Let’s just be honest, I was never going to hate any Harry Potter film. I have been a fan from the start. Now, I will say that the first two are so cutesy that you really can’t judge them, but from three through six, Prisoner of Azkaban has remained my favorite of the films, until now. The franchise has seen it’s ups and downs with it’s revolving door of directors, but the final two movies have been sealed with David Yates, who was also responsible for The Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince.
Now, when I first heard this news, I was a bit nervous, but as time went along and I saw they had cast Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic and catching shots here and there of the dark overtone they were filming with, my nerves calmed a bit. I mean, who would want to invest seven years in a film, only to have it turn out completely cheesy?
Now another piece of truth that I should let you in on before critically reviewing this film is the fact that I have not read the last book. (shocking gasps!) No, I made the decision a long time ago to give the films a fair chance at winning me over with out having the nagging suspicion in the back of my head that they were leaving something important out. If there is one type of person I can’t stand, it’s the guy (or gal) who goes to every movie having already read the book so they can be ripe with punishment on how awfully screwed up the film’s version was.
So, when you read this review, just know that it is coming from a movie lover, not a book critic. FYI, I do read the books after I see the film, and just a hint at how much I liked this film: I can’t wait to read the final book!
The Deathly Hallows: Part One takes place anywhere except Hogwarts Castle. This was a welcomed change of pace, even though I really get a kick out of those floating candles in the Great Hall. It picks up almost immediately after the end of the last one with (spoiler alert) Dumbledore dying and the kids setting out on a mission to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.
Basically, all Hell is breaking loose and the Death Eaters are even coming into the Muggle world to find and kill Harry. The first and last scene of this film, however, are the only ones in which Voldemort is seen being all jive and evil. This film has to be approached as a set up film, but not a filler like the Half-Blood Prince felt to me.
Much of this film focuses on two things, the gang trying to figure out how to find and destroy horcruxes while living on the lamb and the love growing between all of them, can you say jealousy? Oh, and right off the bat, there is a simulated nudity scene. It stills receives a PG-13 rating, however, due to it only being a side boob. I don’t want to ruin too much of what it is, the surprise of seeing it was priceless, but can I just say they somehow made it steamy and really awkward at the same time?
The film’s minimalist tone set a really strong Holocaust vibe. There were parts of town that Harry, Ron and Hermoine would wander through that had been abandoned and burnt to the ground. It was obvious, the parts of history that J.K. Rowling had pulled from to give her story the right tone for the amount of overturn the entire country was under. People were living in fear, Muggles were being killed, half-blood wizards and witches were being black-listed according to the new rules set by the Ministry, which was now overruled by Republicans, err, I mean evil people. I liked this touch of reality in a fantasy world, giving people more reason to feel something for the film.
The love aspect was by far my favorite though. Ron and Hermoine’s love for one another is growing, but there is still some jealousy issues with Ron seeing Harry and Hermoine together. They are growing up so fast. Harry and Jenny share a single kiss and she is never seen again, in movie world. Which brings me to a couple of inaccuracies with the film. Now, remember, this is coming from the fresh mind, not one who read the book. The film seemed a bit rushed in the beginning as they quickly introduce Nighy as the Minister and supposedly killed him off. The wedding of Bill and Fluer was quick and hardly seen before craziness crashed the party and started Harry, Ron and Hermoine on their journey.
Once they got on the road, it slowed down and had a nice pace the rest of the time. Now, from my perspective, I have no idea why the Death Eaters would have any interest in kidnapping Luna Lovegood only to have her father betray Harry in order to get her back. What would they want with her? I’m sure the book had a fantastic explanation, but from a film’s perspective, it made no sense.
One of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring moments of the film came when Hermoine read the story, “The Tale of the Three Brothers” out of her book, The Beetle and the Bard. The story was animated beautifully to audiences with an imagination that looks like something completely removed from the Harry Potter franchise and much more grown up; like a short you would take in at a film festival. It had a great placement and much praise after the screening.
All in all, it was a fantastic two and a half hours, even though I wanted more. That’s a tip of the hat to David Yates for pulling off a long segued film and managing to keep us on the edge of our seats throughout. I feel that as a film goer and book virgin, I was highly entertained, albeit a bit confused at one or two points. I also felt that the film satisfied all the Potterheads there to see the film live up to the book. Now, if I can just hold off on reading the last book until July 15, 2011…
I give HP7 4 “Ron has always been my favorite” out of 5
by Angela Davis