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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1

What she said:

She

Those Harry Potter kids are at it again.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione are once more in the jaws of death, struggling to save both muggle and wizard from that reptilian Lord Voldemort.  They must first locate all of the Horcruxes, a task they began in the last movie.  It, of course, is not an easy journey, made all the more difficult now that Dumbledore is dead. 

This film is dark, sometimes a bit scary, and might not sit well with the kids.  The acting is better, although still not the best.  Those kids, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are really trying to master the teen angst look, and there are a lot of long stares circa Twilight.  Not really sure what that’s about.  There’s not much room for comedy and romance in this movie, although they try at times.  I think “awkward” is the key word in association with this effort.  I found there were moments where I think they were trying to be funny, but the humor fell flat.  On the other hand, Hermione and Ron’s relationship is strained, and the chemistry doesn’t seem to be there at all. 

The film sort of picks up and leaves off, without a very clear beginning, middle, or end.  This is to be expected from a Part I, but can be a bit jarring.  As a viewer, you really are just along for the ride as Harry, Ron, and Hermione jet-set across the UK trying to put an end to Voldemort.  There is not much care for where they are and where to next, and there are lots of strange fade ins and fade outs as the writers and director attempt to get all the book’s elements into the film.  It’s sort of just one scene after another until the movie is satisfied that it has fulfilled its role in the series.  I think I actually heard the director say, “Annnnndddd scene,” at one point, or maybe that was just in my head.  But you can certainly feel it.

I think this is a passable addition to the Harry Potter series, but that it’s more about the anticipation and build up to the final movie.  Let’s hope that Part II ties up all the loose ends….

Diagnosis: Thumbs half up.

What he said:

He

This review will not be a comparison to the book of the same name. Nor will it be a comparison to each previous movie. Frankly, there’s too damn many for me to remember the intricate details of every one of them.

The detail is actually one of my biggest gripes with the series. I am not an avid fan. I have read all the books and seen all the movies once a piece. For what they are, I generally enjoy them. But at this point, it’s simply information overload. Unless you read the books 10 times a piece, one can’t be expected to remember the amount of detail Rowling delves into.

The movie throws them in your face so casually though, that’s exactly what it expects you to do. Sorry, but I find that to be a turnoff and not a strength. I am all for good, detailed storytelling, but after 7 books and 8 movies my interest is waning to say the least. Personally – at that point – I find the whole thing feels as if it’s being made up on a whim. Too many twists, turns, and surprise endings comes off as chaotic after a certain point. I often find myself saying “Well why didn’t they do that in the first place?”

Each time you see a new movie, Harry and Co. are pitted against impossible odds. That’s all well and good, but when the next movie comes along and does the same exact thing, there’s no sense of urgency anymore. It’s about as dramatic as one of Jean Grey’s umpteen deaths in the X-Men comics.

To be honest with you I am kind of “over” Harry Potter. I don’t hate or even dislike them, I just don’t hold them to the level the avid fans do. They can be fun, entertaining movies, but they just don’t satisfy me the way other fantasy films do. I would easily put Star Wars, LOTR, or even the less popular Willow above the Potter films.

The strength of the movies is and always has been the characters imo. The (varying) directors always seem to manage to pick people who represent characters perfectly.  

This is evident in the choices of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, whose interactions I have always enjoyed. I truly enjoy seeing the chemistry between these three grow just as much as I did reading about it in the books. The familiarity is definitely there and it becomes more obvious with each movie; especially when you consider the amount of stress they endure in the latest chapter.

The supporting cast has always been done quite well too. For example, I cannot think of a better on-screen portrayal of Umbridge or Luna Lovegood than the actresses portrayal of them. As far as I am concerned, they are exact replicas of their book counterparts. I am also convinced Alan Rickman actually is Severus Snape.  The same can be said for Helena Bonham Carter – who was born to play Bellatrix Lastrange. And Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemortis an excellent portrayal of the character J.K. Rowling created.

One thing I also enjoyed was the little animated sequence that told the tale of The Deathly Hallows. I thought that was different (in a good way).

The characters and the effects are fun, but the story is nothing to write home about. I have seen all the movies and plan on seeing the final one, but I don’t feel the need to ever see them again. They just don’t grab me the way they do others.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on April 18, 2011.