Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

What the hell was THAT all about? HP:OotP movie feedback

Posted by Patrick on 11 Jul 2007

If you check the harry potter category tag from my blog you’ll see that I’m relatively unhealthily in tune with this story line, and that I was greatly anticipating the release of this movie as the one which would redeem the not-so-good GoF movie which preceeded it. I’m going to write this review because it needs to be done. As a story purist and movie enthusiast, I am borderline appalled at what I just sat through. Let’s discuss the movie from 2 perspectives: first, the good parts and the relevant inclusions for future movies; then, secondly, about what my personal disappointments were from the movie/screenplay.

!SPOILER ALERT! THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST ADDRESSES SCENES, PLOT LINES, CHARACTERS, AND THE GOOD AND BAD FROM THE HP:OOTP MOVIE. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE MOVIE NOR READ THIS BOOK AND YOU DO NOT WISH TO EITHER LEARN THE STORY OR BECOME BIASED TOWARDS EITHER, I SUGGEST AGAINST CONTINUING WITH READING THIS POST. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED; NO REFUNDS NOR EXCHANGES FOR STORE CREDIT ACCEPTED BELOW THIS LINE.

First, the good parts. If you peep tag surfer under Harry Potter, you’ll come across a few good posts (especially this one) that I’ve already read on how the movie lays foundation for the final 2 movies in this series. I’m going to address a few of them myself, not to hijack anyone’s thunder, I’m just not the first to post.

1) The HP love life subplot is marginally well-done in this movie. Though there is some weak buildup in the attraction between Harry and Cho — especially on Harry’s end, though they were merciful enough to leave in Hermione’s line about Cho not being able to take her eyes off of Harry — this culminates in a pretty clumsy teenager kiss that links them as a couple. However, the movie is quick to crush this relationship (as it should) and doesn’t begin to overtly play up the Harry+Ginny subtheme, and we assume that this is left for the HBP movie. We don’t even see Cho after the scene where Dumbledore flees Hogwarts.

2) The darkness of the movie was more than appropriate. I thought the isolation of Harry’s character was well done, even if we were browbeaten with it. The movie needed to show that Harry felt alone in his fight so that the DA could be his outlet of normalcy, and I think that was done very well.

3) The death eaters. I will have a good and a bad here, but on the good side I think visually they carried the appropriate amount of evil in their characters, and the effects for them and for the Order members were very well done.

4) Dolores Umbridge. I really did like how her character was portrayed. I mean, in the story I really do hate her character, as I should, but it was equally vicious watching her on the screen. Icing on the cake = her pink cat cameo lapel button and collectible cat plate set.

edit:
5) Evanna Lynch was amazing as Luna, though she was limited in her frame time. I don’t think it was significant that she took Harry’s hand at the end of the story other than to provide some reassurance and some sympathy for his loss.

6) It was subtle, but I really liked how the movie begins a subtle playing of Ron and Hermione getting together. The director is just using blocking here to separate them from Harry in the frame to both play up Harry’s isolated feeling but also to note that they are becoming closer. It’s only in a few scenes of the total that Harry is actually between them.
/edit

Now, what’s in the movie that’s relevant for later because it had no other purpose? And what wasn’t in the movie that probably wasn’t because it doesn’t matter later?

1) Kreacher. This was already known before the release of the movie from JKR’s interviews, but we see Kreacher now because we will see him again later. Otherwise, his bit scenes were pointless except to show that Sirius is his master.

2) The relationship between Tonks and Lupin was omitted. Most of Tonks’ lines were cut. So why was she there except to show off her ability.

3) Harry’s conversation with Nearly Headless Nick at the end of the story was omitted. Instead, we have a very poignant line from Luna that carries the weight of the entire movie. This whole conversation was changed to fit the plot at the time — in the book this is also where we find out that Luna saw her mother die and therefore can see the thestrals. AND, this is where Luna tells Harry about the voices behind the veil, which was very, VERY much downplayed in the movie almost to the point of omission had Sirius not needed to fall through it. In the movie, Luna indicates that she can also hear the voices when Harry is staring at it. But this is more than relevant here — none of the others could hear the voices or at least none of them said they could. If the logic holds true, Neville should have been able to hear them as well, since he says in the book he could see the thestrals. That would make the veil a sort-of repository for dead souls, so to speak, that could only be communicated with by people who’ve seen death.

4) They left out St. Mungo’s completely. This means there’s no revival scene for Gilderoy Lockhart and no seeing Neville’s parents. Instead, we hear from Neville (and not Dumbledore) about his parents and only to Harry, where in the story Ron and Hermione also know. So, the important part of that is Neville’s mindset and motivation to continue fighting.

5) Petunia’s knowledge of the wizarding world was omitted. I was absolutely floored by this, and I mean I was really upset that this wasn’t in the movie. It doesn’t lend itself to her having any “real” involvement in the last book.

Lastly, here’s a list of 20 things I wanted to see in the movie which I didn’t, and in no particular order. It probably isn’t everything, but it’s the first 20 I can think of without going back to the book for reference.
1) Dumbledore’s howler to Petunia and Petunia’s blurting out of what a dementor is, just so I could see Vernon’s reaction.
2) No quidditch — not even a mention of the word. I wanted to see this, but I think it was cut to downplay Harry and Cho’s relationship. “Weasley is our King” is a strong theme in the book that works towards Ron and Hermione’s relationship later (remember she has a thing for quidditch players a la Krum)
3) No classroom lessons except DADA. I wanted to see Harry getting bad grades in potions class, as this is absolutely relevant for HBP.
4) McGonagall’s trip to St. Mungo’s was omitted, not even mentioned. McGonagall was downplayed except for her famous spat with Umbridge.
5) Not once did I hear anyone awarding or subtracting house points. It breaks the students-at-a-school theme, if you ask me.
6) Mrs. Weasley and the boggart was omitted.
7) Tonks explaining what a metamorphmagus is and Harry’s inquisitive nature about it. Probably cut to keep showing him as feeling isolated from everyone else.
#8 Moody cleaning his magic eye. Just wanted to see that for the sickening factor.
9) Harry’s temper tantrum when he arrived at Sirius’ house was nearly absent. I wanted to see him go off full-bore.
10) Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott. We are only left to assume that it was Madam Bones asking questions at the hearing. We never heard “a corporeal patronus?” so we don’t know.
11) Marietta Edgecombe’s SNEAK pimples. She was in absentia.
12) Ron and Hermione being made prefects. Or any of the others for that matter (Ernie, Hannah, the Patil girl, Malfoy, etc.)
13) a huge omission: The sorting hat’s soliloquy
14) There was no mention of Hogsmeade.
14a) No Harry and Cho date to initiate the breakup.
14b) NO INTERVIEW WITH RITA SKEETER
14c) No Mundungus Fletcher dressed as a woman
14d) No Ginny’s impersonation of Umbridge
15) Professor Grubbly-Plank was mentioned in the opening feast but then omitted. This probably means Hagrid is there to stay.
16) Dobby was omitted
17) SPEW was not mentioned, nor did we ever see Hermione knitting anything.
18) The department of mysteries
18a) Hermione’s flagrate spell.
18b) the brain room
18c) the time room with the bird in the bell jar
19) Snape’s Worst Memory had about 0.0005 seconds of Susie Shinner as young Lily Evans and was cut ridiculously short.
19a) no Lily defending Snape
19b) no Snape calling Lily a mudblood
20) no Weasley-created swamp. I really wanted to see that and see Peeves salute F&G as they departed.

What are your thoughts? I’m interested to hear them.

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12 Responses to “What the hell was THAT all about? HP:OotP movie feedback”

  1. Heather said

    Thanks for the reference, man. I just wanted to say that I thought the technicolor Franklin Mint cat plates in Umbridge’s office were probably my favorite part of the whole film. They really were that revolting.

    As far as Marietta being left out, I had an inkling that would happen. A friend of mine has the OotP XBox game, and she said it was Cho being interrogated with Veritaserum in the game too.

    And now that you mention it, it would have been kind of cool to see Petunia’s howler and her admitting she knew what a Dementor is.

  2. Patrick said

    yes, I knew it too from playing the OotP game on PC. But I still wished it didn’t go down that way.

  3. DougOLis said

    This really doesn’t matter much, but Cho does show up 1 time after Dumbledore flees. When everyone comes out of The Great Hall (I forget why they were in there), she’s standing outside and wants to talk to Harry. Ginny pretty much pushes her out of the way.

    Kreacher was pretty worthless other than being there for the sake of being there. All his plots could easily have been shifted.

    I agree with a lot of your points but some of them I guess were expendable and didn’t really matter to the overall story.

  4. Patrick said

    oh right Doug yeah I forgot about that part that they are leaving from their mass detention with Umbridge which I guess has to be interpreted as the signal of “the end” for their brief relationship. We’re just waiting for Cho to try to stop Harry from walking away, but we are just left assuming that she realizes what (Marietta) did was not going to be overcome with a few words.

  5. Ivan said

    I didn’t like the mass detention, that was a complete departure. It also didn’t display how much power the inquisitorial squad was in the book, its them that catches Harry, but no one else.

  6. baby221 said

    Quite frankly, I was more impressed by the trailer for the Wii HP game than the movie itself. Considering what’s coming next, it was strange to see so … extraordinarily little of Snape. Especially his lessons with Harry in Occlumency, which felt rushed, and Snape’s Worst Memory was given absolutely zero import. It appears as though film-Harry doesn’t even give it a second thought, which is frustrating because it’s a key plot point (or character development point, at least).

    I was also massively, massively disappointed that Petunia’s knowledge of the wizarding world was overlooked. Given the hints Rowling’s dropping about her importance in the final book, I’d’ve thought it would be important to demonstrate that there is more to her than she appears.

  7. leslie said

    I will start by saying that I loved the film. It was just exciting to see it all come to life and for the most part, they stuck to the book. I understand that they had to make some cuts but there were some ommissions that were upsetting.
    1) the whole department of ministries cut down to the bare minimum was terrible. what was the point of all the time we watched the kids in the DA if they don’t even show them fight? No brain room, no time room, no kids fighting and getting hurt, no Hermione getting knocked unconscious…
    2) aunt petunia’s dementor knowledge. Isn’t she supposed to play an important part in book 7?
    3) harry’s anger! both at headquarters and at the end in Dumbledore’s office. Where was it? The major thing in this book is how angry and impulsive he is, but you don’t see it. I really wanted to see him tear into Ron & Hermy in the beginning
    4)Marietta – it’s upsetting that they made Cho the traitor, and then redeemed her with the Veritaserum comment.
    5) Generally, the amount of screen time everyone got was very small. Of, course I understand that the movie is about Harry, but you hardly see Snape, McGonnagal, and what was the point of Tonks?

  8. Patrick said

    Leslie – yes, yes, yes, and some more yes re: your comment. What I liked about the film, I really liked ~ the overall darkness that was brought out from the very first scene was enough to make me actually (deep down) like this film overall. And I thought Luna and Umbridge were wonderfully acted. But I have a hard time getting through all of the changes and omissions, as I guess you can gather from reading this post.

  9. brandy said

    I thought they did a good job keeping in the relevant stuff. I mean, I would have loved to have had a lot more of the Order’s headquarters, but at almost 2 1/2 hours, I think people realized kids would start squirming. I have to admit to being disappointed that there was no trip to Mungo’s- I too was really hoping for a little Gilderoy cameo. Plus, I think seeing Neville’s parents would have added something to the anger Neville shows at the end. I also didn’t like how Harry didn’t seem to struggle with seeing the Snape memory (and how awful his dad treated Snape) as he did in the book.

  10. Patrick said

    I dunno Brandy. This movie was shorter than the previous 4 yet had to cover a *lot more of a story. If kids are at the movie and they’re not into it, then maybe. But most people who are going to see this movie have either read the books or have seen the first 4 movies. 3 hours would have been perfect.

    I guess we’re waiting for the director’s cut dvd =)

  11. Casey said

    I completely agree with your review of the movie, i felt that the movie lacked its feel of the previous movies. Also to agree with you on another point they left out so many good parts valued in the book. I also agree that GoF was the best movie so far.

  12. Patrick said

    except I was saying that GoF was kinda teh suckx in my initial post. I think CoS was the best of the movies so far

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