I'm going to start with the negatives so I can end on a positive note. While there were many things that this movie got right, I was still left with a lingering feeling of disappointment. Maybe it's because it's the last one and the last chance they had to get things right. Maybe it's because Part I was so very right. Or maybe it's because I'm too much of a fan. Here are my dislikes.
1. The chase between Harry and Voldemort. TOO LONG and UNNECESSARY. Voldemort would not descend to scuffling like a schoolboy! He thinks himself above that! Also PRIORI INCANTATEM WOULDN'T HAPPEN AS HARRY IS USING DRACO MALFOY'S WAND.
2. Trying to make Neville the comic relief some times and an action hero in others. Neville's just an action hero in this book, plain and simple. I had a moment of fury when I thought Hermione was going to steal Neville's glory with Nagini (IT HAPPENED IN POA WITH RON, IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN). Fortunately, that didn't happen, although I still would have liked other people to witness his moment of glory apart from Ron and Hermione, wonderful as they are. (In other news, Neville/Luna. Just because you didn't get H/H, that doesn't give you the right to pair off Neville and Luna, Kloves.)
3. Hermione deciding to jump on the dragon. UM no. Hermione doesn't like flying on magical creatures, which isn't too surprising given that she had to fly on Buckbeak and then something she couldn't even see. It's Harry who goes with his instincts, why can't you accept that?
4. Ginny having nothing to do and Harry hardly looking or talking at her. Bonnie Wright had one moment of glory when she actually had to do some acting and scream as if she were heartbroken. I did like the moment where she kissed him and said "I know". Didn't like Luna snapping "HARRY POTTER, YOU LISTEN TO ME!" That's Ginny's attitude, not Luna's. But what the hell, it's not like movie!Ginny ever got a break. I appreciate that we actually got some Luna and she was beautiful.
5. I really do wonder why they bothered to cast Teddy Lupin if they weren't even going to show him? Movie H/G is poor but Movie R/T is even worse!
The action was very well done. Despite my gripes about this being too much like RotK, seeing Hogwarts being torn apart and burned to the ground made me hurt inside. Lavender's death was terrible. So was Parvati's (I assume that's why Padma was sitting there alone).
1. The main trio excelled themselves. Daniel Radcliffe captured Harry's every emotion, I believed in him, I couldn't have asked for more. From the time they reached the Hog's Head, Emma became canon Hermione again, yaaaay. Ron ACTUALLY HAD STUFF TO DO. Proactive Ron! Commanding Ron! Protective Ron! Rupert was amazing with this, they brought back strategy!Ron and it was beautiful.
2. THE KISS. After all Rupert and Emma's awkward laughter, I thought it was great. Believable and tender. (Although all the GIFs of those goodbye speeches do make me wonder.)
3. The Prince's Tale, while having one WTF moment (see below) was beautifully filmed.
4. The walk in the Forest was heartwrenching.
5. Harry using his 'spidey sense' to find the Horcruxes.
6. Helena Bonham Carter playing Emma playing Hermione was genius.
7. Everything involving McGonagall.
8. Aberforth was perfection.
9. Cornish pixies in the Room of Requirement
1. WTF was going on with Alan Rickman's eyeshadow? I couldn't actually focus on his acting as much as I wanted because I kept wondering what the make up department had done to him.
2. WTF happened to Fred's death? A five second scene in a montage? He deserved MORE, damn it!
3. So you're going to cut out the whole bit where Snape drove Lily away due to his own self-hatred and racism and make it seem like Lily fell in love with James because he kept bumping into her and was conveniently in the same house? Okay. AND WHY WAS HE NOT WEARING GLASSES?
4. The Draco/Voldemort hug. Oh my God.
5. Harry breaking the elder wand without repairing his old one. HUH? Okay, break it in half and throw it away, actually I think that's better than just putting it back in Dumbledore's tomb. But what about your old wand?!
Really, one of the things that bothered me most was the simplification of the characters (Petunia, Lavender, Snape, and DUMBLEDORE) but that has been a problem throughout the series and is sometimes unavoidable when you're compressing literature into a film. I'm glad I went to see the film and would like to see it again to spot the things I missed.
Much Ado About Nothing
It's hard to describe just how much I enjoyed this play. Dad had booked us seats in the Royal Circle, but right at the back on a little stage, G13-16. This meant that our views weren't blocked by anybody and we looked right down onto the stage! A clear view of everything.
It was so good to see David and Catherine working together again. Some reviewers have been snide about Catherine's performance (how long will they hold a successful comedy show against her?) but I thought she was a good Beatrice. The only other Beatrice I've seen is Emma Thompson in the film. Emma's performance had more glacial elegance but I felt Catherine's performance emphasised Beatrice's sharp edges and how she was alone among her family just as Benedick is alone among his friends. To say David held the audience in the palm of his hand is a bit of an understatement, he looked so comfortable on stage that he made the audience feel comfortable in turn. And it's always a joy to hear him speak with his native accent, especially when other characters have to imitate it. The supporting cast were very good, it's the first time I've seen Don John played as a malevolent buffoon and it really worked. Dogberry was actually funny, Claudio was still a prudish idiot, Don Pedro (played by Adam James, aka D.I. McMillan from Planet of the Dead) was likeable and believable as a commander.
Still, the show belonged to Catherine and David. Both looked fabulous (Catherine especially) and the scenes where first Benedick and then Beatrice are made to believe each is in love with the other were sheer comic genius. I do not lie when I say the whole audience was in hysterics, I had tears in my eyes. David ended up covered in white emulsion paint and Catherine first crawled around on the floor underneath a blanket, like a paint-stained Cousin It, then spent the rest of the scene swinging around on a half harness, legs flailing in the air (think of Donna clinging onto the rope only horizontal and you'll get an idea). I wish I could have filmed these parts because words cannot do justice to their physical perfection. There were 3 three curtain calls and of course Catherine and David received the biggest cheers and some standing ovations. Brilliant. Marvellous. Wish I could go again.