Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I - Movie Review
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Rhys Ifans, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson, David O'Hara, Imelda Staunton, Tom Felton, David Thewlis, Timothy Spall, Bill Nighy, John Hurt and Michael Gambon.
Directed by David Yates.
It's a fitting penultimate installment in a great series. It's equivalent to the first two hours of The Return of the King, only to have the credits roll on that movie before any big battles.
Gone are the comforting walls of Hogwarts. After Dumbledore's death at the end of the last movie, the Order (aka the good guys) has gone deeper underground. Voldemort and his supporters have taken over the Ministry of Magic.
This movie is probably the only installment that takes its time to breathe with the characters. There's about 45 minutes when Harry, Ron and Hermione are hopping through the woods, staying hidden, trying to figure out where to go next. One of my favorite moments comes from a wordless scene with Harry and Hermione. Ron has disappeared after getting angry, and these two have been through so much, and Harry just takes Herminone's hand and the two quietly, awkwardly, intimately dance. For once, they're not two literary characters brought to life in a big-budget motion picture. They're two kids who grew up together, just two people connecting.
But this is a big-budget motion picture, and we get several money shots. It also sails through a lot of plot, giving only one line per about twenty characters who've had their turns at being prominent at different points in the series.
Another one of my favorites sequences comes from a new face. David O'Hara (Braveheart, The Tudors) plays Rumcorn, one of the bad guys in the Ministry of Magic, but after some poly-juice he's Harry Potter in disguise, and it was pretty interesting to watch O'Hara as Harry pretending not to be Harry.
This movie does end on a cliffhanger, and it promises quite the showdown for Part II, but this is a nice ramp-up for things to come.