Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Initial Attraction: First of all, I am a humongous Harry Potter fanatic, so I am totally bias toward the book and would gladly watch 5 hour films that squeezed in every single Potter detail on every one of  Rowling's pages.
Thoughts: The beginning was very interesting, it was strange and heartbreaking to see Hermione at home with her family, but I did enjoy it, it did set the tone of for the rest of the film (depressing).

The first thing that I missed right away was not seeing the emotional scene with Harry and Dudley where Dudley actually expresses his concern for Harry's safety and the Dursley's are shown to be taken to a safe place by goody wizard officials.

I was surprised how frightened I actually was by Snape and the rest of the Death Eaters in the first scene. Charity Burbage's death was much more graphic and frightening than it is in the book, and I was happy to hear the word-for-word dialogue used from the book. Alan Rickman has such an enormous presence even when he doesn't utter one word...awesome scene.

This part was absolutely hilarious, but I wish they spoke clearer I had a hard time catching all of the dialogue in this scene and I know that there are some funny bits that I missed (can't wait for DVD subtitles). I wasn't pleased with Andy Linden who they cast for Mundungus Fletcher. He did not have the right look, he wasn't old enough and he reminded me of a greasy Italian bueno.

It was pretty epic to see Daniel Radcliffe in a bra though!

The shots of the Death Eaters chasing Harry and Hagrid on the ground were exhilarating no doubt about it, but I don't think they were necessary, I would have rather seen more than a whoosh of a glance at the rest of the "Harry's" with their partners in the air trying to fend off the Death Eaters.

Since I missed the whole scene where Harry and Lupin go at it when the trio is staying at Grimmauld Place, I was happy to get this little tid bit of conflict from the two of them. David Thewlis is so great as Lupin, I would have loved to see more of him.

Another missing piece of the movie (literally) was George's ear. HE STILL HAD HIS EAR, his "holy" joke did not make sense at all...and no one even made a big deal about Hedwig or Mad Eye Moody's death. shocked me when Ginny had Harry zip up her dress...sexual much? That was pretty intense for a Harry Potter film...They have completely ruined the Harry/ Ginny romance in these films in my opinion. Their romantic moment and kiss was equally underwhelming and inaccurate in the 6th film as this one. The scene in the book where she pulls him into her bedroom and confesses that she knows that he has to leave without her and wants to give him a birthday present and something to remember her by and proceeds to kiss him is much more intimate and touching. They have not established that HE IS IN LOVE WITH HER! They never even made the point that he has to "break it off" with her to keep her safe, but in HP 6 they really never started a relationship anyway...

I liked Bill Nighy as Scrimgeour, but his voice is so synonymous with Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean, he came off a bit comical to me. The presentation of Dumbledore's will was all well and good, but he seemed a bit too nice and easy going.

The wedding party scene was good, but it was all over too fast and I missed Victor Krum being there. I didn't mind that Harry was himself and not disguised like in the book though.

I loved every second during the Ministry scenes, they were funny, interesting, exciting, and well executed. It was my favorite "part" or sequence of scenes in the Part 1 portion. Those Dementors scared the crap out of me!

All three of the main actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint upped their game and gave really high quality performances. Watson's desperation in this scene shown above was particularly impressive and realistic and the blood was quite graphic for Harry Potter.

The film lagged for me in places where the trio was wandering around strange locations in the countryside. I suppose it mirrors the trio's frustration in not being able to accomplish anything at first though. Ron's leaving scene is the best acting I have seen out of Grint and he was incredibly believable and impressive. I think they could have traded in some of those bizarre location shots for some more cohesive plot content though.

I was very pleased with the scenes in Godric's Hollow especially when Harry goes to visit his parents graves, it would have been great to see the statue of them that is in the book and all the messages people had written on his ruined house, but they were cuts I understood. Bathilda Bagshot was incredibly creepy and I was finding myself curling into a fetal position in anticipation of Nagini bursting out of her, great effects there.

However, I didn't understand why Harry burst into another room which looked to be a child's room and why such a room would have existed in Bathilda's house. I felt that it was a lighting cheat so that we could see the scene and the snake better, but the entrance into this brightly colored room made the snake much less scary and easier to see, and therefore not as surprising and scary.

I also missed Voldemort arriving at Bathilda's house and Harry and Hermione's narrow escape, that part was so exciting in the book and it would have only taken a minute more of screen time to show it.

I really enjoyed the scene where Harry tries to cheer up Hermione by getting her to dance with him, it was very cute and I really saw a lot of Daniel Radcliffe's fun personality creeping through into his character. I do think that it seemed rather intimate for a Harry/ Hermione moment and probably gave H/Hr shippers some false hope (which they will no doubt develop further into naughty Fanfiction OneShots) but it was an enjoyable addition to lighten the mood in this overall depressing film.

Another change or rather embellishment that I really loved was how EPIC the opening of the R.A.B. Horcrux locket was. All the faces and images that were in that massive, morphing cloud were gorgeous and the demon-esque Harry/ Hermione figures were very impressive (and may I say quite sexy when they were nude and kissing). Radcliffe and Watson apparently had their skin painted silver to achieve the look.

I wasn't pleased with Xenophilius Lovegood played by Rhys Ifans, he had the eccentric and awkwardness down, but he was missing his pleasant dreamy quality that is so like his daughter Luna (played to perfection even in her blip of screen time by Evanna Lynch).

The stinging jinx put on Harry gave props to the makeup department and I loved all the interaction at Malfoy Manor (again Watson was a standout). Ron wasn't nearly upset enough though when he and Harry were trapped in the cellar with Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook. Again, I cannot believe that the filmmakers just left Wormtail on the steps as if he had been knocked out, his death in the book is pivotal and incredibly moving.

Dobby's death was incredibly heartbreaking and the only scene which moved me to actual tears. The way they animated his ears made him incredibly pathetic and endearing like a sad puppy. I didn't like the way that Harry verbalized what he was feeling "I want to bury him and I don't want to use any magic" but I suppose that there is no way around it since there is no interior monologue going on.

The ending of the film was rather unsatisfying for me, I know that there is still so much ahead that will be epic, but I just felt underwhelmed, perhaps because the death of Dobby is so depressing and the film just leaves you hanging. It was very strange, it didn't feel like a Potter film.

Disappointments: Even split into two parts, I still don't feel like I saw a film that did justice to the book (even though I was promised that I would). I think that non-readers will be confused by this film, especially if they only view it once. I felt that it was a rather slow film that was punctuated by a lot of bursts of action.

Surprises: At the very start of Hermione's telling of "The Tale of the Three Brothers" I was lamenting the fact that it was animated, but the entire tale kept me riveted. Perhaps credit needs to be given to Rowling's incredible talent as a storyteller, but I remember whispering "Perfection" at the conclusion of the telling of the tale. The animation was bizarre, but incredibly beautiful and it fit in with the look of Potter.

Watch-ability: Don't get me wrong, I always enjoy a Potter film even if they don't squeeze in every detail. I think that we saw the best performance from every actor and actress on camera (especially the 3 principles). The film was beautifully shot and wonderfully executed, and the quality of the special effects is top notch. It is the darkest and most adult of the series so far, and definitely appropriate for a more mature audience as it should be.

No comments:

Post a Comment