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Explore the depth of DH2's visuals

PumpkinjuicePumpkinjuice Posts: 2,306 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 2012 in General
One of the (many) reasons DH 2 ranks as the second best Potter film in my book is because it communicates much of its plot through visuals. It is a very visual film with less dialogue than the previous films, which sadly means that some Potter fans write it off as an effect show with less depth just because it took out some of their precious dialogue and replaced it with clever symbolism. Bane's insightful analysis of the tower jump scene shows how action and depth can go hand in hand. It took me a while to appreciate it too, but when I was able to, it opened up doors to more depth as it had already made me associate it with horror concepts. And best of all, I don't think we are looking too much into it. Not when compared to other films that are more recognized amongst cinephiles. There is no doubt that Harry Potter and director David Yates deserve that kind of respect too.

To get the ball rolling, I think it's the sort of film that grows on you (at least film fans that happen to like HP) because it doesn't spood-feed the audience with explanations, but uses visuals and subtle points to communicate them. A concept from the book like Harry being the master of death for instance is kept not through the dialogue, but through his actions (snapping the wand in half, dropping the stone, jumping fearlessly into the abyss), which is what being master of death is about the way I interpreted it as someone who accepts death. Likewise, Olivander's comment at the beginning of the film that owning all the hallows makes you master of death implies that is the reason why Harry survived the killing curse once again. And likewise, viewers may come to the conclusion that The Elder Wand couldn't kill its own master. Admittedly, I do think the film should have made that point clearer just by adding one sentence of dialogue at the end, but that's not what I want to discuss here. It's ideas like these conveyed through the visuals that the audience can pick up on a second or third viewing and thus appreciate the film even more for respecting their intelligence and being sophisticated.

Post edited by Pumpkinjuice on


  • aaronaaron Posts: 20,945 mod
    edited February 2012
    That's a very clever analysis. It bugs me how the fans seem to write off a lot of the big scenes as giant effects displays. They actually think that the filmmakers don't care enough to include depth and reason behind every single visual that's shown on screen. Everything shown is to enhance the experience, both physically (state of being shown, looking good, theatricality, etc.) but also mentally and emotionally (which makes these visuals much more powerful). The cliff jump, for example: did the filmmakers add it in there to add in a cool, effects-driven action sequence that drives Harry and Voldemort's battle one step further, or did they add it in to show that the emotional and mental capacity of Voldemort and Harry's battle has been reached, and display the final, desperate power punch of their journey? A little bit of both.

    Snazzy visuals are shown partly for theatricality, yes, but it's an insult to the filmmakers that people think it's SIMPLY theatricality and mindlessness. While I'm not sure about sagas such as the Transformers films, the Potter filmmakers strive to put reason, depth, emotion and power behind every "mindless"-looking visual. And for Potter fans, usually the first viewing leaves you pretty awe-struck, so you don't look into the film much. But with multiple viewings, you can really look into everything. It's all very layered. This is the case with almost every Potter film, and the director and director of photography are very much responsible, along with the other crew members.
    Post edited by aaron on
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