In place of a review, here is a e-conversation between me and a former 10H student about the flick of the summer–no matter what the film critics say (and yes, I mean you Elijah). First, the student’s note:
Dear Mrs. B,
I’m in R—– right now, and I got to finally see the last Harry Potter movie yesterday. I personally was very impressed, the movie exceeded all of my expectations. But I have a few questions of opinion to you:
- There is no scene of Harry fixing his old wand with the elder wand. Why doesn’t he fix his own wand?
- In the book, Voldemort died in front of all of the student who were protected from him by Harry’s sacrifice. Why, in the movie, did this scene change? They changed it so that only Harry is in Voldemort’s presence, and there is no indication that the students are protected.
- This one isn’t really a question I guess… but in the book, Nagini died right when the battle was renewed, and in the movie there was an extended set of action scenes of various people trying to kill the snake. Did the film-makers really trade out the important concept that Harry’s death protected the students for just a bunch of action shots?
And here’s my response:
I love that you’re asking these questions. This is the exact same set of dis-satisfactions I have with the movie. Essentially, the director muted Harry’s status as a Christ figure. I don’t think this would have been difficult to include, really, and I don’t think it would have eliminated any action scenes. Instead, I think it would have been politically really difficult to swallow for the world–and for Hollywood. I can imagine a very Asher Lev-like response to staying true to the script in which Harry’s “sacrifice” ends up protecting everyone.
As for the wand, I think they just eliminated the significance of wandlore (and of Harry’s Phoenix wand specifically) from the story as a whole. He didn’t NEED to repair his wand because there was no special, particular significance to his wand in the first place (according to the world of the film). In the book, so much time is given to how the wand protects him at various points and how the other wand he uses doesn’t work for him as well, etc. That was absent in the film.
BUT, I want to say that I agree with these wand choices. I think it makes the final scene with the elder wand even more satisfying–when Harry breaks it in half and throws it over the edge of Mount Doom (oh wait, wrong movie). In the book it was never satisfying that Harry could “put the wand back” where it had been and then avoid the bloody history of the wand killing him and re-dis-interring Dumbledore, especially since EVERYONE had heard the conversation about the elder wand. I imagine most people would have thought Harry had it for the rest of his life in that scenario. In this one case, I think the “movie logic” is more appropriate than the novel logic–a rare thing for an English teacher to admit.