Harry Potter and The Finishing Post *Spoiler Free Review*

So, at long last, we have made it. The end. The final film in the Harry Potter series.

There will be few surprises for fans who have the barest literacy, but is the film actually any good? Hit the jump to find out:

Yaargh! No spoilers here, Jimlad!

That, of course, is the key question: is the film any good? I shall answer it in three ways:

1) Yes

Yates is a competent director on his fourth attempt at Potter, while his crew have been working on these films for ten years, they know this world inside and out. His cast is, perhaps, the greatest pool of British talent ever assembled and they're all here because they want to be and relishing the chance to play out a swansong for the series.

They have a fantastic story to work from and the special effects are top of the line. This really cannot go wrong. If there is one film this year that you can be 100% certain will be worthwhile for your admission price and your time, it is this one.

Of course, the film delivers. It's a rip-roaring rollercoaster ride of action, pathos and even fun and you really won't regret seeing it. However...

2) No

When you view the film in its own light, without consideration for what has come before, it's not really up to all that.

In the final parts of the novel, Rowling uses an interesting story device, we have seen peril before, so we need something different to show this as the final battle. Harry wonders from place to place seeing the aftermath of events, while we hear his internal monologue debating what to do and trying to come to terms with it all. He is confronted repeatedly with "Harry, Good Guy X just killed Bad Guy Y, he was so brave!", "Oh Harry, Good Guy X is dead, Bad Guy Z got him, how can we win this Harry?" and so on. This serves to build both tension and pathos and work brilliantly as montage counting down to the finale of the series.

Unfortunately, it makes for a pretty crap movie. We want to see dark wizards duelling with our valiant heroes; we want to see them triumph or die; we want big explosions and fire-breathing monsters; we want things that were "off-screen" in the novel up on screen; internal monologuing doesn't really work in a Hollywood effects blockbuster. What we get instead is a lot of angst and not as much action as you'd like.

Furthermore, with so much novel to fit in, the writers of the adaptation have just given up trying to actually adapt it. Parts have been cut out, yes, but no attempt has been made to stitch the parts back together, leaving glaring plot holes. One character in particular is left behind in relative safety while our heroes go off into a dangerous situation, have some adventures, then the character in question just turns up where they end up ahead of them, even though they didn't know they'd go there. In the books, there is a reason for this that could have been covered in a three-second throwaway line, but isn't.

There is, perhaps, an assumption that everyone will have read the books by now and so there is no need to fill in the gaps. Still, there are people out there who have not read the source material, and even if there weren't, there is little point in this whole exercise if the films don't stand up on their own.

Overall, it's just not the best-written film, perhaps understandably, given the difficulties of bringing the novel to the screen, but a little deviation from the story, if only in the way it's presented, could have gone a long way. Nevertheless...

3) Does it matter?

Let's be frank, this film has something that quite possibly no film has ever had before: a moment that seven previous films have been building up to. All the fans know the story, we know the coming deaths, we know the triumphs and we would be disappointed to find any surprises here. All we want to see is a big CGI recreation of the book and, let's be honest, the film could be animated stick figures and we'd still all be in tears at the end.

As such, the very concept of a review is rather moot. However, I can happily inform you all that the film follows the novel's points and draws the expected emotions from you at the appropriate times. You will laugh, you will cry, you will do a little fist pump when the baddies get deaded. You can't really ask more from an evening's entertainment than that.

No, the film doesn't really stand up on its own, but it doesn't need to. This won't convert any non-fans, but it would direct people back to the previous films to catch up and, viewed as a whole, the series is a huge success. Just go see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment