Tuesday, July 19, 2011

10 FAVORITES (40) - Just Wild About Harry - Part 2!!!

SPOILERS, SPOILERS and more SPOILERS lie within this post today people.  So if, for some reason, you were not one of the millions of people who saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 over the weekend or you, like some sort of hermit, avoided reading J. K. Rowling's phenomenal book, then I suggest you stop reading now.

After seeing the final film in what is the most successful film series in cinematic history, I found myself loving and remembering so many scenes within the movie that thrilled me, made me cry and just overall entertained me.  So for 10 FAVORITES this week, as a follow-up to last week's, I am going to discuss:


Meeting Aberforth Dumbledore
When our favorite trio make their way to Hogsmeade Village outside Hogwarts, the Death Eaters' alarms are set off.  They need a place to hide and are brought into the Hog's Head Pub by a crusty old man.  Hermione immediately recognizes him as Aberforth Dumbledore, Professor Dumbledore's older brother.  Aberforth (played perfectly by Ciarán Hinds) guards the only secret passage into Hogwarts that is not overrun with Death Eaters.  He tells the trio very little and questions if Harry truly understood the Albus Dumbledore that Aberforth knew.  After Harry pledges his loyalty to the Dumbledore he learned from, Aberforth reluctantly helps them get into Hogwarts.  The Battle is about to begin!

The Killing of Bellatrix Lestrange
I loved this moment, both in the book and now in the movie.  Crazy Bellatrix Lestrange (the delicious Helena Bonham-Carter) tries to curse Ginny Weasley...big mistake.  She's now angered the "Big Mama," Molly Weasley (the marvelous Julie Walters).  Molly proceeds to throw spell after spell at Bellatrix and suddenly Little Miss Loopy-Pants is no more.  Now Bonham-Carter has enchanted me playing high-born ladies and Queens of England (A Room With a View, The King's Speech), but its nice to see this crazy-ass woman (meaning Bellatrix) finally get what she deserves.  I know I was applauding, along with the rest of the audience at my screening, when Molly did what she had to do to protect her daughter.  Go Mama Weasley!  Curse that Bitch!

Ron & Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets
This was the scene everybody was waiting for and talking about.  It was also the toughest for stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson to film as it features the all-important snogging (you know, kissing!).  During the Battle of Hogwarts, Ron and Hermione take the Hufflepuff cup (a Horcrux) to the Chamber of Secrets to obtain a fang of the long dead Basilisk (which helped destroy the first Horcrux back in the 2nd book/film, The Chamber of Secrets).  After Hermione stabs the cup with the fang, that part of Voldemort's soul is destroyed and water washes over the two heroes.  In celebration, Hermione grabs Ron and kisses him passionately.  Let the "Woo-hoos!" commence.

Chatting with Helena Ravenclaw
On the heels of her well-deserved Emmy nomination for HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Kelly MacDonald has an integral part of the Summer's biggest movie as the Ravenclaw House ghost, Helena Ravenclaw (daughter of House founder Rowena Ravenclaw and more commonly called The Grey Lady).  Harry is convinced that Rowena Ravenclaw's lost diadem (a type of crown) is a Horcrux and he must speak to Helena to find it.  In this scene, MacDonald gives an enigmatic and ethereal portrayal of a very damaged woman.  After some coaxing, Helena reveals to Harry that the diadem is in the massive Room of Requirement.  She wishes the diadem destroyed as Voldemort tainted it with "dark magic" and Harry promises to see it destroyed.

Hermione Plays Bellatrix
To get into Gringott's Bank and to see what else in inside Bellatrix Lestrange's vault, Hermione must take some Polyjuice Potion and become the crazed Death Eater.  It is a delightful moment (before the excitement of the Gringotts vaults!) where we get to see Helena Bonham-Carter flex her acting chops as she plays Hermione playing Bellatrix.  It is a testament to her versatility as an actress.

Snape Finally Reveals His Truth
Too many, this was the most powerful scene in the film; and while I don't necessarily agree with them, I will not deny its emotional relevance.  After a bloody and brutal death at the hands of Voldemort (and Nagini), Snape allows Harry to take his memories to the Pensieve.  It is in this scene where audiences finally understand what this man was truly all about.  We see Snape's life as an outcast child, his close friendship with Harry's mother, his jealousy of Harry's father, his willingness to turn against Voldemort, the murder of Lily and James Potter, his vow to protect Harry, his arguments with Dumbledore and his unrequited love for Lily.  All this within a matter of seconds (and the truly powerful performance of Alan Rickman!) make this a masterful sequence and has us rethinking our judgement of the Professor we loved to hate.

Dumbledore Visits King's Cross
When it seems like Voldemort has placed his final killing curse on Harry, we (the audience) are transported out of the Forbidden Forest and into a white-washed and Heaven-like version of King's Cross Station in London (which is a fascinating accomplishment to anyone who has ever actually been in King's Cross Station!).  Here, Harry meets with his mentor Professor Dumbledore (the perfect Michael Gambon) and we get a little much-needed exposition.  It turns out only a part of Harry needed to die, the part of Harry that was Voldemort's accidental Horcrux.  That part lies under bench in King's Cross now and is all fetus-y and gross...and dying.  Dumbledore also reveals to Harry that he can "choose" to go back if he wishes.  Above, is a storyboard sketch of the King's Cross scene for the film as Warner Bros. is not revealing any pictures of the scene for promotional purposes.

Neville Comes into His Own
This was the scene I was praying would not be cut as it is such a joyful moment for anyone who loves a story about a so-called "underdog."  And thank the movie gods that it wasn't.  After an impassioned speech to Voldemort and his cackling Death Eaters over Potter's (seemingly) dead body, Neville takes the coveted Sword of Godric Gryffindor and puts it to fantastic use.  He sees Ron and Hermione tirelessly trying to kill Voldemort's frighteningly large snake, Nagini (which turns out to be the final Horcrux), and his one swing of the sword slices the villainous reptile in half.  The audience at my screening cheered (so did I!).

Harry (and Professor McGonagall!) Confront Snape
Under Voldemort's rule, Snape is running Hogwarts like it is Nazi camp.  When word that Harry is near, Snape files the students into the Great Hall to threaten and force them to reveal his whereabouts.  Harry comes forth and gives a grand "How Dare You..." speech to Snape regarding taking Dumbledore's place.  The Order of the Phoenix (The Weasleys, The Lupins, Shacklebolt et al) enter to back him up and before Snape can put his hands on Harry, McGonagall steps forward.  And what results is ALL KINDS of AWESOME!!!!

Harry Uses the Resurrection Stone
This is the scene that practically wrecked me emotionally.  I knew it was coming.  I had read the book, but there is something about seeing it dramatically represented before you (whether its in the way you pictured or not!) that just tugs at your spirit.  As Harry is entering the Forbidden Forest to face his fate against the Dark Lord, he opens his Golden Snitch and out pops the Resurrection Stone (the final Deathly Hallow).  As he stares at his parents, his godfather and his favorite teacher, he begs them to be with him and they assure him that they "Always will."  And every shot of his mother's face in this scene (the charming character actress Geraldine Somerville), just had me bawling like a baby.  My brother now says that he can't take me anywhere.

The series has come to an emotional and highly profitable end.  Many Harry Potter fans will be seeing the film again and again over the next month (I might include myself in that group!).  We will likely not hear from the Wizarding World again until the DVD comes out (So for all those wishing the Potter franchise to just go away, you'll have to wait at least another six months!).  To all my fellow witches, wizards, squibs and muggles alike: Harry, you made us believe in magic and your world will live on in all of us.  Thank you J.K., for all you have given the universe.  Your creation shall live forever!

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