Sunday, July 17, 2011
HP 7–2 3D
I have always loved the way David Yates will put a picture on the screen. The opening shots of HP 7–2 3D (I actually saw it in 2D 'cause I hate 3D) do not disappoint. The dementors hovering over Hogwarts castle were deeply unsettling, as was Snape over seeing them all. There are so many more powerful shots in the movie, though. McGonagall awaking the stone statues, young Severus and Lily looking up at the sky, the protective shield descending over the castle....
Alexander Desplat did a better job with the score this time around. Unlike last time, he actually capitalized on those God-given themes John Williams had written for him. And to his credit, like Hooper and Doyle, he added some great passages to the canon of Harry Potter music. My favorite score, though, has to be HP 4. Doyle did such an amazing variation on the main Harry Potter theme in "The Story Continues," and the writing for strings in "Harry in Winter" is unforgivably beautiful. Doyle's skill for creating an aria-like melody is disgusting. He needs to score way more movies.
As far as acting goes, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, and Robbie Coltrane are already legendary actors, and their performance here does not disappoint. The showdown between Snape and McGonagall was just astounding. They didn't need to speak; there was already so much gravity just in their stature. Unfortunately, our hero trio gets dwarfed by these British masters, but you can't expect them to compete. I'm always amazed, though, at how little chemistry Harry and Ginny have. It's like watching cut-out dolls flirt.
There are, of course, things missing from the book. Dumbledore doesn't break down in King's Cross. The Deathly Hallows themselves are really underplayed, including and especially the Elder Wand. Voldemort's final downfall lacks the speeches and publicity that it has in the book. The movie does not replace or excel the book, but the movie hits all the emotional cues of its source material, and I can't ask for much more than that.
Read the books.
I've noticed something. I'll occasionally read stuff about modern British children's literature where they compare Pullman and C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl and Tolkien (at least The Hobbit). And at first, Rowling was thrown into the mix (often compared to Dahl). But now, like other masterworks, people speak of it only on its own terms. You don't complain about the slow middle section in Hamlet, you know? Hamlet has transcended criticism. And I think my beloved Harry Potter books are marching quickly on to that transcended state.