▲ The seventh installment of the Harry Potter series is fun, but slow. Photo Warner Bros. Pictures
“Harry Potter Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is one movie in a big-budget franchise series. It has nice cinematography, some great and some acceptable acting, a watchable — if cliché — storyline, and good special effects.
It is fun for fans of the series, but it will not challenge previously-held views about art, morality, cinema, love, humor, or anything for that matter.
It’s also a bit slow. If you want to see an unforgettable, strikingly beautiful, and dark film, watch “Delicatessen” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If you want to eat popcorn and watch a few jokes fall flat against a pretty and familiar narrative background, shell out the 10,000 won and go for a cheap ride.
“Deathly Hallows: Part 1” starts as you might expect, with a nice chase scene and lots of Harry doppelgangers, but even from the get-go one knows that the excitement will not last. The Weasley twins, usually snappy, seem to have lost their chemistry. There’s something in the way director David Yates lets the pauses after their quips go just a little too long.
Of course the tone of the movie is “serious,” and the characters are not supposed to be jolly, but neither do they come off as people in truly dark times. It’s as though each time someone tells a joke everyone just stands around for a few moments looking blank. This movie won’t make many laugh. It won’t make many cry either.
Between a few fun action scenes, “The Deathly Hallows: Part 1” seems to drag over all. The emotional payoff of events like Bill’s wedding or Ron’s search for Hermione is a bit too understated. It’s not disappointing when Deatheaters come in and ruin moments because nothing feels very important.
One perfect example of lack of emotional payoff is an absurdly awkward dance scene between Harry and Hermione. This scene, instead of coming off as a tender instant between friends during dangerous times, comes off as the weirdest middle-school dance ever.
Perhaps some of the flatness is the result of poor performances from the cast, but it is hard to say given the script. Daniel Radcliffe has improved over time. In past movies his anger seemed feigned, and his range has definitely broadened. Where he had been the best of the three heroes, Rupert Grint is disappointing this time, and Emma Watson has taken the lead.
It goes without saying that Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes are excellent personifications of pure, insane evil. Alan Rickman also appears briefly and plays his part well.
This reviewer finds it hard to blame the movie’s overall ineffectiveness on the actors.
The narrative follows the novel, and if you had no issue with woodenness or clichés there, then you won’t here. Only one thing still rings untrue after all the suspension of disbelief. Dobby, the house elf freed by Harry in “Chamber of Secrets,” pulls a deus ex machina and saves the cast from certain doom.
Harry asks (and I paraphrase), “Can you break this cardinal rule of magic?” “Of course I can. I’m a house-elf.”
One wonders why Harry didn’t just put Dobbie in a suit of armor and have him do all the work long ago. Voldemort would have been dead by the end of the third book.
All this is to say that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” isn’t something you should take too seriously. Despite its status as more of a “flick” than a “film,” it is enjoyable for fans of the series.
One part did really stick out as excellent, the narrative of the “Tale of the Three Brothers.” The animation is reminiscent of “Coraline” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” In any case, if you’re hooked on the series, go ahead.
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