If you were one of the people that helped Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows rake in $125 million this weekend, and if you’re anything like me, you probably walked away with two thoughts: first, man that was a saucy and bold move to throw in that steamy topless kiss by Harry and Hermione; and, secondly, the Deathly Hallows backstory animation sequence was so memorable because it was completely unexpected.
First things first. Lots of people have been complaining about the necessity of the topless kiss in a Harry Potter movie and I’ll admit I was fairly shocked by it. The franchise has been fairly chaste to date and so, the imagery was shocking because, again, it was so unlike anything in a Harry Potter movie to date.
But it was also a reminder that the heroes of this story are teenagers and if there’s anything these teenagers fear worse than Voldemort it’s the thought of their best friend and secret crush making out. Of course Ron Weasly would be frightened at the possibility, nay, the dark suggestion that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger and a couple. The horcux releases his deepest insecurities and fears in a terrifying and brutally honest way.
For most of the Harry Potter franchise, Ron’s defining character has not only been his bravery but also his coming to terms with BFF Harry Potter as “the chosen one.” There’s always been a slight jealousy to Ron. The topless kiss took all of his insecurities as a teenager and thrust them right to the surface. It was a stark reminder that these are teenagers with teenage hormones and teenage problems amidst their much bigger problems like say, trying to kill the Dark Lord, who shall not be named. And so, it was a daring and brilliant move on the part of Steve Kloves and David Yates.
Secondly, the animated sequence. There’s not much to say here, except that it was brilliantly done. The sequence was overseen by Ben Hibon, who is most famous for his animated short Codehunters and A.D. Hibon designed and directed the sequence, and produced in collaboration with Framestore. As a direct result of his work on the Potter movie, Hibon joined the animation house Nexus Productions.
I’m not sure this was the best Potter movie because it felt so incomplete and I save my judgement until seeing Part II next summer, but I will say it was nice to finally see some creativity and stakes-raising in a Harry Potter movie. This is the first one that felt aimed at grownups. A lot of that had to do with the cinematography of newcomer Eduardo Serra.