And so begins the last week before a Harry Potter movie is released, ever. I feel comfortable commencing absolute excitement, obsession, and all-consuming sadness. To honor the emotional roller-coaster and epic cultural event, all of my posts this week are going to revolve around the boy who lived (why yes, I get made fun of constantly).
Part 4: Ahh, Just Right Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Deathly Hallows isn’t my favorite book, but it’s damn close. Every storyline, every character, every moment, serves a purpose. Loose ends are tied up in knots, there’s heart, deaths, tears, enough action to please even Michael Bay … I can’t imagine any series ever being wrapped up so perfectly.
Many people have expressed anger or annoyance that the book was split into two films; I for one cannot understand how anyone who has actually read the thing would feel that way. If one film had been made, David Heyman (producer) has said himself they’d have to leave out things like Snape’s memories. You know, the chapter that explained the crux of the ENTIRE STORY. So leaving out explanation like that I find to be completely unacceptable. Was Warner Bros. pumped up to make even more money? Undoubtedly. However, a creative and integral choice was made when they decided to go with two; it allowed them to be more faithful, explain more things, and do justice to the finale. How is that bad, in any way? Who possibly loses in that scenario?? Definitely not me, who gets to see an extra film. The 5th and 6th installments left out so many plot points, to try to tie the end of the story up, and explain things, even in a “for dummies” way, REQUIRES two parts. It could have been done, but would have been a travesty and greatly dishonored one of the most cherished, and magnificent, stories of all time.
The film looks crisp and beautiful; here, finally, David Yates’ vision finds a harmony between that level of darkness that’s only visible in a theater, and the light of being out in the real world, not solely in a gloomy castle. I’m usually averse to wasting screen time adding bits that never would have happened on paper (the Burrow burning down in HBP, I’m talking to you) but the extras here were welcome, even pleasant. The much-maligned “dance scene” between Harry and Hermione that totally never happened worked on-screen – it was a break from the all the heavy drama that was going down, and provided a nice showcase to see these lifelong friends actually act like it.
Honestly, one of my only complaints with this film is why they failed to explain the trace put on Voldemort’s name – in several scenes, it’s used and Death Eaters promptly arrive, with no explanation. Although, it might get mentioned in the second part, which means I can’t file a formal complaint yet … so I guess I have no complaints. The kids acting has never been better, there are dozens of emotional punches packed, everything looks FANTASTIC, and even clocking in at 2 hrs and 26 minutes, this puppy is BRISK. It moves along, and you don’t want it to end. They got everything of chief importance in there, which is truly saying something, given how little filler there is.
Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 is a terrific adaptation of about 2/3 of the book, and as a movie, is exciting, sad, and engrossing. Does it serve to set the stage for part 2? OBVIOUSLY ( ;)), but what so many fail to realize, is that part 2 means nothing without the groundwork of that stage.
Current rank (verrrry curious to see how I’m going to feel Friday morning!):
- Prisoner of Azkaban – the best
- Deathly Hallows, pt. 1
- Goblet of Fire
- Chamber of Secrets
- Half-Blood Prince
- Sorcerer’s Stone
- Order of the Phoenix – the worst