Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 movie review

I finally got around to seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1), so it’s movie review time.  I saw it in IMAX (but thankfully not in 3D), and I have to say I strongly recommend the experience…  well, I could do without the whole “YOU’RE WATCHING A MOVIE IN IMAX!” thing and I certainly am not a fan of the $17 per ticket price we paid, but there it is.  The sound and image were outstanding, and both were friggin huge!

It’s hard to rate a movie when it’s in the middle of the story… but as far as novel adaptations go, this is a good one, and when it comes to adapting half of a novel into a cliff hanger, this movie does the job in spades.  The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the better adaptations of any of the Harry Potter books so far, and it’s a fine movie, despite its unresolved plot lines and cliff hanger ending.  As always, the performances are solid:   Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and  Rupert Grint give the performances we’ve come to expect from them since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.   David Yates does a great job as director and the beautiful filming of Eduardo Serra looks great in IMAX – and lets not forget to mention the editing of Mark Day, who did a much better job than the novel did of keeping the film from dragging while the gang is out on the run in the tent.

If it’s not already clear, you can’t walk into this movie as a Harry Potter novice.  You will be totally miserable, I guarantee it.  You might be able to get away with watching only Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but even that is a stretch.

spoiler alert

A few points of contention:
If you didn’t read the book, I don’t see how you could have possibly understood what was happening during the Bathilda-Bagshot-is-possessed-by-Nagini scene.  The movie just doesn’t give you the tools you need to understand that something is strange about Bagshot…   also, the novel had additional tension during this chapter because Voldemort is aware that Nagini has dropped her cover and has confronted Harry, and Harry can hear Voldemort in his mind telling Nagini to just hold him there, that he’s on the way… so if Harry and Hermione can’t escape in time, they’re really screwed.

When Harry, Hermione and Ron get caught by the Snatchers in the woods…  what the hell was that?  The Snatchers just happened to be exactly where our trio of heroes apparated (that’s Harry Potter talk for teleported) to at that exact moment?  It’s just too much of a coincidence…  In the book, ‘Voldemort’ is a name that will immediately dispatch the snatcher squads, and Harry slips, which brings the goons down on them.  In the movie, they’re just there, almost waiting for them.  It’s too convenient.  The strange part is Mr. Lovegood uses the name Voldemort and they show up immediately and practically tear his house down…  again, not the way it went down in the book, but effective for the movie’s purposes.  The Lovegood and the Snatcher scenes are the exact opposites of well and poorly done modifications from the source material.

The dance scene…  did we really need Harry to ask Hermione to dance around with him in the tent to make her feel better after Ron left?  I think no, we were fine without it.  At least we didn’t have to endure endless crying like we did in the book.

Notably absent from the movie:
Wasn’t Wormtail’s artificial hand supposed to strangle him to death before Harry and Ron escaped their prison cell?  As I recall, he showed Harry some remorse and the hand went nuts on him…  Rowling punishes the character for his evil deeds, as she often does with the baddies, and it seems that a character so central to the death of Harry’s parents wouldn’t get off Scott free.

Best changes from the book:
Hedwig got to go down fighting.  Although I didn’t check the text, I remember Hedwig being in her cage when she dies, but in the movie, she was flying around giving the death eaters a hard time.  I thought for sure this would be cut out of the movie, but the modified version was there, letting the audience know that they were in for a rough ride right from the beginning.  The deaths of Dobby and Hedwig are by far my biggest regrets in the series.

The polyjuice potion wearing off at the ministry of magic.  This created a much higher level of drama and cut out Harry’s weird desire to liberate Mad Eye Moody’s prosthetic eye from Dolores Umbridge’s office door.

My Rating:  4 out of 5

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on December 14, 2010, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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