Friday, July 22, 2011

Harry Potter and the Disappointing Ending

This afternoon Carrie and I enjoyed the rare treat of going out to a movie together. I think this may be our fourth movie in twenty plus months, and only the second one I can actually remember because I wasn't sleep deprived. The other one was was Pirates IV, which did not have a disappointing ending because that would imply the rest of the movie provided a non-disappointing contrast. I guess I'm just over sword fighting and slurring.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, has been a memorable part of my life for nearly a decade now. Carrie and I read all the books and anxiously awaited each movie release. The books grew longer, darker, and more complex with each volume, and the movies did their best to keep up, including the executive decision to split the final chapter into two parts. Having now watched both parts, I can honestly say that I would have preferred either some major editing of the first part and a single volume three and a half hour, Lord of the Rings-like movie, or just a plot summary that stated, "Previously, at Hogwarts...," or "Previously, in what we decided wasn't worth filming..." 

The Deathly Hallows Part I was the weakest HP link in the series, and although it left you wanting more (i.e. the rest of the book), it was mostly because it was just starting to pick up speed. Yes, I fell asleep a little in Part I, but much like the books, the movies seem to get darker, too. Part II, however, be it a popcorn-induced sugar rush or the novelty of Amari-freedom, had me riveted the entire time. With the long lag between the final book and the final movie, I barely remembered what was going to happen next. What ensued was two hours of dramatic, magical fight scenes, epic battles, dragons, horcruxes, surprising heroes, and...AND...a disappointing ending. 

Spoiler alert!

I felt the same way about the book when the author - probably coaxed by the publishers - added a final chapter nineteen years in the future where Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are dropping their kids off at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters to catch the Hogwarts Express. I didn't need it when I was reading, and I didn't need it when I was watching. What made it worse on the screen was the complete and utter lack of energy put into trying to make any of the characters look any older. 

I mean seriously - they can make Ralph Fiennes look like a snake and bring Jerry Garcia back from the dead to play a wizard, but they can't add a few years to kids?  Ginny looked younger at 37, Harry had what wanted to be a five o'clock shadow, and I think Ron shoved a pillow under his shirt. It was laughable, which is why Carrie and I burst out laughing the minute we saw them. I hope the characters got a kick out of it because it was ridiculous. Maybe they all took some polyjuice potion with the hair of their own adolescence or something. I guess it's a weird place for me to stop suspending disbelief...

Other than that, however, awesome move. A+ finish to an all-time classic series.

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