19 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) - Review

Note: This post will likely be revised after I see the movie a second time and am better able to consider the specific film making details that made this movie awesome (which it truly was). For now, here are my (somewhat disjointed) thoughts. Naturally, there are spoilers.

First: This year, due to the nature of my now responsible "I need to be an adult" job, I was unable to go see the movie at midnight (*sigh*). I was serendipitously transferred (much like Harry) back into a state of reminiscing - waiting all day at school (like I did for the first movie) in anxiety and then rushing to the theater the second I could get out of the building. Of course this time I had access to Facebook and reviews from friends. Cynical as I am, when I saw reviews from a few people who had seen the movie at midnight and enjoyed it, I actually got worried. Generally, these individuals are the kind who are bugged if the movie is not exactly the same as the book, whereas I am a huge fan of movies being adapted so that they are good movies, not good 'copy-paste' attempts.

Fortunately for me, this is a movie that is both beautiful and true enough to the book that both sides should be satisfied.

I do laugh a bit when I have looked at reviews where filmmakers complained about how the movie feels unfinished or slow. Well. . . that's how it should have been. The movie isn't finished. We've only seen half of a whole. And it should have been slow, because for the first time - we have a movie dedicated not to action and clear cut adventure - but a movie dedicated to building relationships and and overall feeling of being lost and confused about what needs to be done. Which is, essentially, exactly what the first half of the book is about. Many readers cheekily called the first part of the book Harry Potter and the Extended Camping Trip. If viewers leave that movie feeling as though they lost or have been through a long, confusing adventure - well. . . that's probably exactly what the filmmakers wanted.

My greatest excitement for this movie came in realizing that, for the first time, I felt like Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson were equally yoked as actors. They were all given good things to do, and they all did them well. In the past, Watson has read lines rather awkwardly, or Grint's character has been reduced to the stupid sidekick. But this time - they were a team. It was really great to see how much they had matured and grown into these parts with such confidence. They managed to carry a movie that was incredibly difficult to pace and, at times, laborious in how lost it was. They were great.

I appreciated how this movie didn't pander to the latecomers. In the past, some of the movies would spend so much time on exposition that a viewer could have seen the film cold and more or less understood what was going on. It was wasted time. This isn't James Bond - it's more or less a 20+ hour long movie that ultimately tells the same story. This movie is not for newcomers. If you hadn't seen the others, you'd be hopelessly lost and bored.

The animation: The animation was glorious. The way they handled the Tale of the Three Brothers was fantastic. Dobby and Kreacher were unbelievable. They made Gollum look like a cartoon - which is saying something, because Gollum looks pretty great. But Dobby and Kreacher were seamless and beautiful. Bravo.

The film was funny. It was sad. Ultimately, though, what made me love this movie so much - and what made it, in some ways, blow the other films out of the water - was that its core was a film that had heart. There was such love for the characters. Such care for what happens to them. The movie was handled with such obvious adoration for J.K. Rowling's creation and the fans that worship every word she's written that it would be impossible for me not to respect the accomplishment. You can see why they were so keen on splitting the film in two. It isn't for more money (though that's nice.) It's because the story is too good to do it the injustice of cramming it all into one film.

Was the film perfect? No. There were a few lost opportunities. (Did they ever explain the origin of the mirror? I also wish that they'd have left the conversation between Harry and Ron after the locket is destroyed.) But, on the whole, the film was wonderful.

How great is it to look back on the last ten years and know that I've been at every Harry Potter movie on opening day/night? To know that I've grown up with this series and now have the privilege of seeing it get another send off is fantastic. To loosely quote James Hook. . . "What would the world be like without Harry Potter?!"


Bill said...

*sigh* I wish I could say that I've been at every movie on opening day/night. Unfortunately, for one of them I was on my mission (I think that's a fair reason for missing). And then there was this year, where I honestly was so incredibly busy that I was at work until midnight more often than not for two weeks. I'm intending to go see it as soon as I can though.

That said, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really respect your opinion on movies. True, there are a few glaring differences in some of our favorites, but in general, we tend to be pretty in sync on what we enjoy; not only that, I know how important this one is to you, so to hear that you got what you wanted out of it just makes me happy. :-D

I'm looking forward to seeing it... Sometime... :-/

Daniel and Belinda said...

I love reading your posts. You seriously have a way with words. I have actually been waiting to watch it on Thanksgiving. After reading your post, I am even more excited about seeing!

Alisha said...

YES YES YES... You are a better person than I. I was not responsible, and suffered for it all day at work. :/ I am thinking about heading up your way sometime soon, in which case I believe that we should kidnap Jane and have a mandatory Inkling night.

Me said...

Belinda - Thank you! I didn't know you followed my blog. It's good to hear from you :)

Alisha - PLEASE COME VISIT!! I MISS YOU!! Inkling night is a must. We need to initiate her baby into the group. Also, we need to go see Narnia together. Also also, we need to go shopping.