I have an odd relationship with the Harry Potter series. I started reading them the year before the fourth book came out, quite obsessively too. Then I got to the fourth one, and it let me down. Yet I was still excited to read the next one. I wanted to know how this epic (at the time) story continued. After long last the fifth book was released, and my reaction was utter disapointment. I was so let down that the sixth book came and went without my even noticing. Not that I really needed to read the sixth one, everybody was screaming to the heavens: “Snape kills Dumbledore!” Yet I still didn’t care. Everyone was so confused: has Snape really been this evil from the start, or is this all part of some master plan? I could feel in my gut that Snape would be revealed to have been a good guy all along.
Finally, the seventh and final book came out, and I decided to read it. More as a ceremonial thing, really. I just wanted to be able to be finished with it. And what do you know: I was not only right about Snape, but the book had completely reinstated my interest in the series. Now, I don’t feel bad about spoiling that little surprise because: a. Everyone and their dog has read the books already, and b. if they haven’t, they probably aren’t going to care.
So now we have the first part of what is to be the epic two-part finale of the series… forever. It certainly does feel bittersweet. I mean, for longest time I’ve always had the Harry Potter films going on in the background of my daily life. This is something that the world has been waiting for, and I can’t help but wonder what it might be like once it is (probably not all that different).
I haven’t really liked any of the HP movies except for number 3. The rest were still fun to watch, but I felt the third was the only one that had true artistic merit. Now I feel that there is finally a companion to the quality of Prisoner of Azkaban.
I might be jumping the gun, but I’d wager that this installment has less special effects than any of the others. There is very little time spent in recognizable places, and sometimes has the feeling of an art film instead of the massive blockbuster that it is. This is interesting because the film turns out to be much more of a character driven film than any of the other previous installments. What may be most interesting about the film is where we see the performances of the lead characters go. I’ve grown up alongside these performers, and it’s interesting to think back to the earlier films and see just how far they’ve come along.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows strikes a completely different chord with the audience than any of the previous films. Particularly in it’s pacing. The films between this one and the third have been incredibly rushed, running from one action scene to the next with minimal character development. With the decision to split this final chapter into two films, this has allowed the story to be properly developed and unfolded. We finally get to truly understand the characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
It was particularly interesting to see more of Ron and Hermione. I know that sounds strange, but we seem to have only ever glimpsed them from the surface. In this we finally come to understand the relationship between all three friends. Harry: with his uncompromising sense of responsibility is finally having to undergo a truly dangerous mission. Hermione: coming to terms with her true feelings for both Harry and Ron. And Ron: finally facing the intimidation he’s always felt being in the shadow of his best friend, the famous and “legendary” Harry Potter.
The more memorable scenes come from these problems. One in which we see that while Harry and Hermione will always care for one another, they can only ever be friends. Another forces Ron to face his relationship with Hermione, seeing visions of her and Harry mocking his insignificance and incompetence. Both these scenes are almost polar opposites: the former being quite charming and somewhat lighthearted, while the latter is possibly the darkest in the entire film.
As should be expected, most of the film is dark. This is the end, after all. And by the end we may have just lost all hope entirely, conveniently to be picked up in the next installment six months from now. Really, the only problem I really have is that the studio decided to split the story in two. They did it for one reason only: money. I’d be willing to wager that they could have released both parts in theaters at over four hours in length and fans still would have gone to see it (I actually heard people in the audience groaning as the end credits came up). I mean, Gone With the Wind is four hours long, it wasn’t released in two parts!
But you don’t need me to tell you to go out and see it anyway. Either way, pretty much everybody has made up their minds on the Harry Potter series. However, I do heartily recommend this penultimate entry in this fantastic series.
Production Value: 8
Entertainment Value: 9
Overall Value: 8.5
My take on Harry Potter 7-part-1
I mostly agree with Andy. The pacing was a LOT slower than any of the other movies. I would even go as far as to say it is slower than the first two which included almost all book details and then some, but this time it was totally fitting. I see this film to be to build up, the momentum for the second film. And if you would have been in the theater with me you would agree that this is exactly the effect it achieved with its audience. I would wager that everyone in the audience let out a gasp or moan when the screen went black after Voldemort sent a giant light into the sky and one of the most tragic deaths occured… even though it was a secondary character, it was tragic. Don’t judge me. The only discrepensy that I really noticed was the scene with Hagrid and Harry when they transport him to the Burrow. That was my only “that’s not how it really happened” moments. Also, we see a lot of stripping by Daniel Ratcliff. Hello abs. I praise this film for the increase in comedy integrated into the seriousness of the world being taken over by the darkest wizard…ever. I love a movie that could make me crack up and cry, seriously, I do.
I also agree with Andy when he says most people have made up their minds about this series. Either people are going to see it or they don’t care (although they should). This film far outperforms the sixth movie. I was thoroughly disappointed with The Halfblood Prince. To be fair, to satisfy me when turning that book into a film, I would want a 4 hour film or two films as well with all the details in that installment.
One of my friends described the 7th book as the camping trip from hell. To a degree, that is exactly what this film looks like. However, the detail the director puts on the characters takes our minds off the scenery (no beautiful castle to look at anymore) and directs us more toward the actual story, the characterization and the adventure instead of really, the magic. This film really starts letting the audience relate to the characters, and that is why I think this will be one of the more successful films. Part 2 will be extremely action packed, so yeah it will be awesome to watch, but the character development will probably be at a low for that one.
So, your opinion. Camping trip from hell or character-building genius??? Let us know.