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December 4, 2010
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  Question for all of you.



I’m having a bit of trouble deciding how I feel about “The Deathly Hallows (Part 1)”, the penultimate release in the Harry Potter film series.  I’m hoping to get some feedback from other Harry Potter fans reading this to help me sort out my mixed emotions.  Maybe you guys are feeling torn by the same quandary that’s gnawing at me.



We’re all smart enough to at least entertain the notion that the only reason Warner Bros. split J.K. Rowling’s final climactic Harry Potter novel into two parts was to be sure to get every last dollar out of the final chapter of what has been one of the most lucrative film series of all time.  If true, It’s really annoying that the studio would pull such a mercenary move and cast such a cynical pall over the big finish of what has been for the loyal legions of fans the world over an ongoing epic of decency, bravery and hope triumphing over evil, cruelty and, well, mercenary cynicism.  But, on the other hand, J.K. Rowling’s tomes have gotten longer and longer, so maybe the final film chapter could only be done properly as two movies.  So maybe having Part 1 and Part 2 would mean just all that much more Harry, Ron and Hermione to enjoy one last time before Daniel, Rupert and Emma graduate Hogwarts and move on to their adult acting careers.  That was my hope.  But going in for my first viewing I couldn’t help but think that an author writes a novel – a narrative with a sustained story arc; a beginning, middle and ending – as one book for a reason.  A novel builds to a final climax.  It doesn’t stop half way to the big ending the author has imagined and then say: “That’s all for now!  Be sure to buy the next book to find out what happens!”  So, my question going in: Would “Part 1” be able to build, sustain and satisfy a full story arc – or would the movie seem like a bridge built only halfway across a raging river, the banks of victory and salvation still miles away and hidden from sight?   


Sure enough, upon first viewing, my fears proved well warranted.  After experiencing the sheer velocity of super-torqued storytelling tension that propelled the action-packed and emotionally devastating “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, this “Part 1” of what should be the even more brain-shattering and heart-rending final chapter seemed downright sleepy.  The action sequences, evenly paced through a two and a half hour “half-story”, don’t provide enough of a wallop to make up for all the long, contemplative scenes delving at length into the Harry-Ron-Hermione relationship.  And while the several long treks across vistas of hostile but beautiful landscapes are, well, really beautifully photographed, it got to the point of recalling the endless “walkings” of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, so well lampooned in “Clerks II”.  And then there was the problem of the ending, which was, of course, really only an intermission point in the final chapter – and as such, only packed the cinematic punch and emotional resonance of, yes, an intermission point.

I’m certain this entry in the Potter film series will not go down with fans as being in any way in contention for “favorite Potter film”.  This ain’t no “Empire”.


But then again, upon a second viewing…


I’m wondering if we should really be bothered by this being a “place-keeper” film, a film that doesn’t really stand-up as a stand-alone story needing no further conclusion.  Maybe what disappointed so many Matrix fans about “The Matrix II” simply has no equivalence for us as Potter loyalists.  Let’s face it, whether “Hallows” was shot as one or two features, anyone buying a ticket with no familiarity with the prior films, let alone the books, is going to be completely lost.  And maybe, rather than this being a filmmaking faux pas (as any film school professor would insist), it is instead an absolutely right and proper thing.  The Matrix had no other reference beyond the films themselves, and so, could only be judged by that sui generis standard.  The Potter movies, on the other hand, are made first and foremost for the fans of the books.  There is an authoritative reference point, a Bible, which the movies only serve to illustrate.  The films rise or fall on how well they meet the (novel-reading) fans’ expectations of evoking the same excitement and sheer joy experienced by reading the books.  And so just maybe spending so much time on the Harry-Hermione-Ron triangle, and honoring the quest of these three young heroes by so beautifully framing their long journey through the wilderness – is all perfectly alright.  The fans already know the story –  known it since just a few hours after the last midnight book release party.  With that satisfying experience still fresh in memory who wouldn't enjoy an extra hour or two of their heroes’ discursive ruminations about their hopes and dreams…


Maybe the Harry Potter series deserves – no, demands! – a two-volume send-off.  It’s a way of honoring a story that’s touched so many heads and hearts, that’s provided so many hours of joy and ignited the imaginations of so many across the whole world.  Maybe for it’s fans the Harry Potter narrative has now become as iconic and ineradicable as Shakespeare’s plays.  And in the same way that a particular actor’s or particular acting troupe’s poor performance of “Hamlet” in no way diminishes the magnificence of that story, already known by heart by generations, so too my misgivings about the cinematic pitfalls inherent in stretching a novel over two movies don’t matter a damn when the story is already so well-known and so well-loved by the majority of the people in the theater.  Unlike the “others”, just checking out the latest movie release – they’re celebrating in a tribal gathering of the faithful.   They are the ones who lift “Part 1” high above any Death Eater pall of studio marketing cynicism and imbue this film with it’s true value as an important moment in movie (and their own personal) history.  It’s for the fans, and not the critics and film school professors.


So there you have it.  I thought it wasn’t so hot and kind of disappointing.  Then again, I thought it was really great and even admirable.  All of this conflict is probably a result of how much I loved "Harry Potter And the Half Blood Prince" not only as fantastic entry in the series as a whole but as a stand alone film as well.  Any insightful enlightenment or clearing-up of my tangled reasoning process in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Hermione by daekazu hermione by MidnightTea7  Harry Potter and the HB Prince by daekazu  Young Severus Snape by twinfools  Harry Potter Chibi by PuccaNoodles2009  Harry Potter - Mortis Finalis by KonohaRockstarz  Harry Potter Marauder Hogwarts by NanjoKoji  harry potter countdown by chupachup  Harry Potter Smirks At You by Maseiya  Harry Potter - Join The Fight by oldredjalopy  Harry and Hermi by tsulala  Harry Potter montage by MightyMoose  Harry Potter? by Aaraujo  Harry potter DH by whenlovetakesover  :thumb185548242:  Girls of Harry Potter Avatars by xXAli-StarXx  :thumb186159835:  Harry Potter-Neither Can Live by KonohaRockstarz  Harry Potter by NeekoShite  :thumb187361174:  Quick One: Harry by KennedyxxJames  Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows by Vulture34  :thumb186705097:  Harry Potter Z by duendefranco  Harry Potter by acenco  Harry Potter by RunningLikeCrazy  Harry Potter Collage by Mimitchki  Harry Potter by ElCalabacin  HARRY POTTER by luizsansone85  Harry Potter 7 by iamzoof  .potter. by CheshireSmile  Danbo + Harry Potter by B-ElizabethPhoto  Harry Potter by Paddy-fan    Silver Doe Harry Potter 7 by S-im  Ravenclaw Seeker by Glee-chan  HarryPotterFriday by AngeloFrance  Harry and Albus by K-Zlovetch  :thumb134449758: Voldemort Avatar Blue by XxBloodOfVampirexX    hp_ss blacknwhite by mad-aka-hatter Jump by Chashirskiy  Me in Hogwarts by TheBearbie  :thumb188247451: :thumb156951495:  Until We Meet Again by MandiPope Halloween at Lunas Home by WilliamSnape  founders hogwarts by tetrapercu  lily's letter by shyduck  Harry vs Voldemort by Dhesia  Deathly Hallows Tribute by Verlisaerys  Harry Potter by Stuarto36  Harry Potter by inoceze7  Professor Snape by gabbyd70  Snape by bishop27  Rest in Peace Severus by Vulkanette  Art Trade. Harry and Voldemort by the-blue-fish    Lord Voldemort by Twinsmanns  Priori Incantatem - updated - by thedoctorwho07  Voldemort Sketch by nicholaskole  Voldemort Poster by weapondesigns  Voldemort Sig by Hisue995  Ravyn of Slytherin House by SilentRavyn  PROUD SLYTHERIN by Moonfox1781  :thumb188387766:  :thumb188016646:  :thumb187796962:  HP: ron and hermione by meru90  Ron and Hermione by Mokchik  :thumb185337125:  Hermione redone by JPdotty  :thumb185126816:  Chibi Albus Dumbledore by KarlaFrazetty  Dumbledore's Army by eden-paradox Albus Dumbledore by luthien-black
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:iconlivadialilacs:
Livadialilacs Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for featuring my 'HP - My White Wolf Patronus'!!! :hug:
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:iconluthien-black:
luthien-black Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for featuring my art! :heart:
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:iconeden-paradox:
eden-paradox Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for featuring me along with all these other great artists :D, YAY Harry Potter!!!! The books are always better but I do think that the latest movie followed the book very close :nod:
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:iconglee-chan:
Glee-chan Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loved your review. I have been pondering on whether to do one myself, but I didn't want to spoil the film for anyone who hadn't saw it yet. I mean, sure, if you read the books you know what's going to happen, but that doesn't explain the experience one has on watching it.

That being said I both agree and disagree with your review. First and foremost, a film can only be as good as the script. And since this script is based on a book, then the comparisons should start that. To me, the downsides that you described in the film... long paces of walking and doing nothing... were all there in the book. I hope the fans are happy, we have more camping scenes. In fact, since we are in Harry's head the whole time, these camping scenes take forever. So in filming it, I feel David Yates did the best of what he was given him in making these scenes feel as unboring as possible.

Another problem with the book is the action. Like you said there are few and far between in the movie and its the same here. The big set pieces are "Escape fro Privet Drive", "Infiltration of the Ministry" (that might be giving that too much credit, but since it isn't hiding, running, or camping it counts), "Breaking into the Gringgotts", and of course "Battle at Hogwarts". I would say "Escape from Malfoy Manor" but in the book it wasn't as action packed as the film made it... and they really tried to make it more exciting since it was the end of the film. So in breaking the film into two parts, you have to split the action in two as well. The last film has the best action scenes.

I really do think that this film is a pretty good one, but like you said, isn't going to be the stand out film in the series. All it's problems come directly from the source material. The seventh book was a lot of wandering, Harry's internal brooding, and the trio bickering then apologizing. It started off big, with boring in the middle, then a big ending. I love J.K Rowling, but Harry Potter without Hogwarts to distract from the main plot can seem like filler. And really I think that's what brings both the film and the book down. No Hogwarts, no side plots, and next to no secondary characters. You miss all of that in Hallows, the book and film are completely different than the others in the series. Camping isn't as exciting as Quidditch.

I do think the minor changes to the film help it. Like I said before, some of these scenes are just Harry and group sitting around thinking... or Harry and group traveling around not talking to each other cause of an argument. Thrilling stuff here. My sister complained that they didn't hide until the invisibility cloak and drink Polyjuice potion enough. I don't really think this is a bad thing. For one... its not very exciting to have your heroes unseen and hiding all the time. And two... why bother hiring Daniel, Emma, and Rupert if they are going to be Polyjuiced all the time. My only complaint for the film was the "Voldemort-Taboo" Since I had read the books I knew that saying the name caused Death Eaters to know your location. The film doesn't bother explaining it. Once scene they are running from the Death Eaters from saying it, the next Harry is saying "You-Know-Who" without explanation. But this complaint is so minor I can't really call it a complaint.

All the really cool stuff is going to happen in the next film (like the novel were the last half is the exciting part) so I can't wait until then. I'm curious to see how Yates deals with EVERYONE dying (once again, thanks for that J.K) and wouldn't mind if the director spared some of them. I know it's uncanon, but damn it, why did Fred have to go!?! Wouldn't Percy saving Fred and letting himself get hit with a killing curse be more fitting? Redemption for one character and we still bloody have Fred. (Sorry I just went off on a rant there). Also I wouldn't be opposed to Ghost Dumbledore having clothes on in the Train Station... old man body is something I don't want to see. I hope Neo isn't the sobbing figure in the corner.

Anyway I've rambled on enough. Thank you for featuring a picture of mine, and I enjoyed your review.
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:iconmandipope:
MandiPope Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm beyond honored to be featured among these completely kick rump artists and their works. Thank you!

Mandi
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:iconwilliamsnape:
WilliamSnape Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010
Many thanks for the feature!!! :hug:
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:iconthebearbie:
TheBearbie Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I feel so honored to be featured! Thank you so much!
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:icondaekazu:
daekazu Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010
Thank you! ;D
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:iconneekoshite:
NeekoShite Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for the feature, I'm so honored! :D
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