as obsessively or repeatedly as I have — which, admit, you have done — you are just bound to be disappointed.
The final movie… I could go on and on about what was missing. Dumbledore’s back story, for one. A huge part of the final book, and utterly ignored in the movie. The movie did not do the battle of Hogwarts justice, and it significantly changed the final battle between Voldemort and Harry. Also: Harry’s decision about the Elder Wand. Book: So well done. Movie: *snore*.
However, as a stand-alone series of movies, I think the franchise holds up well. My husband saw every movie, and has yet to read all the books. (He has read bits and pieces, and as a matter of fact, he was reading the last few chapters of book seven when I finally went to bed Sunday night. For the record, honey, that’s cheating.)
The movies had to focus on Harry and Harry’s story. It couldn’t tackle Hermione’s movement to free house elves (S.P.E.W.); it left out characters such as Ludo Bagman and Neville’s parents. The maze at the end of Goblet of Fire was far better in the book than the creepy, mind-altering maze in the movie. These are things that book fans have to resign themselves to when viewing movie adaptations.
For capturing the story and for closing the epic, I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 two thumbs up. Do I have criticisms? Sure, but I really enjoyed this movie — like many of the others — for what it was.
Here are just some random thoughts.
Best Scene Not in the Book: Ron and Hermione’s kiss in the Chamber of Secrets. In the movie, Ron and Hermione explain that they want to go get the basilisk fangs to destroy the rest of the Horcruxes. We see them enter the chamber (“Did you notice Harry talks in his sleep?”), and we see Hermione stab the Horcrux. After the resulting Horcrux reaction, Ron and Hermione lock lips, and it was great. I cheered. (In the book, they kiss, but under slightly different circumstances.)
Second Best Scene Not in the Book: Neville taking out the bridge to Hogwarts with an army of Snatchers and Death Eaters at his back. Brilliant!
Best Scene in the Book that was Also in the Movie: Mrs. Weasley’s battle with Bellatrix Lestrange. Awesome.
Scene from the Book the Movie Absolutely Nailed: Harry going through Snape’s memories in the Pensieve. Perfectly, beautifully done. Alan Rickman as Professor Snape has always been my favorite Harry Potter villain — or maybe I should say ‘anti-hero’.
I will miss having new Harry Potter adventures to revel in. Who knows, maybe J.K. Rowling has plans to write more about Teddy Lupin — another orphaned boy whose parents died fighting Voldemort. I’m not sure how much I will poke around at Pottermore come October because, let’s face it, there are only so many hours in the day, and I’m not sure I can take on another online obsession.
But I look forward to my children being old enough to read the Harry Potter books. At some point, I will let them watch the movies, too, but I know my preference would be for them to read first, watch later. The books are deeper, richer, more complex and immersive. The movies are just good entertainment.