- I LOVED what the filmmakers did in telescoping the opening scenes of "Phoenix" into a single confrontation between Harry and Dudley on the playground. That scene was so moving that I'm still haunted by it, days later. The kid who plays Dudley is maturing into quite a powerful actor. (Dudley's thug-lite costume was a brilliant touch too.) To my thinking, Harry's longing for his dead parents is the absolute emotional heart of the series--everything else that happens in the books stems from, or is somehow related to, that issue of loss. They really nailed this aspect of the series in the new film.
- I understand why they had to cut out the Quidditch, but why such severe chopping of the scene of Fred and George's flight to freedom? They obviously spent a gajillion dollars on the CGI for that scene anyway. Adding five more minutes of dialogue from the novel wouldn't have broken the bank.
- I realize it specifically says in the book that the re-born Voldemort has no nose, only slits for nostrils, but what they've done with the makeup on Ralph Fiennes to pull this off in the film makes Voldemort look more silly than menacing. I just don't find it that scary, and that's a big problem, given that this is supposed to be the most frightening villain of all time.
- I wasn't that thrilled with Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix. The dominatrix look they gave her was not at all how I pictured the character. She should have been much more posh--like a member of the royal family gone horribly bad, and coming apart at the seams. The overly sexy thing didn't quite work.
- As Hausfrau pointed out--why no mention of the Percy subplot? And why so little exposition about what the Order of the Phoenix actually does?
- That said, I very much liked the scene of the final confrontation at the Department of Mysteries. Did anyone else catch Sirius saying, "Nice one, James" as he fought alongside Harry--mistaking him for his father? In the book it's just "Nice one." Very poignant adaptation of the original text. And the portion of this scene where Voldemort is possessing Harry, and they replayed actual footage of the trio as younger kids, made me bawl--so moving.
Final book predictions:
- Hagrid is going to die fighting for the Order. As will Neville--but not before he dispatches Bellatrix in what I expect will be a powerfully emotional scene. I'm also not convinced Luna is going to make it out alive.
- Snape is on the side of good but, regardless, is a horrible person, and will remain so until nearly the end, when Snape will die a hero's death performing some critical act that will enable Harry to kill Voldemort yet not die himself in the process. If Harry's scar is a Horcrux, Snape will turn out to be the only one who will know how to destroy it without killing Harry, but something will go wrong in the process and Snape will die.
- I think Ron and Hermione will make it, but on the other hand, we know some other major character is going to get the axe, so...if one of them dies I'm not going to be hugely surprised either.
- I'm not going to be shocked if somehow Sirius comes back, if only for a visit. I think it's very significant that in the book, his "death" is accompanied by neither an "Avada Kedavra" nor a flash of green light.
- It should go without saying, but Voldemort is toast.
OK, so I was wrong on several counts, but right on a few crucial things. And while Bellatrix's end was undoubtedly satisfying as Rowling conceived it, why in the name of Merlin's most baggy Y-fronts (as Ron would say) wasn't Neville the one to kill her??? I was extremely disappointed by that.