First, the omissions:
- Bill and Fleur were not present.
- No mention of MoM Scrimgeour.
- The Pensieve stories of the Gaunts and Hepzibah Smith are not seen or alluded to, and so the knowledge that Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket are likely horcruxes is not given to the audience. Nor is Dumbledore's speculation that the snake Nagini and "something of Ravenclaw's or Gryffindor's" are likely the other two horcruxes. I expect there will be information in the letters seen on the Headmaster's desk at the end to illuminate these facts.
- No funeral. I was rather disappointed in that.
- They changed the Tonks/Lupin story a bit. They gave Tonks the mousy look from the book, but calling Remus "sweetheart" seemed to indicate that the reason for being so was not there. Luna was the one who found Harry on the train, so we didn't get to see Tonk's new Patronus.
- There were some adjustments to the Harry/Draco bathroom fight scene, the strangest part being that Harry was not punished for his actions, nor did Snape look to find his old potions book. Ginny took him to the Room of Requirement to get rid of the book and hid it while he was not looking. I was watching for a crown of any sort, but didn't see it.
- They blew up the Burrow! That entire scene was a bit of a stunner. Makes me wonder how they'll be opening the next movie.
- The scene in Hagrid's hut where Harry procures the true memory from Slughorn was actually a bit of an improvement on the original I thought. When Slughorn brought up the fish, I thought it was a bit of a non sequitur, but when he described how the fish had come to be from the lily petal, and how the fish had remained until the night Lily died, I cried. It was a really touching piece of writing, and Jim Broadbent carried it off really well.
- There was a subtle bit in Dumbledore's office, where he shows Harry the diary and the ring, and tells him that these were two of the Dark Lord's horcruxes. Harry tries to touch the ring, and it jumps up and starts spinning madly. Dumbledore looks at him and says that he thinks he just found another horcrux, and it seemed there were two meanings. At that moment, he realized that Harry contained a piece of Voldemort's soul as well. Nicely played by Michael Gambon.
- In the cave scene, I was hoping that Harry would make his simple suggestion to try a summoning charm on the horcrux. It seems like it would have been a good bit of film to build the suspense knowing there are inferi in the water. Later, while very hard to watch, when Harry was forcing Dumbledore to drink potion from the basin, I expected to hear the Professor to whimper more to hint at what happened to his sister. This makes me wonder how much of the Ariana storyline they'll leave in for the Deathly Hallows movies.
- Of course, the battle at the castle was vastly changed. Harry didn't use his cloak, Dumbledore didn't petrify him, and there was really no resistance on the part of the defenders of Hogwarts. It was more of a sneak-job than a pitched battle. I was really surprised that they had reduced this huge part of the book by so much.
There were a lot of minor things, too, but those were the major things I noticed.
I really must say that Tom Feldon and Alan Rickman did absolutely fantastic jobs. If you weren't aware of what was going on behind the scenes, much as everyone was the first time through Book 6, and in Snape's case, until very near the end of Book 7, the actions of these characters can be confusing. The inner torments of Draco and Snape are very complex and multi-layered, and without words, these needed to be conveyed subtly. Wands up to these two actors. They nailed it.
It was quite the emotional ride. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments, and moments where I had to force myself to watch through tears. I highly recommend it, and I'll probably go see it again next week with P.