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Harry Potter and the Missing Scenes - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Harry Potter and the Missing Scenes [Nov. 20th, 2010|10:13 am]
Zoethe
I am an unapologetic fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. I go into the movies expecting to love them. I am not an unbiased opinion in any way. And yet I cannot say that I loved this one. I loved many things about it, but I cannot give it my wholehearted adoration.

When I first heard that the final book would be split into two movies, I was worried: a good deal of this book centered on the lead characters wandering around in the woods without a clue how to proceed. But upon rereading the book, I thought that the reasons for two movies were obvious: there was a LOT of back-and-fill work that needed doing in order to properly highlight important themes for the finale of the book, and two movies would make enough time to do that.

Alas, the movie sacrifices not only patching up the backstory but a great deal of the book's actual story. For?

Wandering around in the woods without a clue how to proceed.

I think it can be safely said that if unless the viewer has read the books - not just seen the movies, but read the books - most of what happens in the first 25 minutes of the movie will be almost incomprehensible: "Harry! Here's a Weasley brother you've never met - BTW, he's scarred from a werewolf attack - and you remember Fleur! And hey, Remus and Tonks are going to have a--nevermind that now, we have a wedding to attend! Give Ginny a snog and WHOA WEDDING ATTACK! Hide at the Black House, where Kreacher obeys you (and no one thinks anything about that?!) and off you go to the woods!"

Any movie not based on a best-selling book series would be excoriated for the disjointed, non-sequitorious rush through what, really, should have been the main focus of probably half the movie.

Because, honestly, wandering in the woods is not very interesting. Yes, there had to be some of it, because the "lost in the desert" theme is prevalent. But long, sweeping views of dismal, wintery landscape don't do much to move the story forward. And leaving out the scenes that would highlight the themes of the Harry Potter stories in favor of those views does nothing to build toward the climax of the story.

Harry Potter isn't about two guys in robes using fancy sticks to shoot CGI effects at each other. Ultimately, it's about love and loyalty and redemption. And at this point, the movie has so glossed over that heart of the story that I really can't see how they will make the final battle more than just pyrotechnics.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-11-20 03:21 pm (UTC)
OMG SO well said! I thought the movie was amazingly bleak, and sad and heartbreaking right from the beginning (which was as it should be) and it was beautiful. But my husband and best friend both asked me if they should see it, having not seen the last one. And I had to answer NO. NO WAY, in fact. If you haven't read the books - in fact if you haven't read the books and absorbed them, then you're fucked.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 03:33 pm (UTC)
Exactly. There were some awesome parts: the vision that the locket threw at Ron was astounding and Hermione's leaving home being two of them. But it relies heavily on audience knowledge, and leaves out some of the best parts.
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[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2010-11-20 04:42 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree. I read the book so long ago that I barely remember it; my boyfriend never read past the first four. And we both loved the shit out of it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 05:15 pm (UTC)
Good to hear. Hard, as a devotee, to know what the uninitiated will "get."
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-11-20 10:08 pm (UTC)
But how did you react to the fact that Kreacher obeyed Harry? I guess what I meant was those particular scenes that zoethe mentioned would be quite confusing, not to mention others throughout the movie.
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[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2010-11-23 05:01 am (UTC)
It kind of read as hesitant but obeying? That he had reason to dislike Mundungus anyway, so Harry asking him to grab Mundungus was not a hardship to perform, whatever his feelings about Harry.
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-11-20 03:22 pm (UTC)
But weren't the house-elves amazing? The changes in just these few years between their introduction, and now had me repeatedly thinking "Wow!"
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 03:29 pm (UTC)
Kreacher in particular was phenomenal. I think they were a little limited on Dobby because his look was established so early on.
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-11-20 10:09 pm (UTC)
With Dobby I felt a bit like I was watching one of those videos that has someone else's face superimposed on another head. At times.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I got a little of that.
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[User Picture]From: alphafem
2010-11-20 08:21 pm (UTC)
My husband, who hasn't read the books, remarked on the camping bit and how it seemed to drag. Both my brother and I had complained about the book having '700 pages of camping'. So they put THAT into the movie at the expense of other more important scenes.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's frustrating.
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[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2010-11-20 09:05 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting.

I used to be a huge HP fan (before being really disappointed in the final book), and I have a lot of friends I met in the fandom. So far, they've loved this movie, and for some it's their favorite.

I haven't seen it yet. Of course I've read all the books multiple times (except DH only once), but I haven't seen the HBP movie yet. Do you think I need to rent HBP before seeing DH?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-20 09:14 pm (UTC)
You won't be missing out on the story if you don't, since you know the books, but you won't see the decisions that were made in making that movie, so for crit purposes probably better to see the previous movie, but for seeing the movie purposes it's probably fine not to.
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[User Picture]From: wednes
2010-11-21 07:05 pm (UTC)
Too true. I agree wholeheartedly. Since I couldn't go opening night, the show I saw was a combination of superfans such as myself, and casual fans. Once Dobby was onscreen, people started shushing each other--presumably so as not to ruin the terrible surprise.

Ever since book 3, the cuts the movies have made to the stories have made me very sad. Movie goers still don't know about the marauders, for example. They have no idea where the map comes from, why Lupin knows how to use it but Snape doesn't...etc.
I hated having Beauxbaton being an all-girls school. (and that they never touched on Eloise Midgen having a date to the Yule Ball). And they cut for things like a silly bus ride, flight of the hippogryff, and a few other things put in there to keep little kids interested.
I was super sad that we never got to meet the Gaunts in the films. To my mind, the story of Merope is an incredibly important part of Voldemort's development--and hence, his back story.

So yeah, I'm all in favor of more story and less showboating. I really enjoyed actually seeing Hermione obliviate her parents. Much stronger than her just talking about it. The topless kissing scene just hit me wrong since I still think of them as little kids--even though there's razor stubble all over both of those boys. LOVED the whole deal at Malfoy Manner.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-11-22 12:24 am (UTC)
The topless kissing scene was, IMHO, brilliant. Because it was so honest about what Ron would be thinking. Notice how Harry's face is hyper-beautified in a boy band way - precisely how an insecure Ron would be imagining Harry. I thought it was one of the really brave moments of the filmmakers, not to keep that moment child-like.

I loved the animation of the tale of the three brothers as well. In those two choices, they showed us what they could do. And it's a shame that they didn't do it more.
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[User Picture]From: wednes
2010-11-22 03:21 am (UTC)
Oh, I totally agree in re: The Three Brothers. It was stunning.
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