Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Review

So its 3:30 AM and I just got home from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was sporting my Harry Potter Snuggie at the theater, which did fetch a couple compliments. I'm pretty sure its the single best purchase I've made to date.

But I'm not here to discuss my awesome snuggie. I'm here to talk about the movie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. Now, without trying to spoil it too badly for those of you who haven't seen the movie and haven't read the book, (but lets face it, if you haven't read the book by now you probably deserve to be spoiled for being culturally obtuse.) and keeping in mind that it is nearing 4 AM and I'm getting tired, I will tell you exactly how I feel about this movie.

I went into the movie, expecting absolutely nothing. I had only seen the trailer maybe 3 times over the summer because I feel, based on a past experience, that I can enjoy a movie for what it is so much more by knowing as little about it beforehand as possible. Now, I'd read the book of course, so I knew what would happen, but as with all books-turned-movies, the directors have to chose what they're going to leave in and take out, and change for the sake of pacing.

That being said I think that of all the Harry Potter movies to date, this one captured the essence of the book the absolute best. You really feel the hopelessness, the fear and the stress of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they are out on the run without Dumbledore to help them in their plight. You get this sense right from the start which is a great way to put you in the right emotional state from the get-go. We have to remember, the biggest, baddest villain of all time is back, oppressing, killing, and generally terrorizing all of the people. The Wizarding world is in a dark place in the midst of all this and I think it was very right for them to set the tone this way.

Now don't get me wrong. There are plenty of opportunities for laughs which they handle successfully which make it very enjoyable, diffusing quite a lot of the heavy scenes so the audience isn't too overloaded by the desperate feelings that can only come about from war. And there were two moments where a few tears may have been shed. There are also some really intense parts, namely the part where they visit Bathilda Bagshot's place. In the book, this is probably the scariest scene and it had me jumping and gasping and even screaming a bit. There are a few other places that garnered this response from me as well to which I say "bravo" to the filmmakers for allowing me to get so wrapped up in what is going on.

The one part I really wished they had put in was the part where they see the plaque that says something to the effect of "Here is the spot where Lily and James Potter died, but Harry is still alive and kicking, yadda yadda" and there are all these encouraging notes left there in wizard graffiti that say stuff like "good luck Harry, we believe in you", and Harry is really uplifted by that. That was one of my favorite scenes just because its nice to see evidence of other people believing in you.

Now there was some controversy about a "nude scene" in this film. Its basically a really creepy vision that comes out of the Horcrux that Ron has to destroy, of Hermione being all "Who'd ever want you when we have Harry Potter in comparison?" and then the super smooth and shiny Hermione and Harry visions start making out and you get this shot of them that artistically turns in to billowing clouds in sensitive areas. basically you just see the sides of them bare-skinned, but nothing is really shown, its mainly implied.

It ends in a super cliffhanger of course, because its "to be continued" it just makes me mad because I'm not going to get a chance to see the second part till July.

The only place where the effects really bothered me was when Hagrid and Harry were getting chased by deatheaters in the flying motorbike, and they're on the road darting through cars, its clearly like, 99% CG but the cars and the road were just way too clean and unreal or something for that scene to look legitimate. it looked like a funny dream sequence or something with how unreal it looked. But I mentioned it to my friends, and they didn't seem to notice. I think because I'm learning how these things are created I'm starting to lookout for things like that.

As far as the rest of the animation goes though, it was awesome. I loved the part where Hermione tells the story of the 3 Brothers. its all animated and in silhouette and I'm a sucker for that, and its also way stylized and very cool.

Also Bill Nighy is the Prime Minister of Magic and he just sounded so much like Davy Jones I couldn't help but giggle a little.

It's like looking in a Mirror

That's all I have to say about that right now. I need to see it again when I'm more awake in the brain.
I have a way of rating movies by asking these questions: Would you see it again in the full priced theaters (as opposed to the dollar theater)? and Would you buy it on DVD.

The answer to both of these is a huge, resounding YES. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a Harry Potter fan.

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