We saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. As most of you know I’ve read all of the books at least twice and I’m quite critical of the movies. I was, as usual, disappointed in the film. I am aware that they can’t include EVERYTHING in the movie. That’s not my point. But in 2 full length feature films you would think they would be able to get key parts of the 7th book right. The problem is that they change small things that alter the outcome of big events. Or they leave out things that someone who hadn’t read the books wouldn’t know or that might lead to confusion. They don’t explain key things that can’t necessarily be inferred. But my biggest compliant is the lack of real dialog. There is so much focus on fight scenes and big action that they leave out alot of the dialog between the characters. This, in my opinion, leaves the characters under-developed. You miss out on so much of the emotion of the story for this reason. They also work too hard to make Rowling’s world seem less magical and more ordinary…when it isn’t. They leave out alot of “magical” stuff that is in the books.
I guess all of that I can deal with but for me they missed the mark big time on one specific issue…
The BIGGEST thing left out of this film is the constant inner conflict in Harry’s mind regarding Dumbledore. Harry is conflicted because of the information he is getting regarding Dumbledore’s past…he doesn’t understand Dumbledore’s involvement with the dark arts. Rita Skeeter’s book presents “evidence” of Dumbledore’s past loathing of muggles, his involvement with Grendelwald and their plans to enact Wizard domination of muggles. Throughout the entire book, Harry is angry, withdrawn and confused. He goes back and forth wondering whether or not Dumbledore told him the truth about things. He is torn because for so long he believed this person to be good and kind and he looked up to him…now he is finding out things that he can’t explain or begin to understand. He feels like he didn’t know the real Dumledore at all. He is disappointed and angry. This inner conflict plays a huge role in the book and the events that unfold. The desperation that Harry feels isn’t conveyed in the film AT ALL. The scene with Harry and Hermione dancing…that NEVER happened in the book, nor would it have. Harry wasn’t concerned with cheering her up…he was angry, withdrawn and conflicted. It’s as if the filmmakers want to leave all human emotion out of the story. Harry’s emotions, confusion and conflict are pivotal in this book. Period.
Just so I don’t seem like I’m being nit picky here….
These were all changes I picked out of the film…I went through and listed them as fast as I could so I wouldn’t forget. Now I’ll go back and explain each one individually…if you are bored with this post you can totally check out here…but for my hardcore HP friends…read on….
1) Harry and Dudley – in the book there was a moment, when the Dursley’s were leaving, that Dudley acknowledged that Harry saved his life when he cast the patronus in book 5, protecting Dudley from the dementors.
2) Harry not being disguised as Barny at the wedding – BIG thing here…Harry HAD to be disguised for his safety and the safety of the people attending the wedding. The fact that he isn’t in the movie doesn’t convey just how dangerous and desperate things were…in my opinion.
3) No scene for Harry’s birthday party – in the book Harry had a birthday party at the Burrow the night before the wedding.
4) Harry and Hermione dancing – I’ve already addressed this.
5) the radio being present for the entire time and not just when Ron comes back – okay I feel like this is a big one too. In the book, there is not a radio present in the tent the entire time. Part of the desperation they feel is due to being so cut off from everyone and not knowing what is going on ..not knowing who is alive or dead, if people are even still fighting Voldemort. Harry is conflicted with continuing on the plan Dumbledore instructed him to carry out…OR to go back. They have no way of knowing anything that’s going on. They are alone and desperate and have no clue what they are doing. The radio doesn’t come into the picture until Ron comes back after running out on them. This is when Ron tells them about the radio show “Potterwatch” and all of the people cheering him on and continuing to fight Voldemort. In the movie the radio is used to list names of the dead but in the book the radio was a more uplifting feature, allowing them to hear familiar voices and feel more connected to everyone they were separated from.
6) Mad Eye’s eye from the door – how Harry gets detected – okay so when they sneak into the Ministry, Harry discovers Mad Eye’s eye has been attached to Delores Umbridge’s office door…he steals it and that’s how he is detected.
7)In the book Harry was under the invisibility cloak in the ministry – even though he was disguised with Polyjuice potion. And in the hearing for Cattermole’s wife he was under it..without being detected he was able to stun Umbridge, create a diversion and get the locket off her neck. Also, Ron (as Cattermole) wasn’t in the hearing…he didn’t meet up with them til later. I guess that’s besides the point …but anyway…harry has to cast his Patronus because of the Dementors in the courtroom and they end up escaping and he uses his Patronus to free all the people being held for their blood status and waiting to go in before the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. That was a big moment. He was the most wanted person in the whole wizarding world, barely escaping the building but he decides to save all these people. Huge!!! Totally missed the mark on that one in the film.
8) Godric’s Hollow – they changed SO many things about the venture into Godric’s hollow. Most notably the fact that Voldemort friggin’ shows up there and attacks them and they get away. The film only showed the freaking snake and doesn’t AT ALL explain what all that was about in the first place. Anyway,one of the most important parts of Godric’s hollow is when Harry goes to his parents’ house…the house where they died trying to protect him. There was a plaque there that said:
“On this spot, on the night of 31 October 1981, Lily and James Potter lost their lives. Their son, Harry, remains the only wizard ever to have survived the Killing Curse. This house, invisible to Muggles, has been left in its ruined state as a monument to the Potters and as a reminder of the violence that tore apart their family.”
Underneath that people had written stuff to Harry like “we are behind you Harry” “good luck wherever you are” and “long live Harry Potter.” I think this was an important part of the book because of the emotion it evokes. Harry becomes very emotional, he is reminded of why he is fighting and it’s the first time he realizes how many people are behind him.
I realize that this is getting lengthy…I’ll quit giving such a detailed explanation…I guess if you’ve read this far you probably already detected the differences for yourself…
9) The scene at the Lovegood’s house is all changed up.
10) How Peter Pettigrew dies – he is really strangled to death by his own hand, the hand Voldemort gave him, because it detected betrayal when he had sympathy for Harry in the basement at Malfoy Manner. In the film he is stunned by Dobby.
11) The lack of explanation about Kreacher and his involvement with the real horcrux locket. Also, Dobby wasn’t even in the scene where Kreacher brings back Mundungus.? AND it leaves out Kreacher’s change of heart about Harry, Ron and Hermione.
12) It doesn’t explain about the Taboo on Voldemort’s name, and how the “snatchers” find them in the woods.
13) Dean Thomas and his role is left out completely
14) Bill had to introduce himself at Privet Drive because his character was left out of the previous movies.
15) Tonks’ pregnancy and Harry’s fight with Lupin is left out. Not that that’s super important but I had to point it out because I recognized it.
Okay…I’m going to stop now. There were more but I’m getting tired. I know alot of this didn’t HAVE to be in the film, but I go back to my point about the characters’ emotion, Harry inner struggle, etc. Those things were pivotal to the feel of the book.