Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – It’s so sad to see, isn’t it? “Part 1.” There’s just only one part left and then it’s all over.

It’s really rather remarkable to think about. Harry Potter is the longest film series I think I’ve ever seen. I can’t think of another series that has more than 8 films. At least, not one that isn’t a documentary or some kind of educational film.

As usual with a Harry Potter flick, I’ll approach this review in two ways: as a loyal fan of the books and as a non-reading movie-goer (though we all know that calling me a non-reader is laughable).

I think I’ll actually start there first.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that you know everything that is going to happen in a movie before you see it. However, if I were to sit back and pretend I didn’t know exactly how this was going to unfold, I would still be inclined to say that the movie was excellent.

I read some critical reviews prior to seeing the movie. I saw far more negative reviews than positive, and far more negative than I’m used to seeing for a Harry Potter film.

Many people called it “Emo” and said it was too “angsty.” Many people claimed there was no purpose in making this final installment a two-parter and that they felt the break from one film to the next was poorly done. Blah, blah, blah…

If you ask me, these are just people looking for something to complain about. Yes, the film is darker this time around. If you’ve been following the story at all up to this point – and I mean strictly through the films – then you’d know that that is simply unavoidable. For everything to be lollipops and bubblegum now would be ridiculous and disappointing.

I’ll give you the stripped-down facts: the acting was good, the emotion was there, the intensity was felt. This is a movie that is truly well done. I was worried about the pacing of the film at first, but it fits rather well. The action was superb, with only one shot that I can remember where I momentarily felt I might get motion sick if I kept trying to watch. The lulls in the action were well-developed and well-placed. The special effects were spectacular, as usual.

Each movie has gotten progressively better and this was no let down. I’ll agree that this was geared slightly more towards the adult mind-set, but let me just point out one thing… This series of films began roughly a decade ago – the first film is admittedly more kid-friendly, but look at that closely and use some logic: what happened to those children from 10 years ago? I mean, ten years ago I was 15 and my little brother was the same age as the actors were in that first film, 11.

We grew up. All of us. The fans and the actors alike. We’re adults now. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to me if they tried to keep these films from evolving with us. You don’t maintain a fandom by neglecting the fans that have “grown up too much.” Sure, there’s always the Neverland theory that we should never grow up but how realistic is that?

So, yes, the movie is darker. There are a few slightly more adult themes. In one sense, these films grew up too. So don’t be surprised or disappointed if you go to the theatre and don’t see a ton of ridiculous comedy and a string of childish antics anymore. The humor isn’t entirely gone, this film still has its moments, but its just dealing with much too heavy a content now to be throwing out jokes every few minutes.

I’ve already written so much… So, I’ll just move on to discussing the movie as seen by a loyal reader because I’ve even more to say about that.

First, I just want to say that yes, I am a crazy Harry Potter fan. I’m not necessarily the cosplay-paint-a-scar-on-my-forehead kind of crazy, but hey, I already have the forehead scar so there. Thanks, brother! (7 stitches when I was 15: Yeah, baby! And no, it’s more towards the center and doesn’t resemble a lightning bolt – it’s actually more curved.)

However! (Ahem! Back on track…) I will say only one thing to people who bash the books/movies on the grounds that they’re ridiculous because “a child could never take on so many adults – it’s improbable.” And that is this: Fine.

Say what you will. This is fantasy. The whole point of the story is to escape reality and let yourself believe in something that isn’t probable – that maybe isn’t even possible at all. But if you bash the books alone, let me just remind you that this series is responsible for bringing an entire generation of children back to the written word. Children passed on video games and movies and television to sit down and read these books. Children abandoned their mindless gadgets and computers in favor of their imaginations.

Even if you have a hard time believing in children wizards who consistently fend off the older, more knowledgeable, wiser adults – you should at the very least have no trouble believing in the good these books have done, the difference these books have made in our children.

But I digress – I’m supposed to be discussing the movie.

Book 7 was the only one that I haven’t read more than once, so I’ll admit I have a hard time remembering all the little details. I still felt like this film did a very good job sticking to the story told in the book. Several scenes felt like I’d actually seen them before, they were just as I had imagined them while reading. The characters, as always, seem exactly as they did in my imagination.

Because I had read the books, I found myself cringing and flinching before things actually happened, simply because I was expecting them. Some moments I wasn’t prepared for even though I knew they were coming. That’s what I love about this series.

When the movie ended, I left the theatre feeling a slight bit of disappointment. I gladly would have sat through another two or three hours to see the rest. I wanted to see what happened to the rest of the characters – though I already know. And I perhaps left feeling slightly sad precisely because I know and because I  know that this whole adventure is about to come to an end.

It’s odd to consider… I’m 25 years old – Harry Potter has comprised nearly half of my life.

I remember digging my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone out of my closet back in what? 9th grade? When it had suddenly become such a huge fad and everyone was talking about it. It was sitting in the bottom of my closet – a forgotten Christmas present that I was sure was going to be too childish or simply not my type of story (not to mention one of the only books I owned after the tornado took all my others) – and I gave it another chance to see exactly WHAT everyone was making such a fuss over.

11 years I’ve spent waiting on the next book, looking forward to the next movie, re-reading every book each time a new one came out – the entire series. Reading every new book in one day – totally unable to put it down.

Something that has been such a big part of my life for 11 years is suddenly coming to an end. Imagine how the actors must feel actually “living” it…

There’s only one part left, people. I  hope you enjoy this one to the fullest. There’s so little left to come.

I will be going back very soon to see it again. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re a bad Harry Potter fan (or maybe just super busy or super broke, and I’ll give some leniency to you for that), so hurry up and get to the BIG SCREEN! It will lose half it’s magic if you don’t see it on a big screen at least once.

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Comments (1)

Miss DerrieApril 17th, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Hey I really liked your review and thought it was honest and thorough! I love Harry Potter and think it will live on forever! I am glad to be able to say I grew up when it was first brought into the world!

I like you’re whole blog too, you have put a lot of effort into it. If you have a spare minute you could pop on down to mine :)
missderrie@wordpress.com

See you there!

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