Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I *SPOILERS*


     Just came back from the midnight showing of HP7 part 1 and I wanted to jot down some quick thoughts about it.  More movie reviews to come shortly since I've watched quite a few movies in the last few weeks but just haven't had time to write up things about it.  Overall, HP7 was all right.  It was a faithful adaptation of the book-I could find myself retracing the book chapter by chapter, but it didn't blow me away and it didn't add anything new to what was already in the books.  HP7 seemed to lack heart, unlike the first part of the book which was actually so full of feeling and emotion that it's a pity the movie didn't take advantage of that.  It's not critical to the plot but I just remember how heartbreaking it was to read that letter Lily wrote to Sirius, thanking him for Harry giving him his very first broom and Kreacher's story of how RAB stayed in the cave and commanded Kreacher to go home with the locket.  I'd also hoped that they'd given us more glimpses of hope like the people writing notes to Harry along Godric's Hallow and since they had Ron listening to the radio that we'd at least get a few glimpses of the radio broadcast that the Weasley twins made to give hope to the Resistance.  I keep thinking back to the 6th movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which was such a strong adaptation, where not only did it make the plot more coherent intersplicing Draco's story with Harry's, but it took out weaker parts of the book and made them more stronger somehow.  The raising of the wands to clear out the dark mark (such a beautiful scene) instead of an elaborate funeral for Dumbledore and Hermione and Harry talking about what it's like to have the person they love like someone else come to mind.
     I was excited to see that at the beginning they show Hermione casting the oblivation charm on her parents but was mildly disappointed that we didn't get to see Harry's last good bye to the Dursleys, which in the book was flawless.  I couldn't imagine really how Rowling could have handled their last good bye b/c although they've never liked each other, they're still family at the end of the day and she captures that sentiment well.    The gathering of the 7 potters was funny, one of the few lighter moments in the film and it's interesting which characters are well cast and which characters I pictured vastly differently in my head.  Hagrid, McGonagall, Luna, Fred and George, and Snape - I don't really question b/c they fit the roles so well.  On the other hand, Mad Eye and Voldemort...they were vastly different in my head but the actors do such a good job of portraying them that I don't question their interpretations of the characters.  In particular, I always had a hard time picturing how someone with a soft-spoken, high-pitched voice could be terrifying and Ralph Fiennes does a fantastic job with that role.  Weaker characters include Shacklebolt (who I had hoped would be more Mace Windu-like), Lupin, and Tonks.
     Finally, some quick thoughts on the movie:
-The director does such a good job with ghostly images.  I liked the ghost of Dumbledore and the dementors but I was disappointed with the Bathilda Bagshot scene- her whole house and how it smelled like death and when she melts into Nagini is one of the creepiest images in the HP series and it wasn't very creepy at all in the movie.
-I still can't decide if I liked how they used animation to do the Tale of the Three Brothers.  It's a fine tale and I liked the haunting illustrations but I wonder if it should have been at the beginning of the movie before they cut to Harry to really establish this tone that the end of the series is about death.
-I was not ever a big fan of Harry and Ginny's romance in the books, since Ginny, as a character really wasn't well developed so I enjoyed how brief and to the point their moment was in the movie...but again, I feel like the movie missed it's opportunity to really make the movie more emotional.  As much as I wasn't a big fan of Ginny/Harry, I did like how he'd stay up and look at her dot on the Maruder's map.  
-The Harry and Hermione dance scene was painfully awkward.  And while I appreciated the movie trying to give a lighter edge to some pretty dark moments camping, it didn't really come across that way.  But I do appreciate how Daniel Radcliffe does such a good job of portraying Harry's overall awkwardness.

     Overall, I'm looking forward to the last movie and hoping that they make that last battle absolutely epic.  I'm hoping that they fill in areas of the book that we didn't get to see like getting more glimpses of what Hogwarts was like during Harry's 7th year.

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