Fun with Franchises: Favorite Images from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Francises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.
What we usually do is, just how we watch the films, Colin and I go in separately and pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both picked automatically go on our final list. And everything else we talk through and discuss why we like them, and eventually we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper.
It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here on B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)
That said — here are our favorite images from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1:
I’ll start off by saying… this might have been the one film where Colin and I actually had the most shots to talk about. This film seems to be the most thematically and visually rich film in the franchise, in terms of what Colin and I like to talk about for these articles. And, rather than get into more specifics, let’s just get started.
I’ll try to rapid fire my intro additions, just because I think we all understand what I really like at this point. My intro ones are basically examples of ones I’ve already talked about. Like symmetry. You know we love us some symmetry here at B+ Movie Blog.
And I’m sure you know how much I love abstraction, too.
Or a good, crisp, wide shot involving shadows and alleyways. (This one doesn’t have the exposition as those other ones, hence why it ends up here. It’s just nice.)
Not to mention shots that almost abstract characters with darkness.
And now for a few types shots that I haven’t actually brought up yet, but didn’t have enough space for on this list:
This shot. I really like how they make it a point to set the camera so far down the end of the table. It’s almost as if the ghost of Sirius is watching them or something. But, just simply, I like how we have this really long table in the foreground, and they’re way at the end of it. It’s a nice way to show you how alone they are, keeping with the shot earlier, which I love, where they show up and Hermione uses a spell to reveal who else is there, and realizes, “We’re alone.” Though, the way the camera pulls back and the way she says it, we’re not sure if that’s a good thing or not. And, that shot there, I love it because of how everything else is in complete darkness except that little sliver of frame with the three of them in it. I’ll be honest, if I had one more spot on this list, that shot would have gone in it. I really love that shot.
And then this shot I love because of the camera placement. It’s not an “I can’t feel my legs!” shot. It starts as one, but then the camera moves all the way from above Harry, all the way to the ground, where we end on the locket sitting there in the leaves. We even rack focus from Harry to the locket. It’s a brilliantly designed shot and is one of those I wish I had room to talk about. But, it’s very similar to ones we joke about and have mentioned before, so I decided against it. But, this one — just as good as anything on that list, conceptually. Very underrated (and memorable. Tell me you don’t see this shot and immediately remember it).
In fact, fuck it:
Bam. Here it is, in the article. Unofficial #22.
And here’s our unofficial #21:
Incredible shots. I feel like if they’re actually in the article, people will notice them more. So here they are.
And then, this shot I like a lot, but I felt we didn’t need it to go on. It’s a pretty simple one in terms of why it would be here. There’s not too much thematic relevance to it. It’s mostly just an aesthetic choice. And a pretty obvious one, at that. So I left it here. It’s just a nice shot of the glasses sitting on the ice, as the only thing in focus. I like it because it’s the one shot of this entire sequence I do really like. I was going to, if we had other shots from it to use, pick this one instead and talk about how I think this is actually the most memorable one (kind of like I did last movie).
And also — fuck these papers.
And before we begin —
Here’s our requisite shot of alcohol, and a top five favorite magical object in this franchise for both Colin and myself.
Gotta love liquor glasses that fill themselves up.
Let’s get started:
Hands down the saddest scene in the franchise. It’s usually these scenes that work the best, the ones that don’t really get expanded upon in the book, that the writer sees and goes, “Wait a minute, there’s something there,” and works it into the script and it ends up transcending the material. That’s this scene.
It’s almost a throwaway line in the book, and here, it starts, and you’re watching it, going, “Holy shit, this is awful. This girl is wiping her parents’ memories of her to keep them safe.” It’s so sad.
And the fact that it’s Hermione, who is required to do all the heavy-lifting in this franchise anyway, in terms of emotional scenes… it’s really heartbreaking. I don’t even think we need to say anything — the shots speak for themselves.
I took this as — she could very well die at any time and she knows it, but her parents don’t. They’re just regular muggles. So she wiped out their memories so they wouldn’t have to be involved at all or have to find out that Hermione had been killed in a wizarding war. Makes you wonder what kind of secret war is going on RIGHT NOW under your very nose. Nike vs Adidas? You’ll never know, cause you wear Reeboks and your daughter wiped your memory.
And what makes the moment even better (i.e. more tragic) is that they make her relive it later on. In the coffee shop:
Incredibly powerful images. It’s one thing to have a sad moment. It’s another thing to make a character have to relive that moment again. I feel like this shot might actually have been the choice, since how many people remember that they make her do it again? She has to wipe this dude’s memory, and the entire time, you know she’s thinking about having had to do that to her parents. And you know they don’t know, which makes it even worse. She has to keep it all to herself.
Love this scene. Love these expressions, love everything about it.
2. Mad Eye
I didn’t know you could sweep the floor with a fucking La-Z-Boy. Is this something you can just get, or did he make it himself? This is such a great shot cause you’re all into the action, and then Mad Eye comes busting through on something he must have picked up at The Scooter Store.
This is so amazing. You’re ready for this action sequence to begin, and here comes Mad Eye, chilling on a broomalounger. It’s just one of those naturally hilarious images. And the look on his face only makes it better.
I like to think that Mad Eye just sits in his garage and tinkers with shit like this.
Whatever it is — the man has it right. That’s how you ride a broom.
3. This shot.
I went nuts for this shot when I saw it for the articles. It’s so good. This is one of those shots that nobody notices when watching the movie regularly. This is so powerful.
Because think about how many times we’ve actually seen blood in this franchise. Granted, it’s been more lately, but how many times have we see quite this much blood? So that’s striking, for starters. And then, you get into the fact that the reason this has happened is because Hermione decided to change the place they were apparating to, mid-course, so Yaxley wouldn’t see Grimmauld Place. And because of that, Ron ends up getting splinched, which a lot of the time can end up being fatal.
And the reason this shot is so powerful is because of what splinching is, which is — someone gets splinched when you’re not fully determined enough to get where you’re going. That is, successful apparation happens when you are completely, and without hesitation, concentrating on one particular location. And Hermione, in the middle of all this chaos, is going, “Shit, we shouldn’t go where we’re going, we’ll be fucked. Uhh, uhh… let’s go to this place,” and changes course, and because of that, Ron’s arm is now in danger of falling the fuck off. So she’s freaking the fuck out. One, because it’s one of her best friends, and two, because it’s the guy she’s in love with. And more specifically — it’s her fault. Hermione is the last person who would fall victim to a lack of concentration. Remember the Devil’s Snare, way back when? She was the only person who did keep her wits about her. So the fact that this happens — she literally has blood on her hands. And it’s an astounding shot for this franchise, because I really wasn’t expecting something as simple and as deep as this shot.
Not to mention, what actually happens in this shot is — she picks up her hands (all in this frame, by the way, we don’t see her face or anything, which makes it even better), pauses them right here, as if seeing, “Oh my god, this is my fault,” and then she brings them back behind her skirt, which is either her maybe trying to hide how bad it is in front of Ron, who maybe doesn’t know how bad it is outside of the pain level, or her figuratively trying to put this behind her so she can get to fixing it. And then she ends up wiping her hands on her skirt and on the leaves on the ground, even. Which always stood out at me as being particularly powerful. I’m not really sure why. But everything about this shot and this scene is incredibly powerful, so that extra part really doesn’t matter so much. (But I do like the idea of her wiping the blood off her hands and getting to work, even if she’s still completely rattled by it all.)
I’ll also say — this shot is made even more powerful by the acting in the scene. She’s legitimately distraught as this happens. Her facial expressions in this scene are incredible. You really get the sense of fear and guilt and genuine concern. My favorite dramatic Hermione moment in the franchise.
My reading of this scene was different. I thought Ron got splinched because Yaxley was holding onto him and so it wasn’t a clean change of direction for Ron. Wasn’t so much Hermione messing up as it was Jeff Goldblum having Yaxley in the teleportation chamber when they left. But it’s still powerful because Hermione feels responsible for what’s going on here, and the guy she loves (which I guess we’re going with now) is badly wounded. Anyway, I’d be making the same faces if my Abra teleported me to Viridian Forest, but when we got there, Squirtle was bleeding profusely from his arm. I actually prefer the next image for sheer power because you can see her trying to concentrate and remove herself from the situation.
Which is just as powerful as the one chosen, albeit a little more obvious. I like the blood on her hands as she gets up and realizes, “We need to protect ourselves,” so she goes over and puts up protection spells before she even wipes it off. It’s very similar to the other shot, for all the same reasons, only it highlights more Hermione’s awareness than that primal sense of guilt that’s so prevalent in the other shot.
But, Colin does have a point. She is definitely trying to remove herself from the situation. Either way — powerful shit.
But it’s nice, since this will lead us right into the final version (I know, it’s sad) of my personal favorite segment of these articles for this franchise:
4. Hermione’s Reactions
It’s an extra long one, but, to be fair, there isn’t one for the next movie, so it’s basically two in one. Plus, this is really the film where Hermione gets to be front and center, so I stand by there being so many shots here.
She’s a fucking trooper. Moody just goes, “All right, Granger, as discussed,” and she just fucking does it. No hesitation, at all. People like this don’t lose.
“What has it got in its Pocketses, Precious?”
I really, really….REALLY don’t like looking at this picture.
“That’ll be the books.” A quintessentially Hermione moment.
What’d she expect, honestly? She brought a bunch of books, presumably in stacks? But that’s why we love Hermione. She’s 65 steps ahead of everyone else and an overplanner. “I hope none of them knocked the kettle. I put it on during the wedding because I assumed we’d get scattered by Death Eaters and someone would want tea.”
This must be where she brews her Polyjuice Potion.
Gunfighter face. How many times have we seen this so far?
Let’s also point out that the reverse shot of this image is this shot, where she literally blasts a guy through the fucking stomach through a glass case.
Granger Danger, indeed.
The most impressive thing is the determination in her face. She doesn’t even go snake-eyed. Which I guess would be more Harry’s thing anyway.
The magic always works, though.
This really belongs up there with the “Obliviate” shots, but I like it for a couple reasons, most notably the fact that Radcliffe is just staring into the barrel of the camera for no reason. But, I like that it’s a nice little Ron and Hermione moment, and I like that she’s thinking about what she had to do with her parents and the fact that she’s probably going to have to do it again.
It really fits up there, but honestly, Radcliffe’s face is too funny to not leave this here.
Touching a girl on the face like this is something that just worked in the 1940s and somehow…doesn’t now. I don’t know what it is, but when I saw this, I was blown away by how awkward it was. Obviously, you’re thinking about Hermione having to relive her painful experience, but then there’s the touching on the face, which looks more like a, “You’ve got a smudge just there,” than a consoling gesture. I hadn’t even noticed Radcliffe until now, to be honest. Holy fuck, with the John Lennon glasses.
I actually like this shot a lot less now that I’ve noticed Radcliffe. I honestly hadn’t noticed it until this article.
Not a reaction, just a really beautiful shot that had no place anywhere else.
It actually works, since Colin chose this shot, which also didn’t have a place anywhere else, and they both basically work toward the same purpose, which is actually giving Ron and Hermione moments where they actually seem like they belong together.
We both agree it’s too little, too late, but, for what it’s worth, it’s actually nice.
I believe my phrase to describe Ron was “walking second place ribbon.” But that’s neither here nor there. They’re trying to make up for lost time during this movie by giving Ron and Hermione SOME moments at the very least. If they’re going to make this pair happen, they’re going to give us some advance notice. That’s why this shot works, and why I’d chosen the piano shot. The piano shot, to me, is them acting out their characters through music — Hermione plays gracefully and beautifully, and then Ron’s all thumbs and sounds awful. She tries to correct him, but they’re both having a good time and clearly enjoying each other’s company which is the point. I’m not saying I’m ever going to be pleased that these two wound up together, but at least shots like these let us dip our toes in the pool to get us ready for the eventual conclusion.
Expelliarmus… catch! What makes this work is that Radcliffe sees the wand flying and moves out of the way and is a deer in the headlights.
Not Hermione. She’s catching that shit. No drops. That’s a real badass, right there.
This is Hermione’s movie. He doesn’t catch shit. He doesn’t steal action. He gets the fuck out of the way.
This is actually the reverse shot of this moment, where Mary Cattermole realizes she’s not kissing her husband Reg, but rather Hermione’s husband, Ron.
This is silliness. Get your shit together, you’re about to be fucking murdered.
I love this shot because, even in body language, she and Harry have a more convincing relationship than her and Ron. Look at the one up there with Radcliffe staring down the camera. Which one seems more authentic? And which one isn’t trying to be?
Who knows? Maybe she actually did have a smudge. Truth be told, I’m even vaguely resistant to the idea of Harry and Hermione together because even though it’s been set up and works better than Ron, I have almost as much disdain for Harry as I do for the lousy ginger. I never really had a favorite character before we did these articles, but covering these so intensely has convinced me that not only is Hermione my favorite, she’s also the only one I like at all.
This is a direct descendant of that moment in Goblet of Fire — the, “Please don’t make me say it again.” Only now, it’s, “Please don’t make me choose between you two.” It’s a really dumb moment in the movie, made okay by Hermione’s reaction to it all.
This is why she’s great, and also kind of how you can tell this series was written by a woman. Every time Hermione gets into a fight with them, she acknowledges what it is, and it’s understood that she’s just going to be pissed at that person for awhile before it’s all better. You just go through the paces cause you fucked up somehow and she’s angry. But Harry and Ron get pissy. These guys are irrational drama queens, and she’s just trying to hold things together.
I love this shot. Because this comes out of nowhere. They’ve been traveling a bunch, and have just apparated, and Radcliffe walks over one way, and she walks over here and is just crying out of nowhere. Which I love, because it’s really the one moment where you go, “Oh, wow… she really does have some deep feelings for Ron.”
Which backs up what I’ve said all along — the only thing that makes the Hermione/Ron relationship okay in the movies is the fact that you completely buy it on her end when they give her the chance to feel something about it. Beautiful shot, completely forgotten within the context of the film.
Cause she’s the one that CAN feel something about it. Give any emotional developments to Hermione, she’ll take care of that shit. The other thing you need to take into account as you evaluate her feelings in this shot is, she’s out a scarf as of this moment, which…she liked that scarf.
That’s true. It’s The Gift of the Mudblood, and that tree didn’t get her anything.
“Maybe we should just stay here, Harry. Grow old.”
Because, yes, you should.
I loved Mike’s parenthetical in the article. It was just, (Yes. Do that.). Cause that’s how we really feel about this — wouldn’t be great to see them just give up together for awhile? It worked for Star Wars. On a macro level, the only thing we don’t really see is the world being messed up by Voldemort. We don’t see a lot of muggles dying or him imposing his will on the rest of the world…it’s all pretty contained to attacks on Hogwarts and stuff. That’s all well and good, but I want to see Voldemort’s world. This franchise sort of brings you to the brink, but it’s never really convincing that he’s going to take over when you consider that they have to make quite an effort to fight the schoolchildren; how about the jillion other normal witches and wizards out there who’d probably be able to fight, too? The point is, I want things to go horribly wrong and for Harry and Hermione to stay here together. Then maybe later they can do the fighting back thing.
And with magic, the rum is never gone.
I love this shot. It’s so — it almost feels like they caught it without trying. I know they didn’t, but still, it’s so innocent. Harry and Ron have just defeated the naked horcrux and are coming back. And we just cut to this shot of Hermione sleeping and then waking up upon hearing the noise, as if she knows it’s Ron coming back. It’s another one of those quiet, beautiful moments I love so much. (The kind that, goddamnit, I will get you all to appreciate as well even if it’s the end of me.)
(It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch.)
Everyone’s quiet to Helen Keller, but she can’t watch any of them. :(
Oh, it’s sad, because the eyes in that frowny face can’t see anything :(
This is actually a Hermione reaction shot that I didn’t choose (astoundingly). Normally I’m responsible for like 98% of them. Because I just won’t let it go. This one was actually a Colin choice (and I’m surprised I didn’t put it on my end as well), so I’m gonna give the floor to him for this one:
I couldn’t help picking this shot because it’s the exact look that Michael Ian Black talks about in his comedy special, “Very Famous.” The look that all girls somehow master on the same exact day they start 8th grade. Anyway, it is a fantastic look on her part, and I’ve certainly received it from more females than I can count. The reverse of this can only be a guy looking stupid or doing something stupid. This is Ron we’re talking about, folks — he doesn’t disappoint. He shows up, like, “Truce….?” and holding the horcrux he’s just successfully destroyed. Like Hermione gives a fuck.
It’s pushing it, but fuck it, it’s the last one, right? Ron does something stupid to try to stay on her good side, and she acknowledges it’s stupid, gives Harry a look that she knows what he’s trying to do, and also smiles like, ‘I know what you’re doing, but don’t stop.” She’s awesome.
And this one, where she literally fires behind her back, while running.
Another instance where she’s the only one doing the right thing. I’d be firing like crazy. This scene made me think of the second Sherlock Holmes movie.
(I almost disapprove of this. Nothing should remind you of that movie.)
Which leads us into our final (sort of) Hermione’s Reactions shot:
It feels like an appropriate way to end. This is such a quintessentially Hermione thing to do. She realizes they’re caught, and before anyone else can have the time to react, she’s processed the situation and decides the only thing to do right now is to shoot Harry in the fucking face. It’s so great.
Plus, on a simple visual level, Harry fucking GOES DOWN. That’s like, Anthony Anderson outside the elevator goes down. He fucking DROPS. Which is just so great whenever you watch it. She really levels him.
Hermione really is amazing.
That was a swift appraisal of the situation, although we do find out later that she didn’t quite pull it off. Then again, I shouldn’t presume to call a wizarding getaway effort at subterfuge from an armchair.
So that’ll do it for Hermione’s Reactions. I hope we encounter a character as badass as this in another franchise that we can do this with.
5. Godric’s Hollow / “Merry Christmas, Harry”
First let me shout out this shot, which Colin and I both individually had on our lists, but we couldn’t fit on the list for space reasons. It’s a nice, quiet wide shot, with symmetry. You’ve seen it before, so it didn’t feel essential for a spot on the list, since you all know we go for that sort of thing. But still, it’s nice.
Colin chose the first image here, and I’ll let him primarily talk about it. But I will say — I do really like it. It’s a nice, quiet image, with a lot of power to it. She realizes that’s where he is, and suddenly all the focal points of the scene, by us and by the characters, all shift to this one thing. It’s really nice.
I chose that first one, cause he’s just standing among a bunch of stone dicks. No, I actually chose it because I liked that it was from a distance and didn’t just center in on Harry at his parents’ grave. He’s framed in these headstones because he’s been surrounded by death his whole life. This is the closest thing he’s really got to a home at the moment. And that’s sad.
That’s actually a better dissection of this shot than I thought of. I never looked at this shot like that before, and I’m actually a lot more impressed than I was with it before (not that I wasn’t before… I just… only saw it aesthetically).
And now I feel so proud, since that’s the kind of shit that basically makes a film student, and the fact that you basically did it by just watching shit instead of going to classes makes me very happy. I like that you’re actually a better film person and have seen more movies than 90% of the film students out there, especially since at least 60% of those 90% are pretentious as shit.
I chose the second shot, which I love. That’s another one of those — I really like finding these small moments in these bigger sequences and picking them, because they’re starting to stand out to me more than the bigger ones. I like being able to point these out instead.
And this one I love on the simple level of how they’re standing there. It’s a nice little moment between the two of them, standing in front of Harry’s parents’ grave, no closer to finding any answers, completely cut off from their families (remember, his are in the ground right there and hers have no idea who she is at this point. And they have no clue where the fuck Ron is), and yet — they have each other.
And then, the lines — “Merry Christmas, Hermione.” “Merry Christmas, Harry.” The fact that they changed it from “Happy” to “Merry” aside (I guess America does eventually win out in the end), it’s a complete mirror of the scene in the first film, with Harry and Ron. And I love that they worked that in, because it really gives you a sense of, “Holy shit, look how far we’ve come with these people since then.”
It’s such a beautiful little moment, one that I’m not sure too many people catch when watching this film. And it’s one of my favorites.
6. “Where’s my wand, Harry?”
This is the single greatest Hermione moment in the franchise. I completely lost my shit when I saw this happen in the movie. It’s one thing to watch it regularly, but when you’ve watched seven movies as closely as I have, and have grown to really love a particular character for all their behavior and nuances, and then this happens — she’s seriously the best character in this franchise. No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise.
She’s literally just woken up to find Ron, who has been missing for weeks, who’s caused her such pain and anguish, and he just walks up and says, “Hey.” And she just loses her shit. She starts kicking leaves and him and berating him, and yelling, and then finally she stops and just goes, “Where’s my wand, Harry?” Which is maybe the most perfect line in the franchise. It’s really the most legitimately human moment I’ve seen. Because that’s what you do! You get so upset at someone that simple words aren’t enough, so you have that moment of realization and go, “Where’s my wand?” or gun, or whatever. Just — I need to fuck this person up. I can’t. It’s so great. And then she’s like, “Give me my wand, Harry,” trying to get it from him. The best part about it is — we don’t know what she’s gonna do when she gets the wand. The thought of what she has planned for him is only making it better.
This is her best moment. I don’t care what anyone says. This line is so perfect. This is the only moment that I demanded get its own spot in the top ten. This could have easily been part of Hermione’s Reactions, but I refused to give it anything less than a top ten spot because of how amazing it is.
I like when someone threatens violence and actually makes an effort to do it. It’s like you know they’ll never actually GET to that step of hurting the other person because of some obstacle, but it’s still great. It comes in a step above a “one of these days, Alice,” because instead of one of these days, it’s right the fuck now.
7. The Deathly Hallows
Colin and I both agree that this sequence is jaw-droppingly animated and is absolutely amazing. We could have posted shots from the entire thing here, since they’re all that good. But we felt it would be better to just pick one and let that stand for the entire sequence. And the one shot we both thought was so beautifully inventive was this one. Colin said to me in an email that this was the only one he had an audible reaction to when watching the sequence. It’s an insanely creative shot. So we’ll use this in place of all the other shots of this sequence.
The reason I love this shot in particular is because of how it works with multiple mediums. The second brother is in his house and hangs himself, having just hung the noose, but as he does, the walls are wheeled away as if by a stage crew. This is animation, so they can make it look any way they want, but they chose to make it look like a theatrical piece here and then pulled back to reveal that it was actually more of a diorama that Death was looking in on. This sort of abstraction is absolutely gripping. He’s the puppeteer. I have to say that this was my favorite sequence of the whole franchise — hands down. I wish this could have stood alone so it could have gotten more recognition for how brilliant it was.
I’d also like to point out that, if it weren’t for
my horse that shot, we’d probably have ended up choosing this shot instead, which I feel is the go-to memorable image from this sequence because of how evocative it is.
Personally, I’m a fan of this one, and Death doing Walken fingers. But that’s just me.
And then, personally, this shot always stuck out at me as well.
But, either way — the sequence is incredibly animated, the shots are all amazing, and we wanted to recognize that. Since we could probably do our own top 20 with just shots from that specific sequence if we wanted to.
This is one of the few moments in the franchise that elicited an audible reaction from me. Because I was watching and was like, “Holy fuck,” and actually wincing. Because you feel this shit. This is one of those moments where you’re legitimately worried for a character. Because this isn’t some situation they can get out of. This is some perilous stuff, right here. There’s no getting out of this.
Plus, it’s the fact that she’s reacting to this the way you’re supposed to react to torture. Too often are the reactions not something that invokes genuine concern for the character. Here, she’s screaming, she’s crying, she’s pleading with her, “I didn’t take anything!” You can tell she’s in genuine pain right now, which makes the scene all the more unsettling and effective.
Just looking at these shots, it’s making me think of how fucked up this moment was. It’s that way in the books, too. There’s like a good, page or so, where they just go into how fucked up this torture is, and how close Hermione comes to breaking. (Which, I’ll point out — she never does. That’s why she’s the best character in the franchise.)
I had to put this here. It’s such a powerful moment. I mean — she crucio’s her and etches the word “mudblood’ into her arm with a knife!
Which, also, one final image from this scene — this one. Kind of diluted by the fact that they deliberately set up the falling hair, but look at the expression on her face. That’s the look of someone who has just been legitimately tortured.
This is a really fucked up scene, and definitely one of the most memorable for me in the entire franchise.
I wasn’t quite as moved by this scene, I guess because we don’t really see anything going on. From her reactions, I get that it sucked, but as I’ve said before — I need that drip drip drip of pain, where you can see them getting messed up. Zero Dark Thirty didn’t make me squeamish, it just made me uncomfortable for a very long time. Syriana was the one that made almost made me gag. I know that things were done to Hermione here, but for the most part, all I saw was Bellatrix on top of her, laughing. Which is creepy, but also sort of amusing. Probably why I said it was “kinda hot” in the article itself.
9. Dobby is a Free Elf
We had two separate Dobby shots (haha… Dobby shots), or, should I say, Dobby moments, to choose from — him being a badass, and him getting prison shanked. We just combined the two into one for space reasons, since Dobby himself is really the uniting factor here anyway (plus, I refused to give up my Hermione shots. Which also was a factor here).
The first is Dobby’s badass moment in the dungeons, where he gets to show up and basically kill Wormtail. (I’m a huge fan of this shot, where the mud on the wall acts as a visual representation of blood spatter after Wormtail gets shot in the head.)
The line, “Who gets his wand?” is so perfect.
But, this was a Colin choice, so I’ll let him talk about it before we move onto the second part of the entry.
So many movies do this in a corny way. So many movies do this, period. Bad guy advancing on you, taking up a lot of the frame, and then something ends up getting them from behind. Then you get the reveal, and it’s another good guy. Modern film is AWASH with these shots, but the standout that I’m sure everyone remembers is from Return of the King, when Frodo’s about to be killed by orcs, and Sting pops through one of their chests cause Sam’s back to save the day. Anyway, a lot of times you have to groan at these because its such a ubiquitous tactic, but in this case I was cool with it. Why? It’s fucking DOBBY, bitches. He’s the goofy cartoon who drops cakes on people and makes stupid jokes and shit. Up til basically 10 minutes ago, your whole consciousness of Dobby is that he’s idiosyncratic, useful, but generally harmless. And now he caps a wizard in the head like he does that shit every Tuesday. How can you not have a response to that? It’s his complete lack of remorse that makes it amazing.
The other reason this is okay, based on the reasons you hate this moment — they set it up! Dobby says, “Meet me at the top of the stairs in ten seconds.” And then Wormtail comes down, like, “What was that noise?” and then Dobby just caps him. There’s no suspense there, really, it’s just Dobby being badass. If they had done it the other way, I actually would have had a problem with it for the same reason you did. But it’s the fact that he said, “I’ll be there in ten seconds, and then was, and then calmly blasted him in the head and then was like, “All right… now who gets his wand?” Great moment.
And then my shot…
So Dobby basically caps Wormtail, and then he gets his, “Dobby is a free elf!” moment, which makes you feel so happy for him. (Even that shot scale evokes famous monologues and stuff. It makes me feel something every time I see it, which is great, since the shot itself isn’t particularly memorable unless you know what he’s saying.)
And then they apparate, and we find out he’s been knifed, which is the other shot Colin chose from this scene.
Wide shot, for one. You all know by now how I’m into those. But it’s a reveal without being a reveal. I DID have to complain about the knife being all slowed down as it was thrown because that basically gives it away, but this part was nice because it’s not a full reveal. You just see him with his legs bent a little funny, and that’s enough for you to put two and two together. A lesser film would have just cut to him hitting the ground covered in blood, or even worse — wait for it — cut straight to the knife in his chest and zoomed out. Blech.
You’re right. The slow motion was awful. I do like the fact that you hear him say Harry’s name all weakly, and you can suspect, and then you get the wide shot, which doesn’t really spell it out immediately at first.
Then he ends up dying in Harry’s arms, which is a really sad and beautiful moment.
But, despite all that, I chose the shot I chose because it struck me as such a powerful moment amidst a scene where (again) we have so many other shots to choose from, and yet this one stuck out to me more.
Dobby is dying, and all this chaos is going on around him, and Harry just looks up to Hermione and Ron (but let’s face it… Hermione) and says, “Help me!” Which is such a great line. Because he’s completely out of things to do. There is no magical fix for this. He’s out of options, so all he has is, “Help me!” Please, make this better. That’s all you can do. And that’s one of those moments that really stayed with me since I watched these movies again. Not to mention, there’s that look Hermione gives him when he’s like, “Hermione has something in her bag that can fix this,” right before it, and you realize, “No… there’s nothing,” which is when he says, “Help me!”
It’s really a powerful moment. I stand by this shot choice. That stood out to me more than most other ones.
Quite a bit of desperation going on here, and one of the only times I can honestly say I found Radcliffe believable. Go figure.
That’s not fair. I know you believed that he was too stupid to end up with Cho.
And we all believed that he lived in a closet for ten years.
10. Wide shots, Part Deux (aka, But Seriously)
This film, arguably more than the previous one, has a shitload of beautiful wide shots. Now, I’m not gonna say the cinematography is better, because this one has the benefit of having an entire second act that basically takes place with the three (or two) of them roaming the landscape in search of
a place where a man can be a man and a woman can be a woman horcruxes. So it’s going to have more nice wide shots. I still say the Half-Blood Prince cinematography is best in the franchise, but in terms of beautiful wide shots, on a pure quantity level — this one has the most.
So we’ll just rapid fire them, save our comments (if there are any — I think the comments here are mostly, “Goddamn, look at those shots”) to the end, and leave this one as simply — “Goddamn, look at these shots.”
Lot of shots that evoke The Assassination of Jesse James here. Big fan of that.
Also want to say — I think my two favorites are the ones in the barn up top. With the Death Eater, “Surrender Dorothy” wisps flying overhead, and the one with them sitting against the walls of the barn to hide from it. Those are gorgeous.
That overhead shot of the tent on the rocks and the water also sticks out at me. But they’re all beautiful.
I love all of them, and also, Deakins much? Except for the last two, which can’t not make me think of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
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- Privet Drive
I enjoyed the Privet Drive thing because it really drove home the concept of their neighborhood being so cookie-cutter. I remember being annoyed about the cars in the first movie, and Mike suggested that they were all the same on purpose. But because of the way they shot it, you didn’t really get that effect. There were like three cars and three houses that looked pretty much the same, but it could have just as well have been a mistake. But here, it looks like blown up Monopoly houses. The way they go off into the distance makes the muggle world look kind of abstract. I felt myself reacting to this with more surprise than I do most of the wizarding world. It was a nice return to the muggle world to remind you that it exists and to show how foreign it looks to us now that we’ve come this far in the franchise. I liked it.
I like that he’s getting the house to himself. He went from the closet to full on homeowner. And all it took was mass murder, brought about by — actually, this is all Sybil Trelawney’s fault. This entire franchise is the fault of Sybil Trelawney.
Think about that.
I’d also like to shout out this shot as well. It’s similar to this shot in the sense of — look how far we’ve come. I really like seeing the house completely empty. It’s one of those images that means a lot without really saying anything at all.
And, of course, this shot, which goes all the way back to the first movie, which I said back then — the reason that first shot was so important was because it was a complete throwaway, and yet, when this second one came back here, we all remembered it. If I didn’t use the first one already, that one would have had its own entry. But I did, so I’ll just refer back to the first shots article where I brought up this shot and why those figures are actually one of the most memorable things/images in this entire franchise.
- “Spoken like a true politician!”
So much to say about this one. First, and most simply — this is the shot where he makes the joke, “Spoken like a true politician,” which I love because I think it’s genuinely funny. I love the idea of Voldemort cracking jokes and having fun. Plus, look at the smile on his face. I was shocked when no one else laughed at this in the movie. Because not only was it worth a smile or at least a chuckle — this motherfucker will kill you. He actually kills the guy he’s making the joke about later on!
This is a three-parter for me — it’s the face he’s making, the line, and the fact that it’s Voldemort sitting in a chair, in a house. It’s like he’s people. I can’t get over the idea of Voldemort doing anything in a domesticated space. He just does not fit at a dinner table. And that’s just so funny to me, whenever I see it. It’s just, “And Voldemort himself carved the Roast Beef.” It’s just inherently funny to me.
Cause fuck politicians, right?
Voldemort’s about to make Pius sponsor a bill to put a dame at Willet Creek.
- “Give me your wand, Lucius”
I fucking love this moment. Voldemort is such a dick. It’s glorious.
The first image is visually funnier. Just him sticking his arm out, like, “Give me your wand, motherfucker.” By itself, it’s just a funny image. So I tied it with the second one, which I love, because, once Lucius gives him his wand, he’s all sarcastic and condescending about it, like, “Do I detect… elm?” And the core, “dragon heartstring… aah.” He’s completely rubbing it in that he can just take this guy’s wand and the guy won’t do shit about it. He just snapped it from its holder right in front of the guy.
Not to mention — the whole situation is even funnier considering the actual wand guru of this area of the country is currently locked down in the dungeon as he says this. So this moment really does have it all in terms of what I like to single out for these articles. It’s perfect.
He’s halfway between relishing Lucius’ discomfort and being annoyed with him for being a pussy. Man can act.
- This shot
Colin wasn’t sure why I picked this (I still don’t think he fully gets it) shot — and to be honest, I’m not really sure either. But this was jut one of those things that I saw and went, “Wow… that’s a nice shot.”
It’s just — the framing, and the shot itself, it’s just memorable to me. And I think, what it really comes down to — what’s just happened in the scene is, Hedwig has been killed, and now they know this is the real Harry. So all the Death Eaters following them have gone away, and now it’s time for the boss battle. And Harry’s scar starts hurting like crazy, because Voldemort has arrived (which is a great way to signal Voldemort’s incoming arrival).
And I think what made this shot really work for me is the fact — this is an old-ass, rickety bike. And this is basically a loose headlight sitting on the front of this bike. I’m sure the wiring isn’t very complicated, and it’s basically encased by metal that’s just sitting there, exposed. There’s no way you’re telling me that thing does not get crazy hot when he’s flying this bike everywhere. There’s just no way. So I think what’s so visceral to me about this image is the idea that Harry’s scar is hurting so much that he’s doubled over in pain, and he’s putting his head against this thing, which must be scalding hot, and isn’t even noticing it. The scar is hurting so much that this light isn’t even something he notices.
I think that’s why I like it so much, outside of the actual image itself.
Hopefully I explained it enough to where people understand what I’m going for/are starting to appreciate it as well.
(At the very least, I hope, from now on, when people watch the movie, they go, “Oh, it’s that shot.” If I can get that much, I’m good.)
I’d also, before we move on, like to point out a couple of other shots from this scene (because, again — I went small in a scene with a lot of “big” choices), like this one, which is probably the obvious choice. (But we have a lot of that stuff in these articles, so that didn’t need to be singled out again.) And then there’s this one, which is great and almost abstract, but we kind of covered it in Order of the Phoenix and I also felt like I could get people to remember the shot up there more than this one, so I kept this here. Then there’s this face, which, on a pure facial level — yes. And also, that’s the face you make that’s just, “Uh oh,” before you blow the fuck up. And then this shot, which is incredible. Dude’s so angry he’s wiping out an entire power grid. And I also like how the bottom half of him is just weird smoke wisps and shit. It’s almost like when Ursula got huge or something.
Anyway, that’s what I got for that sequence.
- The Ministry of Magic
First of all, these are all fantastic sets. But as Mike pointed out, and as I noticed independently — they did a great job making the place straight up Orwellian. I was getting serious Brazil vibes from this part of the movie, and I always love when that sort of thing happens. When movies remind you of other good movies. More movies should do that. The only thing I’ll say is, that purple carpet? No.
Movies should not be allowed to remind you of better movies, though.
I am a big fan of the Ministry as a location. All of the sets. They’re really the only circular sets we have in these movies. The only part of the Ministry that doesn’t make sense to me is that weird cavern room with the door that Sirius died in. That really has no business being there. But the actual building — good shit.
Dude had his ear sliced the fuck off, sneaks in, finds his sister making out with Harry and decides to put his toothbrush in the wound hole to make them uncomfortable. I would have laughed at any combination of these circumstances, but altogether it becomes too hilarious to ignore. I love the twins.
They won’t be twins for much longer.
I also love this shot, where Ginny just leaves because she knows he’s just making fun of her, and then Harry stands there, trying to play it off like, “You’re a dude, I’m a dude, you understand,” but George just stares him down until he backs away awkwardly.
George is awesome.
- The Dancing Scene
I was actually surprised when Colin had this on his list as well. Since I thought that he wasn’t a big fan of this scene in the movie. I figure a lot of people aren’t big fans of this scene in the movie. But I am, and when has what everyone else thinks stopped me from saying so?
But yeah, I think this is another one of those nice, quiet moments that I love so much. (It’s not a true quiet moment, since it’s clear they want it to be a quiet moment, but it’s still nice nonetheless.)
I just like the scene, conceptually — “Let’s try to feel normal again, if only for a few minutes.” And it’s made better by the fact that these two have such great chemistry, they don’t need any words in the scene at all. And it also gives me a little bit of hope that maybe these two could actually end up together for a second.
So… I like the scene. I think it’s a nice moment that people like to deride because it comes out of nowhere, but, in context, I think it’s a nice moment between the characters and is exactly the type of scene, if I were writing these movies, that I’d want to work in as well.
(Also, I’d like to point out that the first shot of the scene is really nice as well.)
Oh, see — I just let you go on thinking that. I chose it cause she looks nice and this is the scene where he went full retard.
I had a feeling. But I won’t give up my opinions. Because then I’d be Dan.
- This shot
FILMMAKERS: FRAMING. DO IT. This whole thing feels sneaky. YOU’RE sneaking, too.
I completely skipped over this shot when picking my shots. Didn’t think twice about it. And when Colin pulled it, I went, “Wow… that’s a great shot.” Because the camera has no real business being there. And yet — it’s so much better of a shot for it being there.
I second Colin’s comment.
This woman is so good at looking fucking evil, I find it troubling that she’s in a stable marriage with children. I wonder if her son’s seen this. That’d be a fun movie night at home. Watch Mommy torture and kill people before she explodes.
I’m thinking about her at a soccer game.
It’s quite entertaining.
- This shot
I love this shot. Just, visually, it’s perfect. I kind of wish they pushed Dumbledore’s face into the frame a little bit more at the bottom, but still, you get the idea. This image is so good, I think that’s what gave them the idea for the poster.
It’s just a simple, great image. Two sides of the coin. Good, and evil. And then, in context, Voldemort looking down at a dead Dumbledore — it’s a really great shot. Definitely one of my favorites, filmmaking-wise.
“Give us a kiss.”
– – – – –
So, that’ll do it.
Before we finish, we do have one request for you all:
And, of course….
“I can’t feel my legs!”
– – – – – – – – – –
Tomorrow are our Final Thoughts, and Monday is Deathly Hallows Part 2, and the beginning of the end of our first (official) franchise in Fun with Franchises.
(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)
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