Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Contains Spoilers)

And so, the first part of the grand finale of the money making machine that is the Harry Potter franchise gets its release. I’d like to make it known straight away that I have NOT read the books (in fact, I believe I’ve only read one of them cover to cover), so this is all an opinion that doesn’t have any prior knowledge of the books.

I generally think that the Harry Potter franchise has been on a winning streak from the get-go – they have a clear audience in kids, and the adults like it because they normally end up reading the books to their kids. As the films have moved on and the cast/characters have grown up the films have gradually turned from something light and entertaining to something a lot more dark and dramatic, both relevant to normal kids (like “girl troubles”) and not-so-relevant (like having a mass –murdering dark wizard out to get you). As such, I’ve gradually become a little cynical of the franchise and how it has become this money-making phenomenon, and how each film “is going to be the darkest Harry Potter yet”. Surely if they get any darker, they’re going to run out of blue-hue settings on their graphics engines? Regardless, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was always going to be popular, because this is the beginning of the end of a wizarding era. There were slow parts of the film that I lived with to see where they led, but overall the film was moderately enjoyable for someone that has no major interest in the books.

One of the few things I found a little off-putting about the film was the amount of pointing the script had. There were lines of the dialogue that consisted of “Who’s he?” “Oh, him? He’s such-and-such. He does this, and his significance in this story is this.” Sure, for people who haven’t read the books this is obviously necessary in order to not be totally and utterly lost, and there is a certain amount of bluntness has to be used in order to move along to the important parts, but at certain points I did feel that I was being handed all my information on a plate. Granted, the makers of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows knew that people unfamiliar with the books would be coming to see it as well, and that not all of them would be film students, but I couldn’t help feeling that at certain parts there were other ways they could have tied information together.

The deepening relationships are becoming a lot more obvious, too. Of course, anyone who knows how the final book ends, Harry marries Ginny (Ron’s little sister, presumably in an attempt to create his own version of Ron for himself), and Ron ends up with Hermione, and all the way through this film they’re pushing on that in a “subtle” way. Even for people who don’t know how it ends, Ron and Hermione already act like such a married couple it’s hard to imagine them being anything else! These scenes are less than subtle, but again have a reason as they form part of the major storyline, and at the point where the Horcrux starts affecting Ron’s head it acts as a trigger for other events. Even so, some of these “developing” scenes felt a little forced on to people.

One part I really did find hard to watch was the dance scene at around the two-thirds point of the film. I completely understand that this scene is about Harry breaking the tension with Hermione and having a chance to both feel a bit normal and human in light of all the terrible things that are happening all around them, but I’m fairly sure this scene isn’t in the book and only exists as a visual means for explaining the tension we already know. This felt a little forced and was a little too humorous in a scene that didn’t need it, and could have been handled differently.

The point at which this film ends is also the point at which everything starts going to hell, which I think is both good and bad. It ends at a point at which you’re hanging on waiting to see what happens next, which is technically a good place to end it so the audience stays interested, but it also finishes just when things start picking up a bit more, making a majority of this film more of a set-up for what happens next. The final scenes of the film show the self-sacrifice of Dobby the House Elf, as he gives his life to save the others in a very sad yet heroic way. However, I personally got the distinct impression that the only people who really cared about this were people who had read the books. To anyone else, he merely represented a bit of a quirky secondary character that we’ve only seen in one other film and have a minimal amount of respect for, and as such find it hard to care about him right up until he actually does die which is sad, yes, but not exactly the heart-breaking ending the filmmakers intended to leave this part on. I personally found it kind of hard to care as much as everyone else did about the death of someone I found slightly annoying.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 IS only part of something more, so it’s hard to generalise too much over anything that happens in this film as you’re technically only watching half a film (even though its two-and-a-half hours long…). It’s done its job of getting me interested in how it all ends, but I’m wondering if in 6 months when the final part comes out (in 3D, no less!), I’ll still really care. After so much hype and build up, the ending to the Harry Potter franchise had better be nothing less than a completely epic, Star Wars meets Lord of the Rings scale ending. Anything less than that would probably just be a major disappointment! I’m giving Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 6 out of 10 for entertainment value, but this is still only half of a whole film.

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2 Comments

  1. It kind of reminds me of kill bill in a way, where the first part is all the set up, and the second is all the action, so you always like the second part better, but the first one is needed for the set up. I though Harry was going to make a move on Hermine, I haven’t read all the books either so I didn’t know he ends up with Rons sister, although it makes sense.

    • Yeh… I’m not sure quite how they got away with the semi-nakedness between the two when the Horcrux shows Ron his fear. That was a little….. yeh…… they’re teenagers, guys! Seriously!


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