Everyone has that one big cultural touchstone they missed out on. I have friends who shrugged off Pokemon, or Star Wars, or the Marvel Movies. They just never got on the train with everybody else and now they feel weird and out of the loop whenever those things come up in conversation. My pop cultural blindspot is Harry Potter. But not for any longer. To celebrate the release of the next chapter in the Harry Potter canon, I have decided to go back and watch all the Harry Potter films, none of which I have seen before. I’m hoping that by the end of this series, I’ll be magically changed into a fan of this series. And right now, that’s looking pretty likely.
This week, it’s the penultimate chapter where way less shit happens, but I still somehow wound up with more than two pages of notes so I dunno.
First things first, this one is only about two and a half hours. A step in the right direction again, movie. Keep it up.
We start with Harry, Ron (yay, Ron) and Hermione (yay, Hermione) preparing for their journey to find and destroy the Horcruxes. Harry let’s the Dursleys leave, ensuring their safety, Ron hangs with his loving family and Hermione… um, Hermione erases her parents memories of her so they will be safe.
That’s… That’s fucking heartbreaking. And we don’t address it again in the rest of the movie, that shit is just silently weighing on her shoulders this whole time. Holy christ, I am ALREADY depressed. Good start.
Meanwhile, Voldemort and his goddamn Legion of Doom are planning to find and kill Harry whenever he leaves his house. I gotta say, I kinda dig that Voldey is legit capital E Evil. Like, motherfucker’s saturday morning cartoon evil. Dude probably brunches with Skeletor and Megatron.
Oh and it turns out that Voldemort and Harry’s wands are twinsies, which means that neither one can kill each other. This somewhat explains why Voldey has been pathetically unable to murder a child for the last three movies. Somewhat.
Back at Harry’s house and– oh hey, Hedwig!
Man, we haven’t seen Hedwig in like four movies. How nice to be reminded she exists.
Hedwig Death Countdown starts now.
So everybody shows up at Harry’s house so they can help get him out unharmed. One of the arrivals remarks that he had an encounter with a Death Eater werewolf by the name of Fenrir Greyback.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Remus Lupin was bad enough, but fucking Fenrir Greyback? Do werewolves pick their targets based on who has the most appropriate name? Someone should warn Professor Lycanthrope von Werewolf.
So everyone’s here and they begin to plan. Mad-Eye Moody mentions that Harry is in danger because the Ministry of Magic has something called “The Trace” which enables them to track anyone under the age of 18 or 16 I forget how old everyone is supposed to be in these movies. And can I just say FUCKIN’ CALLED IT! Called it back in Chamber of Secrets for fuck’s sake.
Wizard NSA confirmed.
Oh, but I call bullshit on them no longer tracking people after childhood. But anyhoozles, in order to cover Harry’s getaway more efficiently, (especially since Voldey has inside men in the Ministry) they use the Polyjuice potion to turn half the assembled crew into harry Potter’s.
Oh and Fred and George are among them. Sweet, love Fred and George. They leave to take flight but are almost instantly intercepted by the Death Eaters. Hedwig sticks with the real Harry but is killed.
Oh wow, I am so surprised. Fun tip, if any series takes special pains to remind you about a character you haven’t seen in a while, it’s because something horrible is about to happen to them. But other than that, this scene is pretty friggin’ awesome. Totally down for magic urban skyfighting.
Oh but during the fight, Voldemort fails to kill Harry again and throws a temper tantrum in which he causes a massive blackout and holy shit, SO MANY people definitely just died. Here’s a fun way to ruin movies for you: every time you see one of those full scale movie blackouts, just think of all the hospitals and airports that just lost power. And the streetlights. and all the other super necessary bullshit that just went out all of a sudden.
So with thousands dead or in critical condition, Harry and crew regroup at Ron’s house. We learn that Mad-Eye Moody is apparently dead? was that offscreen? Because I don’t remember seeing it happen?
Huh. Well then, next we have the reading of Dumbledore’s will.
So Hermione is given Dumbles’s copy of The Beetle and The Bard, Ron get’s a device called a Deluminator, and Harry is gifted the first Golden Snitch he ever caught.
So in essence, they got a children’s book, a flashlight, and a ball. What a world-saving loadout. Oh but Harry was also supposed to get the Sword of Gryffindor, but apparently it’s A: not actually Dumbledore’s to give and B: no one knows where it is. I presume they’ve already checked between the couch cushions.
But Oh hey, Luna’s around! Luna’s great! Everyone gathers to attend Bill Weasley’s wedding, but halfway through, they receive a message that the Ministry has been fully taken over by the Death Eaters and they are on the way. The Death Eaters arrive and everything goes straight to goddamn hell. Harry, Ron, and Hermione manage to escape into London, where they regroup in a diner. But two Death Eaters come in and oh hell yes, wizard gunfight!
Look, if these movies were more about magic battles in urban locales mirroring action movie gunfights, I would love this series more than I currently do. This scene is rad.
Our trio wins and head to somewhere more safe, that being Sirius Black’s house. They arrive and find it seemingly empty. They do discover a note explaining that the mysterious RAB from the end of the last movie was actually Regulus Black, Sirius’s brother. Not that that matters though, because he’s also dead. But you know who isn’t dead? that weird ass house elf. his name is Kreacher, because he is an unholy monstrosity who also apparently has issues with spelling. Kreacher explains that a thief took the Horcrux, which Regulus wasn’t able to destroy.
Harry dispatches Kreacher to go get the thief, which he does. Unfortunately, he also brings back someone else.
OH GOD NO NOT THAT BRING BACK THE FUCKING SPIDER BUT NOT THAT!!!!!!!!!
Fucking hate Dobby. But I do have one thing on my side this time. Remember that rule about long forgotten characters suddenly returning?
Ron and Dobby say hi to each other even though I don’t think they ever actually met in Chamber of Secrets. But more important is what we learn from the thief. Turns out he did steal the Horcrux, but the Ministry took it from him.
So it’s off to break into the Ministry of Magic! The trio use Polyjuice Potions to replace three employees and sneak in. You’d think the Ministry would have some sort of scan for that but guess not. They enter by flushing themselves down the toilet Trainspotting-style.
But for some reason they come out of fireplaces like they would for Floo travel? Not sure how that works. Also, not to ask the really obvious question, but if flushing the toilet transports WHATEVER IS INSIDE the toilet into the Ministry of Magic then… um… let’s just say that doesn’t seem like a great idea.
The inside of the Ministry is terrifying. Muggles are being prosecuted and discrimination is high. When boarding the elevator, Ron bumps into the man he’s disguised as’s boss, who informs him that “his wife is being interrogated in the basement”.
Then we get a hi-larious comedic beat where Ron freaks out that “his wife” is in danger before Hermione reminds him that “you don’t have a wife.” Oh ha ha ha, so funn– THAT IS NOT THE POINT, HERMIONE. A HUMAN WOMEN IS IN DANGER. THIS IS NOT A JOKING TIME.
Ron heads off to do his job while Harry and Hermione bump into Umbridge, who is now in charge. I love Umbridge. Which is to say I fucking hate Umbridge. She’s such an excellent villain, it’s great.
She proceeds with them to the trial room, where she proceeds in the trial of “Ron”‘s wife. Harry finally has enough of her shit and blasts her while Hermione grabs the Horcrux.
They are pursued by Dementors but the Dementors are stopped by the most powerful force known to man…
…an elevator gate.
But whatever, they all bounce with the Horcrux and head out to the woods somewhere. And now we begin the 80% of this movie that takes place in woods of some kind. SO MUCH FUCKING WOODS, YOU GUYS.
In the woods, the gang tries to destroy the Horcrux but they are unable too no matter what. They figure out that the Sword will be able to destroy the Horcrux, unfortunately, they still don’t know where it is. Did… did you try checking in the fridge? People leave things in weird places.
Ron gets all angsty and bails on the other two. Then Harry and Hermione dance. But in, like, a sad way. Ok. Harry decides they should go back to the site where Voldemort killed his parents because sure, that sounds like fun. They arrive and look around the graveyard for James and Lily Potter’s tombstones before an old woman approaches them and leads them inside. She acts a bit weird and then explodes revealing a snake inside.
Because sure, why not?
Jesus, it’s like a fucked up Russian nesting doll.
But inside is a snake.
Harry and Hermione get the fuck out of the apartment, but Harry’s wand is shattered in the process. Back in the woods, Harry borrows Hermione’s. While she’s sleeping, Harry spots his Patronus (see, I know what Harry Potter terms mean now) which leads him to a frozen over pond. At the bottom of the pond, Harry finds the Sword.
Ah, it’s always in the last place you look.
Also, Ron’s back. He found them. Harry opens the Horcrux and out pours a buncha Scarecrow gas which makes Ron see his worst fears. Those fears include spiders. I don’t like spiders. His other fear is that Hermione and Harry no longer need him. He overcomes these fears and destroys the Horcrux with the sword. Hermione asks how he found them and Ron explains. Apparently, the Deluminator began to emit the sound of Hermione saying Ron’s name and then produced a ball of light that led him to them.
Aw, Hermione is Ron’s light, that’s adorable. I’m rooting for them.
But forget that because the newly reassembled trio head to find Luna’s dad so he can explain what’s going on to them. He does, by pointing them to an old children’s story about three powerful items. Also, this sequence is really fucking pretty.
But as we learn, only one of the items, the Elder Wand, is actually important. And Dumbledore was buried with it. But it turns out Luna’s dad has actually led them into a trap, hoping to exchange the trio for his daughter’s freedom. They’re dragged off to the lair where the Malfoys and Beatrix LeStrange are hanging out. Ron and Harry are thrown in the basement dungeon while Hermione is kept upstairs to be interrogated by Beatrix.
And holy shit is she interrogated. By which I mean tortured. A lot. Although I kinda have to admit that Beatrix has impressive knife-penmanship. Knifemanship?
And OH SHIT DOBBY POPS UP! Can’t give me a warning on that one? Dobby frees them and they head upstairs to help Hermione. But when Beatrix takes Hermione hostage at knifepoint, all seems lost. Until…
Huh. Dobby maybe ain’t so bad after all. Oh and after trying to Phantom-of-the-Opera Beatrix, he responds that he “didn’t want to kill her” just “seriously maim”.
Ok, I like Dobby now. I am all onboard the Dobby train. Bobby and Harry’s crew teleport out of there, but not before Beatrix throws a knife at them.
On a beach somewhere, everyone’s happy and fine. Except…
oh. oh no. oh no no no no no no.
I… I just started to like you Dobby. Don’t die now!
But he does. And while I’m actually broken up about this because it is well done and sad…
…I did call this.
Oh, and my notes at this point say “Fuck you movie for making me care about Dobby”. So yeah.
They go to bury Dobby’s body which, let’s be practical, should be easy. It’s not like you gotta move a lot of dirt to clear room. Just sayin’.
Oh and Voldemort breaks open Dumbledore’s grave and acquires the Elder Wand so yeah, everybody’s fucked and the world’s gonna end.
TO BE CONCLUDED.
It’s good. It’s not great and it does wind up feeling like half a movie as opposed to a complete whole, but it’s really solid. Although yeah, this didn’t need to be its own movie. There are a bunch of good scenes but there is too much camping in this thing and, as pretty as it was, we really didn’t need the ENTIRE children’s book story for plot purposes.
But this movie made me care about Dobby for shit’s sake so that’s definitely a point in it’s favor. Also, the magic battles taking place in more urban locales is definitely a plus. I like that kinda thing a lot. Ministry of Magic bureaucracy too. I eat that shit up.
But it does feel like an incomplete film and it suffers because of it. A little bit meander-y and full of filler too. Like, I took more notes on this movie than any of the others but this review was markedly shorter then that would suggest. Because I cut so much down to knock out filler.
But yeah, decent movie, not the best one, too much woods.
Still better than the last one though.
Next week we bring it all home with the big finale. And I decide my overall opinion on the entire series. Plus, I give my own personal ranking of the films from best to worst. It’s gonna be a doozy.