Just got back from seeing it. My thoughts, in no particular order...
Emma Watson has improved tremendously. Halfway through the film I realised "Hey, I don't want to stab her with a fork". A few of her scenes - the essence of dittany scene and some comic moments with Ron - were actually, like, good. Also, I liked her coat.
Man, that locket Horcrux round the neck thing is Lord of the Rings-y!
I missed Professor McGonagall. I know she had no business being in the film, but I love her - she was THE perfect piece of casting for the series, IMO. Her and Dolores. :)
They kinda downplayed the Ginny thing. I thought they'd at least show Harry watching her footprints on the map, and that kiss had no fire to it at all! (Loved Fred sneaking around the kitchen though.)
And I'd swear the movies were all written by Harry/Hermione shippers. I don't just mean the dance scene, but she's ALWAYS always touching him and rubbing her head against his neck. Apart from some awkwardly-engineered moments between her and Ron, she has way more chemistry with Harry and just plain seems to like him better. They improved on it a bit in this film, but if I'd watched the films without reading the books I think I'd have been expecting a last-minute change of affections. Anyone else get this vibe?
Also, the naked shiny Harry and Hermione making out thing? That was definitely... odd.
Did JK Rowling produce the previous films? I noticed she was listed as a producer on this one.
Carving "Mudblood" into Hermione's arm was DARK! Wow. Did not expect that. And she lost her dittany, poor girl! Is everyone in the film going to end up with word-scars on their arms?
I still don't buy Fiennes as Voldemort. He just seems so... mundane. He should be terrifying every moment he's onscreen - which I realise is a hellishly hard thing to convey - but he just stands there and talks and looks vaguely silly. The movie did a good job being dark and scary nonetheless, but no thanks to him and his nose-slits.
I really, really wanted to see Luna's bedroom, with the photos strung together with the word "Friends". That's probably my favourite moment from the entire series - it's so poignant and adorable and illuminates her character so beautifully. And yeah, I know the film had more pressing things to do than illuminate Luna's character, but I was still really hoping they'd put it in. Peter Jackson spoiled me in that regard - he managed to cram heaps of those moments into the films, including bits of Elvish poetry, so I had hopes... Oh well.
Hermione swears! Have the kids done that before?
Funny to see Julie Walters, Bill Nighy and so on essentially as cameos. Man, that is one sprawlingly impressive cast. I bet every British actor who wasn't in the films feels pretty snubbed. :p
I didn't get such a vibe of grandiose bleak vistas in the book for the camping sites, but it worked nicely.
Loved the animation of the story of the Three Brothers.
Hermione's hair wasn't elaborately curled, yay! It wasn't exactly bushy either, but they did a pretty good job of making her look windswept and giving her the odd practical updo. I was afraid they were going to go all-out on the glamour.
Why'd they leave Fred half an ear? It wasn't like they were going for "light and Christmassy".
None of the three deaths so far moved me, but they didn't in the book either. I'm sure they'll pull out all the stops for George and I'll bawl like a baby, though.
Didn't like the wedding scene - seemed slow and vaguely pointless. I got the impression Hermione was supposed to do something that got cut out?
All this probably sounds pretty negative. That wasn't my impression - I quite liked it, and thought it was vastly better than the Half-Blood Prince. I didn't mind the general dreary hiking theme, because it would be impossible to skirt round that and maintain the grim spirit of the book (not to mention the plot). Plus, as previously mentioned, I'm a Tolkien fan - I can handle long scenes of dogged travel. :) I think some bits of the film could maybe have been cut a tad, but it was much better than rushing it. Looking forward to part two!