Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harry Potter's magic shines brighter than ever with Deathly Hallows

I originally wasn't planning on seeing the new Harry Potter film. Personally, once I've read a book I don't often feel the need to see the movie.

It's tough because the film doesn't play out the way you saw it in your mind's eye when you were reading, and it ruins it. And most of the best parts get cut out anyway.

But somehow this Potter film seemed to defy all that. Maybe it's because it had been three years since I originally read The Deathly Hallows.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it's being split up into two movies for this last book, so as to include all the important scenes.

But whatever the case, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is a faithful, magical, and mystical interpretation of J.K. Rowling's final book in the Harry Potter series, and should be a delight to Potter fans everywhere.

So, a little about my overall experience. Josh and I grabbed our tickets last minute off Fandango and made the trek out out to Franklin's Carmike Cinemas. It was vitrually the only theatre we could find that wasn't sold out.

Needless to say, the scene was total pandemonium. Every spot in the parking lot was filled. Teenage girls cast spells at one another with makeshift wands. And anyone who wanted to see anything else that night was out of luck - Potter was playing in every auditoruim.

But the benefit of a packed crowd is the dynamic audience reaction. Laughter burst out through the audience at the scene where Harry dons a bra. There was lots of aww-ing at the final scene with Dobby, and plenty of giggling from teenage girls when Harry had to strip down to plunge into the icy water and grab Gryffindor's Sword.

So, about the film.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson reprise their roles as Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermoine Granger respectively. Naturally, Radcliffe's portrayal of Harry is going to steal the show, but it is perhaps Grint who delivers the most inspired performance.

Harry's quest to find Voldemort's horcruxes begins to strain his relations with Ron, and Grint does a masterful job of depicting Ron's moods and emotions that lead to him pushing Harry and Hermonine away.

I was also impressed with Rhys Ifans, who plays the demented and wacky Xenophilus Lovegood. Ifnas doesn't have that big of a spot, but he conjures the perfect amount of weirdness to pull off the part.

And of course I have to mention the charming helper elf Dobby who will certainly to steal away the hearts of the audience.

The final book in Rowling's Potter series was known for having a darker tone, and director David Yates did a fantastic job of capturing that vibe. The art direction in particular is definitely notable.

It's easy to admire the scenic Gothic architecture on display when Harry's crew visits the mysterious Godric's Hollow. A light snow mists the graves of Harry's parents while Bathilda Bagshot looks on eerily.

I did think the pacing tends to drag in places. The wedding scene in particular could have benefited from a little editing, although the film in general is mostly action packed.

But all in all, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, should be reason for Potter fans to rejoice. Harry Potter's spell will once again wrap around moviegoers tighter than Nagini and won't let go. At least not until the second installment hits theaters this summer.

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