Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

Let me just start by saying I have not read any of the Harry Potter books, and do not intend to read any of them until all the movies are made. I made this choice all the way back when the first movie was released because I wanted to go into each movie fresh and without expecting anything. Because of this, I do not have to worry about sitting in the theater comparing the books to the movies.

The latest tale of the bespectled young man and his friends offers a first for me in reviewing movies: its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. By deciding to split the final saga up over two movies, Warner Brothers is counting on the casual fan of the series (like me) to overlook the fact that nothing really happens in this movie. Part 1 is a narrative tale, and nothing more. It is, however, one of the best narrative tales I have ever seen. By deciding to concentrate so much on the “how and why” of what is happening in the story, the director (David Yates) is able to take the view through a stunning visual journey.

The scenery and camera work in this movie are like nothing you have seen in the franchise. Even though the film is light on action (and I do mean LIGHT), you are still captivated by what you are watching onscreen. One reason for this is Daniel Radcliff. He is no longer the goofy twelve year old who started the franchise as the cute little kid on screen. He is now a true actor. Every movement and facial expression he makes is with purpose. While I used to believe he is one of the weak points of the previous films, he now carries this franchise. And once again, you have to believe that he can, because the normally strong supporting cast around him in the other films is not present here. Yes, you still have Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as his partners tasked with searching for the keys to destroying he who shall not be named, but outside of that, the supporting cast is pretty weak.

And thus is the greatness / problem with the movie. Every critism you can lay on it is always one of the reasons it is so good. It would have been nice to surround the three with a stronger supporting cast, but in doing so, Yates would have taken away from the personal interaction the audience feels for them on their journey. More action would been good to see, but it would have taken away from the background needed to understand why Harry and his friends are doing what they are doing. It is hard to tear down something with “what if they would have done this instead” when what Warner Brothers has been on the screen is so enjoyable.

Thus, my problem with rating this movie. As a stand alone piece, it ranks towards the bottom on my list of the films in this franchise, because it really is an unfiinshed movie. Imagine watching only half of any of the Lord Of The Rings movies. That is the feeling you have when walking out of the theater. However, when you look at the film as a piece of the whole story, it is one probably right behind Order of the Phoenix as one of my favorites in the series. Because we finally seen actors act, and finally have the franchise in the hands of a director that knows what to do with it.

This is a strong 3.5 out of 5 for me, and this rating could be raised based on how Part 2 turns out.


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