Nutshell verdict: very pretty, but hollow.
I have to say right up front that I haven't read the book so I don't know whether the things that bothered me were Rowling's fault (from the book) or the movie director's fault (omitting important stuff or inserting non-important stuff from the book into the movie because of artistic vision or perceived necessity. But this morning I was telling rdeck that the more I thought about the movie, the less I liked it - it was a little like our wandering into the Chimney Tree on the Avenue of the Giants in redwood country in California last year. THis tree is huge, and on the outside it's still green and looks perfectly fine. At the bottom there is a door - yes, a door! - which opens into the inside of the tree... which burned out completely back in 1914, so that the inside of the tree consists of a large "room" some ten or twelve feet across, and if you look up you realise that the entire tree is hollow and you can actually see the sky from inside of it through the shattered top of the tree. Deeply impressive... but hollow.
HP #6... I don't know... has no heart. For a movie with such a potential emotional bomb - DUMBLEDORE, for heaven's sake, one of the lynchpins of the entire exercise! - it comes across as a series of set-pieces which tell you what you are supposed to feel rather than allowing you inside the story to make you actually FEEL it. This scene - the scene of the school gathered around Dumbledore's body - that should have been a place where your heart got torn out and handed to you on a silver platter. Yes, there was a moving moment when everyone pointed their wands at the sky - but I"m not sure whether that had significance beyond the gesture because it also seemed to drive away the death's head cloud hanging about in the sky so there may have been more to it than that. But it would have been perfect, motivation and emotional impact-wise, if it had been HARRY who lifted the wand in homage - Harry, who is STILL just a student and who would probably NOT have been the one to come thumping down onto his knees beside DUmbledore and stroke his face as though he was a beloved grandfather. There was a deep respect there, yes, and certainly affection, but none of that entitles him to his position in that scene. At least when he lost Sirius and was held back, screaming in agony, while watching his godfather die - that was an emotional power punch. This... just... didn't do it. It was a set piece. And while I still want to take Alan Rickman home and make him read all the books in my library out loud to me, he seemed to be going through the motions here...
The whole movie kind of screams "placeholder" to me. As in, "here, fans, good fans, DOWN, fans, here, take a bone and go gnaw on it for a while, we're busy over here, don't bother us." It takes more than pretty CGI to hold me. This... didn't.
And then we came home, and sat down to an hour or TV.
And got TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by "Torchwood: Children of Earth, Day FOur". We sat transfixed, in silence, watching, waiting, holding our breath, real people with real issues and real problems and real pain - and yes, I know Torchwood is just cheesy fantasy, and honestly, the first time I ever saw Jack Harkness in a Doctor WHo episode he irritated the hell out of me. But he has depths, and he's plumbing them. THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF. This is emotional drama. This is how you do a death scene. This is how you do a betrayal.
And yes, I know that Harry Potter is technically YA and Torchwood is, well, not - but that shouldn't matter. Emotional involvement should be an equal part of the reading/watching experience, whether you're thirteen or ninety three, and frankly the Harry Potter movie is no longer aimed at kiddies any more anyway. And older kids, teens, are quite capable of becoming involved in a story, and assuming that they need to be "protected" from certain realities is probably doing everyone a disservice. A given teenager is probably going through more rugged emotional country than any two adults, because the latter have learned coping mechanisms and the former is only just beginning to come to grips with theirs. If you are going to make the movie showing a major character's shuffling off the mortal coil, *make the audience cry, dammit*. Because you *can*. The HP movie got handed the opportunity - and, for whatever reasons, blew it.
Back to my own work, now.