I too loved that Neville helped Harry. I liked Neville overall, and it's amazing how much we saw him grow over the course of the movie, grow from comic relief to a real character. I thought losing the house elves story-line was an actual improvement, proving how distracting that whole thing is to the actual book. And Hermione was much less annoying without her crazy interpretation of the plight of the house elves.
Rowlings use of so many red herrings is one of the amateuristic things about her writing that drives me nuts. I wonder what the HP books could have been with a really, really good editor. I thought losing some of the extraneous characters and paring down the Rita role was a plus. I also *loved* Amanda Richardson's portrayal, and I believe it was a real statement on the part of the director to have Madame Maxime actually pick her out of Hagrid's beard and eat her, as opposed to forcing us to live through all the drama caused by the story she wrote when she spied on their conversation. Maybe that was just a fanciful misconception of mine . . .
Maggie Smith's scene where she taught the children to dance was my favorite of any she's had (in the four films). It was like she was playing 'The Long Forgotten Prime of Minerva McGonagall' or something. I sat watching her in awe. (At 50 I still can't believe she was in her mid-30s when she played the wonderful Jean Brodie.)
I have to say I couldn't help wondering how I would have felt had Richard Harris still been playing Dumbledore, a character that often annoys the heck out of me anyway. I just cannot like Gambon in the role. He's too cold or difficult to reach, something. It's hard to put my finger on it. His eyes don't convey the depth that Harris did. Charlie found his anger at Harry after the goblet scene over-the-top, but I thought it was probably the director trying to set the tone of the chaos that goes on inside Harry after the unexpected announcement.
It was interesting how many people were weeping openly when Harry returned with Cedric's body, another scene that I liked far better in the movie than book. Having Harry weeping was cathartic, and it got the male coughing started in our smallish theater.
There was so much slash tension between Harry and Cedric . . . and much of it was probably what I wanted to read in it, but I couldn't help wondering how much more interesting Ron's jealousy would be if it was jealousy over Harry hooking up with Cedric . . .
Grint's portrayal of Ron actually has made me like the character more. I was pleased they played down that jealousy of Harry's money and fame a bit. I found the fight between Harry and Ron much more 'normal kidstuff' than the angsty drawn-out affair in the book. Overall I thought the kids were more realistic in their dialogue and interactions.
So glad they kept the Draco-turning-to-a-ferret scene. Lovely.
I also coveted every glimpse of the wonderful Lucius, actually sighing when Voldemort uncovered him at the graveyard.
The special effects were wonderful. For the first time I didn't have to adjust my eyes and remind myself how difficult something is to make seamless and perfect, because it was. The dragon chase on the top of the school actually had me ducking. And I loved the effect of Harry swimming. Wonderful!
Overall, it was an eyeful, just a visual feast! And I'm getting pervier and pervier, because those Weasley twins, that Cedric, the long-necked Fleur and tiny-waisted Hermione and most of all the beautiful eyes and tousled coif (not to mention surprisingly supple naked arms) of little Harry are really starting to get to me. I'm longing for a movie that just focuses on 'The Secret Life of Hogwarts'!
I have to clip this and add it to my own LJ . . .
And may I just say again above the cut that Alan Rickman as Snape was the most brilliant casting. He's a master of every little actorish 'bit of business.' He can do so much with so little, and you remember him, even when he has very little to do on screen.
On the NaNo front, I mostly did research and made an attempt to get organized today. I need to pound out 10,000 words this weekend, and I'm struggling a bit (but I kind of expected to be). I worked so late last night (past 7:30 p.m.) to try to get all my time tracking done for the past four months before I started vacation, and then I had to concentrate totally on staying awake to go to the midnight showing of HP. (We lucked out, getting to the theater after the line and after they had opened a second showing because the first was full.)
It stayed overcast today, but it was supposedly amazing at the coast and is going to be all weekend. Tomorrow I have a hair appt., but maybe Sunday we'll drive west and enjoy the wonderful late fall weather. But now I have to concentrate and earn it!