Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Strong Action Sequences Amidst Lagging Drama Create a Familiar Potter Film That is Lively Though Not Without its Flaws

Many avid fans of the blatantly overrated Harry Potter series are constantly defending the progression of the films for becoming more mature and darker over time as evidence of the series legitimacy. Certainly the films themes have become more mature in content and it should be praised for its attempts to rid itself of the horrid childish taint that was placed on it by director Christopher Columbus in the original two. However, the films as adaptations have many details to address and every film continuously falls behind in not only being accurate to its novel source but also in just being efficient in the cinematic process. The newest Harry Potter adventure entitled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the first part in an obvious effort at being a fantasy epic and is definitely livelier and more interesting than some of its predecessors especially the sixth anti-climactic installment entitled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But such as all of the films in the Harry Potter series the fate of the film is that it ultimately falls short of expectations, either being a fantasy action adventure film or a coming of age wizard drama. The dramatic elements force the film to lag behind as we are forced to endure more of the same between the three main characters and suffer from constant exposition for those unfamiliar with the details in the book. Perhaps the repetitiveness of the series is the downfall of a series that could have been done with more elegance, but really it’s probably a studio that is forcing the filmmakers to be quick rather than concise in order to milk the series for the money it can acquire. And if you’re skeptical of this conclusion than you’re too dedicated of a fanatic to be objective.

There is a drastic difference between the Harry Potter books and the films that not only concerns the amount of detail involving the story but also the chosen presentation of each film. The latest installment continues the vague ending of The Half-Blood Prince and the search for the horcrux’s, or the mystical dark spelled objects that give Harry’s nemesis Lord Voldemort immortality. Ralph Fiennes Voldemort is greatly missed after the opening scene since his divinely evil persona is quite enjoyable to watch. The fact that all of these fantastic British and Irish actors, including Brandon Gleeson, Robbie Coltrane, and Alan Rickman, have very little to do and are greatly underused in practically every film is probably one of the most aggravating aspects of the series that can be recollected. Of course, the film is supposed to be focused on Harry and his close friendships between Ron and Hermoine but after six films you’d think there wouldn’t be another argument over whether Harry has a real stake in this magic war since his family is dead (a fact Ron brings up in practically every film). At some point the story just needs to move on but it always seems that the films are withholding a great deal of exposition and important information while rushing to get through the chosen details the adaptation wishes to address. With Order of the Phoenix it was the presence of Umbridge and in The Half-Blood Prince it was the complex teenage feelings Harry had for Ron’s sister and Ron had for Hermoine (and vice versa). Unlike other fantasy films, say Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series never has their main characters rise above their own selfish desires or put aside personal interests for the task at hand. But that requires true maturity which the characters and themes of the Harry Potter series never truly address.

But leave it to David Yates to make even the most lacking of films to be interesting and lively. The film could have drastically suffered from not being around the familiar setting of Hogwart’s school but fortunately Yates’ directing style with each of the sequences grabs the viewer’s attentions and keeps the surroundings interesting. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows touts some of the series most interesting action sequences probably because of the new settings in the trees as the camera moves in and out of the terrain and follows the young protagonists in their frantic and dangerous new surroundings. Even the quick sequences such as with a large snake attack or the appropriately paced chase sequence through London’s streets show that Yate’s ability to make suspenseful action warrants some recognition. This use of action and the selected use of CGI make Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows an enjoyable experience though nothing close to being a representation of the supposed mature themes that the fan base claim the film’s to possess. Truth be told the Harry Potter films differ from the books both in the amount of detail shared and the themes that are explored since every film has chosen to be limited in information and delivery. With Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows it just seems that the entire film is catching up from the lack of information shared in The Half-Blood Prince concerning the horcrux’s while briefly exploring the mystery behind the wizard known as Dumbledore.

The choice to split the seventh film into two parts wasn’t a surprising one since everyone stands to make a great deal more money off of two more films instead of just one. And luckily the seventh book is long enough to split the story into two parts since there is a need to address many unknown factors from the previous films. However, there is something to be said about why stories aren’t split into parts because it ultimately separates their intended plot rise and climactic endings. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part one, ends with the death of a third rate character that really isn’t emotionally climactic at all. Luckily the last shot of Voldemort obtaining one of the pieces of the Deathly Hallows makes up for the meandering sequence on the death of the third rate character. It should make some avid fans anxious for the next chapter of the series but it just feels as though the entire first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is filler for the actual final part of the series. It’s just one of those undercurrents that can be denied in a film that really doesn’t have a substantial ending, but fortunately it’s a fact that doesn’t take away from the thrills that are layered with precision throughout the first part of the final Harry Potter film.

To give director David Yates credit he has certainly done a pleasant job since taking over the Harry Potter series starting at Order of the Phoenix. When there is action it is eye catching and well delivered, and has allowed the Potter cast to grow up and mature for their intended direction. However, the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows just follows the same format as all the other films with a little bit of teenage relationship drama, a touch of humorous situations, and the long breaks of exposition and dramatic moments in between the action. It is a film that the fans will enjoy though it won’t truly fascinate anyone with its lacking attempt at being a fantasy epic. The experience is lively, the action is well done, and the cast still works in the long run. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has the undercurrent of lagging drama and the assumption that the audience should know what exactly is going on throughout the film creating an information paradox by presenting limited information while at the same time trying to fill in all the holes as quickly as possible. Ultimately the first part of the seventh adventure of Harry Potter becomes just another familiar trek that feels rushed while at the same time feels quite languid.

Grade: C+

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3 Responses to “Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Strong Action Sequences Amidst Lagging Drama Create a Familiar Potter Film That is Lively Though Not Without its Flaws”
  1. TIA MARIE says:

    Fuck u is really all I have to say. The 1st,2nd, n 7th movie were the only good movies out of the whole series. And DUH the first two Movies had a childish feel to it, it’s a fuckin children’s book. Dnt like it, read the series then try again asshole

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  1. bill says:

    bill…

    excellent info, keep it coming…



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