Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Goalie Conundrum
Next story: Cool It

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

The beginning of the end
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Before we talk about the new movie of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, I’d like to say something to all the Potter haters out there: Until you actually read all the books, shut up. Really. And yes, I’m talking to you, Henry Rollins. Smarter people than you have read and loved these books. If you hate the movies, on the other hand, hate away. We Potter-ites understand, we really do. We hate the movies too.

Let me rephrase that. I hated the movies. I think I really like this new one. It’s my favorite Potter movie to date. (There’s a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song on the soundtrack!)

Most of the British stars who appeared in the previous Harry Potter movies are back at least briefly here, joined by Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic and Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood. Casting in the Potter movies has always been good, with a few notable exceptions. Many have a rabid hatred of Michael Gambon (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover) who took over as Dumbledore after the death of Richard Harris. He would have been much better if he had read the books. Because none of the new film takes place at Hogwarts, I missed seeing Maggie Smith and most of the other teachers, although Alan Rickman is on hand, sporting a lovely Farrah Fawcett-esque hair-don’t.

Evanna Lynch is marvelous as Luna Lovegood. Lynch outshines the majority of the young actors in these movies—except for the Phelps twins, who play Ron’s older brothers. (I adore the Weasley twins. They’re so witty!) We also get to see Imelda Stauton (ahem) get a little bit of payback. It’s too late for Helen Mirren and Tim Roth to get roles in the Harry Potter franchise. But happily, we still get the luscious Jason Isaacs in his Paris Hilton wig as a slightly gone-to-seed Lucius Malfoy. (Speaking of Malfoy, what’s up with Narcissa’s hair?)

Deathly Hallows is so much better than Half-Blood Prince, it’s amazing that both are the product of the same director (David Yates) and screenwriter (Stephen Kloves). Having just re-watched Half-Blood Prince Mystery Science Theater style with some like-minded friends, perhaps my expectations were so lowered that there was nowhere to go but up.

As for the three young leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have really improved. Emma no longer shrieks when she speaks and Hermione is finally portrayed as the brilliant person she is. The director may have a crush on Radcliffe, who appears shirtless an awful lot.

This movie is two and a half hours long and at times dragged. However, the slow scenes have their point and were at least shortened from the novel. The action sequences are great. Are there some unnecessary additions? Of course there are. But nothing as ridiculous as burning down the burrow in Half-Blood Prince. There were elements from the book I wish had been squeezed in (the goodbye to the Dursleys, mentioning Rowena’s diadem, meeting Tonk’s family, Kreacher declaring loyalty to Harry), but we can’t have everything.

Cinematically, Deathly Hallows looks great. The scenes in the Ministry of Magic are powerful, if a touch obvious—a little goosestepping is all that separates them from Triumph of the Will. But they work: These are, after all, the ultimate bad guys.

If you’re a fan of the books, this isn’t a bad movie to see. I think I’ll actually pay to see it again (unheard of, as I’m cheap). If you’re just a fan of the movies…well, how do you know what’s going on? For heaven’s sake, pick up a book and read. If you’re not a fan of the movies, but are being forced into going by a loved one…sorry!

Watch the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Current Movie TimesFilm Now PlayingThis Week's Film ReviewsMovie Trailers on AVTV
Too Long In The Dark - the movie, film, video & television blog

blog comments powered by Disqus