Extra magic hours.

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It’s 1:30. And we’re at Magic Kingdom.

Today was awesome, but you’ll have to wait for a detailed post.

For now, goodnight.

Chad

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Hot tubs from Heaven.

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This won’t be as detailed as yesterday’s; I’m really tired and tomorrow we go to my favorite park in Disney World, Hollywood Studios.

We did everything we really wanted to do today in EPCOT, including Soarin’, Mission: Space, Test Track, and Captain EO, all of which were very fun.

Mission: Space was especially cool today because that’s the ride that Megan works on, so she showed us the control room and took us to the front of the line; it’s great knowing the right people! Ha. Captain EO was cool too because I had never done it before. For those who don’t know, Captain EO was an attraction created by Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Michael Jackson, and it’s a sort of 4-D movie; the movie is in 3D and the seats move around just a bit. It opened in 1986, but closed quite a while ago until it was ought back last year as a tribute to Michael Jackson after his death. It was lots of fun.

Oh, I almost forgot Sum of App Thrills, an attraction Innoventions where you design your own rollercoaster or jet plane flight and then you sit in a simulator to ride what you just created. It was SO cool, and we did it twice. We also got to ride Segways (however briefly).

In the World Showcase is an opportunity called Kim Possible’s World Showcase, and it was awesome. It’s based on a TV show we grew up with, in case you didn’t know; you’re given a “Kimminicator”, which, via videos and pictures on the phone-like device, takes you through missions in the countries of the showcase, and different things interact with it. For example, our first mission had us raise a flag with the click of a button…very cool.

We stayed until the park closed, making sure to see the Illuminations show. When we had gotten back, the “kids” made our way over to the big pool on the resort, where we stayed until half past midnight. We had a blast there too.

And now, sleep. Goodnight!

Chad

Wet feet.

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I’ve got extremely sore feet, a slight limp, and lower back pains, but today was tons of fun.

We woke up to our first alarm at 6:45 but didn’t get out of bed until just after 7. Once we had gotten dressed, we met up with Megan and Regan for breakfast downstairs, where we saw the Clarks for the first time.

We arrived at Animal Kingdom just under an hour after it opened, and we made sure to grab Fast Passes for Expedition: Everest first thing. Once we had secured those, we headed over to Dinosaur, our first ride of the day; what a great start! The rest of the day consisted of a stroll through a zoo-like area, the Kali River Rapids (which got us soaking wet, resulting in wet feet and almost-blisters), the Kilimanjaro Jungle Safari, the Festival of the Lion King, and, of course, Expedition: Everest…twice!

Our dinner reservation was scheduled for 5:45, but we didn’t show up until about 6 due to bus delays. We ate at a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge called Boma, which is an African-style buffer; it was SO good! I had a large plateful of barbecue ribs (sweet barbecue sauce, but spicy aftertaste; my favorite dinner item), baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and lots more. The dessert was excellent too, with items like Chocolate-Cinnamon Mousse, Caramel Cheesecake, and other small yummy things. I had pomegranate lemonade to drink; everything was fantastic.

When we had finished eating, we headed to Downtown Disney for a while; once we had fought through our fair share of crowds, we hopped on a bus and went to Magic Kingdom, riding The Peoplemover and the Carousel of Progress, as well as going to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and watching a new laser/projection show, which is projected directly onto the castle. It’s an incredible thing to watch, and, since we only caught the last half, I can wait to see the ending.

We got back to the room at 1-ish or so, with Andrew and I taking showers (his parents had come back earlier). Now, I’m lying in bed finishing this while the Grants snore around me…goody. Haha, nothing I can’t handle.

Anyway, EPCOT tomorrow, though thankfully not as early, so it’s time to take advantage of that extra sleep. Goodnight!

Chad

DISNEY WORLD!

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Well folks, I’m here at the Coronado Springs Resort on the Walt Disney World Resort!

I woke up early this morning, at around 8:30 or so. I laid in bed until about 9:30 before getting up, playing on my horn for about 20 minutes, and then finishing up my packing. At 10:15 I left for Poteet to borrow a marching horn from the band hall so that I could start practicing the music I’m supposed to be teaching the high school horn players in a week in a half.

After we got that business settled, Mom, Blake, and I went on a search for some new Crocs. When he had found and purchased a pair, we met with Dad at Whataburger for a cheap, quick lunch. From there, Mom, Blake, and I went home, finished up the little packing I had left, and went to the dentist office.

At the dentist office, I learned that I technically have what would be my first cavity, but it’s on a wisdom tooth and they want to take mine out, so I’m not officially counting it…cavity-free for nearly 20 years! I’m proud of that.

I left the dentist early to meet up with Andrew so that we could get to the airport. After getting things sorted out and picking up Mr. Grant from work, we made it to the airport. The flights were fine; our first flight was to Houston, so all I did was watch out the window and look through the SkyMall magazine before we landed. We waited for about half an hour before getting on our flight to Orlando, during which I watched out the window some more, read the first chapter of the Two Towers, and took a short nap.

We landed in Orlando at 11:30 or so but we didn’t get onto the Disney Magical Express bus that took us to our resort from the airport until after midnight, and we didn’t get up to our room until 1:30 or so. We met up with Megan, who had just gotten back from work, and it was awesome; we haven’t seen her since December! I’m so glad she’s coming back to Tech in August.

Anyway, it’s now almost 2:30, and we’re waking up at 7-ish, so it’s best I get to sleep. Goodnight, all! Have a magical day. 🙂

Chad

Long night.

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…in reference to last night, when I was unable to get to sleep at all until after 6. It was rough, and I’m understandably tired as a result.

Today wasn’t anything too special; I first woke up at 8-something after Blake and Mom had already left for freshman band camp, and I immediately went back to sleep, not waking until 10:45…however, I didn’t actually get out of bed until 11:45 or so. I fixed waffles (no, I didn’t make them myself; Eggo, oh yeah!) and watched a couple of episodes of Fresh Prince before (finally) pulling out receipts that I had been hoarding since the end of March and logging them into my checkbook, balancing statements as I went. I got it all done after several hours of work, breaking only to pick up a couple of transaction books from the bank, activate my new debit card, drop something off at the post office, and to get a haircut; my hair is nice and short again.

I had mentioned to Dad last week that he should make potato soup for us soon, and he decided to do that tonight, and it was oh-so-good. It was spicy without being too much of a good thing, and the chunks of potato were nice and soft…it was perfect and I loved it. We watched a few more episodes of Criminal Minds while we ate and for a while after we had finished; we have now watched the entire first two seasons of the show.

We turned it off at around midnight, with me hopping in the shower before getting in bed. I started packing for my Disney trip this week, and I’ll finish that up in the morning. I also have to go up to Poteet and borrow a marching horn from Mr. Newman, and I want to shave before heading out; it almost seems sinful to look scruffy in Disney World. I have a dentist appointment at 1:30 tomorrow, and then I meet up with Andrew and his family no later than 2:30…I can’t wait! Please pray for a safe trip, and I’ll do my best to keep you all updated once we’ve returned to the hotel after our day in the parks. Please pray for safe travels and a great trip!

While I was starting to pack, I suddenly remembered the mini video camera that I received for Christmas one year as a child, so I pulled it out and began exploring. Several years back, the camera gave out (it won’t record video anymore, only sound), but the tapes still had footage on them, and it was great to reminisce a bit. I saw stuff I had recorded at my 12th birthday party (we were all so little and squeaky-voiced back then!), as well as video from the time I brought my camera backstage for my 7th grade musical, Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. I even found the majority of my 8th grade Christmas concert! What fun!

Anyway, it’s off to bed time for me; goodnight, all!

Chad

It’s finally here.

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Here’s my review/breakdown of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

I opened my Part 1 review (available here) with “I LOVED it”. For Part 2, you need to take that and double it. It was fantastic. I already had high expectations going in to it because of advance reviews, spoilers, podcasts, etc. that I had read in the time leading up to the midnight release. Plus, since David Yates began directing the films, starting with Order of the Phoenix, they have gotten better and better as they go along. Needless to say, I went in with the highest of expectations, which could have been shot down in an instant, but the cast and crew didn’t disappoint. The special effects were well-done, all of the actors brought their A-games (especially Alan Rickman as Prof. Severus Snape, Dame Maggie Smith as Prof. McGonagall, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, and Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom), and, most importantly, it followed the book incredibly well. I loved the way it was filmed too, aside from one particular scene when the camera was spinning around the trio; I wasn’t a fan of that. Alexandre Desplat, once again, composed a beautiful musical score that did nothing but complement the movie; more on that later. Now let’s just jump right in!

Spoilers start here.

I was glad to see that the filmmakers opened the movie with Voldemort taking the wand from Dumbledore’s tomb, and with different music as well (in comparison to the same scene at the end of Part 1). It heightened the sense of continuity between Parts 1 and 2, showing that Part 2 really does pick up right where the first one left off. Also, I loved that we saw Dobby’s tombstone (“Here Lies Dobby, a Free Elf”), since we didn’t in Part 1.

With the proper introduction of Griphook came a couple of much-appreciated quotes directly from the book (“you are an unusual wizard”). I also appreciated that they pointed out to those who aren’t familiar with the books that Griphook was the goblin who first took Harry to his Gringotts vault in Sorcerer’s Stone, especially since Warwick Davis (who also plays Professor Flitwick) wasn’t Griphook in the first film, so he wasn’t completely recognizable (though, admittedly, many of the goblins look the same anyway). Griphook asks for the sword of Gryffindor in exchange for help, and, since Harry and the other two don’t make the plan to not give the sword over until all of the horcruxes are destroyed as they do in the book, WHY he wants the sword isn’t fully explained.

It was great to see John Hurt again as Ollivander, though this scene deviates a bit from the book. In the book, Ollivander expresses his belief that the Elder Wand is a real object and that its history can be traced fairly easily, but, when asked about the Deathly Hallows, he has no idea what Harry is talking about. However, in the film, Ollivander reexplains what the Deathly Hallows are, for the benefit of the viewers who hadn’t read the book, I suppose. Also in the book, Ollivander, in a way, seems terrified that Harry knows what information he gave to Voldemort regarding the twin cores and the Elder Wand, but he seems more ashamed in the film. I did like the “you really don’t stand a chance” line, but I didn’t much care for Harry’s response; “well I guess I’ll just have to kill him first”, or something like that. I would have preferred that Harry had returned a sorta grim look and then walked out. Oh well. Overall, these scenes were very well done and set up the rest of the movie appropriately. I didn’t mind the deviations from the book at all.

It just occurred to me that Lupin didn’t come to Shell Cottage to announce the birth of his son, did he? Shame; that announcement, as well with his request to make Harry godfather, makes his death later in the film all the more emotional. Anyway, I’d once again like to point out how glad I am that the filmmakers ensured that the movie viewers saw Bellatrix’s hair fall on Hermione at the end of Part 1 when she was being tortured because it made the fact that Hermione just randomly had a hair from Bellatrix all the less confusing. Good job, guys. I admit, seeing Helena Bonham Carter walking around in Emma’s place with Daniel and Rupert made me chuckle; she did a great job of playing her character from the perspective of another actress.

The Gringotts scene was great, minus one thing: I didn’t like the way the Imperius Curse was brought to the screen, though I understand that doing it the way the book describes it would have been difficult. I mean, it accomplished the same thing in the film as it did in the book, but I guess that the fact that we weren’t seeing it all happen from Harry’s point of view just didn’t make it seem the same. The scene in the vault was well-done; they couldn’t have the items burn the trio as they did in the book because it would have been difficult, and I’m completely okay with that. Another brilliant addition to the film that wasn’t present in the book was Harry’s ability to hear nearby horcruxes since he’s a horcrux himself; it just makes sense that pieces of Voldemort’s soul would be able to sorta communicate with each other, and this ability also made the fact that Harry had no idea that the cup existed in the film universe (versus in the books when he sees the memory of Voldemort stealing the cup from Hepzibah Smith) okay.

When it came time to escape, I wish that the idea to jump on the back of the dragon had been Harry’s idea as it was in the book; I don’t feel like that was a very Hermione-esque thing to do, though I suppose that the filmmakers decided to change whose idea it was because it showed that people can do crazy things under pressure…maybe? I dunno what their reasoning was, but it wasn’t a huge difference. The dragon itself was incredible to behold, but I actually felt pity for it in the film, whereas I didn’t while reading the same scene in the book; it just goes to show that actually seeing something can illicit a completely different response than when reading the same thing.

After escaping and landing in the water, Harry’s peek into Voldemort’s mind was very useful; first off, I loved that Griphook died. It never says that he did in the book, but it just makes sense in the film and it gives us viewers satisfaction to see him suffer after double-crossing our trio, and it also makes Neville’s pulling of the sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat later in the film make more sense since we saw the sword disappear from Dead Griphook’s grasp.

One concern I had with Part 2 is that the decision to return to Hogwarts for the Ravenclaw’s diadem horcrux would be something random, but, since we saw the flash of Hogwarts and the eagle of Ravenclaw flash through Voldemort’s mind, the decision definitely felt genuinely inspired and not random at all. I liked the little bit of banter between the trio (“Hermione, when have any of our plans actually worked?”). When they apparate into Hogsmeade, one thing that irritated me was their continued ignorance of the Invisibility Cloak. They have it, why not use it? Whatever; just a pet peeve of mine. Anyway, this brings us to Aberforth. I hadn’t seen him in any trailers or photos prior to when I saw the movie, so his appearance threw me off…I wasn’t expecting him to look the way he did. We saw a glimpse of Aberforth in Order of the Phoenix when the trio meets with the recruits for Dumbledore’s Army in the Hog’s Head, but this was both a different actor and a different appearance. I suppose that the filmmakers wanted to make it blatantly obvious that this was Dumbledore’s brother, which makes sense.

One thing I missed in this scene was Dumbledore’s backstory as told by Aberforth; in the film, Aberforth only talked about how Voldemort had won (there was a quote here directly from the book) and that anyone who said otherwise was kidding themselves. I suppose that this is okay because of the filmmakers’ choice to lessen Harry’s frustration with Dumbledore in Part 1, but it was just nice to see Aberforth talk down on his brother, for the reader to learn more about him than what we saw in Hogwarts, and for Harry to still continue with the mission he left him, with Hermione’s reassurance that Dumbledore loved Harry. The absence of this backstory wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the King’s Cross scene later in the film, when Dumbledore explains why he did what he did and why he didn’t do what he didn’t do to Harry; because the backstory was cut, likewise was the King’s Cross scene cut short, which was a bit disappointing. Oh well; I understand that, from the filmmakers’ point of view, Harry’s story is more important, and I respect that they focused more on him.

In the castle. It was great to see so many familiar faces that we hadn’t seen in two films, such as Neville and McGonagall, but I missed the introduction of two new characters: the Amycus and Alecto Carrow. Yes, they’re mentioned, as is their predilection for torture, but the viewers only receive glimpses of two people who I assume were the Carrows, in the scene where Snape confronts the students on the whereabouts of Harry Potter, but they are not featured as they are in the book due to a change; Harry and Luna don’t go up to the Ravenclaw Common Room until after Snape leaves in the film, as opposed to the book when it’s the first thing Harry does upon arriving at Hogwarts. I wish that we had seen the scene with the Carrows in the Ravenclaw Common Room because we would have seen Harry use the Cruciatus Curse on Amycus after he spat at McGonagall (“I see what Bellatrix meant…you really have to mean it”).

Though I missed this scene, I liked the scene with Snape gathering the students, and I liked Harry stepping out and yelling at him, with the Order of the Phoenix entering the Great Hall from behind him (“How dare you stand where he stood?!”). McGonagall’s fight with Snape and takeover was a great moment. Voldemort’s whispered threat (“give me Harry Potter”) was chilling and very well-done, and the students’ refusal to allow Pansy Parkinson and the other Slytherins to turn Harry in was a moment that brought a few tears to the eye.

The joke between McGonagall and Neville, where she says that Seamus has a “certain proclivity” to blowing things up was one of the jokes in the film that I actually enjoyed. The scene that followed, with the professors of Hogwarts protecting the school with enchantments sent chills up my spine; this is it. I was so glad that they kept McGonagall’s line in (“do your duty to this school!”)! The music featured during this scene was very powerful as well; it gave a sense of work to be done and danger to come.

I liked the way Harry was directed to the Grey Lady by Luna; previously, Luna is seen as a sort of pushover who no one takes seriously, but she has her moment here (“Harry Potter, you listen to me!”). I enjoyed the Grey Lady scene, and I was perfectly okay with the altering of the story; in the book, she talks about how she stole the diadem and later told Voldemort where it was hidden, but she is unaware of the current location. However, in the film, she knows very well where it is, but only reveals its location by means of a Ravenclaw-esque riddle; this was appropriate because of the omission of the Ravenclaw Common Room scene in the book, where Harry and Luna have to answer a riddle to gain entrance. During the scene with the Grey Lady, Dan Radcliffe does one of his awkward up-and-down hand gestures (he does the same thing in Part 1 when talking with Elphias Doge; “you really knew him well”).

Directly after Harry leaves the Grey Lady to go to the Room of Requirement, we see Kingsley and Lupin preparing to defend the castle. This is also when we see Fred alive for the last time, and its a really touching moment (“You okay Freddie?” “Yeah” “Me too”). It’s as good a send-off as he gets, since we don’t see him die in the film as we do in the book.

Which reminds me: I really wish that Percy’s estrangement from the family had gotten a bit more notice in previous films because the moment in the book when he comes to fight and reconciles with his parents is a great one; it’s truly his redeeming moment, and to see the passion with which he tries to avenge Fred after his death is very heartwarming. However, we don’t ever really see Percy in the film, if at all, which is disappointing.

Back to the story. I LOVED that we actually got to see Ron and Hermione enter the Chamber of Secrets, and the “how” was appropriately done as well (“did you notice Harry talks in his sleep?”). After Hermione destroys the cup with the basilisk fang, I’m glad that her and Ron were alone and uninterrupted for their kiss, unlike in the book; they deserved their moment together.

We also got to see Neville stand up to the approaching Death Eaters at the bridge, which, though its purpose was for a laugh, was a moment to see just the kind of person Neville has become. We see the return of the Death Eater Scabior (I think that’s his name…), who captured the trio and brought them to Malfoy Manor at the end of Part 1. I’m glad they did this just because I thought he was a fun character; plus, it made more sense for him to be in front since he was a Death Eater we were all familiar with.

I’m not entirely sure what I think about Voldemort being able to feel when a horcrux is destroyed; why would he suddenly start feeling them now when he didn’t feel the three destroyed previously? Perhaps it’s because they’re the last few, or because he’s closer, I don’t know. However, I did enjoy the fact that the Elder Wand cracked a bit when Voldemort single-handedly took down the protection over Hogwarts; it helped the non-reader viewers to understand why he kills Snape later…if he was truly the master of the Elder Wand, it would have done anything he willed it to do without any sort of strain or breakage, I think.

And so the battle begins. We see the giants alongside the Death Eaters (which I’m glad they kept in, though I missed Grawp), and we even see McGonagall’s enchanted statues defending Hogwarts. At the start of the battle, Ginny and Harry have their only real moment of the film, and, though I know some will disagree, I loved it; a short kiss, Ginny saying “I know”, and both going off to do what needs to be done. It’s not drawn out, it’s not overdone; it’s perfect, I think.

The scene in the Room of Requirement with Malfoy and the Fiendfyre was perfect. Directly from the book, for the most part. For those wondering, the reason both Crabbe and Goyle were not in this scene is because actor Jamie Waylett, who played Crabbe, was arrested for marijuana possession; now you know. Anyway, one addition that the filmmakers did make was Harry asking Malfoy why he didn’t tell Bellatrix that it was indeed him in the Manor at the end of Part 1, making Malfoy hesitate. It was a good moment and showed us once again that Draco is not completely consumed by evil. They kept in Ron’s line when Harry wants to save Draco (“if we die for them, Harry, I’m going to kill you!”). While the diadem’s demise didn’t come about in the exact same way as in the book, with the Fiendfyre destroying it, the change was small and not bad. In the end, it was still destroyed by the magical fire, and the Voldemort heads bursting from the flames was a nice touch.

During the glimpse into Voldemort’s mind after the diadem’s destruction, the filmmakers did the right thing and revealed to Harry through the Dark Lord that Nagini was the final horcrux. However, during this same vision, I wish that Voldemort had pointed out to Lucius that he was only wanting to call off the fight so that he could search for his son, which explains why Narcissa Malfoy lies to Voldemort about Harry’s death later in the film.

On their way to the boathouse, the trio travels through the fight in the courtyard during a truly heartbreaking scene; the song track here is all-too-appropriately titled “Courtyard Apocalypse”. We see who I assume is Colin Creevey being feasted on by Fenrir Greyback, as well as countless bodies lying slaughtered on the ground.

Months before the movie’s release, it was confirmed that Snape’s death had been moved from the Shrieking Shack (the book) to the boathouse (a change that mattered not at all), and that Snape’s death was an emotional one; they didn’t lie. It was VERY well done. In the book, after Harry takes the memories from a dying Snape, Snape’s last words are “Look at me”…the filmmakers go one step further and say, one last time, “You have your mother’s eyes”. It’s a beautiful moment.

This next part was the first time during the film when I openly wept; it’s so emotional. We see Fred dead, surrounded by his distraught family (George’s crying is especially heartbreaking), and we see Lupin and Tonks dead together, their hands outstretched hands nearly touching each other. It was the sight of Lupin and Tonks that made me lose control…Lupin is one of my favorites.

The Prince’s Tale was very well-done. I loved how the same actor/actress played adult Lily and James Potter throughout all of the films. Anyway, during this montage of memories, Alan Rickman is absolutely phenomenal as Snape; we truly see how in love with Lily he was. The montage as a whole was fairly complete; there was very little that was left out, and that which was was not as important (the “pig for slaughter” line made the cut!). It was also great to see new footage from Michael Gambon as Dumbledore; you know, I didn’t care for him much when he first took over for Richard Harris, but he’s really grown on me. One thing that was added in the montage was Snape at the scene of the Potters’ death, holding Lily and crying in despair. It’s, once again, heartbreaking.

Harry’s realization that he has to die and goodbye to Hermione and Ron (which I like more than book Harry leaving without any goodbyes) was another moment that had me bawling while watching…true friendship. At the edge of the forest when he uses the Resurrection Stone and sees Lupin, Sirius, and his parents again is something else that’s very well-done. I’m glad that they left in Harry’s “does it hurt?” line and Sirius’s response (“quicker than falling asleep”); this entire mini-scene with his deceased loved ones is another one that brings tears. Another great line that was added was “Why are you here?” “We never left.”

The King’s Cross scene was one of the scenes I had the most issues with, but it wasn’t the fault of the scene itself, but rather of decisions made earlier in the film and in previous films. I wish Dumbledore had explained himself more; we have no idea why Harry survived yet again because he doesn’t explain that Voldemort’s mistake was using his blood when returning to his body. I also had a bit of a problem with Dumbledore looking like Gandalf the White, though that could be just me. However, I did like that the “agonized creature” under the bench was properly explained in the film, as opposed to the book; we saw that it looked like Voldemort, and Dumbledore even says that it’s a part of him sent up here to die.

I also missed Dumbledore confirming that Harry’s Invisibility Cloak was indeed a Hallow, and I missed the entire conversation about Hallows as well. A lot of this had to do with the fact that Dumbledore’s story was lessened in Part 1. Oh well; this scene is still good in the movie, and I love the reference to Chamber of Secrets (the book/film) with the “help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it” line and I’m glad they left in the “is this real” line by Harry.

Harry being carried by Hagrid up to the castle and the reaction by those at Hogwarts are genuinely sad moments. I kinda wish that Voldemort had lied about how Harry had died (in the book, he says that Harry was killed trying to escape), but it doesn’t suffer without the lie. However, this scene in general was a bit of a problem; it wasn’t done poorly, but it offered too many moments to laugh at…such as Voldemort’s insane hug with Draco (WHY WOULD VOLDEMORT HUG SOMEONE?). Neville’s speech is a great one, though; it’s his moment to shine.

Though he has his awkward moments, Ralph Fiennes really brings out Voldemort’s evil side in this scene, showing his satisfaction with Harry’s death. I wish that the part directly proceeding this had been closer to the book though, with Neville slicing off the snake’s head here and Harry escaping under the cloak in the aftermath, not showing up until the final duel with Voldemort. However, his escape and Voldemort’s subsequent rage is still appropriate.

When Ron and Hermione begin going after Nagini, I honestly thought that the filmmakers had stripped Neville of his single best moment in the series, but he came through for me. I generally enjoyed this final fight scene (MOLLY’S LINE!!! Did Bellatrix’s death remind anyone else of the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark?); the part that had everyone saying WHAT? in the trailers, with Harry grabbing Voldemort and jumping off a cliff wasn’t extremely weird; it kept the action going, but I still enjoyed Harry’s reveal and defeat of Voldemort in the book more. In the book, I liked watching Voldemort begin to panic as Harry explained to him all that had gone wrong with his plan, and one thing I especially missed in the book-to-film translation was Harry telling Voldemort that Snape was Dumbledore’s spy, that he had not been working with Voldemort as he had thought. However, the fight still did the book justice, I thought, and Voldemort’s death was still just as satisfying.

I’m glad that Harry explained how the Elder Wand came to be under his possession, but I wish that he had used it to mend his own wand before snapping it in half. Oh well. Before the epilogue, I enjoyed the short bit of nothing but music as the trio stands together. It was another nice moment between friends.

I enjoyed the epilogue scene. The makeup was applied well to all of the actors (I’m so glad they did it BTTF-style instead of using CGI), and they all did a good job of not looking like they were in their early 20s. I loved the music during the epilogue; directly from Sorcerer’s Stone, with a couple of cosmetic changes. The final shot of the film was perfect, with the camera zooming in on the trio.

Overall, no matter how much it appears I didn’t like it, I loved it. My main complaints were not how it differed from the book, but rather moments when they tried to get a laugh when the audience should have been serious; what you see above is me being nitpicky. The important things made the cut, and that’s what made it a great film. All of the actors did a fantastic job, the script was well-written, and it was a perfect send-off.

I bought the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat when it was released three days before the film, and I loved it as well. One complaint that many people (not me) had with his score for Part 1 was the lack of Hedwig’s Theme (the main Harry Potter theme), which he had previously promised, so he definitely made up for it this time around; Hedwig’s Theme is prominently heard in no fewer than five tracks, maybe more. His own compositions are fantastic as well; one thing that stands out in Desplat’s work is his ability to express extreme emotion through his music, complementing the emotion we see onscreen. Since I had listened through the soundtrack a few times before seeing the film, I was able to pick out individual tracks while watching without distracting myself, and they all fit in perfectly. One thing that did disappoint me a bit, however, was the fact that lots of music from John Williams’ score for Sorcerer’s Stone especially was used in Part 2 but wasn’t included on the new soundtrack; I understand that songs like Harry’s Wondrous World aren’t Desplat’s compositions, but I feel that a soundtrack is meant to be a way to listen through a movie without the dialogue; in my opinion, all of the music used in a film should be compiled together on the same soundtrack so that, when listening through, you get the same experience while listening through as you do while watching it. That’s just my opinion, though, and, since I have the Sorcerer’s Stone soundtrack already, it’s not too big a deal. Anyway, my favorite tracks have to be Lily’s Theme, A New Headmaster, Statues, The Grey Lady, and Courtyard Apocalypse, just to name a few.

And that is all I have to say regarding the new film. I don’t know if this review is as good as my Part 1 review was; I had trouble expressing everything the way I wanted to.

Over the years, Harry Potter has meant a lot to me. I’d even go so far to say that I would not be who I am today if I hadn’t read the first Harry Potter book as a second grader. Through Harry Potter, I made one of the closest friends of my life (though we’ve drifted apart as the years go by), as well as a couple of online friends who I would not have met otherwise, and I have so many good memories brought about by the series: matching shirts at school with Charlotte back in elementary school, midnight release parties for the books, lying in bed all day doing nothing but reading after a new release, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and sipping on butterbeer, going to see the movies with Charlotte, other best friends, and Granna, and, the latest, playing Quidditch with someone who has become one of my best friends. Harry Potter taught me the values of friendship, love, and sacrifice, and it fed my longing to read as a child. J. K. Rowling’s creativity never gets old; I’m always game for a re-read of the series. I even have Pottermore to look forward to! Jo; thank you so much for writing Harry Potter, from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to your future endeavors.

Chad

Boring.

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I’d like to apologize to all of you since all of my blogs have been so boring lately. It’s summer; not much is going on. I still haven’t typed out my DHPt2 review yet…I’ll for sure start it tomorrow and it will be online by Monday.

Anyway, I’m tired and I’ve got church in the morning. Goodnight. Two days until I leave for Disney!

Chad

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