Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Ah, Harry Potter. The boy who lived, and worldwide phenomenon of story-telling. Also getting movies based on your exploits, I see.

Well... I personally have mixed feelings on the franchise. Personally, the first three chapters were things I liked greatly, but then part 4 turned me off to the film franchise. I read the entirety of Part 5, and know only the obligatory spoiler for Part 6.

So when the endgame for Harry Potter comes along? You better believe I want in on the action.

Without further ado, then, I give you today's movie...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is in an incredible predicament: Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is now chasing him down to try to kill him, and now the world of magic is transforming all around him to become far from the cheery thing he remembers as a child. Thus, he and Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) set out to find and destroy the horcruxes, the only things that can kill Voldemort.

So... the first thing I have to say? Well, if you haven't kept up with the series, this probably isn't the entry to get started on. Fortunately, I'm familiar enough with the Harry Potter mythos that I was more or less able to fill in the holes from what I remember of the franchise. But it doesn't really attempt to fill in anything for newcomers, so I wouldn't recommend jumping in without knowing the plot of all the previous installments.

It means the movie doesn't really stand on its own all that well; it relies on the entire rest of the franchise to do its work. But that's not a bad thing. One of the things that the movie does well is that it sets up the tone for what's to come. It can't help but feel like a prelude of sorts, but it makes the wise decision of taking a breath instead of constantly trying to wow us with special effect. Yes, they're still there, but it's not all prevalent.

And that's a strength for this movie; it allows us to really see into the characters and how they're reacting to things. As in the previous installments, it focuses on Harry, Hermoine, and Ron, but this time the stakes are so much higher. And the movie is not afraid to establish how much is at stake without resorting to infodumps, which I think makes the movie all the stronger. It has excellent characterizations to this effect, and we're allowed to feel the true gravity of the situations they find themselves in by virtue of what happens all around them. The fact that it doesn't ask us to buy into a ludicrous amount of action scenes attests to this, and I think it's for the best as we go around.

Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a very good way to begin the finale of the Harry Potter franchise. It only ever really feels like a prologue, but it takes its time to establish the stakes here, and for this it proves to be a very effective movie, even if it can't stand on its own. The fact that it never tries to resort to action scenes creates some of the best characterization of the year, and it establishes how dire things are.

In short: this may be the movie that gets me back into the Harry Potter franchise.


Most definitely worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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