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Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt.1 - Movie Review by A.D.Harris

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There was always a lot riding on Harry Potter, movie seven. And I do kind of feel it was even more the case when the studio decided that part seven would in fact be only half; another money making part eight would be coming in 2011. It is a tricky thing taking the complete narrative that is 'The Deathly Hallows' and giving it enough structure to satisfy as a whole when you rip it in half. We are paying our money to watch a chapter of the franchise... For example, Lord of the Rings worked well at structuring the movies into three separate parts, each felt complete yet there was more to be told. Pirates of the Caribbean is an example of the opposite, in that 'Dead Man's Chest' felt very un-satisfying, it was all tease but there was nothing to it bar scenes.
I feel that Harry Potter seven pt.one fits very nicely into the middle of this, it was not as warm and cosy as LOTR, but the screen-writers had clearly tried to provide us with enough structure for this to feel like a book-ended part of the Harry Potter story.
This was the film that, for once, really decided to focus on the threesome. The critical success of HP7 was all on the shoulders of Harry, Ron and Hermione. This time there was no help from Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman or Jim Broadbent to take the spotlight on the scenes they were in. This was: wooded area, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. They had to up their A-game. The pleasing news was that Radcliffe and Watson especially really pulled out the stops, Potter and Granger were never so vivid on screen, they were helped by the strongest script to date, the direction of the movie wisely choosing a 'less is more' approach to both characters. I lost count of how many times there were scenes with no words. The highlight was a scene not in the book where Harry & Hermione dance inside the tent; a genius touch that showed more about their friendship than it ever has before. It may have taken six and a half movies, but the creative team finally 'got' Harry and Hermione, and the characters shone as a result. Think back to HP1, when everything was so wordy ("Hagrid....Is that?...An Egg?"), and then watch the scenes in the forest from HP7. It's a different class. This was probably helped by returning (for the fourth time) director David Yates; he should by now know these characters. And he does! Sadly though, Ron was left behind, his character felt the same as ever, nowhere near the development his co-stars had: just a comic foil and a moody child. Rupert Grint put his all into it, and there's no doubt he's improved over the years, but I felt Ron was disappointingly created and then portrayed on screen. I preferred the section of the film when he wasn't there, and that's a first!
The movie definitely was clearly divided into three act, the first a frenetic mash up of a world where it is finally clear how 'muggles' and wizards live side by side, two worlds colliding; with favourites from films gone by getting there 'minute of spotlight' before the curtain falls.
Brendan Gleeson reminds us how much better he made 'The Goblet of Fire', in a very funny scene as Harry leaves Privet Drive for the last time, Alan Rickman gets nothing more than one scene, and he isn't even the main focus, but still oozed even 'Snape-ism' he could; something part two will have in it's favour is much more Snape. Ralph Fiennes probably had the most to do out of the supporting characters, and did it with finesse; etching out Voldemort more than he has been before.
Yet other characters were shunned, The Dursley's storyline was horrendously played out, three such important characters in Harry's life deserved more closer, Mad-Eye himself forgotten all too quickly. That being said, the first act was the time for the big-guns to come out in full force, and they did, and it was the strongest act as a result, packing the most amount of 'star acting' seems something the HP films have always excelled at.
The second act slowed the action down, and as I mentioned before, fleshed out Harry and Hermione expertly. At times though, it was a little slow and meandering in no direction. For a book that the studio claimed would not work as one movie, there were times I felt that, bizarrely, parts of the second act actually had to be slowed down. Also a scene in the Ministry of Magic, whilst hugely fun on page worked less well, as the 'Polyjuice Potion' which makes its drinkers change appearance meant we watched a long set-piece with actors we had never seen before.
The third act kicked into gear again, as we hit the climax in Malfoy Manor. This was the part of the movie which let all that had gone before it down. Much like 'The Half Blood Prince', the epic scale of the franchise hasn't translated into an epic climax all that often, it was no where near as fun, tense or exciting as I had hoped. Bizarrely the book with the least action 'The Order of the Pheonix', packed the franchises strongest climax. 'Deathly Hallows pt.one' kind of flickered to a close, a major death of a character also felt clumsy and lacked the emotion it was trying to get out.
It could have been so much more, but instead almost was too scared to go big through fear of dwarfing its 'part. two' brother come next July. The final scene, a message that Voldemort is ready for unleashing some serious 'Wizarding-Shit' in 2011, big style, provoked much more excitement for me, Fiennes K'O-ing a scene where he is acting alone.
So overall, it was a strong entry. For me though, it wasn't the best, too focused at times on waiting for part. two that it didn't reach enough heights. Acting and Character wise though, Radcliffe and Watson knocked it out of the park, and it made 'Deathly Hallows part.one' all the better for it. Give me some more Snape, and some more exciting peaks of action and excitement, and I'm sure all will be forgiven by the end of summer 2011...



taken from: http://theadamharris.blogspot.com/

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