I've only just re-read the book, so much of it's still fresh in my mind. So the second thing I thought was, "Christ, they're whipping through this quickly." This break-neck narrative pace continues for most of the film, with whole swathes of the book chopped out - thankfully, since it's vast, but I continually felt that someone not familiar with the book would wonder what on Earth was going on.
Two complete sub-plots relating to Rita Skeeter, the reporter, were dropped - so I didn't understand why her role was maintained. So far, I haven't worked out what she adds. Another sub-plot involving house elves is also chucked, which is good, because it would have been cringe-inducing to watch (and upped the CGI budget, of course). Since that did have impacts on the main story, it was interesting to see how events had been recast to hint towards the core of the story (Neville does X, instead of Winky, for example).
I didn't like the casting of Moody, Fleur or Krum. Moody, as I've said, makes me think of lonemagpie, and he should be much more gruff than was portrayed. And never appear nervous, afraid or apologetic. Fleur was supposed to be magically enchanting; they'd have been forgiven for using SFX to achieve this, because it's canonical. But they dropped that sub-sub-plot, and (I think) deliberately didn't want to detract from Emma Watson (which, in turn, made the supposed "transformation" for the ball merely a change of costume, and hence silly). And Krum - I dunno. I wanted more hair. And eyebrows.
The dragons were well done, but the scene was made unnecessarily long in an attempt to introduce tension that could have been done differently. I can think of no less than two changes that would have improved it, and one was more in keeping with the book. Ho hum, I thought. This'll be for the game, then.
There's a secondary character who dies near the end. Harry rushes off to tell Dumbledore, and then gets distracted, and it's never mentioned again. I think this is a mistake in the editing.
Oh, and what was the first thing I thought? "They'd better not have messed with the theme music." And they have. It's a darker arrangement. Fair enough, but that theme represents the sense of wonder and enchantment that is one of the reasons why the books work. You can keep it, and still have a dark story. Grrr.
Our viewing was at the local independent cinema, which is simply marvellous. We paid top dollar and delayed the viewing so that we could get the funky leather recliners, which come with free drinks and Pringles, too. Plus, there's an interval, which is not to be underestimated in a film this long.
Amusingly, someone tried clapping at the end. Twice. "It's not that good," I thought.
All this, and a fun evening with friends, and a marvellous meal cooked by katlinel, too.
And we still had kids at our showing, too.