As I type this, I wager there are ten thousand bloggers reviewing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. They don’t need any help from me. But I saw it today, and I want to tell you about where the movie made a grave and fundamental error.
You’ve heard the word “epic”, haven’t you? You might have used yourself, once or twice. Watch this trailer and tell me the word doesn’t pop up in your head.
You’ll find very few trailers that match the intensity of this one. It fires on all cylinders. Violins. Chorus. Desperate faces. Explosions. Charging armies! Don’t you get that feeling?
I did. It was running through me like lightning bolts, as I sat down at Carmike 10 in Great Falls, Montana. Don’t get me wrong here. I walked out of there completely blown away. If you haven’t seen it yet, David Yates threw in the fireworks and the tearjerkers, and the result is something powerful that you simply cannot miss.
What Deathly Hallows was trying to convey was indeed epic. We call it “good vs. evil”. We call it “cosmic struggle”. We call it “awesome fight scene”. But somehow none of these can quite capture what it is.
As the lofty music played, and the army of Hogwarts assembled, and Daniel Radcliffe took on a dead serious look on his face, we could feel it coming. A great war, the result of which is so immensely important that it consumes the very being of the heroes fighting it.
But you know what? For all the drama and CGI, it didn’t completely work for me. I sat there, wondering where my soul was. The Battle of Hogwarts was about to erupt, and I couldn’t help sensing that something was missing.
Then it hit me. Who in the world are these characters? I’ve watched these blokes called Harry, Ron and Hermione run around the wizarding world for the whole movie… and I never got in touch with them. They just ran around. There wasn’t much time to catch my breath and get to know them.
The movie begins at Shell Cottage, and from there all these characters do is look grim and plan their next move. I can’t think of a single moment where they do anything else. They don’t say anything or do anything that shows off some little quirk, or personality that we don’t already know about.
In short, there’s no internal conflict. Just external. It’s not necessarily wrong, but it is the internal conflict that makes the external one so much more urgent. Harry Potter has no conflict within himself in this movie; that reduces him to a distant, noble hero, slogging through explosions and dark secrets.
The scene with the Resurrection Stone remedies that a little bit. But overall, Harry has no conflicts within himself, and it takes away from the “epic”. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is still a sublime thing to watch, but the knowledge of how more sublime it could have been dampens my enthusiasm.
Please see it. It’s one of those things you have to see in theaters. And do tell me if I you think I’m wrong. I want to emphasize that this is the movie I’m talking about. Not the books. Incidentally, keep an eye on Lyn Midnight’s blog next week; it’s the books I’ll be guest posting about.