Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1

Okay, I don’t think the usual introduction is needed here. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years…on Mars, you probably should know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last book in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling.

In a bid to squeeze even more money from the series, the producers have decided to spilt the last book into 2 movies. So instead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1.

Directed by David Yates and written by Steve Kloves, the same team did the entertaining Half-Blood Prince, I was looking forward to this movie. Unfortunately, the end result is mixed.

The story followed Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) on his quest to find and destroy the Horcruxes, which house the soul of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). By far the darkest film so far in the series, the movie has cameos from almost every character that had shown up in the series but mostly it is a chase movie as Harry, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) tried to find the Horcruxes while running from the Death Eaters.

The high point in the movie for me has to be the meeting between Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Smoldering with danger, this was the first time you can truly see how dangerous Voldemort really is. Ralph Fiennes finally get to show off as the ultimate bad guy and he did his job admirably.

Which is a good thing as a lot of people would die in this movie. A lot of the secondary characters were killed as the action has been increased in this movie. Spells fly left, right and centre as the Death Eaters clashed with the Order of the Phoenix and the Ministry of Magic.

However it’s not all good as parts of the movie just didn’t work. As almost every character that had shown up in the series show up, at times it look like the movie was a cameo parade. Characters show up and then disappear never to show up again.

I also wonder just how chunky was this book. Even when it was spilt into 2 movies, parts of the movie was rushed through. Some of the deaths were only mentioned as it happened off-screen and the farces at the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour lasted all of 5 seconds. All this in a movie that lasted more than 2 hours!

One of the reasons for the rush was a wish to focus on the 3 leads. In a way, that’s understandable as Harry, Ron and Hermione had always been the stars but at times this focus take things away from the movie. The fight at the wedding and the escort of Harry from Privet Drive could and should have been great but were not because both were too short whereas the scenes of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the old headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix were too long.

The biggest problem I have with the movie is that it seems incomplete. Yes yes, I know this is Part 1 so it should be incomplete. However that does not excuse the plot-holes in the movie. I hate it when writers leave gaping plot-holes in books to be filled later in the series and I don’t like it when it happened in movies either. The Malfoys must have seen Harry, Ron and Hermione dozens of times by now, all of the Malfoys including Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), but none of them can recognized Harry even with the stupid puff up face?

The best way to describe this movie is that it’s a set-up. It is the appetizer to the main course that will be in Part 2, and like most appetizers, there is no satisfaction. Hopefully Part 2 will finish the series off in a flourish.


Natalie said...

Ralph Fiennes is such a fantastic, I was pleased when he got the Voldemort part. One simply can't overact Voldemort, so it must be good fun for him. The last book was kind of chunky,and I wondered how it would transpate to the big screen, but then, while I enjoyed the books, I haven't really liked the movies since Harry grew up between Sorcerer's Stone and the Goblet of Fire, enjoying Harry far greater as a little wizard full of wonder. And then, don't get me started on Michael Gambon as Dumbledore (argh) compared to the gentle and wise and slightly quirky interpretation by Richard Harris. Golly, I sound like I'm geeking out here, and me in my mid-30s too. Thanks for the preview/review, Ghost!

Ghost said...

Ralph Fiennes is a fantastic actor. I especially like his performance in "The Constant Gardener" but I do feel he is underuse in the movie because of the focus of Harry. Bill Nighy, another great actor, had all of 2 scenes. Hopefully Part 2 will be better.

Natalie said...

Hope so. I am most hopeful they keep her ending intact, I really loved it in the book. (Lots of people didn't...we shall see, we shall see...)

Ghost said...

I heard the ending was a cop-out.