Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

22 Nov

This is it. The final hour. No more new books. The last movie. D-Day. Well. Kind of. The first half of the last movie. D-Day Part 1. The final hourish. Not that I am at all complaining. Though Harry Potter fans are aware that the splitting of The Deathly Hallows into two parts means shelling out seven more dollars (or more, depending on location) in six months time, there was a massive sigh of relief amongst us when we were told we could have one more release to anticipate and cling on to. So let’s get down to it: Part 1 of the end of the Harry Potter fanatic’s life.

Seriously, guys? You don’t want to be compared to Twilight and you make a poster like this?

For each first viewing of the newest installment in the franchise, the avid book follower inside me spends the two hours (or more) completely destroying the film at hand. “They got that wrong.” “He’s not the one who sends up the Dark Mark.” “Death Eaters can’t fly.” “Where are all the Horcrux explanations?!” “Hermione is supposed to be ugly!” And on and on and on. These are the thoughts that plague me. However, my scrupulousness has dwindled considerably as the series has gone on, because my pessimism towards the filmmakers’ ability to create an accurate depiction has built up a callous, dulling the pain of erroneousness. This time my Harry Potter Callous (or HPC) was not necessary, for the film was shockingly loyal to the original material. Of course there were little blunders here and there, as well as new explanations for characters or plotlines that had been cruelly omitted from previous movies in the series, but all in all it was never infuriating. And that is a great feat.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 picks up right where The Half Blood Prince left off, never stopping to explain or backtrack for those who didn’t catch the last film. As has been the case from Goblet of Fire and onward, the pacing is so rushed that important plot-points and explanations are breezed by, dialogue taken directly from the book is hard to catch, and small characters are not explained—not a problem for readers of the books, but probably a confusing and intimidating experience for non-readers. (But who really cares about them?)* That isn’t to say the movie doesn’t work separate from the book. As long as non-readers jog their memory with a Half Blood Prince viewing, they should be able to enjoy everything this chapter has to offer, for it is a truly great movie.

Every element of The Deathly Hallows works: the cinematography, the story, the characters—totally achieving the aura of the novel, while maintaining it’s own voice. Rowling’s descriptions could not do justice to the gorgeous British locations as cinematographer, Eduardo Serra, could. Every shot in the film is absolutely stunning, which is nice because the journey in which they are set is a dark and dismal one. The lives of the wizards, as a whole, seem doomed to failure, with the body count rising, friendships broken, and an unawareness of the task at hand. Yet in the midst of boding evil, there are fleeting moments of joy to remind the characters, as well as the audience, that there is still hope. The sweet scene in which Harry and Hermione dance together is very welcome in an otherwise bleak chapter of the story.

The Three.

Which brings me to the acting: holy crap. When did Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint become such strong actors? I mean, I always saw the talent and tremendous handsomeness in Rupert (yes, handsomeness is totally relevant here), but I have often felt that Daniel and Emma’s efforts were pretty contrived. For a long while there Daniel couldn’t cry and Emma couldn’t keep from crying at the drop of a hat (I don’t remember Hermione being described as having Permanent Shaky Voice), but gradually and certainly they have grown as actors. Though they certainly won’t be nominated for any Oscars, the three young actors had very strong performances, which at times brought me to tears.

However! There were two extremely bizarro (more commonly known as “WTF”) moments in this episode in the series. One involved a highly stylized, silver Harry and Hermione without tops and with tongues in each other’s mouths. Um… what? This is a Harry Potter movie! The imagery was A) not in the book, B) excessively sensual, and C) unbearable to watch. The other scene worth noting was Hermione’s reading of The Tale of the Three Brothers from The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Rather than with a cheesy dramatization or a lack of images, the narration of the legend was coupled with animation. The visuals were beautiful and totally effective, but after six movies that completely lacked anything resembling animation (unless you count shoddy CGI), it was somewhat jarring. As part of a series the scene felt out of place, however looking at its role in this stand-alone film, it worked and was undertaken strikingly.

Ron and Hermione—ahh! The tension!

I’m trying not to let the high of just seeing it for the first time cloud my judgment of The Deathly Hallows Part 1, but I’m pretty sure I loved it. It was loyal, engaging, beautiful, and magical—as any endeavor into the world of Harry Potter should be.



*Just kidding. Mostly.


2 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”

  1. Monet November 23, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    Your review makes me want to go to I Heart Video and check out the entire collection of Harry Potter movies. I’ve fallen behind, and I need to change that ASAP

    • CintusSuprimus November 26, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

      Yes! Tyler hasn’t seen any of them and we were thinking of watching the whole series starting this weekend. Would you be interested in joining?

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