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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Movie Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I

So the movies are finally at the final stage of the series and the producers have deemed it necessary to split up the doorstop of a finale into two parts. Though that idea may seem a bit odd to fans who are not readers of the novels(They DO exist. I am related to some sadly), the adaptation of the seventh book really benefited a lot from this decision. I only deem the first two movies to be good adaptations of the novels and thought the two after were terribly off the mark. I didn’t even try to watch the fifth and sixth movies knowing their difficult length and literary density couldn’t be properly adapted even with 3 hours of time. That having been said, I am quite pleased to add the first part of finale to the list of movie adaptations I am satisfied with.

Usually I go through the synopsis of the movie or make some vague, relevant and hopefully witty snarking at its ridiculousness but I really shouldn’t have to bother with it this time. Anyone who actually requires me to recap what’s going on in this movie should go crawl back into the cave they live in and smash the final Harry Potter novel they have yet to read. Seriously, if you have to ask then this movie just isn’t for you.

Now for me to heap praises unto this movie and ignore whatever tiny insignificant scrap of dissatisfaction I may or may not have had about the movie. That’s not because I’m a fanboy of the series but rather because my memory tends to be very faulty when I try recalling those tiny, insignificant scraps of dissatisfaction are. Big ones are easy, small ones are not and my review happens to be based on its score as an adaptation rather a standalone movie so it is quite skewed here. Essentially, I consider to be a very well done adaptation that stripped down the story of its superfluous details and scenes and focused on the experiences that the trio go through. I personally didn’t mind that they left out Lupin’s visit to the Black house or that the new minister wasn’t as badass as he was in the books since spending precious time on secondary characters would only waste it. They also expanded certain scenes and moved them around in ways that actually helped keep the movie from dragging along as well as build up the first part as a prologue to the much more exciting latter half of the finale.

My favorite part of the movie was the whole animated segment with The Three Brothers tale since they changed from a lackluster bit of exposition by some guy to an enchantingly illustrated fairy tale that they threw at the end to set up the plot central magic artifacts of the finale. Put this together with the final scene of Voldemort finding the Elder Wand and shooting a pillar of lightning into the sky at the end and you have a very good cliffhanger to end on. I also liked that dance scene between Harry and Hermione they put in since it was perfect for conveying just how much the events of the movie have affected them in spite the fact that it was never in the book. I found it to be a very nice touch on the director’s part and has me looking forward to part two even more because of it. The fact that it seemed to be a jab directed at the HarryxHermione shippers also helped me appreciate the scene even more considering how oblivious you’d have to be to miss the obvious intention the author had with their relationship.

All in all it was very faithful and very well executed adaptation of the finale’s first part. No major flaws for fans like myself to shake their heads or fists at and very understandable changes that just made the movie experience stronger. I could scarcely believe how it stacks up in terms of ratings on rotten tomatoes but my guess is that a sizeable portion of the reviewers aren’t readers of the novels. Maybe it does seem weaker in comparison as a standalone movie but as an adaptation of what will no doubt be a classic for generations to come, it is exactly what I have been waiting for.

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