Ah, what Thanksgiving Day would be complete without trekking to the movie theater and watching a recently opened blockbuster? Like many others (and the Pilgrims before me), I celebrated the holiday by eating a lot of food and watching Harry Potter. Classic. So, my siblings and I ate our way through the turkey, homemade chicken and noodles, red cabbage, cheese potatoes, and corn pudding. We all passed on the scalloped oysters, though. It’s not my bag, baby. Then, as if we weren’t full enough, we partook of the pies. Oh the pies: pumpkin, strawberry-rhubarb, apple, and chocolate pecan. Did I mention all of this food was for about twelve people? Ridiculously delicious. After we were super stuffed, we sat around the house, mulling over if we had enough energy and motivation to actually make the drive to the theater in the next town. Turns out, we did.
And that is how my husband, my sister, my brother, and I ended up at an evening showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Although I am probably best classified as a closet Potter fan (I have read all the books. Plus I have a dog named Sirius and a cat named Mad-Eye Moody); lately, I have preferred my Potter films with the accompanying Rifftrax. It’s just more enjoyable to have the good old crew from MST3K adding their thoughts and providing me with a chuckle or two. Nonetheless, I braved the latest HP installment without the (external) smartass comments.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is pretty true to the book. As I read the final book in the series, I wondered how they were going to adapt it for the big screen. I was a bit shocked to hear they wanted to split the film into two parts—even more astounded when I remembered that very little really happens in the first half of the Deathly Hallows book. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that its movie counterpart was pretty darn slow. Hey, that’s not always a bad thing. The final part of the series follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they seek out and destroy several horcruxes—the magical items that contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul and the key to his destruction (I don’t make these words up, I swear).
Unlike the previous Harry Potter films, this one does not feature a large cast of supporting characters. Instead, this is all about Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The three actors have matured since their time seeking out the Sorcerer’s Stone, and do an excellent job holding my attention in the film. They are believable, easy to relate to, and, after 6 films, I have grown kind of attached to those kids.
Since I am a picky person, there were a few things that just didn’t sit well with me, however. For starters, I hated the first shot of the film. I absolutely love Bill Nighy, but I am not sure I really want the first thing that I see in a Harry Potter film is an extreme close-up of his eyes. Extreme. Talk about uncomfortable. I also found the weird Harry and Hermione nude scene a little odd too (you know what I’m talking about if you have seen the film). The look of it is just bizarre.Yeah, I know it plays to Ron’s emotions, but I just felt dirty after seeing it.
And while I am totally being really detailed in my complaints, there were a few moments from the book that I wished had made it into the film. Namely, this is the interaction between Harry and Dudley (his cousin) at the beginning of the novel. In the book, the two cousins share a moment—and the reader is allowed to see that Dudley actually cares about Harry. It would have only taken a line or two in the film, and I wish it would have been included. Shouldn’t a few more of the supporting characters be able to show depth? Sigh. I think I will stop with the “what should or should not have been included” rant here (don’t even get me started on Grayback), or I will lose street cred. You know, being an avid Harry Potter fan isn’t as cool as you think it would be.
Cinematically speaking, a few scenes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows surprised me. Namely, I am referring to the animated section of the film– a retelling of a children’s tale. At first, I felt that it seemed a little out of place. However, as the story continued, I found myself strangely hooked. The animation style (that hearkens back to the use of shadow puppets and gave me flashbacks to The Adventures of Prince Achmed) was not only visually appealing, but I found it to really aid in the telling of the tale. Bravo.
Strangely enough, I was drawn to the wrong-doers of the film. I found some of the villains to be even more compelling than the heroes. Although it is only alluded to in the film, it seems that Draco Malfoy is torn—perhaps after he saw what Voldemort was capable of, he questions his loyalties. Also, as I tend to do, I found Jason Isaacs’ performance as Lucius Malfoy to be quite brilliant. He looks like a man who just escaped prison—and who has also been broken. Good show, chap.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite Harry Potter film– but, then again, the first half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows wasn’t my favorite part of Harry’s journey. It’s a bit slow, has a lot of camping, and the pace seems a bit off. However, it is well acted and I just can’t wait for The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. I felt like Part 1 was a good deal of set up for the next film—stuff is going down then! Will Harry defeat Voldemort? Can good triumph over evil? Will Hogwarts stop hiring murderous professors? All that and more in the exciting conclusion to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Same bat time, same bat place.
Netflix Queue: Yeah, it’s not in my queue yet, but it totally would have been. Let’s just call this a preemptive review and move on with our lives, shall we? 😉