You may be able to tell from the title what it was that didn’t thrill me about the seventh Harry Potter book — all that interminable camping! I really wondered how this would be handled in the movie, since I felt that a lot of it could have (and should have) been cut out or truncated in the book. I confess that when I heard that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would be presented in two movies, my first thought was, “Oh no, they’re going to milk all that camping to the very dregs!” And I’d had such high hopes.
It wasn’t as bad as I expected, though, because it’s easier to handle those camping scenes when you can see Harry, Hermione, and Ron interacting in live action. However, I still have one beef that I had in connection with the book: you hardly get to see any other characters!
At best, all the other characters we’ve come to know and love over the years get brief cameos in this movie, as they did in the book. And much as I love Harry, Hermione, and Ron, part of what has always made their story so interesting was how they lived, learned, behaved, and struggled in the wider context of the wizarding world. After all, many of them were fighting Voldemort long before Harry was born. From Snape to the Weasley family to Draco to Hagrid to the other students at Hogwarts, we knew and loved the entire world of people normally hidden from us Muggles. Yet we saw only brief glimpses of them now and then in this movie.
I think I liked the episode inside the Ministry of Magic the best, primarily because there were lots of people there!
I understand that this lack of other characters, except in short glimpses, couldn’t really be helped in the book, which is written primarily from Harry’s point of view. I hoped the movie would be able to get beyond that. And the film did keep moving as much as it could, giving us occasional interspersed scenes with Voldemort, Snape, and the Malfoys, so we got at least a little relief from all that isolation of the three main characters. But in my opinion, it didn’t go nearly far enough.
But the dramatic moments were action-packed and the special effects were convincing. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have really grown over the years in their portrayals of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. So on the whole, I liked the movie quite well, and I do recommend seeing it. But if you, like me, were hoping for less camping and more of the other characters — don’t hold your breath.