frightening than an eye inside a locket! Kudos! Another neat little change--making Pius an actual Death Eater rather than imperioused was such a neat piece of streamlining.
Let me also mention that many lovely bits made it into the flick. When Harry wakes up at Grimmauld Place, he sees that Ron and Hermione evidently fell asleep holding hands. Adored that! When Harry (really Fleur) gets on a thestral at the beginning and hugs "her" fiancee from behind, it took less than a second but was just lovely. And hilarious. Luna and her Dad were everything I could have hoped for (not a strong man, Mr. Lovegood, but hardly an evil one--he has a breaking point and I cannot blame him too much). The Malfoy household looked great, with lots of subtle tensions and dynamics at play. Must say the casting of Jaime Campbell Brower as Grindelwald in the flashbacks and old photos was inspired (and a little gossipy shout out--congrats to him and Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny upon their recent engagement!).
Part of my discordant reaction to the film lies in its tone. My favorite Harry Potter film remains Prisoner of Azkaban if for no other reason than that one felt just right. It blended the naturalistic and fantastical to a degree that felt perfect, and none of the others in series came very close (with the possible exception of Order of the Phoenix). Lest anyone think I'm trashing this one, allow me to publicly proclaim Deathly Hallows Part One my second favorite--it really is that good! My complaint is quite subtle, worthy of notice and even discussion. But is also a matter of taste in many ways--taste about degree and nuance rather than anything fundamental. In Azkaban the magic of the wizarding world echoed in all kinds of details, from the lighting to the camera angles to the way things totally un-real just kept happening in the background.
On that subject--The Kiss. Nowhere near as "fierce" as reports would lead you to think. Very effective in its own right, though.
Soon after seeing the film I overheard two nice young women discussing the flick, and they repeated what I'd heard from others--that this film was intense of a "children's story." Kinda misses the point, at least in my humble view. Harry, Ron and Hermione aren't children any more. The story has gotten increasingly adult. And honestly, what did you think the PG13 rating was all about?
This summer, the story comes to its spectacular conclusion. At least for this, first re-telling. No way it is the only one, not so long as our civilization continues. Narnia has had multiple versions. So has Lord of the Rings. Methinks it only a matter of time until Harry Potter returns with a different cast and tells the whole epic one more time through a different lens. I hope it proves at least as good as this one.