Friday, December 10, 2010

HP Heaven

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1I’ve heard and read a lot of mixed reviews about the latest Harry Potter film. Overlong. Shouldn’t have been divided into 2. Too complicated. Over-plotted. No character development. Etc.

So it was with some trepidation that Karen and I went to see The Deathly Hallows Part 1 on Wednesday night. Trepidation because, actually, we love the Harry Potter films. All of them. And I say that with a note of defiance in my voice to those who would denigrate them. But that doesn’t mean I am going to take kindly to spending near enough £20 on a shite film.

Thankfully I spent £20 on an excellent film.

I loved it. Having read the books I can say that for me, The Deathly Hallows Part 1 was spot on. Exactly as I’d imagined it.

Overlong? No. Not at all. I would have been happy to sit through another hour.

Shouldn’t have been divided into 2? No. To make one film – even one that stretched to 3 maybe 3 and a half hours – would have meant curtailing and abridging the story horribly, pointlessly and dishonestly. It would have cheated the audience.

Too complicated? I’ve read the book so knew what was going on – so I can’t judge. But my wife, who has not read the books, found this one easier to follow than its predecessor, The Half Blood Prince.

Over plotted? Nope. Everything that was there was necessary. If anything they missed a few things out – but nothing of any importance. For example, in the book, Mr Weasley lays into Harry’s foster parents for their coldness and cruelty towards him but Dudley, their spoilt brat of a son, makes his peace with Harry and wishes him well. Given the moral overtones of the story it would have been nice to have had this scene kept in but I can see it would not have served to progress the story along so it was probably right to leave it out. There were a few other minor omissions like this but hell, you can’t fit a whole book into a film.

No character development? Hmm. This is Harry Potter guys, come on! The entire series has been about him growing up and getting to this point! Finally Harry, Hermione and Ron are standing up on their own. There is no help from Dumbledore – well, no direct help. This is Harry facing his enemies without protection – only his own skill, nerve and courage. This is him becoming a man. And for what it’s worth I thought this was a surprisingly adult film. Surprisingly scary too. And very dark... and set to get darker still. The body count is rising. The stakes are getting higher.

It was always going to be difficult to draw the first half of a story to a close and do it in a manner that is cinematically satisfying – but they managed it. The conclusion leaves you feeling cranked up and ready for the last rush of the rollercoaster to the unavoidable termination.

I loved this film. I’d be happy to go again to see it. I can’t wait for Part 2.

To be honest, if you’re not a Harry Potter fan there is no point you going to see this film and expecting to like it. If you haven’t liked the others or you’ve picked fault with them, save your money and go and see Tron. But for those of you that are Harry Potter fans I found nothing in this film that would disappoint or let you down. It serves both us and the story well.

If Part 2 maintains this standard it will be a fitting end indeed.



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46 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

So does Harry get killed in the end? I might then consider watching it. I hate these never-ending sagas. All things must pass.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: yes and no.

Heather said...

ooooh, can't wait to see this one! i love Harry Potter, read all the books and enjoyed the films. Great review, thank you Steve

Steve said...

Heather: a pleasure that would only be made more perfect if I could be paid for doing it! ;-)

Janete Cabral said...

Hey Steve

I went to see it yesterday too. Had a lovely date for lunch and Harry Potter..lol. Looking forward to part 2...

Just a big kid really.

Janete

Steve said...

Janete: ain't nothing wrong with that and a helluva lot of things right with it!

rb said...

I have seen all the previous films and whilst I did not stay awake during the whole of any of them, that is just me. I fall asleep in the cinema.

I expect we will go to see this at the beginning of the school holidays. So I'll let you know what I thought then!

Kelloggsville said...

Read the title and came over excitedly expecting a Brown Sauce treat and was thoroughly disappointed...shame on you for such deceptions.

Suzanne said...

Hopefully going to see it on Sunday night - I can't wait!
My eldest two have already been and loved it. HP provided some great bonding with me and my eldest two, but they blew me out and went with their friends to see this film.
I thought the books just got better and better.
Will be dragging hubby along.

Steve said...

rb: sleeping in the cinema! Sacrilege! And a rather expensive sleep too!

Kelloggsville: there are some scary scenes in the film so there may be a few brown sauce moments for those of a nervous disposition!

Suzanne: shame on your kids for blowing you out (but at least you get to eat all the sweeties yourself now)!

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Thank god I am not the only one who thought this was going to be about brown sauce.

Is it wrong of me to say I'm disappointed? ;-)

Sorry, not a Harry Potter fan, brown sauce on the other hand...

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: so you're saying you wouldn't want a nice big dollop of Harry Potter spread over your chips?

Wanderlust said...

Hmmm... I think I'm going to wait for the video, but glad to hear it will suit fans. Sadly, the brown sauce reference is lost on me. Damn cultural chasms.

femminismo said...

Oh, good. I want to go see this. Glad to hear you recommend it! Thanks for your comments. I really appreciated the one on the tree, because you made me go to Part 2, The Future. I didn't realize it, but I should be thinking about that too when I decorate the tree.

Steve said...

Wanderlust: brown sauce might not span cultural chasms but magic surely does...?

Femminismo: and talking of Part 2 I am looking forward to Part 2 of The Deathly Hallows! ;-)

libby said...

Took my 11yr old niece to see this...just wish I had 'caught up' with what went before...I kept wondering 'why...who...what?' but did enjoy it....she thinks Ron is looking pretty fit these days!!

Steve said...

Libby: Ron has been sporting some nicely defined "guns" since the last film...

Clippy Mat said...

I am trying to think of something positive and constructive to say about HP and his happy band of children but you might remember I am not a fan.
But I like going to the movies so if somebody gave me free tickets I wouldn't not go.
As long as they threw in some popcorn.
There now.
That's was nice of me wasn't it?
I remembered my manners.
:-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: sounds to me like someone has put an Imperius curse on you to make you say that...! ;-)

Being Me said...

I agree with your Karen there - I've not read the books but have been a huge fan of the movies. This was one of my favourite HP's (although I tend to say that after every one). And I too found this easier to follow. Thoroughly agree with you, too, on the 2-movie split being a much better way to do it. I would have felt very very cheated having it all crammed into one.

Granted, if you haven't watched any of the previous movies (or read the books, of course), you're going to wonder what's going on and who's who. But what ninny is going to come into it this far and expect to reap the enjoyment? I wouldn't be watching this movie without watching the others first. So I think the 'lacking character development' criticism is, therefore, laughable. We LOVED it, the husb and I, and are looking fwd to the last one.

Steve said...

Being Me: I knew there was a reason I liked you! Karen and I were sad enough to watch The Half Blood Prince in the morning on DVD just to tune in and make sure we were fully up to speed before we went to the cinema in the evening. Our plan is to watch them all again in the lead up to the release of Part 2... and then when the boxed set comes out... well. You can just imagine. Just bought this today too - Harry Potter Film Wizardry - a superb book and a great accompaniment to all the films.

English Rider said...

Same planet, different worlds! Now that I understand your title was not referring to Hewlett Packard I can comment that I am pleased for you that your movie was a worthwhile experience.

Steve said...

English Rider: Hewlett Packard Heaven? Oooh - very black magic indeed!

Owen said...

Where question was asked, "does Harry get killed in the end?", and answer was "yes and no"...

Oh shoot, guess I'll have to see this now just to figure out what on earth you meant...

I think the last HP book is the only one I still haven't gotten around to reading, so I have no clue as to how it ends...

Mark said...

I you like HP or you don't - just like the sauce. It's not for me, but hats off to JK and the film makers - they have done wonders for books and cinema. Sounds like twenty quid well spent.

Nota Bene said...

Glad you enjoyed it...a little bit more than I did...I might get a bottle of sauce and see how that goes..

Löst Jimmy said...

I have only seen one Harry Potter film at the cinema, and that was the 3rd one (I think) - Azkaban. It was good. As for the rest of the franchise I'm rather out of touch.
Incidentally I too was lured by the HP (brown sauce) title. I'll have mine on the bacon buttie when you are ready please...

missbehaving said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing it with my boys, we've loved all the others and I can't wait, so thanks for comfirming it's money well spent.

Being Me said...

Steve - Ha! I can go you one better there, we watch each movie in succession over every Christmas hols (it's getting longer to do, the more movies come out).

Go on... like me more. Or call me tragic. I'm happy to accept either :)

Steve said...

Owen: it'll repay your investigation as well as proving that my answer is completely accurate.

Mark: it was. And I like the analogy with brown sauce.

Nota Bene: I guess the bottle of brown sauce will be cheaper...!

Löst Jimmy: brown sauce on a bacon buttie? Now that's what I call magic!

Missbehaving: feel free to sue me should you see the film and disagree (but I doubt it)!

Being Me: nope - like you more. The wife and I keep planning to do this as there is something very Christmassy about all the HP films. We also keep planning to plough through Lord of the Rings too... not sure where we'll find the time to do all of this though!

Keith said...

Long live the inner kid in everyone. Haven't seen it yet, but it may just be a christmas must.

Steve said...

Keith: I totally agree. With both your sentiments.

ethicstrading said...

Steve - Yes, completely accurate. My kids haven't got round to reading the books yet but have seen all the films apart from this one, we'll be waiting for the DVD. They too asked me if Harry dies in the end and I told them exactly that, "Yes and No." They're very frustrated with me, but they'll get it in the end.

Loved this one, Bellatrix beautifully mad, Lucius surprising and Hermione, well, wow.

Steve said...

ethicstrading: and yet yes and no is the most accurate answer anybody can give without giving anything away (my wife would kill me if I spoilt it for her. As for Hermione... she's always been a bit wow, hasn't she?

lunarossa said...

Haven't come round to watch it yet, but my son has and he liked it. I asked him whether it was suitable for his sister (11) as in the previous one she cried buckets when Dumbledore was killed. Now I'm not sure if I should take her to see this one as her favourite character will die in it. She has not read the last book and doesn't know the end yet. Glad that Karen is feeling better. Hope the kids will be soon. Had the same at the beginning of the week. Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: there's so much going round at the moment it's like playing russian roulette with the various illnesses. The film is very dark and the death of you-know-who is nicely handled - quite emotional. Might be a bit upsetting for someone who is a bit sensitive.

Vicky said...

I saw this the other week and I enjoyed it so much I have started re-reading the books. Mind you we did get upgraded to Gold Lounge as there were only 6 people there to watch it (school day LOL). So reclining chairs and drinks did make a difference!
There are some scary scenes in the movie so I don't think it is really for the younger kidlets that have read the books.

Steve said...

Vicky: I agree. We thought about taking our 9 year old but in the end decided against it for those very reasons.

Suburbia said...

I'm so behind with Harry Potter, really must finish the books. Hate seeing films before reading the book first!
Glad you enjoyed it :-)

Steve said...

Suburbia: I know what you mean but I actually saw the first 5 HP films before I read the books and it didn't spoil my enjoyment of either...!

The Sagittarian said...

The Scowly Teen went to see this last week and loved it big time! The rest of us will go during the holidays probably and she has stated she's coming with us so it must have been good. We have all the previous movies on DVD, this will be added to the collection and rightly so by the sounds of it. cheers for the review.

Selina Kingston said...

I've always thought the films have been great - they put on screen exactly what I imagined when reading the books. I guess that's a tribute to JKR though as she is a very descriptive writer. Can't wait to see this one....

Michelle Twin Mum said...

Ohhh good to hear, I have not seen it yet and hubbie came home yesterday saying it was not all that! Mich x

Steve said...

Amanda: there can be no more positive review for a film than someone who wants to go and see it a second time.

Selina: very true and The Deathly Hallows was astounding like I'd imagined it when reading the book.

Michelle: it's brilliant - go see!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Awesome review, Steve. We actually went to see this one at the Drive In Movie Theatre. It was so fun. I'd never been to one before. The nachos were stale and the bathrooms were scary, but it was so fun to be watching a movie outside on the big screen under the stars. Wow that sounded super cheesy. Anyway, loved the movie and funny enough, before that I wasn't a bigger Potter fan. Now I want to see all of them.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: never been to a drive-in movie but then the weather in the UK doesn't always play ball! Glad you enjoyed the movie - I can recommend buying the boxed set when it comes out and locking yourself away for a few days to watch them all in order...!