First and foremost, I LOVED it!
My family and I saw it at midnight last night -- and I must be getting old because I'm still recovering from lack of sleep. :-( But it was worth it. I do think this is my favorite Harry Potter movie yet.
The thing that impressed me the most was the depth of the acting. These kids have really grown up. With the earlier movies, sometimes I winced with the young actors' performances (and not just the Trio). But not so now. They've truly been put through a top-quality acting intensive with the wonderful adult actors they've shared the stage with over the years and the fabulous directors. It shows. There was not a miss in anyone's performance to throw me out of the fantasy.
Second, the level of the pacing. For me, I did not notice that odd delayed reaction thing which I talked about in Wednesday's post. The pacing kept my attention and didn't slow down. Even though it was often not a fast-action movie, it was still gripping.
And then the faithfulness to the books. Maybe because of giving more time to the story by splitting it into two movies, or maybe because it's been a while since I read Deathly Hallows, but I did not leave the theater with a lot of frustration about what had been cut or changed from the books. Some additions I quite liked, such as Harry and Hermione's dance.
I'll be honest and say it's the first Harry Potter movie I've seen in quite a while where my initial reaction wasn't a mix of complaints and frustration along with the pleasure. I've always liked the movies better the second and third time around, but for some reason, that first viewing left me somewhat disappointed. Not at all with Deathly Hallows!
The only complaints I will offer is that 1) while I loved Dobby's scenes at the end, I think his monologue before disapparating with the Trio went on just a bit too long, and 2) in contrast, I think his death and Harry's reaction was just a bit too rushed. Likewise, I would have liked something a bit more with Mad-Eye's death, but honestly, am not sure exactly what. My son says he wished they had shown Nagini/Bagshot "talking" with Harry more, and we both wished they'd shown the statue in front of the Potter home in Godric's Hollow.
But, honestly, these are mostly minor details that I had to think about. For the most part, for me, it was a flawless immersion in a wonderful fantasy world! I loved seeing the seven Potters, the whole Godric's Hollow sequence, the emotional interactions between the Trio, the spectacular scenery, and the intensity of the Malfoy Manor scene near the end. Well done!
I hope you enjoy it as much when you see it, if you haven't already!