Sunday, December 12, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 ~ I'm really not sure how folks with no background in the books, or these characters can walk into this film and understand everything. It just feels to me like the books are needed as a primer, especially here and with the last film as well. Props to the franchise that so many folks are familiar enough with the Harry Potter mythos to make this flick successful. I can only imagine the need for Cliff's Notes will only get stronger with Part 2 of this installment come summer.

Now what I liked about the last film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that the filmmakers veered from the book and showed us new scenes and added bonuses not seen in the source material, is actually what I didn't like about this one. I always like when the 'real' Muggle world is brought more into Harry's wizarding world. Scenes of Harry, Ron and Hermione in London and listening to Muggle music and pop culture are always welcome. The other things are unwelcome for me.

I am thinking specifically of the dance between Harry and Hermione to Nick Cave's "O Children" as most disturbing. Despite her spurning 'the chosen one' for Ron, the dance is quite intimate, and the further mention that the two spent weeks alone together - anyone who hasn't read the books might surmise that Harry and Hermione did get together at some point - especially when seeing what the horcrux tries to make Ron believe later. It's a muddy road for Potter neophytes, and I have to wonder if the filmmakers were playing with that very notion.

The movie continues the story well, and unfortunately ends on a down note, almost similar to the end of The Empire Strikes Back, both a defeat and a cliffhanger. Whether I was invested or not, I would want to see the final installment. The actors continue to hone and improve their characters and performances. And the animated sequence depicting the tale of the Deathly Hallows is unique and intriguing. Must see for Potterphiles, but maybe not for those unfamiliar.

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