Menu

user avatar

Does Potter Live Up to the Hype? (Spoilers (if you didn’t read the book))

To the delight of many an inner-child, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released last week. I was there bright and early on Sunday to add my $5 to the $124,999,994 shelled out to see this movie over the weekend. After the twenty minutes of previews, I’m pretty sure I heard someone squeal with glee (It may have been me, but there is no irrefutable evidence) as the Warner Brothers logo appeared on the screen to the sounds of the music familiar to fans of the cinematic adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s tales of wizardry.

The film opens on a close-up on the eyes of the much loved Bill Nighy who plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the new minister of magic who tells the world within the film what we already know, Voldemort is not only back, but is regaining some of his former power. We then cut to Harry and Hermione saying goodbye to their respective families (try not to shed a tear during some of the Hermione scenes) as Ron prepares for the upcoming events. The three main characters have really grown-up, especially in comparison to the first Harry Potter film. They have also become better actors over the years as well.

While this is happening, Snape goes to Voldemort to inform him of the date that Harry is to be moved, their best chance to kill Potter and as a bonus, some of the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort makes it very clear that he needs to be the one to kill Harry, but anyone else around is fair game.

The plan to move Harry includes poly-juice potion, several other people and the members of The Order. Thanks to the treachery of Snape’s actions, The Order is attacked almost immediately. If you’re familiar with the book, you know what happens at this point. Suffice to say that the film deals with the major plot points of the next scene with little fanfare, almost treating them as an afterthought.

Some of the action scenes in Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows are intense and I think they were spaced well. I wished for a bit more action, but I think they are saving quite a bit of action for Part 2. I have a feeling that most that read this will have seen the prior films. Of those that have seen the prior films, most either love them or feel that too much was cut from the books for their adaptation. If you’ve enjoyed the films thus far, I am confident that you will enjoy this one. This one is darker and seems grittier than prior installments.

I like how this film focuses on the character of Harry, not just what happens to him and it makes him more complex than prior films. The film is pretty long at 146 minutes, so some younger viewers may not be able to hold out. It is rated PG-13 and earns its rating in violence and an image of hot evil Hermione and Harry. You’ll know it when you see it.

The franchise has done well in keeping David Yates as the director. I think he has grown with each installment he has directed. It is hard not to look at this film as a two-hour and twenty one minute ad for the final film, but each one leads toward the end of the Potter saga.

Harry, Hermione and Ron spend most of the film looking for the remaining horcruxes and trying to figure out a way to destroy them. They also learn what The Deathly Hallows are in a wonderfully animated sequence. The end of the film doesn’t feel like a cliff-hanger, although my first thought when the credits began to roll was to count the number of months until we get to see the end of this series (currently scheduled for mid July, 2011). The final shot has great effects and hints at the probability of a high action finale.

My final note on this film is a single word – Dobby. There’s a reason he was trending on Twitter for several days. Once referred to as the Jar-Jar of Harry Potter, I liked his role in this film for more than just some light comic relief.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a film that delivers what it promises. It is not pretending to be something it is not and for fans of the past Potters, you will enjoy this, I’ll bet my invisibility cloak on it.

How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I’d easily pay $9, although, I would prefer to see it again right before I watch Part 2.

Jay Fralick is the co-host of The Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast

Follow me on Twitter

Related Posts
Related Posts

13 comments

  • I feel like this film has been the best of the HP adaptations, at least since the second (mainly because of what they left in this one and how they kept the film true to the feeling of the book). The only problem was that they cut out the image that sums up not only the message of the books but the wonderfulness that is Luna Lovegood: her ceiling. The only thing I cared about seeing in the Lovegood house (okay, well, that and the plot-related stuff) was not included.

    Otherwise a great film and a great adaptation. I just hope the ceiling is in the effing cut scenes or something when the DVD comes out.

  • I re-read the book after seeing the movie a second time, and I really liked how closely some of the scenes were. Yes, they cut the Dursleys leaving, and some encounters while on the run, plus shuffled that ending scene forward a bit, but there was one scene which really stood out.

    When Ron got splinched, that scene was EXACTLY line for line what happened in the book: actions, words, everything. I smiled when I reached that part in the book during the re-read, since I hadn’t read it since ’07 when it came out.

    I was happy.

  • Tried to read the whole review but I got distracted when you said “hot evil Hermione”. Actually, I’m not entirely sure what the words were before that either.

  • ZOMG! when you said “I’ll bet my invisibility cloak on it.” that’s what Harry said in the first book which i am re reading.. what he bet it on though he would have lost..

  • Ok, true to the book, almost to a fault, no one is ever going to be satisfied either way. But two things that weren’t mentioned were the score and the cinematography.
    The score, was forgettable; Bland and uninteresting. I say this compared to the score in the 6th film, which was by far the best so far. Once I looked up the composers for both, I realized the difference. It wasn’t BAD, but nothing memorable.

    The same was said, in my opinion, about the cinematography. Bland and uninteresting, and downright sloppy. If you take a look at certain scenes, Harry’s Dance with Hermione, and also Ron’s first confrontation with Harry, you’ll notice very grainy zoomed in looking film, and that’s exactly what you’re seeing. The cinematographer didn’t cover the scenes properly on set and they ended up having to zoom in on pre-composed shots meant for something else. Next time you watch it, you’ll notice. For a DP of this kind of film to make mistakes in coverage, that’s inexcusable. Other scenes have similar problems where they will throw in lines through ADR afterward to try and bridge missing unshot pieces. After Ron confronts Harry and heads back to the house before the wedding, there’s a big chunk in there, and a few other scattered throughout the rest of the film.

    Was it a good film? Yeah, it was OK, but if they had spent a little more time on the details, it could have been amazing.

    Oh and yates, if you’re reading this. Fire your composer for the next one. It’s not too late. You can fix that in post.

  • @Wesley Marshall
    As far as I can remember, there was more about the Dursleys leaving (and a bit about Dudley thanking Harry that I would love to have seen). Also, we know a little more about Dumbledore’s past by now. And there’s a chapter with Griphook on the run, but we’ll probably get that and more about Harry’s wand acting on its own as the start of the next film.

  • Waiting for a babysitter….

    I am quite angry about the delay in release. I also think they’d do better releasing them in rapid succession, creating a huge influx of business for the theaters when the economy needs it most. Now they have to wait longer for their investment to pay off, and the (albeit slim) chance some random event taints an actor or stains the storyline somehow. I’ll see it as soon as I can, which may be MONTHS at this point. GRRRRR.

  • For the most part, I enjoyed this movie. Having not read the book, I felt that a lot of time was spent on the ‘camping’ scenes. Once they got the real necklace, it seemed like a lot of moping around. Hermione seemed to read a lot and Harry just seemed to stare at the little golden ball. Then, all of a sudden, they realized how they could destroy the necklace if only they had the sword. Then, more moping. I never got the feeling they did anything other than sitting around all depressed.

  • So, I’ve read all 7 books. And the movies have been good. The first two I felt were spot on to the book. But 3-6 I felt they changed to much. And after seeing this new one I thought they were pretty faithful to the book. And I felt the things they did cut out weren’t that bad. But I haven’t read the 7th books since it came out almost 4 years ago. So, my question is, were they as faithful to the book as I thought they were?

  • I really appreciated the slow pace of this one. It took its time to create atmosphere and show more of what was going on in the character’s heads, and didn’t have to rush through any important plot points. Overall I thought it was the most comprehensive of all the potter films.