Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Does the seventh film live up to the book?
Normally when I sit down to watch a new Harry Potter movie in theaters, I'm excited to see how the story plays out on screen. But after director Daniel Yates' criminal bungling of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, my feeling while waiting for Deathly Hallows to start was mostly apathetic. Luckily for Yates, he did the impossible -- he crafted a movie that has once more made me excited about seeing Harry, Ron, Hermione and company on the big screen.
Full disclosure: I am an unabashed fan of the Harry Potter series -- the novels. The first through fifth films were okay, but after I watched Half-Blood Prince a year and a half ago, I was livid -- and, quite frankly, unsure whether I even cared about the seventh film. I bitched about the movie the whole ride home (and for several weeks afterward), and was ambivalent toward the first part of this seventh film. "How much more is Yates going to fuck up the storyline?" was my main concern. I hated Half-Blood Prince so much that I've refused to watch it again. (I own the first five films, and watch them -- and re-read the novels -- on a regular basis; twice a year, at least. Just to give you an idea how upset I was.)
There were two major crimes that David Yates committed in Half-Blood Prince. The first was shirking vital parts of the storyline, then throwing in a full scene that wasn't even in the book. (Remember when Bellatrix and some other Death Eaters burn down the Burrow and chase some of the protagonists through the fields? What the hell was that all about? What was the point? To show how evil Death Eaters are? How devastating fire can be? What?!)
The second was his treatment of the scene wherein Snape kills Dumbledore atop the astronomy tower at Hogwarts. Readers of the novel will remember this was a major cliffhanger between Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. In the books, it's unclear whether Snape is a true Death Eater or is still following Dumbledore's orders, but there's much more evidence that Dumbledore made a mistake in trusting Snape. It's too obvious in the film that there's a deeper game being played between Snape and Dumbledore. (And why leave Harry stranded under the floor instead of Stupefied atop the tower? That entire scene had myriad aspects that pissed me off.)