Romy Shiller

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – Or, Bye

In Film, review on June 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

Author Unknown

Director: David Yates
Writers: Steve Kloves (screenplay), J.K. Rowling (novel)
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

I wasn’t going to touch this film with a ten foot pole. The fan base is huge, devoted and cult-like. I explore youth-culture but here I think of myself as a novice and really, what business do I have talking about the esteemed Harry Potter? I read the first book, have seen every film. While I know the characters and the various elements that make up the Potter world, I cannot remember the plot of the last film. In my estimation you need to fill in the gaps here and this or reading the last book would have helped. “The movie starts exactly where the last one left off: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has waged war on the world. The Ministry of Magic has been corrupted. Wizards and witches everywhere fear for their lives. Even “muggles” aren’t safe from The Dark Lord’s reign of terror. Dumbledore, the great protector, is dead, and every evil “Snatcher” or “Death Eater” in the wizarding world is trying to get their hands on Harry Potter.” (http://screenrant.com/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-reviews-kofi-88528/) Um, okay.

Order of the Harry Potter films (pay attention – there will be a quiz)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2

This series has a long and detailed history. “The Harry Potter film series is based on the Harry Potter novels by the British author J.K. Rowling Distributed by Warner Bros. The series consists of fantasy films beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and culminating with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011).( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_%28film_series%29)

One would be hard pressed to escape the universal appeal of the Harry Potter books. The characters, creatures and locations are amazing. The story itself is archetypal: the young Harry Potter, who knows nothing about the greatness within him, must pit himself against a pure evil who also killed his parents.

Plot: As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926084/?)

This film was meant to be seen in 3-D and a lot of what we see waits for an effect. I saw it in 2-D – on DVD. I waited and waited. Lost in translation… In its opening weekend, Part 1 grossed $330 million, the third highest in the series, and the highest opening of 2010, as well as the fifth-highest of all-time.With a worldwide gross of $954 million, Part 1 is the third-highest grossing film of 2010, behind Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_-_Part_1)

This is the first part of the last Harry Potter film. which is the seventh installment in the film series. If I were a fan, this fact would devastate me and the quality or lack thereof would not matter one iota. I guess that I need to imagine who I am talking to, because no, this film does not stand on its own but if I were a fan, it would be fine and make sense.

The main characters are the usual three; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, with bff Rupert Grint as Ron Weasly and bff Emma Watson as Hermione Granger but there is dissention and Hermione finds herself alone with Harry. “The most affecting scene did not figure in the book at all: Harry and Hermione dancing together in a tent to a crackling radio play of the Nick Cave track O Children.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8127505/Harry-Potter-and-the-Deathly-Hallows-Part-I-first-review.html) I always wished they’d get together but anyways… The trio learns that a symbol they keep seeing represents the quest for the Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility.

This is a very dark Potter film: On a couple of levels – story and it is literally dark. “The color schemes and tones of this film are very crisp, dark and vivid.” (http://screenrant.com/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-reviews-kofi-88528/) The cinematography is quite fabulous – really. Harry is fighting for his life and the magics involved are contextualized by this fact. Magics include cloaking and teleportation – very cool! In this respect, it doesn’t matter who the audience is. Either you like the ideas of cloaking and teleportation or you don’t.

“For Harry Potter fans, ‘Deathly: Hallows: Part 1′ will be an enjoyable beginning of the end, but casual movie goers may walk away unfulfilled by the experience of only seeing half a story.” (http://screenrant.com/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-reviews-kofi-88528/) and “I would say that the plot was definitely the weakest element, with many plot points being ill defined or even bewilderingly absent to those who would not be familiar with the book.”  (http://thehummusoffensive.blogspot.com/2011/01/harry-potter-and-deathly-hallows-part-1.html)

Many reviews are positive but I have to admit that I was ambivalent. One review said, ”I’m sure there must be a spell that could have made at least 20 minutes disappear.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8128099/Harry-Potter-and-The-Deathly-Hallows-Part-1-gets-mixed-reviews.html) Ha! (oops)

The conclusion/Part 2 is set to be released on 15 July 2011in North America, UK and probably almost everywhere.

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