Friday, 15 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

 I need to make it clear before I go any further that I am *not* a Harry Potter fan. I have not so much as touched a book let alone read one.

I made my cinematic début with number four and watched the movies in reverse chronological order until the fifth and sixth instalments came and went both of which I watched, enjoyed and immediately forgot about. 

My girls have long since accepted the fact that I will never read the books and that I really don’t give a flying wizards broomstick about the fate of Harry Potter and I ask you to kindly do the same.

PLOT:  Harry Potter is joined by half of the cast of the last film, and a few new characters whose names I gambled on not bothering to learn, in his living room wherein they devise a cunning plan what will enable them to outrun Voldemorts goons/death eaters/ominous Lost style black smoke on their broomsticks. A quarter of the characters are turned into Harry Potters and hilarious comedy then ensues.

Fred/George gets his ear burnt off and George/Fred laughs heartedly.

The Weasley Ginger Family are having a wedding as they have managed to lure a non ginger into their flock using black magic which no doubt involves sacrificing an overweight Muggle and listening to Simply Red underneath a full moon.

Voldemorts goons/death eaters/ominous Lost style black smoke crash the wedding and I think we are all grateful that an obvious pop music cue was not availed upon and Harry, Ron and Hermione are transported into the forest wherein they partake in copious amounts of camping, walking which is followed by, just for a change, some camping.

What happens to the rest of the cast I do not know but I am vindicated in my earlier decision of not bothering to learn the names of the new characters. 

The trio break into the Ministry of Magic and as so much comedic fun arose from the last body swapping occurrence they do it again, and joy of joys, it lasts much longer than the first scene.  They then go back to the forest for more camping.

A mysterious symbol pops up, we go to Luna’s father for an explanation and Hermione reads us the story of The Three Brothers.  Luna is not home and it makes me sad as she is one of the few memorable bit part characters from the franchise. 

Luna has been kidnapped and as soon as Harry, Ron and Hermione discover this shocking turn of events they run back to the safe haven of the forest and get kidnapped by exactly the same people.

We find ourselves transported to the headquarters of the villains who appeared to be doing nothing more villainous than simply waiting for Harry to fall right into their laps, which he ultimately does.

All looks lost for our heroes until Jar Jar Dobby  arrives and saves them all only to be killed by Bellatrix just as he gets everyone to safety. 

Voldemort robs Gandalf’s (I wrote this by mistake and I decided to keep it in) grave and steals his wand.  Voldemort is happy about this. The movie ends without so much as a “next time on Harry Potter.”  END PLOT

Peter Jackson with Lord of the Rings managed to create three masterpieces which a newcomer could follow with ease without having read the books such was the flowing nature of the storytelling.  Harry Potter has never been any good at this as it relies on its audience knowing what the hell is going on before settling down to watch the movie.  Exposition has never been Harry’s Strong point.

If I were asked under torture I could not explain to my capturer what the Deathly Hallows is/are.  I just don’t know. I think it was explained during the story of The Three Brothers, the best part of the entire movie, but I just don’t have a clue and for the record - I am not asking for an explanation as to be frank it wont make Harry Potter suddenly click in my head.

A few scenes made no sense such as Snape showing up at Voldemort’s house to watch a large snake eat a teacher.  I am told, by fans of the book, that Snape plays a big part in the next movie but at the time it looked as though my favourite character ran over to Volde’s side of the playground for no apparent reason.

A wedding was held between a Weasley I don’t remember and the girl from the Goblet of Fire which came completely out of the blue.  Speaking as someone who didn’t know this particular Weasley even existed I did not feel the need to be a part of his nuptial ceremony. I was again told by the girls that these characters are mentioned quite a bit in the novels but their roles in the movies were greatly reduced to the point that they were never mentioned.  This backs up my point that the Harry Potter movies have been created for the readers of the book who are able to fill in the blanks themselves rather than the general cinema attending public who watch the movies out of curiosity.

Although I am sure fans of the book loved the wedding etc from a film watchers point of view it just made what was an already disjointed plot harder to follow.

I will admit I misjudged the character of Dobby completely.  I was quite pleased during his death scene that I felt the need to look around at my friend happy in the knowledge that I would no longer be annoyed at this awful character only to find her practically weeping into her coat.  Conflicting emotions were rife during the viewing of this film as a character I thought was childish and annoying turned out to be a much loved by fans.

The cast was essentially made up of Daniel Radcliff, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson with everyone else unfortunately reduced to a cameo role.  Reducing the cast to the three friends worked only whenever they were on screen together.  After Ron went off to find himself after suffering some sort of mental breakdown as a result of wearing a necklace the movie really dragged but he showed up in the nick of time to save Harry and then erm get kidnapped.

I could have done without the little Harry/Hermione are they/aren’t they going to get together and in the same vein watching them naked and kissing in yet another evil cloud of black smoke is now filed in the filing cabinet of “repressed memories” in my brain. 

The acting was generally fine but unmemorable which is pretty much the mantra of the franchise with the exception to the rule being Alan “I will steal your scene quicker than you can say I will cut your heart out with a spoon“ Rickman.

The movie only picked up at the end when we arrived at the house of Bellatrix la Strange played by Helena Bonham Carter, there to remind us that once she shakes off the oppressive shackles of the Burton/Depp monotony she always seems to find herself tangled in she is a damn fine actress. 

There were some nice little moments though - I did find myself welling up whenever Harry found his parents grave and I loved the story of The Three Brothers and the way it was shot. 

The movie is two and a half hours long and for what little plot progress was made it could easily have been a good forty-five minutes shorter.  The Deathly Hallows should have been shorter but I didn’t really feel the time go by so I know that on some level I was engaging with it. 

The problem with splitting the Deathly Hallows into two parts is the first half was always going to be teaser of things to come.  I have to say that going on the first half and what little actually occurred they could easily have made one mega finale that at least would have allowed the franchise to go out on a massive high.  This movie will make millions of that I have no doubt but they sacrificed the series by making a half arsed and quite frankly boring movie in order to build up to a, and I have no doubt that it will be, epic final movie.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gets a 4/10.  I know those of you who love the novels will disagree with me on every point and I completely understand why.  I do not love the characters from JK Rowlings novels - I only know the characters from the films and unfortunately this film is the weakest and most pointless of them all.

After watching the Lord of the Rings I read the novels but because of watching Harry Potter unfortunately the novels will forever remain unread but I will be there in July to see how it all ends. 

It could be worse - at least it wasn’t fucking Twilight. 


  1. I like HP but splitting The Deathly Hallows in half was a mistake and nothing but a huge money grab. The last 'two' movies have been completely boring for me and a huge disappointment.
    The grab for cash has over ridden the charm the previous movies all had. But hey what do we know as it sesm the whole bloody world is raving over the 'last' movie as the best yet. My opinion?? YAWN!!!! I really wanted to like it and see the franchise out in style but I left the theatre feeling completely flat and unsatisfyied.

  2. I haven't read you review of Part 2 yet but I will do as soon as I finish mine!