Before I was a Korean drama fan, I was an innocent little girl fascinated by witches and wizards, and my dream was to become Cho Chang for the fourth movie – if I could master a British accent quickly enough.
I’m still that little girl – and based on the audience demographic when I went to watch that movie, plenty of those people were still that little girl/boy inside 20+ years old bodies. Surprisingly, there was a very small amount of youngsters below 14. Either all those teens and preteens went to the midnight showing, or the audience just grew up.
I will now commence to do a blow by blow review – so spoilers beware! You may have read the books, but you have not seen it envisioned. Sorry no pictures though – kinda hard to make screen caps when you’re sitting in a theater.
The film opened with an extreme closeup into Rufus Scrimgoeur’s eyes as he announces to the press and the wizarding world that the Ministry will stand strong. However, a meeting at Lucius Malfoy’s expansive abode, the Death Eaters think otherwise, as they have planted many of their own within the ministry, including a Pius Thicknesse.
Severus Snape comes in to report the transport date of Harry Potter, and he witnesses the gruesome death of Muggle Studies professor Charity Burbage. Snape doesn’t have many scenes (boo) but in this particular one, a small flicker in his eyes and a barely registered change in facial expression is all you need to know that Snape is not as evil as he seems.
There is a particularly sad bit where Hermione obliviates her parents so that they no longer have any memory of her. It’s a scene that I forgot happened in the book, and I don’t think it was even played out as a separate scene since the book is written from Harry’s point of view mainly. It was a touching and somber moment as the magnitude of the war becomes more apparent for the threesome.
The Order of the Phoenix comes in to pick up Harry and to disguise themselves as Harry (with the help of Polyjuice potion) when they bring him back to the Burrow. Casualties occur – Mad Eye, Hedwig, and George’s ear. Wracked with guilt, Harry wants to leave but Ron convinces him to stay. It’s better than leaving without Hermione, whom they cannot last more than two days without.
Morning of the wedding Ginny asks Harry to zip up her dress. Girl isn’t even wearing a bra – can I say sluuuuuttttyyyyy?! Sorry – I’m coming down hard on Ginny, whom I honestly never really cared for in the series and am indifferent to her pairing with Harry. They end up in a passionate kiss, and in a great bit of cinematography worthy of Dr. Champ you see George – blurry in the background – sneak behind them in the kitchen. When the couple realize his presence, George says, “Mornin’” and sips his coffee. Ginny dashes away, leaving Harry to deal uncomfortably with George’s wide smirk.
It’s these small moments that I’m immensely grateful for, because despite it being a dark film it still manages to infuse enough humor to buoy you up before you get hit hard by another wave of sadness.
For one, at the wedding, the Death Eaters attack after taking over the Ministry. While the Order fights back, Hermione gets hold of Ron and Harry and disapparate into theater district, London. What’s sweet is that Ron is becoming increasingly aware of Hermione, always staring at her, always grabbing her first to protect her…it’s mighty sweet.
Now on the run, the three of them escape to Grimmauld Place and hide out until the figure out what to do. They realize that Regulus Black is the RAB of the locket and that Kreacher may have the original locket that holds the Horcrux. Unfortunately, it was stolen by Mundungus Fletcher, and so Harry sends Kreacher to kidnap the fellow. Dobby comes with them two, taking all the credit (and still endearing as ever!) for getting Mundungus back. Poor crook doesn’t have the locket anymore since it got taken away by Dolores Umbridge, who is now the new Minister of Education while Pius Thicknesse has taken over as Minister of Magic.
Small cut to the Hogwarts Express getting stopped and searched by Death Eaters. It allows you to give a glimpse at all the students that we’ve met before, although unless you’re perceptive enough, you might not recognize most of them because they’re all so! grown! up! Neville stands up to one of them and says, “Hey loser, he’s not here.” Yeah Neville!
Now the threesome plot to enter the Ministry. They stupefy three workers, Harry being Runcorn, Hermione being Mafalda Hopkirk, and Ron being Cattermole. Ron gets into his role as Cattermole a little too seriously, fretting about his wife getting investigated, and Harry needs to remind him that he has no wife. Harry searches Umbridge’s office but to no avail. He and Ron end up at the courts, where Hermione has been dragged to Cattermole’s wife’s hearing by none other than Umbridge. Harry spies the necklace around Umbridge’s neck, and as the polyjuice potion wears off, he stuns Umbridge and Yaxley and makes a break for the necklace.
Getting chased by Yaxley, they run with Cattermole’s wife in tow. Harry and Hermione change quickly to their normal selves, but Ron still looks like Cattermole. He tells the wife to run away with the kids to the countryside, and Harry and Hermione stand there mouths agape. It’s not your wife!!!! The wife is so thankful she kisses her husband (much to Hermione’s chagrin)…and he changes back to Ron. Ron: “Nice meeting you.” Real Cattermole, half-naked and walking into the ministry: “Honey…whut…?” Yaxley: “Get them!!!! Rawr!!”
The threesome make a break for it to the Floo Network fireplaces and Yaxley joins them. He has a hold on Hermione, who’s about to lead them to Grimmauld Place when she switches paths at the last second and brings Ron and Harry to the woods. Unfortunately, the change in course has splinched Ron, and they heal him with some potion that is stuffed in Hermione’s huge mini-purse. (Oxymoron? I think not.)
Can I just say right now that there is so much kissing in this movie – Harry kisses like, every girl; Ron kisses an older woman; Hermione really gets it on aggressively with Harry… and the MOST IMPORTANT KISS OF ALL DOESN’T HAPPEN!!!! That’s saved for part 2, but still! I winced at every single kiss (even the one between the OTP of Harry and Ginny) because it just felt so. wrong. I guess that’s what happens when these people have become like your best friends that you don’t really want to see getting together because you know them too well.
Anyways – long interlude in the forest as they try to figure out how to destroy the Horcrux. They realize that they get into a really bad mood whenever they wear the necklace, and Ron is particularly affected. He gets jealous and starts suspecting that Hermione might like Harry better. In a huff, he leaves the two of them, and Hermione is particularly broken up about it. Harry tries to cheer her up with some dancing (very cheesy, and again, I was hiding my eyes for fear that there would be too much sexual tension between the two. There was a moment when they were so close to each other I was afraid they’d kiss, but Hermione broke away quickly, too sad about Ron).
They figure that they really need to get the Gryffindor sword, since it is strong enough to destroy a Horcrux, and they think the answer may lie at Godric’s Hollow.
They visit the town where Harry was born and even see his destroyed house left intact. Hermione spies a tombstone with the Deathly Hallows insignia and the name Ignotus Peverell, while Harry wishes his parents Merry Christmas at their tombstone. They meet the historian Bathilda Bagshot, who knew Dumbledore best, and follow the creepy old woman to her home. Bathilda leads him upstairs to an attic, as if to provide more clues and photos of young Dumbledore for him, when Hermione sees blood dripping from the ceiling. Bathilda Bagshot transforms into Nagini, and it is honestly one of the freakiest scenes in my life. The two of them attack the snake and Hermione’s particularly strong spell sends Nagini crashing down to the floor below. They wait, expecting Nagini to pop up. Nagini doesn’t, so the two of them stand up straighter. And that’s when BAM! The snake pops right up and dives right at the camera; I jump five feet up in the air and shriek along with a few others in the audience; and the two of them disapparate just as they jump out of the second floor window. If this film were in 3D, all the Nagini scenes would freak me out because I don’t want a huge snake’s mouth open its jaws right into my face.
They return to another forest to hide out in, and as a consequence of the event Harry’s wand is broken. As he keeps watch for the night, he sees a doe patronus and follows it to a lake, where lo and behold, the Gryffindor sword is at the bottom of the frozen lake. He strips (and I think it’s an excuse for fan girls to squeal and realize that our Daniel Radcliffe is now a man), and jumps into the lake. Unfortunately he’s also wearing the Horcrux, which strangles him underwater and lets the ice freeze over.
Thank goodness there is someone there to save the day and grab the sword. It’s Ron! Harry lets Ron destroy the Horcrux with the sword, since Ron is the one who was most affected by the necklace and saved his life. Harry opens up the locket with parseltongue, and then a huge black cloud monster worthy of Lost comes popping out and attacking Ron’s deepest fears of spiders and losing Hermione to Harry.
And HERE is where we have an ick-worthy scene of CG Harry and Hermione picking on how worthless and useless Ron is, and then commence to make out – NAKED – in front of Ron. And I mean it’s a serious make out – I never realized Emma Watson was such an aggressive kisser. I’m not being a prude – I’m just being a purist. Even though the kiss happened in the book, I never imagined it would be so…graphic! So anyways it spurs Ron to run right to the locket and smash it.
Thank goodness we go back to reality, where Hermione is furious at Ron for coming back with just a “Hey!” and hounds Harry for her wand. Harry of course says he has no idea where he put it. Ron explains that he wanted to come back after he left, but had no idea how to find them. He was all alone when suddenly the de-illuminator that Dumbledore bequeathed upon him let out a ball of light that went through his chest and his heart, and he knew that he would be lead to them. It’s all quite nice and emotional, and Hermione softens a bit. (Kudos to Rupert Grint as an actor though. I always knew he was good.) But Harry tells him to keep on spinning tales about the ball of light going through his chest to make Hermione happy. Boys will be boys, and Ron hands Harry a wand to try out as a replacement; Harry turns their tiny fire light into a blazing fireball, extinguishes it, and the two of them yell “Nothing!” as Hermione comes in.
The three of them definitely have great comic timing, and what’s nice is that the camera stays with them to make the scene so long and uncomfortable that it’s just plain funny.
They head over to the Lovegood household to ask about the Deathly Hallows, and we get a nice cartoon that could have come right out of Tim Burton’s sketchbook illustrating the story of the Three Brothers. They thank Xenophilius for his hospitality and explanation when he tells them he can’t let them leave; Voldemort’s got his daughter you see, and so he wants to betray Harry. The threesome manage to disapparate before the house collapses on them, but they get caught in the woods. Hermione throws a stinging hex at Harry so that his face would be unrecognizable, but the capturer (sorry – forgot his name) notices the scar and brings the three of them back to Malfoy mansion.
Bellatrix tries to get Draco to ID Harry, but at this point, Draco is too scared. Sure he hates Harry, but he’s not too brave to coldly sell out someone he knew. We know that he’s already being conflicted as he witnesses the death of Charity Burbage. He hedges, and so the boys are thrown into an underground prison while Bellatrix works on torturing Hermione. That includes inscribing “Mudblood” on her arm. Hermione’s wails are eerily haunting and it makes you feel just as worried sick as Ron is. They’re prison mates are Ollivander, Luna, and Griphook. Dobby appears out of nowhere, indicating that he can pass through all the enchantments because, well, he’s an elf. Griphook is taken away for questioning by Bellatrix, and so Harry has Dobby bring Ollivander and Luna to another safe location. Then when Wormtail comes in to check on them, the boys stun him and escape.
Ron can’t stand by and watch Bellatrix hurt Hermione any further, so he attacks and they fight against Draco and Narcissa. Bellatrix forces the boys to drop their wands by holding Hermione captive, but suddenly their attention is drawn upwards by an odd squeaking noise; it’s Dobby, unscrewing the chandelier from the ceiling. It crashes on Bellatrix and Hermione, and they separate as they escape the falling chandelier. Bellatrix is angry that Dobby dares to kill her, but Dobby says he only wanted to “maim, or seriously injure, her.” Dobby – you’re too cute. With his last words of “I’m a free elf!” he grabs all the good guys and disapparates away. Bellatrix throws her knife at Dobby, and it disappears in the whorl with them.
Ron holds on to Hermione at the beach, while Harry finds Dobby bleeding out from the knife. Harry tries to save him, but they have no potion to heal an elf. He cries, holding Dobby in his arms, while Dobby dies peacefully, happy that he is with his friend Harry Potter. Luna comes by and closes Dobby’s cold, dead eyes, and the threesome bury Dobby by the beach.
What was Voldemort up to the entire time? He was searching for the elder wand, meeting Ollivander, Gregorovitch, and finally Grindelwald to find out where that elder wand is. Grindelwald was the last person to steal it, and he laughs maniacally at Voldemort’s face when the Dark Lord visits him. Grindelwald no longer has the wand; you see, it lies in the coffin of the greatest wizard known to man.
Voldemort breaks open Dumbledore’s altar and extracts the elder wand from his frozen fingers.
Harry: 1 (Horcrux destroyed in movie) Voldemort: 1 (Deathly Hallows found)
Now say it with me – BEST MOVIE EVAAAA!
Ok I exaggerate. I still love movie #3 the most. But Deathly Hallows is definitely up there on my “love list.” I haven’t decided whether I like this one or Order of the Phoenix more, but both were directed by David Yates, so the man has proven himself to be quite the reliable director, and the one best suited for these movies. The films have certainly gotten older as its actors got older. Even the audience is older. However, for some reason, I still can’t stop envisioning the characters as their young 17 selves. They’re all older than that, and I’m no longer in my teens either, but I guess nostalgia overrides my sense of reality for these actors.
So, if you want to listen to a parody of “Like a G6,” go here, and if you want to see the actors in their best American accents, go here. I swear they are all fun tidbits before or after you see the movie.
sources: my experience, endodo4ever, and yahoo.