INTERN’S VIEW: ‘Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows’: An Entertaining Appetizer
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One: Directed By David Yates; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman.
Harry Potter has been a cultural phenomenon practically my whole life; from the initial intrigue of the first book to now as the film saga concludes, there’s no denying that J.K. Rowling has forever cemented her universe into pop culture history. I must admit however that I am somewhat glad it’s coming to an end; maybe it’s because I’m sick of people telling me I look like Harry Potter and/or Daniel Radcliffe (it’s the glasses, I swear) and maybe it’s because the films in the past have taken several liberties with the source material that I enjoyed reading so much growing up. I remember watching The Goblet Of Fire film and being shocked that they cut so much good material out, especially from the ending maze sequence. Plus it doesn’t help that Edward Cullen used to be Cedric Diggory, but I digress. Now we find ourselves at Part One of The Deathly Hallows, a book I admit to not reading entirely. Ultimately I think it’s for the best since I can judge the film on it’s own merits and not simply as ‘well, they didn’t do THAT in the book.’
The story picks up directly after the last film where Dumbledore has been murdered, Voldemort is on the rise and the wizarding world stands on the brink of annihilation. It’s up to Harry, Ron and Hermione to destroy the remaining horcruxes, the dark magical items that could raise Voldemort to power once more and to reveal the mystery of The Deathly Hallows before the dark wizards. That’s the loosest summary I’ll give, considering this is a film that you honestly either know about already from the books or should experience without knowing much. I can safely say however that the best scene in the film bar none is the beginning scene with Voldemort and The Death Eaters. Ralph Fiennes is one of my favorite actors and seeing him be so wonderful will always be the standout moment in a film for me. I did like the rest of the casts performances, but I’m curious as to what else the main trio can do. I’d like to know if Daniel Radcliffe can be a competent actor without the mantle of Harry Potter and hopefully won’t succumb to the fate that befell Mark Hamill, where a great actor struggles to find work because of one role they were known for.
The film is also much darker in tone than the rest, even more so than the Prisoner Of Azkaban film by Alfonso Cuarón. While the bleak nature of the film is primarily an asset in establishing the sense of dread and foreboding that David Yates was going for, it’s also the film’s downside. At times dreary scenes seem to linger and the film as a whole suffers from uneven pacing. The polyjuice potion scene in the ministry of magic for instance overstayed its welcome while the beginning scene with Voldemort should have gone on for a little longer in my opinion. In fact, the villains feel very secondary in this picture; we know that they could strike at any moment and that Harry, Ron and Hermione aren’t really safe anywhere they go, but I could have used less talking about Voldemort and actually have SEEN more of Voldemort. It seems kind of silly considering that the second portion of the film is due next July, but when you have such a charismatic villain, it’s a shame to only tease us with glimpses of him. In addition to that, you can definitely tell that Radcliffe, Grint and Watson are getting tired of doing this in certain nuances of their performance. I had a feeling they wanted to move on to bigger and better things throughout the entire film, so it diminished how much I liked it by a bit.
That’s not to say that Deathly Hallows Part One is a bad film; after the atrocity that was Skyline, it’s refreshing to see a film made by talented people who care about entertaining us. Part One just felt like an appetizer, and I was expecting a little more. I’m sure playing their cards close to their chest will definitely work to the cast and crews advantage when Part Two is released, but I’ve never really been one for patience. In the end though, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One is an entertaining appetizer and I suppose that most people weren’t expecting much else. As a final note, I’d caution parents and just plain tell other people that there is something of a steamy, ethereal love scene towards the better half of the middle. I won’t say anymore but keep your eye out for it. I’m sure it, just like this film, will not disappoint.
Rating: *** / *****
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Philip Benais is our newest Intern, a 16-year old student at Big Picture High School in SeaTac. He’s an aspiring Writer who loves movies, so we let him write reviews for us.
Read more of his work here.]