Why “Deathly Hallows – Part 2” Is the Worst “Harry Potter” Movie
If you ask any Harry Potter fan what their least favorite film is, I’m sure you’d get a variety of answers. I used to think I didn’t have a least favorite film in the franchise. However, I recently realized one of the movies consistently lets me down.
I love the Harry Potter books with all my heart, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have had a special place in my heart for years now. It was the first (and last) book I got to purchase at a midnight release party, and I stayed up all night devouring the final pages of the story. I love how the story ends, and I was beyond excited to see it played out in a film adaptation. However, after years of rewatching it, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 still doesn’t meet my (admittedly high) expectations.
Characters act unlike themselves.
Harry and his friends aren’t the same characters that they are in the book. A perfect example is when Harry tells Ron and Hermione he has to go to the Forbidden Forest to give himself up to Voldemort. First off, Harry doesn’t say goodbye in the books. However, the movie-Hermione’s response is pretty accurate for what I’d expect if my best friend of seven years just told me he’s going to be killed within the hour. She cries, offers to go with him, and wraps Harry in a hug. Ron just stands there and makes weird, extended eye contact. Why did the filmmakers rob Harry and Ron of their supposed last chance to say goodbye?
Moments later, Harry’s body is brought back to the grounds of Hogwarts for everyone to see. First of all, nobody looks appropriately horrified. Sure, Ginny fulfills her romantic interest role by getting her dramatic scream in. Chalk it up to bad acting or poor editing, but even Ron and Hermione don’t look absolutely devastated to see Hagrid carrying their best friend’s lifeless body back to Hogwarts. Harry Potter just died, for heaven’s sake.
Neville’s speech afterward is so copy-and-paste Hollywood it hurts. I get the general message: He’s trying to rally the good guys after a devastating blow. However, I don’t think it’s realistic that Lord Voldemort would give Neville Longbottom of all people a chance to perform some weirdly heroic speech after Voldemort essentially believes he just won a decades-old war. I’d like to point out that it’s Ron who first gets sassy with Voldemort after Harry’s body is brought back, not Neville.
‘Harry Potter is dead! Do you understand now, deluded ones? He was nothing, ever, but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him!’
‘He beat you!’ yelled Ron, and the charm broke, and the defenders of Hogwarts were shouting and screaming again…” (DH 730)
Also, am I really supposed to believe Harry would just break the Elder Wand? C’mon now.
Beloved storylines are left out, and romantic storylines feel forced.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this happens with Ron and Hermione. How does some weird CGI Horcrux water monster that doesn’t even put up much of a fight finally break the ice? They’ve almost died together plenty of times before this. In the books, we see Hermione make a genuine first move because she’s truly charmed that Ron cares so much about the well-being of the Hogwarts house-elves.
Tonks and Lupin deserved better treatment in the movies. The tragedy of their deaths is totally glossed over in a single shot, and we never hear about their son (and Harry’s godson), Teddy. We also don’t see anything of Percy’s return to the Weasley family. This prodigal son’s last-minute change of heart is an emotional moment in the books that really shows how wonderful and forgiving the Weasleys are.
Also, did we need a Luna/Neville romantic subplot? Luna and Neville feel forced together and don’t show any romantic interest in one another before this film. I want the filmmakers to know that Luna and Neville are heroic characters, and they don’t need a bland romantic storyline to have us see them as such.
Voldemort’s death scene misses the point of the books.
This is possibly the greatest sin of the whole film franchise. Voldemort disintegrates into ashes and leaves no corpse behind. In the movie, he dies just as he lived: a supernatural being and inhuman. In the books, he dies as any other person would. It is a full-circle moment for Tom Riddle. No matter how hard he works to master death, it humbles him in the end, and his body is just another body without the Horcruxes guarding his soul. Giving him an extraordinary death misses the point and probably costs a whole lot of unnecessary money in the CGI budget.
However, the film has one saving grace…
Alan Rickman’s makeup. While Snape’s death was undeniably sad, at least he spent his final hours with a fierce, feathered hairstyle and emo eye makeup that could be straight out of a My Chemical Romance music video.