So, I saw Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part One at the midnight showing, and I loved it. Really, I think it’s been one of the best movies in the series so far, which is why I was so surprised to hear so many negative comments and reviews about it. People seem to fall into two camps: they loved it, or they thought it sucked hardcore. I’ve been trying to come to terms with how people could have hated it so much, because, honestly, their negative reviews have started to get on my nerves. (On a side note, isn’t it funny how that happens sometimes? You and Friend A disagree about some movie, but it’s no big deal, you just don’t agree. Friend A disagrees with you on a different movie, though, and you just want to take them by the neck and shake them around till they see it your way.)
Purists who didn’t like the movie . . . I can’t do much for you, because I haven’t read the last book in a long time, and I don’t remember a lot of the little details. It seemed like it was pretty accurate, but I don’t know for sure. Surprisingly, though, the biggest complaints I’ve heard about it aren’t from the purists but from the people who were expecting bigger battles, more epic, flashy stuff, and were disappointed with a slower movie.
I . . . I guess I can see what they mean about the movie being less flashy . . . I mean, everything in this film is leading up to this huge, super battle at Hogwarts, and that battle doesn’t actually take place in this movie. I think people were expecting a bigger magical firefight, maybe, one that never quite took place? I mean, that’s the only thing I can think of, and I get that, sorta, but I don’t really think this film needed it. The conclusion of this film felt like a pretty natural conclusion to me—battle/escape from the bad guys, one of the sidekicks goes down, the dead are buried, resolve is built, and the big bad gets that ultimate weapon which means that shit will be hitting the fan.
As far as the movie being slow . . . I just . . . people, were we watching the same movie? Cause the movie I watched wasn’t slow, like, at all. I mean, I get that it didn’t lead up to a big epic battle, but the story just moved from action to action to action. I mean, they had time for character stuff, which was nice, but this was the first movie in the whole series that I’ve liked the pacing from the get-go. (Usually, I find the pacing is a little awkward on the first few viewings and just eventually get used to it. Here there was no problem.)
A lot of people I’ve heard have complained about the camping. “They camp too looooong. The whole movie is the kids camping! It’s so boring!” And I guess if you didn’t know what you were getting into, you might find it that way (although I’m still not sure about that), but seriously, anybody who read the book should not be bitching about the camping. The camping in this movie is a thousand times better than what it was in the book. Ron’s bitchiness is minimized to fifteen minutes instead of a hundred freaking pages, and I think the changes in scenery really allowed the audience to get a better feeling for the distance that was being travelled. In the book, the camping almost reads like Ron, Hermoine, and Harry are in the same campsite whining at each other for three hundred pages. In the movie, however, things still feel like they’re moving. I can’t stress enough how important that is to me in a movie.
A few more notes in my more traditional reviewing style before I depart.
1.) I love how Bill Weasley comes in. “Oh, hey, Harry, good to finally meet you, since none of the previous directors have bothered to bring my character into any of the previous films, even though my first character entrance in the books is way the hell back in Goblet of Fire. Well, hell, I guess I beat my brother, Charlie, at least. Cheers!”
Hermoine kicks all kinds of ass in this film. I’ve always liked Hermoine well enough, but until this movie, I’ve never been like, “Yea! It’s Hermoine!” I thought Emma Watson’s performance was great. In general, I’ve enjoyed watching all of the kids grow up over the films. I don’t know how much they’ve enjoyed it, but I think it’s sort of neat, seeing them as children who were okay actors (sorry, people; they weren’t bad, but they weren’t the Culkins, either) and watching them develop into good actors over the course of a decade. Time will only tell if they’ll fade into obscurity, OD on something illegal, or continue making even more awesome movies.
3.) If you haven’t seen the film yet, there’s a little scene that takes maybe a whole sixty seconds with Harry and Hermoine dancing. Some people have been pretty snarky about this scene, and while normally I entirely approve of snarkiness in general, here I just don’t agree with anything that’s been said. I thought this scene was great. For the first time in the series, I kind of fell in love with Daniel Radcliffe (which made me feel a little pervy, but, you know, so it goes). Harry dances like a dork, and he’s trying so hard to make Hermoine smile, and there’s just something kind of adorable about it. It was one of those nice moments of levity that broke up the darkness of the film, and those moments were needed. Again, I think the pacing of this movie was excellent–the humor was perfectly spaced, and I loved it.
4.) Hi, Bill Nighy! It was nice to see you for . . . three minutes? Four? Cheers!
5.) Someday, I want to grow up to be Helena Bonham Carter’s crazy hair.
6.) I mentioned this briefly earlier, but I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I was that Ron wasn’t an evil little turd for half the film. He had a nice few moments in the beginning of film that really helped offset his bitchiness later, and since the bitchiness was kept to a minimum, I didn’t feel the need to jump into the movie screen and strangle him. Which is a good thing, since I don’t live in a Woody Allen film, and likely it wouldn’t have worked out so well for me.
7.) Actually, this final note is really a question for you HP lovers. Harry’s constantly looking at a piece of glass or a mirror . . . is that supposed to be the mirror that Sirius gave him in the fifth book, you know, the one they didn’t use in the movie? Frankly, I was happy when they dropped it—I kind of thought that was J.K. Rowling twisting the knife a little too hard, like first we punch Harry in the balls, and then we drop a house on him? Anyway, I wasn’t sure if that was what the glass was supposed to be, or if it was supposed to be something else that I just forgot about. Even brunettes have occasional blonde moments. In fact, I was blonde once, for about an hour.
Tentative Grade: A-
Conclusion: Can’t wait until July.