Harry Potter and the Final Episode
I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last week. My expectations were pretty high: the first part of the final book had been really well filmed, taking advantage of the narrative space provided by splitting the book in two to stick really closely to the original. So perhaps I was always doomed to disappointment if the final chapter turned out, as it did, to be merely a decent film. It IS a decent film, well worth seeing whether you've read the book or not (though if you haven't taken in the story so far either in book or film form there really is no point in watching). I just felt it could have been so much better. HPATDH is one of the best books, and contains a huge number of my all-time favourite moments from the Harry Potter saga. My main grouse with the film is that so many of those favourite moments either don't appear at all, or appear in a diluted form.
*** THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS FROM HERE ON. ***
For example, I adore this scene, both for the "gallant" line and for "We teachers are rather good at magic". Neither makes it into the film.
The duel between Molly Weasley and Bellatrix Lestrange after the latter has attempted to kill Ginny Weasley is another highlight. In the book you get a real feeling of Molly as the protective mother going all out to destroy a threat to her children, and you have Bellatrix treating the whole thing as a joke and then gradually realising that Molly isn't going to give up, or back off, and that she is up against someone whose will to win, on this occasion, is right up there with Voldemort's. In the film the whole thing is over and gone in a few seconds.
In the film Neville Longbottom makes a stirring speech to Voldemort about why they're going to fight him, after he's stepped forward and been taunted by Voldemort for his limp. In the book Voldemort rather admires Neville: he doesn't care about physical defects, and the Longbottoms are an ancient magical family (Voldemort is a magical snob). And in the book when Neville defies him Voldemort rams the sorting hat onto Neville's head and sets it alight, which makes Neville's pulling the Sword of Gryffindor out of it even more dramatic. In the film he finds the sword in the hat, but that's it: he isn't wearing the hat, it isnlt on fire, and he isn't facing Voldemort at the time.
And in the final showdown with Voldemort, Harry is far cooler in the book than in the film, winding Voldemort up by dismissively referring to him as "Riddle", and explaining to him as one might to a rather slow pupil just why he (Voldemort) has completely misread the situation regarding the Elder Wand's proper owner. As a result you get a faint flickering of fear in Voldemort's expression before he gets killed.
Oh, and in the film Harry destroys the Elder Wand instead of replacing it in Dumbledore's grave.
There are many more such omissions and dilutions. So I spent a lot of the film thinking "WHAT? they left that bit out?" and "Is that it?" Which is a shame, because it is a pretty good film if you judge it wholly on its own merits. It's only by comparison with the book that it suffers.