When I first saw the previews of the HPTDH I got goosebumps on my arms. This was going to be the final release ( in 2 parts) that will truly end the magical saga of Harry Potter. Even though I loved the trailer. I had very low expectations from the movie coz I did not like Yates take on Book 5 & 6. There was so much going on Book 7 that I really hoped that he would not go about changing the plot and adding inane scenes. And he didn’t.
Therefore, after a really long time. I went to watch a Harry Potter movie and came back thoroughly satisfied. ( the last time was after Harry Potter & Prisnor of Azkabaan ) . Yates and team got everything right – the tone of the movie, the pace, the relationships, the action sequences, the special effects and the little details.
The book fans will be very happy – others not so much. As one critic said – “Where the film falters is through the calculated exclusion of anyone not already steeped in Harry Potter lore. You’ll need to come in emotionally invested, though the chances of that are solid if you’ve read this far. Newcomers need not apply, as the whole affair would likely come off as a blustery exercise without prior knowledge of the books or films. ” ( falters according to him, not me)For me this was what I really liked most about the movie – that it stuck true to the book, did not pander to shipper fantasies and waste valuable screen time and did not explain any context. You were expected to know your Harry Potter ! About high time too!
Let me start with the things that I loved – spoilers ahead – you have been warned ! The focus of the movie was on Harry, Hermoine and Ron’s journey to find the Horcruxes – not unlike a coming of age cross country road trip that friends must take before high school is over! No I do not intend to trivialize. Nothing about this movie is trivial – Yates did a brillaint job of creating the sense of fear in the magical world – Voldemort’s rule has begun with him taking over the ministry and Harry Potter is the most wanted outlaw. Its hard to miss the fascist references with the red flyers, uniformed guards and dubious court proceedings against “mudbloods” and “halfbloods”. The war is on. And its upto 3 seventeen year olds to defeat Voldemort. As Harry is being hunted, his presence only brings dangers to those around him. Harry, Hermoine and Ron leave the safety of the Weasely home behind and start the journey to find and destroy all the horcruxes. Now the first thing that I liked about the movie – the cinematography of this mostly outdoor shoot – the locales are beautiful but have this haunting , gloomy quality that convey the soberness of the movie. And the weather is always always cold. As you hear the constant noise of the radio announcing the names of the dead/captured in a soft monotone – you realize that this is not a kids movie anymore.
The second thing that I loved was that with the seventh installment, the focus is back on the three – Harry, Ron & Hermoine. Theirs is the most important relationship in the series and it is fitting that the 7th book be about their journey together. Radcliffe and Grint did a remarkable job but I thought Watson owned the screen. Her face was always an array of expressions that deftly dealt with changing situations. Watson is Hermoine Granger !! I am always partial to her as Hermoine has been my favorite character – she has more brains than Harry & Ron put together, and can be brave and can see things much far ahead than anyone else. I always maintain that she is the true hero of the series!
Anyway, moving on. I am not a fan of moview that mix narrative techniques but the macabre animation sequence to narrate the story of Deathly Hallows was absolutely artistic and brilliant. One of my favorite 3 minutes of the movie.
Yates & team got the action sequences spot on – the mid-air ambush over London, stealing the pendant from Umbridge in the Ministry, getting caught by the Snatchers and the face off with the death eaters. Perfect. The special effects were so brilliant that you did not even notice them.
I also loved the fact the Yates did not gloss over the details this time and enough time was given to build the story – there were scenes where stuff was discussed and figured out and not just assumed or skipped over. It also gave time for character evolution.
I really cannot think of anything that I did not like. And its all because they stuck to the book – thank goodness for that!
The movie ends also at the appropriate place – it must have been tough to find that exact break in the story. Yes it is incomplete, but the end holds a lot of promise for the sequel. Cant wait for July.
Also, do check out Zoya’s reviw at http://silvermists.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/the-deathly-hallows-return/