I was sad during Harry Potter Eight. Not because my time with Harry and his spotty compatriots was finally coming to an end, but because I wasn't feeling it.
(I was also sad because Harry's so obviously going to trash Captain America: The First Avenger at the box office. Regardless of reviews good or bad, superhero-fatigue, Harry-mania and a lower theatre count than any other blockbuster this summer are going to jump up and down on one of my favourite superheroes.)
Also sad? Alan Rickman's transformation into a menopausal woman is complete.
Watching Harry Potter Eight, the audience went wild repeatedly for a payoff bonanza that I just wasn't buying into. Harry Potter Eight is well made, like all the other recent Harry Potterses. But, also like all the recent Harry Potterses, there's something leaden and monopolar about it. Something high-school-play-put-on-by-goths about it. In that way it reminds me of the television show and perennial social-conservative headache Glee (but I may just be confused because both properties are built around unlikeable young people and schools run by psychopaths).
There seems to be something about these teen ensemble tales encouraging filmmakers to arrogantly brushes off ages-old story-telling techniques in favour of unsupported flashes of melodrama that just aren't earned. Harry Eight is unsure where to linger and where to ramp up. There's excellence somewhere in all of its parts, but, for me, not in its sum.
I wanted to buy into all the pay-offs--hey, I've been on board since the start--but nope, I was just noticing how un-urgent everything seemed to be. How staid and perfunctory.
I didn't feel like cheering, and when the bittersweet coda came around, I found it as flat and unemotional as I found the ending of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, another film everybody loved and my least favourite of the lot.