A very late Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One review.
If you don’t know what a Horcrux is you should probably just leave.
It’s been about a week now since I saw the film and it’s about one in the morning so bear with me while I recall the vague memory that was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part one. I wish I had a Pensieve.
Literally I don’t know where to start, this film stayed with me for days and I still want to go and see it again. I didn’t cry as has been the consensus amongst most I know, though I did well up a bit by the graveside in Godrics Hollow. As I’m sure every paper on earth is saying right now “It’s a lot better than the last one and much darker.” Except this time it’s actually true. In the third instalment from David Yates and the seventh from J.K Rowling we see the trio of friends searching for Horcruxes and FINALLY leaving the boundaries of Hogwarts; it appears as though everybody has taken a free artistic reign on this one. We even get some animation. Word on the street is the animation hasn’t been going down very well, but whoever said that is just plain wrong, it was bloody genius to be honest and an excellent concise way of explaining exactly what the deathly hallows are for those who are unaware. If you’ve read the books then you might find it irrelevant, but as has been demonstrated through previous cock-ups it is always relevant and for once in the history of Harry Potter the film makers have actually remembered that some people on the planet haven’t read the books a thousand times and have no clue who The Half Blood Prince is. The Deathly Hallows actually does quite well in sticking to the source material, there are no gaping holes and nothing much plucked out of thin air either. Notice how I said ‘nothing much’ because I think we all now have a different opinion of dancing and Nick Cave. A sentence I never envisaged having to write. If anybody can please explain why on earth ‘the scene that shall not be named’ was included then please go right ahead, because it was atrocious. It was all a bit surreal, I forgot I was watching a Harry Potter film at that moment and just laughed instead. It doesn’t really take away from the film and shouldn’t stop anyone from seeing it, but it doesn’t add anything either. Slightly after all that has taken place we get another image of the pair burned into our minds forever more when we see ‘an artistic nude shot’ of the worst couple in the world basically telling Ron he’s a bit shit. They should have called it ‘The Harry and Hermione Show Part One.’ All the main actors though have matured very well and we can all easily point out the obvious as most papers have ‘look at them all grown up with beards and nice clothes’ that’s great it really is, but what nobody has bothered to say it is their acting has matured, it wasn’t hard, and the characters have developed along with the people. After ten years of playing the same characters it’s probably only fair they got some props for being good at it. Even Rupert Grint has stopped trying to be a stand-up and done a bit of serious acting, he barely pulls any stupid faces this time around. The end of an era ladies and gentleman.
While we may not see Hogwarts, which does feel slightly strange and uncomfortable for a while, we do, after six films of waiting, get to spend some time with the dark lord himself Mr. Voldemort. After you once again get over the fear of his lack of a nose you realise how scary he is and how good Ralph Fiennes is. I don’t think Ray has had enough credit for this role, he is magnificent purely for the reason that you never think of him as being great at the character. You don’t even think of him as a character, this evil man is real. He is to Harry Potter what Derren Brown is to life. It has been said again and again, but this truly is a dark film. Blood is drawn, deaths are mourned, and people are stunned left right and centre. Some deaths, such as Mad Eye’s, are skimmed over and seem merely incidental to the cause which feels slightly insensitive but also adds a great deal to the tone of the picture. This insensitivity all comes crashing down when Dobby dies. R.I.P. It was a bit horrific for a children’s film wasn’t it? I won’t dwell too much for fear of never moving on. Not necessarily scary it was more shocking and I’m not ashamed to say I was jolted from my seat on numerous occasions. They aren’t really flashbacks, but for ease of terms we will call them that, were quite disturbing as we saw some magical torture take place, which sounds quite fun when you say it, but I don’t think Gregorovitch would agree with you. The Dementors were few and far between in this film though on the occasions they did greet us it was fast and vicious with joy leaving the room instantly, they looked a lot cooler than usual too, but then again everything looked cool in this outing. With the ability to take his cast anywhere it appears director Mike Newell has gone a bit mental and taken them everywhere. A cooling tower? Yeah sure why not. All the locations were immense though and the seamlessness between real and CGI locations is a feat. Down to how the water flows no detail was overlooked in choosing the locations and making sure it was perfect.
Each fan will have little bits that they can’t get on board with and casting for me is always an important part. Harry Potter has always been good at getting ‘proper’ British thespians on board, John Hurt, Maggie Smith etc. This time they opted for Bill Nighy as Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, he looked the part and acted it relatively well, but his voice was all wrong. Not only wrong it sounded weird too. Newer talent and what I thought was strange casting for Xenophylius Lovegood, Rhys Ifans stole the show. He was superb as Luna’s father and was able to easily flip from absolute nut-job to desperation while still being believable, it’s a pity we don’t see more of him really. He danced too and that was alright.
There is probably much more to say about the whole experience, but what matters is that this instalment managed to hold its own and restore some faith in what was beginning to feel like nothing more than a money making franchise. Still with a number of Horcruxes to find and ‘he who shall not be named’ to defeat the next film should be action packed, if it can manage to hold onto the artistic merit that this film has created and accomplish everything it needs to then it will leave us all with some happy memories to zap into our brains.