Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie review: "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows", part one

Last Saturday I went to movies with my girlfriend to watch "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows", first half of seventh book's movie adaptation. We both like Harry Potter books, but we are not really fans. I liked the fourth ("The Goblet of Fire") and the fifth ("The Order of Phoenix") book. Movies I liked all, except the last one ("The Half-Blood Prince"), but I did like the book. But the seventh book ("The Deathly Hallows"), I didn't like it at all. I read it only once (rest of books I read twice or more) and I don't plan to reread it. Not that I hate it, I just think it is weak and I am indifferent toward it. I don't think that previous books are fantasy masterpieces, but they were fun and interesting, which cannot be said of the last one.

On the other hand, I am happy to say that the movie is great. It lasts little less than two and a half hours. And of that, just a bit (some 15 minutes or so) is boring. I am talking about the part in woods. As I said, I read book only once and long ago, but I remember that being quite boring and much longer. In movie, they focused on interesting stuff and boring parts are elegantly (but not completely) avoided and reduced.

I have read few reviews where authors complain how movie would be confusing for people unfamiliar with the books. I don't see the problem with it: this movie is made for fans. You don't have to know the names of every character, curse and place, but a bit of familiarity with plot and characters is expected. This is the reason why I will not go in details on characters and plot; I will only try to relay my impression of the movie.

Movie does great in transferring the atmosphere to the audience. From the beginning it is filled with action, tension and depression. Things are not going well for our heroes and the times are dark; you can feel the stress and emotions of characters. On the other hand, there are lots of funny scenes and they are done very well. You don't feel stupid for laughing and humor is clever. Action scenes are intense and exciting but not too showy.

Good part of the movie is dedicated to emotional stress and the problem of accepting one's role. Harry is having problem with accepting his duty and the fact that people will get hurt in fight. I can't help myself and not to draw parallels to Rand's problems in "The Gathering Storm".

Regarding bad sides of the movie, I can't name one. Or better to say, flaws originate in the book, and they couldn't be totally avoided with greatly changing the conception of the movie. I think that stuff did a great job in focusing on brighter (in quality, not in context) parts of the book. Most flaws are connected to sudden and unbelievable plot elements.

I think that everyone who likes Harry Potter books or movie adaptations will like the first part of "The Deathly Hallows". So this is definitely a recommendation. I am looking forward to the last part, which is announced for July of next year.

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