Is it possible to be simultaneously disappointed and pleased? Because I think that's what I feel about it.
On the one hand, they left a lot of stuff out—the house elves (and S.P.E.W.); Molly, Bill and Charlie Weasley; and the explanation of Priori Incantatem (really, people, it would have taken about thirty seconds!) all leapt out at me. Some of the characterization seemed off to me; in particular, Dumbledore was played far more dramatically than in either the previous movies or the books, seeming to deliver a grave warning every scene. The movie was extremely rushed—I think there was only one classroom scene in it. There were a few niggling things that annoy fans (why are both of the Patil twins in the Gryffindor common room?). Not to mention that they left out much of the Rita Skeeter plotline. The Quidditch World Cup was a letdown, and the Death Eater attack associated with it wasn't explained very well.
On the other hand, it was quite entertaining. Effects were awesome, as always; in particular, the Killing Curse was done nicely, and very close to canon. The Dark Mark was different from the way Rowling had done it, but extremely effective. The scenes they added were well done; in particular, one with Snape had the entire theater giggling. The new casting was excellent—Cedric and Cho were exactly as I imagined; Krum wasn't, but they sold it anyway; Voldemort was close to canon in appearance, and had a voice that was very atypical for a villain, but worked beautifully. (I wasn't quite so happy about Moody, but I think my mental image of him is more at fault than their casting director.) And there were a lot of intangibles that are difficult to explain (or remember, considering that it's pushing 3:30 and I have a headache)—it came together fairly well.
Basically, it was entertaining enough, but I'm hoping for an extended DVD edition.
A few other notes:
- Given that it doesn't explain a lot of things, I'm not sure if non-fans will understand it. Even fans might want to re-read the book before they go, just to brush up on the plot.
- I'm going to the next book launch party. And I'm going to the next movie several hours earlier—I got there about an hour and a half early and was near the end of the line. And I'll make sure I have robes for both.
- That Hagrid outfit the one guy had was brilliant.
- In the PoA movie there were a lot of Ron/Hermione moments—subtle things, mostly, like Hermione leaning her head on Ron's shoulder when she thinks Buckbeak has been executed. In this one, those things are going towards Harry/Hermione. Since I'm a hopeless fanboy, I have my fingers crossed that Rowling prodded the movie people...
- I don't like their pronunciations for
Veritaserum, but I was glad to finally learn how
Acciois pronounced. Except I forgot. Damn.
- I also went to an Ayn Rand Institute lecture on
creationismintelligent design. It was good. I asked a question (a softball sort of thing), which was as terrifying as usual.
- Never, ever, ever see a long movie at midnight on a full bladder. Ugh.