Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1

The seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series wasn't as long as, for instance, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but it was significant enough that the producers felt it needed to be broken into two films. Having now seen the first part, I'm not entirely certain I agree.

Deathly Hallows part 1 wasn't a bad movie. It was largely true to the book, which is nice, since most of the movies cut out huge chunks of their respective novels and occasionally add in something completely new (such as with the attack on The Burrow in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). It was really slow in parts, however. I'm not sure if that could have been helped, but, for instance, there's an extended series of scenes where Harry and his chums are living out in the wilderness. In the books, there's quite a bit going on to build and maintain dramatic tension in those scenes, but they're largely internal in nature - emotional stuff as the trio deals with their feelings and struggles to figure out what to do next. None of that worked well on the screen.

That said, it was a fun film to watch and it isn't as if I didn't enjoy it. It's just that it felt very much like half a movie, despite being two and a half hours long. It didn't help, I'm sure, that the trailer(s) I had seen for the movie were apparently based on both halves, so some of the scenes I expected to see at Hogwarts and elsewhere must be due in the second film (or else were cut entirely, which would be a shame).

I'm sure when all eight films are out, the first half of Deathly Hallows will fit in well as part of the overall story. What I doubt is that anyone will be inclined to say, "Deathly Hallows part 1 is my favorite movie of the series." It's easily eclipsed by most of the other films, with the possible exception of Half-Blood Prince, which I don't particularly love and which I don't feel did a very good job of bringing its eponymous novel to the screen.

I'm hoping that there actually was enough in the whole of Deathly Hallows from which to make two full, quite lengthy movies, and that Part 2 ends up being a smash. My concern is that in order to fit the runtime they were aiming for, that the really exciting stuff got dribbled out over two over-long movies instead of truly catching fire in either of them. I suppose we'll find out in July.

For now, all we have is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - a key piece of the overall Harry Potter puzzle and a reasonably entertaining film, but not anything that stands well on its own merits. I might feel differently after a second viewing, but my first impression was that it deserves a B- at best.

No comments:

Post a Comment