Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Book vs Film

SPOILER ALERT please only read this if you have read the book and know the plot (or don't mind being told it!).

OK firstly I am stunned that JK Rowling actually put her name to this one with a producer credit. It's quite possibly the worst book to film conversion of the entire series. I was delighted when they decided to make it into two films as there simply is just too much in book 7 to cram into one film. There's no way they could have done it justice. And Part 1 really did well in setting the scene for Part 2. It had a much slower pace but so does the book and it's all necessary in the build up to the big dramatic finale. It's such a shame then that the finale had very little drama.

All the best bits from the book are dropped, changed or trivialised. The deaths of important characters are brushed over so quickly you barely have time to be upset for them before moving on to the next scene. Personal favourites for me - and no doubt many other fans of the books - were Mamma Weasley getting her girl on girl fight on with Bellatrix (something that in the film had no build-up to and was over in a heartbeat) and THE kiss. I hasten to add it wasn't the romance that I loved of that particular kiss but the brilliantly funny dialogue that accompanied it. Harry is there with them, Ron is worried about the elves and the two boys fight over whether now is the most opportune moment to be having a quick snog. BRILLIANT! In the film, it's a quick kiss on their own and on ya go with the fight please, thanks. Even the epilogue failed to mention Neville or even include little Lupin so brilliantly mirrored in the book by the youthful Harry. Most of the very short section was totally dropped and turned into schmaltzy nostalgia.

Of course there are great bits too. Hermione as Bellatrix was actually very funny, especially when she says good morning to somebody in her normal voice. Also, the spectacle of it all is amazing. One part in particular sees the three running through the chaos and being met at every turn by some kind of enemy. The battle sequences are all about brilliant effects, wands at the ready. But in that lies the biggest problem of the film - they have gone with spectacle over plot. Those who haven't read the book would be totally lost I'm sure as none of it really gets explained. And for those who have read the book it is a mystery why, when such massive chunks of plot are left out, they have added so much that never existed to begin with. There is a whole new fight sequence between Voldermort and Harry that lasts ages and the whole section where Ron and Hermione disappear off to destroy the horcrux in the chamber of secrets is expanded.

What the makers of this film seem to have not realised is that the spectacle is only as good as the characters taking part. If you aren't allowed time to care then the fights just don't matter and you may as well be watching Transformers. People have grown up with these characters and seen them grow and they needed a proper and fitting send off.

The famous "I open at the close" scene is incredibly moving but rather lacking of company (weren't there loads of people in the book?) Radcliffe manages to pull that whole section off really well, I thought, given the severity of it all.

Also, for younger fans there is one particular death that was so nasty it had me cringing and looking away and I don't normally scare that easy. Man I hate that snake.
The one thing I can't decide is whether I would have enjoyed it more if i hadn't read the book. I really couldn't tell you. You can't unknow something and look at it that impartially. So would I see it again? Well yes actually I already have tickets to see it on Friday - perhaps it will be better in 3D? And fans of the book will of course want to see it regardless just to see more of their beloved characters on the big screen. Would I rush - hell no. Wait till it's Orange wednesday and you might feel a little less cheated.

2.5/5 FOBLES

If you're as much of a fan of the books as I am check out my blog on why they are perfect literature here. LE xx


  1. On reflection - not better in 3D but is a little better when expectations are at rock bottom.

  2. the deathly hallows part 2 is impossible to get