Sunday, 29 January 2012

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Review

After seven movies, I've realized that Harry Potter isn't a real wizard.  He does not have a comical cone hat with stars and moons on it and he's never even said "presto changeo."  That's a spell that even the most basic of wizards would use let alone "open sesame" and "abracadabra."

Seriously though, it's hard to really review this one because it was planned as a part one movie.  So you know going in that there's going to be very few (if any) questions answered.  I believe they did two parts because it would be very difficult to cut anything out of the last book and still have a cohesive story.  The problem is that, if this one is any indication, there still isn't enough material in the book to make two full movies; especially if you want to make the movies more than two hours long.  It's a Catch-22.  There's too much for one movie but not enough for two.  So, what do you do?  You're kind of stuck making at least one of them a bit slow in its building up to a final climax.  In this one, there is way too much "wandering around" and doing nothing from the main characters.  In that, it's a lot like Valhalla Rising (a movie I can only describe as unbelievably boring).  Had they left out a lot of that and sped it up a bit, they could have had a very gripping 100-110 minute movie.

After watching almost all of these now, I've come to the conclusion that JK Rowling has some very strong political views.  In this one, there's a very real air of commentary on the evils of tyrannical oppression.  Like the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore a few movies ago, I got a real "Rebellion vs Empire" vibe from Star Wars.  Then, while the three kids are wandering around, there's a real Lord of the Rings feeling with the locket and its effects on the kids.  Add the "Top Gun" rivalry from the first movie and it's fairly obvious the Rowling is heavily influenced by other stories.  I'm not saying that it is a bad thing.  Everyone gets inspiration from somewhere.  After all, there's only about seven actually distinct stories in the world and everything is a variation of those.  I'm just saying that you will see this inspiration in the movie.

Everything else is much of the same.  The acting, effects and writing are similar to all of the others.  Performances are strong, effects are believable and the story takes too long to actually get moving.  It takes almost an hour to actually find out what the Deathly Hallows is.  Because this is just Part One, there is not big climax at the end wrapping up one story to further another along.

As a stand alone movie, I would recommend that you don't see it.  But I cannot talk about the story as a stand alone movie because, like the Lord of the Rings movies, you need to view this and Part Two as a whole rather than sequels.  While I haven't seen Part Two yet, looking at this one in the light of just the first half, I have to say See It.  Even though it gets a bit boring in spots, it's starting to answer questions and you can tell it is building to something big.

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