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Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” November 19, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Movies.


Children, it’s been a while since I’ve gone to a midnight show to see a genre movie—especially something like “Harry Potter.” I think the last time I was in a theater with as many geeked-up and geeked-out fanboys/girls was…let me see…

Fig. 2: Still awesome.

So, of course, the theater was full of Potter fans—this is not a movie you go see on opening night if you have only a middling interest in something that you think you’ve heard your neighbors’ friends talk about. At first, I was worried that the assembled fans would ruin the movie by NOT SHUTTING THE HELL UP—surprisingly, however, everyone did shut the hell up once the movie started.

So how was it? Well, it’s difficult to judge—we only got half the story. I suppose it’s a good thing they broke “The Deathly Hallows” up into two parts; as anyone who’s not been living under a rock knows, JK Rowling didn’t write tiny books. The final book clocks in at well over 700 pages and is chock-full of plot. Trying to cram all of what happens in “The Deathly Hallows” into one movie would have likely proven to be an utter disaster. As it is, I still think that the movie spent a little too much time on Harry’s Not-Quite-So-Excellent Camping Adventure, but it wasn’t a fatal flaw. What it did excellently was to create a sense of impending doom. As Voldemort’s forces are on the march, darkness is everywhere. This is clearly the darkest and most adult of the Potter films—this installment even ends on a rather downbeat note—but that doesn’t stop the film from having bits of humor. Fortunately, those moments of levity don’t overwhelm the movie nor are they jarring. Also, the emotionally charged moments don’t ring false—the reappearance of Dobby was surprisingly heartwarming and then heartbreaking (damn you Yates for making me cry over a CGI house elf!), and, for the first time, I found Harry’s angst over his parents’ deaths to not border on annoying.

The acting in the movie is, obviously, better than, say, the first movie. After all, everyone is now an adult and has grown into their roles. And how Daniel Radcliffe has grown! For some reason, we had two scenes where Radcliffe had to strip down—to the audible delight of nearly every woman (and the inaudible delight of probably a few men, myself included) in the audience. Thanks for the appeal to the shallow, David Yates. You do know what the audience wants, don’t you?

Ok, that bit of shallowness aside, this is a very tightly-plotted and paced movie. Seeing Dolores Umbridge again elicited nothing but contempt from the audience—a testament to Imelda Staunton’s spot-on take on the character. Frankly, she’s just as I imagined her in the books. And finally, Voldemort gets to do more than just be a mustache twirling villain—his plans are coming to fruition and we get to see him luxuriate in his seemingly imminent victory.

I have one question: why do we have to wait until July 2011? I want part two now!



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