November 25, 2014
I hadn’t seen the original for probably a decade, and besides the flashback sequences, it was hard for me to tell what Andreas had changed. Yes, it looked darker (tonewise) but actually there were still a lot of lighter, little kid elements to it. This was great for me, since I think the films should grow up with the main characters. I was worried it would be TOO dark, but I’d say all the small trims and music changes simply accomplish the goal of making it fit better with the rest of the series.
I actually couldn’t remember any scenes that were missing while watching it, and at over 2 hours, it’s probably the best length now. Upon reflection, I realized we'd missed the candy-eating (which I DID quite like), some stuff with Hagrid (which I was thankful to trim), and the ending points ceremony (which honestly was kind of necessary for me as an American that was completely unfamiliar with this school tradition. However, it actually probably doesn't fit well with the overarching tone of the films.) I read as well that many people lamented the loss of Snape's class, but I think he is set up as enough of an ambiguous, threatening presence here to fit his role in the series. It always seemed too telegraphed to me that he just instantly is a jerk to this child... it's a pretty childish way of portraying him, whatever excuses you make for his backstory. Making this a bit of a more mature film, I think the current portrayal fits just right.
I do have to echo other reviewers in saying that my fondness for the flashback sequence wore thin after the 2nd or 3rd repetition. It is a nice way to start the film, and I'm not opposed to the idea of repeated flashes, but only if they were alternate shots/angles/variations. It's just too much repetition, imho. However, overall, this is a fantastic fanedit, and my preferred way to watch the film now.