I remember the first time I was exposed to the magical world of Harry Potter. I was in elementary school and one of my classmates suggested Sorcerer’s Stone to me. You should have seen my reaction when I was reading the chapter when the 11-year old Trio was taking Nobert up to the tower for the pick up, and then bumping into Draco without the invisibility cloak. I was immersed in the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, giddy by the danger of PoA, ecstatic about the Tri-Wizard Tournament of Goblet, found my way through the workings of the Order of the Phoenix, and worked my way through the intrigue of brain-twister of the Half-Blood Prince. I attended the midnight releases of the last two. Unfortunately I had to wait a full 2 years to read the epic of the Deathly Hallows, yet when I had the chance I was drowned in the excitement of the journey.
When WB took on the grandeur of the project, a different animal was bred. It was Christmas 2001 when I saw HP1, for some reason reluctantly…. must’ve been the moody teenager me. From then til now I was hooked on the world that was created on the screen by the hybrid talents of Britain and the US. It’s been a delight to see those somewhere around my age grow up with me while depicting characters I grew to love or loathe through the years.
I want to make it clear the cinema is a different entertainment medium than fictional literature. It’s been said time and time again about novel based movies, “The book was better.” Duh, I don’t know of a movie that is based on a book that is better than its origin. We need to separate the two; they are different.
The topic of this blog is my experience of seeing the 1st part of the last installment of the Harry Potter franchise. I had the opportunity to attend the midnight showing, and a fair warning to all who wish to see a premiere of a movie of this magnitude: be ready for some crazies and noise. There were a plethora of costumes and characters including the Whomping Willow, Dobby, Rita Skeeter and the like. Be ready for a movie experience unlike any other.
I was overly delighted to know that the last installment would be cut in two as I had predicted while reading the book that the split, if there was one, was where I thought it would be. This split saved a truly potential epic being saved into a jam packed 2.5 hours of confusion and fumbled story telling. Although I read the book and was satisfied on the structure of the plot and the pacing, I was so much here in HP7. I feel it left a lot of empty spaces in between the action points where you were forced to be patient until something happened. We all knew that the point was to find the remaining horcruxes and destroy them but the plot felt that it didn’t move that way. A more accurate title for the movie would be “Harry Potter and the Locket and the Elder Wand” as that was the only two mentioned objectives. This is my main quarrel about the movie: happy that we got 5 hours for the last HP7 but just give us more in those hours.
As said before, I grew up with the infamous Trio as they battled the forces of evil inside Hogwarts. Dan, Rupert and Emma have grown in their characters and have displayed their wide range of acting abilities I couldn’t hold a candle to. I don’t know if it was the writing, the directing or the acting but I saw a stark contrast between the dialogue that was supposed to color the frames but just feel short to boring. In the books, not to compare but to give a standard, the Trio had interacting and moving conversations as they discussed their objectives, but in HP7 it felt flat-lined and boring. Instead of heroic figures they seemed like clumsy preteens. Mind you, there were several moving points that sent tears down my cheeks and tension filled dynamics that made my breathing unbalanced.
I also wanted to comment on the progressiveness of this franchise. I noticed that HP 1 and 2 were pretty kiddy to say the least but notwithstanding it’s safe to say they both had their dark elements to them. HP3 and 4 increased their intensity and their dark elements with deemed frightening images like Lupin’s werewolf and Voldemort’s resurrection. HP5 and 6 held onto the tone of the last two but backed away from having such eerie subjects. HP7 didn’t hold back anything from its audience. There were very mature parts that even could make the most strong stomach cringe. Examples would be: George’s mangled ear, Ron’s slashed arm and Dobby’s sad death. There was even borderline nudity at one point that may have parents second guessing allowing their under aged children in seeing it. Bottom line is the maturity level has gone up bit by bit in which it is also reflective of the growing up process that our beloved characters have gone through.
What I really loved about this movie in general is how it gripped the heartstrings from the first frame. Not only that but it had such tension that even someone, like I, that knows what’s going to happen still has us at the edge of our seats unable to detach ourselves from the action. There were several parts that had me in these stages of emotion, which I think is the film’s saving grace.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Deathly Hallows, I believed it to be the most heartfelt depiction of all the series and will lead to an epic climax and resolution in Part 2. Being and avid lover of the books and the movies I just wish they could have made it a tighter and snappier production.