I don’t know whether or not to say SPOILER ALERT but the book’s been out for a while. I guess if you haven’t seen the movie and actually care about the differences between the book and movie (join us, we’ve got jackets and the derision of our peers), then don’t read this.
I’ma break this down into things I liked and things I didn’t: seems simplest.
Things I liked.
- The entire scene with Bathilda’s house. When I say I liked it, I don’t mean I enjoyed the scene, just that it was as pants-wettingly terrifying as when I read it in the book. Beautifully creepy and awful.
- Xenophilius Lovegood. He was nicely wacky at the wedding, and his terror and desperation were very well portrayed in his second scene.
- The scene where Ron gets Splinched. Really good job by E-Wats there, pretty much exactly how I pictured it in the book. Hermione’s still being her brilliant, efficient self, but also flipping out a little and crying and scared and the whole thing just felt very, very real.
- Story of the Deathly Hallows. I was a little worried when I saw the animation start, but I didn’t think it was cheesy: something about it made it the perfect combination of fantastical and morbid.
- Every scene with Fred and George. Actors do a perfect job, and the writers, too.
- The interaction between Ron and Hermione. I was hoping for more, I guess, but I think they got the dynamic well, especially after Ron returns (his apologetic nonsense). There were also two extra lines that I kind of loved: when Harry’s trying to run away, Ron’s response of “we can’t leave Hermione, we wouldn’t last two days without her” was so sweet and SO TRUE. She’s saving their collective rears the entire last book. I also really liked her response to Harry’s question of “are you still mad at him?” – “I’m always mad at him.” TRUTH. Both seemed like little self-aware inside jokes for dorks like me who got too invested in thinking about the books.
- Rupert Grint. Dude’s been one of my faves since the first movie, but he did a really good job in this one. Knows how to convey emotion in his face, and every scene with Hermione (especially those when he’s trying to get back in her good graces) were quite well done.
- Charity Burbage. All the chills from reading it the first time around showed up, and I more fully appreciated Snape being absolutely unable to do anything for her.
- The scene in the frozen pond with the sword. I was actively shivering watching Harry, and that scene was also pretty much exactly how I pictured it.
- Frickin’ Dobby. Wept. And I don’t cry in movies.
Things I did not like.
- Harry and Hermione dancing. Really? That was the most awkward thing ever, mostly because I’m not sure that was Harry attempting to be awkward, but actually how Daniel Radcliffe functions normally. Not that I don’t love the kid, but seriously watch an interview or two. Yes, I laughed, no, it did not need to be in the movie.
- Voldemort’s scene with needing a different Death Eater’s wand. Voldemort doesn’t ask for volunteers; he commands. He doesn’t reference the amount of praise a follower would get for volunteering his wand. And when he chooses Lucius, and he responds with “My Lord?” Voldemort does not do a mocking voice of “My Lord?” No. He’s not a petty, sassy bully. He’s pure, straight evil and power.
- Mad-Eye’s death. Specifically the little time they spent on it. And, in general, that battle, and how it’s poorly done. Harry using the Disarming Charm is a huge point in the book: he refuses to sink to his enemy’s level to fight. That whole battle is a big, huge, THIS IS SIRIUS (yeah I did it, shut it) moment of doom and they were kinda like “poor Hedwig, lawlz Hagrid landing in a pond, btdubs Mad-Eye’s dead.”
- Ron’s bloodlust in the cafe. I originally really disliked his desire to kill Dolohov and …Rowle? (slipping on the names), but my friend Jack pointed out that he actually liked it. It showed that Ron, growing up in the Wizarding world, had seen and heard about just how evil these people are, while Harry and Hermione did not. I was pissed because Ron is super nervous about even thinking about having to kill them in the book, so to me, the movie “messed it up,” but Jack’s take is a cool one.
- The end of the Horcrux’s fantasy scene. You were doing so well at staying true to the books until you made the whole audience uncomfortable. The words were supposed to be what hurt Ron, not super awk H/Hr macking.
- They best be showing Dobby’s effing headstone next movie, that’s all I’m saying.
- The eye in Umbridge’s door. He let her keep it! Not okay!
- This isn’t really this movie’s fault, but I actually laughed at the beginning when Bill Weasley has to be like “yeah, werewolf.” That’s because the last movie was Harry Potter and the Whoopsie We Decided to Leave Out the Whole Damn Battle Scene and Replace It With Helena Bonham Carter Acting Wacky and Alan Rickman Refusing to Shout His Lines. And I love both of them, I do. She plays a very convincing Bellatrix. And his voice sounds like chocolates on a pillow made of velvet. But there’s supposed to be shouting and a battle scene.
Probably will add edits at some point, but if you’ve got an opinion on it, please comment! I’m always curious about what other people think.