So there’s this movie that came out this week-end (November 19th 2010). I don’t know how many have heard of the Harry Potter series, but the first part of the two part last chapter in this apparently popular franchise has been released in theaters.
Okay, that’s enough of my week attempt at trying to make a stupid joke about not knowing about Harry Potter. Everyone has at least heard of this phenomenon and there are many people who are obsessed with the series. While I understand this to be true let me make it clear that I am someone who has never really gotten into the franchise all that much. Yes, I have seen all of the films. No I have not read the books. I started to read the first one when I was in, I think, the 5th grade, but lack of interest in what I was reading convinced me to discontinue the effort.
My point here is that I am reviewing this film as a person that is not completely biased in favor of the Harry Potter film franchise, nor do I have any quarrels with it (except for maybe the unfair comparisons it shares with the Lord of the Rings films. I really can’t say anything about the books because I’ve only read the Lord of the Rings ones, but the films are far superior to the Harry Potter franchise. I think the only reason they draw comparison though is because the first films were released at similar times and they both have fantasy elements).
The Deathly Hallows is the 7th film of the series. There were 7 books and there will be 8 films due to the fact that the 7th book was so long that it had to be split into two different parts for the film version. Although, I would have liked to see the studio release the second part on Christmas, I understand that due to the mass amounts of money these films make, it is the smart financial move to make more money with the summer release of the final final chapter.
Now to my thoughts on part I. My initial view of the film is that it is indeed quite entertaining, even if it is slow at times and drags. It’s a little bit uneven with it’s pacing and seems to dwell on certain things that don’t matter quite as much as others for too long. The more I think about it, the more I feel like a certain part involving a snake was a little bit tiresome and unnecessary, even though it was pretty cool. Also, just to be noted, I hate snakes.
What’s truly different about this film compared to the others is the focus on the three main characters. In each of the past films, something that I’ve noticed is that there is always a performance from an older, more established actor that stands out. Whether it’s Alan Rickman for playing Severus Snape or Gary Oldman for playing Sirius Black, there was always someone who stood out that wasn’t one of the main three, that being Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint). Even Ralph Fiennes isn’t really in this film all that much, which I assume will change for the last installment.
This time it’s completely different, as most of the time is focused on the three young actors, and the standout of the three is Emma Watson as Hermione. She carries herself very well in the role, as that character has a strong front and is afraid to show vulnerability yet that vulnerability is slowly showing itself. I noticed her performance more in this segment than any of the others. She also looks like she’s not as grown up as the other two so I think she will develop more and have a better chance at having a career outside of this franchise than the other two. Let’s face it, Daniel Radcliffe will never be known for anything except being Harry Potter. I don’t feel bad for him either, because I’m sure he has plenty of money from these films.
Overall, the film is very well done and the dark and dreary tone set in the film is really what drives it, which makes the comparison of the Empire Strikes Back legitimate. Although I’m not going to say this would be a sequel at that same level. I think many people, especially if they haven’t seen the other films first, will get a little confused as to what is actually happening in the movie. Heck, I’ll admit that I was a little perplexed at times because of the shear volume of characters that were included in the film and I have seen all of the films and feel like I paid proper attention to them.
Really, what this film is is actually only half of one film. So, it’s a little tough to judge this as one movie. I don’t think as a stand alone film this is a great film by any means. It’s an adequate installment and will probably be looked at more favorably after the second half is released. But, it is quite good and, come to think of it, it doesn’t really matter what I say because people are going to see this film and absolutely love it no matter what. I must mention though that the ending to this film isn’t quite the payoff that one would expect, even if most people know that this is only half of the story.
My Rating: 7.2 out of 10