Sunday, February 6, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

Following the gradual dark and moody setting from previous installments, HP7 has Harry and his two compadr├ęs go on the run from Voldemort, as his Death Eaters infiltrate the Ministry of Magic and the good guys go into hiding.

The final Potter book gets the two-movie treatment. So how does it fare compared to the previous movies?

Pretty well, actually.

HP7 presumes that you have just read / re-read Book 7, and jumps into the storyline. Gone are updates and gentle reminders on the events that have happened, gone are naming spells before casting them, no more introductions to new characters (with the exception of Bill Weasley and Xenophilius Lovegood), very little deviation from the source material... in other words, this movie is a purist's dream come true.

My dream come true, in fact. But I'll digress.

Unfortunately for those who have not read the book, the movie might seem like two-plus hours of nothing absolutely happening. Part 1 focuses on the conflicts between our trio, with Ron taking off midway through the movie, and though faithful to the book, most of the screen time is spent on staring pensively at lovely landscapes and visiting people.

Kind of a treasure hunt-type movie, really, except that in Part 1, nothing was really found.

One scene that really got to me was at the beginning, when Hermione wiped her parents' memories so that they could be safe while she's out fighting bad guys. It added to the gravity of the situation for our heroes, and also in a subtle way, told us that this is no longer a kid's show anymore, that it's evolved towards heavier material, dire grown-up stuff.

Though I believe that this will only sink in on some, when in Part 2, we will see a crapton of familiar faces die. But that's really depending on which actors make it to the final movie. Probably everyone, though.


[Except Bill Nighy.]

Anyway, one scene that was made longer (probably to pack a more emotional punch) was Dobby's death, near the end of Part 1. The emotional effect was definitely delivered; however, extending that scene made it look like nobody wanted to save poor Dobby, instead just hanging about, shaking their heads, looking tearful. It was quite awful, and I feel that Dobby deserved a heck lot more than that, despite him not having much screen time in the movies. I guess my emotional attachment's developed from the books.

A far, far better adaptation compared to the previous ones, though some changes/additions were really unnecessary. Like that dancing scene between Harry and Hermione which went on for five minutes. What the hell, man. Absolutely pointless.

Between 6.5–7 / 10, for I'm undecided.