on 26 March 2014
The clue really is in the 'Part One' bit in the title - however this ends, it's not going to be with all of the threads neatly tied off, that is just in the nature of the beast. A film in two parts! I think that's something of an achievement.
It's getting darker, which effectively means that there's less colour in it, and the central characters are much more isolated, which means that far more of the story depends on three young actors (who have each done six feature films already to be fair) and it's not set in the amazing school, so wherever they hide is going to have to be quite interesting - my favourite campsite is under the cooling tower, but the Forest of Dean looks good too, where Hermione says 'Let's just stay here and grow old' - that's a very good moment - and, just when it runs the risk of becoming boring, Ron rescues the situation by getting mad because he's bored. The big question is 'How long can you stand being stuck in a tent with three teens?' and that is as much a criticism of the book as the film, in fact the film seems to get away with it rather better.
And much of the rest is very good; starting with Hermione wiping herself out of her parents' memories - obviously it's the kindest thing to do but (as has been said before) she's a bit scary sometimes.
And then the flight from Little Whynging and Mr Radcliffe does a nice job of impersonating all the other characters - I laughed very loudly - and it all goes so badly wrong; I don't blame him at all for wanting to leave The Burrow.
And the wedding is great - my favourite bit is Pa Weasley directing the erection of the marquee - but Matyelok Gibbs and David Ryall are good value, and the arrival of the Death Eaters is suitably scary, and suddenly we're in Piccadilly Circus, which must be where all the budget went on this one.
And then it's the big 'go to the ministry in disguise' bit, and there are three grown up actors pretending to be Harry, Hermione and Ron pretending to be adults, which is funny. I do wish something worse happened to that vile woman in the cardigan.
And then it's camping - the endless quest for the Sword of Griffindor so we can destroy the locket that, apart from its other malignities, makes the wearer bad tempered. Hermione is the one to spot the connection, doubtless because she's read Lord of the Rings.
If it's lacking in texture, the colour is of a washed-out extreme bleakness - this is Voldemort's Britain - witness the regulations against mixed-blood people in the Ministry scenes (Hitler's Germany and 1984). If the Dark Lord is not stopped, this is what the world will be.
And, with the locket finally destroyed, our friends get arrested, taken to Malfoy Manor; Hermione is tortured (and there is nothing at all Sapphic about that), but Dobby saves the day, and gets killed as they vanish, and the enduring image at the end of the film is Harry grieving over what in another movie (Return of the Jedi, for instance) might be a dead Muppet.
The real high spot of the film, for me, is the story-telling sequence; it's really beautifully done.
This film is about as far removed from The Philosopher's Stone as you can get, but then the world of a 16 year old looks quite different to that they knew at 11.
on 1 February 2012
Before I go any further, please note that my rating of 2 out of 5 stars refers to the PICTURE QUALITY of the blu-ray version of Deathly Hallows parts 1 & 2. I loved the movies themselves when I saw them at the cinema. In fact, the opening scenes of 'Hallows' Part 1 are sheer genius, so dark & disturbing, setting the tone of the story brilliantly, and are now among my favourite movie moments of all time.
But I was so disappointed with the ridiculously dark picture in 90% of the scenes on these two movies. I can watch all of my blu-ray collection without making any changes to my TV settings... but the Deathly Hallows movies need major increases in brightness/gamma level to make them just barely watchable. And even with these changes, the movies have to be watched in a blackened room.
I have Batman: The Dark Knight in my blu-ray collection, which is renowned for its dark picture and being a benchmark for the television's black levels, and I have the Lord of the Rings blu-ray trilogy where the colour is purposely washed out in many places to set the bleak tone of the story. Now these movies both look gorgeous on my TV, and are an example of how dark, colour-reduced films can look incredible and artistic. The Harry Potter 'Hallows' movies on the other hand seem to break all conventions and standards of picture brightness levels. Does that make them artistic? I don't think so. Not when you struggle to make out all the glorious detail that is hidden. These are the worst looking blu-ray movies in my collection. This is just my opinion, and I'd be interested to hear what other people think.
There have been some mixed reviews of this movie, but they are mostly positive. Obviously this movie is different from the other six as it is not set in Hogwarts, and Harry begins his darkest adventure yet to seek out and destroy the seven horcruxes.
I felt like there was more emphasis in romance in the movie than there was in the book as the scenes including Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione/Harry affect a lot of the screenplay. I have to say that the thing I didn't like about this movie was the ending. Yes, it left you with baited breath waiting for the next movie, but I felt that it was slightly cold given that something tragic (I won't mention what in case you haven't seen it yet!) had just happened. Well, it was tragic in my opinion. The combination of touching scenes, mournful deaths, and the knowledge that one of my favourite things in the whole wide world was coming to a close resulted in me blubbering my way through the majority of this movie. Literally right from the onset when i saw the 'WB' sign appear and the eerie music begin.
This movie is action packed, as obviously there is quite a lot of content to get through, despite the fact that the book has already been split into two movies. A lot of the minor characters who we love don't feature very much in Part 1, but hopefully they'll play a bigger role in Part 2, especially near the end as the finale approaches. Part 1 is focussed on Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, and the trio does not disappoint! This movie has moments of comedy, tragedy, suspense and action. If you haven't already seen this then you definitely need to buy it and watch it, even if you're not a fan, it's one of those things you've got to watch.
on 19 April 2011
**THIS HAS MAJOR SPOILERS (LIKE I CARE!)**
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART 1 (2010) is a great warts-and-all film. How ironic, since it is about witches and wizards. My original review, though almost all here, is scrapped in favor of kicking off complaining about Daniel Radcliffe. He can act, certainly, but in this film he's more than flat. Frustration and angst is the character's hallmark, but the days of a sometimes sweet and charming Harry are days long gone. Be aware of that and beware Radcliffe's unforgivable failures as a young adult actor.
This is a very skillful adaptation of novel-to-script, and let no one dispute that fact.
The kids (Daniel Radcliffe in spite of it all, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson) are a delight, a true delight! How they've grown, yet they remain themselves.
This film's power is mostly in its gloomy silence. André Desplat's soundtrack, as thin as wispy mountain air, is nonetheless brilliant. Also, Yates handled the disgusting scenes very well. He had to put them in - Rowling wrote it that way, didn't she? I believe Yates split the story - that is, brought Part I to its end - at the perfect moment. I wondered where they'd split it.
Now the BAD:
The others in this film are a bit on the cardboard site. One expects better, though the acting (such as it is) is great. If you do not blink, otherwise you'll miss it. It angered me that Rufus Scrimegeour (Bill Nighy) was not introduced in the last film as he ought to have been, and here he appears for all of exactly five minutes, including a full minute-plus in the opening scene. This was saved only by the fact that Bill Nighy is as great as ever.
What I did love about Scrimegeour was his speech, that opens the film. It was straight from Margaret Thatcher and would have done the old lady proud. I thought it was deeply moving yet hilarious; English audiences will instantly perceive it but I doubt it will have any impact on the American viewer.
While I myself cannot tell whether Scrimegeour is talking with a Welsh or Scots accent, it is a precise growl that grabs your attention no matter what. (He says, "deluminator-r-r-r" with a velvety purr.) The whole character is reminiscent of the character's name: it is a Scots name and has its own tartan, but it is a sept of a larger clan name. This is the kind of depth you can expect from these great actors, given what little they've got with which to work here.
Further, the film sags horribly during its central 40 minutes. Bad, especially after its genius beginning and follow-through. It was intended to do that, but I think it was 40 minutes totally wasted.
Oh, now give me a break: Indo-Chinese style shadow puppets to tell the story of the Three Brothers? How unnecessarily cheap Yates can be! They do better than this with crummy historical reenactments in documentaries. And how he skimped on the magic - a fate Roger Ebert tellingly prophesied almost ten years ago.
There were disgusting moments that, although I can see as necessary, really should have been re-written for younger viewers. That's just me. Otherwise, there's nothing else. I LOVED this film and wish that the POTTER craze had used a bit more of Yates' tricks in the past. Impossible, but I wish it. Someone said this is "the most cinematically satisfying" of all the films. Agreed, but only to a degree.
WHAT I REALLY WANTED TO SEE AND WAS COMPLETELY IGNORED: Harry and Hermione seeing the "Potter Memorials" in Godric's Hollow. A bit more dialogue might have helped.
WHAT I REALLY LOVED SEEING (ALMOST AS MUCH AS HARRY, RON AND HERMIONE): Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasely. He's a handsome redhead and I wish they'd shown more.
PAY ATTENTION: I will only ever explain this once and tough toenails if you think it spoils anything. It is about the wands. Dumbledore of course owns the Elder Wand. Draco disarmed Dumbledore at the tower before Dumbledore died, so the Elder Wand belonged to Draco. Note: one does not need to take the actual wand or fight against it to defeat its master.
Therein lies the trick: when Harry disarms Draco of some paltry wands at the Malfoy mansion (shown vividly here), Harry becomes the Elder Wand master. So the fact that Dumbledore is buried with it, and Voldemort steals it, is of no consequence. Harry is still its master as soon as he beats Draco by disarming him.
Ending: Voldemort cannot kill Harry with the Elder Wand stolen from Dumbledore's tomb: the wand recognizes its true master. However, he does stun the part of himself that lives in Harry. When Harry awakens, all he has to do then is defend himself and let Voldemort kill himself with his own Avada Kedavra curse. See? Simple.
Get this film. There's no question about that. I hear the Blu-Ray or whatever it's called has terrific extras, which the single, plain-jane DVD does not. The single edition only has deleted scenes, and not nearly as much footage as I expected.
DVD COMPLAINING: We were cheated with the plain single DVD for some reason. It has some deleted scenes and there was a lot of smoke and mirrors about what extras would be on the single edition. Remember, this is the arm-twisting that will force us all sooner or later to get Blu-Ray. That angers me more than Warner Brother's habitual broken promises and lies.
Yes, there is a double-disc plain DVD edition because we considered it before just getting the single plain one. I'm tired of the almost-100% lame quality of POTTER extras. It's just that there is so much more and apparently the Blu-Ray special is a 3-disc. And yes, WB should be FINED for their habitual lies, bait-n-switch and broken promises. This is the beginning of the forced move to Blu-Ray.
One day, no regular DVDs will be seen anywhere.
For all the negatives, I demerit one star. For Warner Brothers/DVD distributor in both America and Great Britian, I give the biggest raspberry in the universe!!
on 12 April 2011
Okay, so firstly, I guess I am a bit of a --huge-- Harry Potter fan; my review may be slightly biased.
Thoughts on this latest installment? It was alright.
I actually loved the book; the Deathly Hallows is one of my favourites out of the series (Okay, it's like 3rd, but whatever). I greatly anticipated the release of this movie, along with all of my friends. We were practically squealing with excitement when we got to the cinema on the 19th of November. It was great.
Now, firstly, about the film. Again, credit to Warner Bros; this film is brilliantly made. The special effects and the graphics are amazing. However, I had a slightly problem; like with all of the previous movies, they missed out what I feel were some of the most important points in the book (When Dudley and Harry say goodbye, Ron and Hermione dancing, Harry finding half of a letter written by his mother...) I was slightly disappointed when I didn't see these make an appearance, but nevertheless, some of the scenes were incredible.
One of my main problems with this film was actually the acting. I found it awkward and wooden, and some of it made me cringe slightly and want to hide my face. This in particular relates to Daniel Radcliffe; I don't know why, but I found a lot of his acting unimpressive in this film.
The thing that bugged me the most was the Harry/Hermione thing. I felt like screaming throughout the whole entire movie; I really didn't like the dance scene, but that's only because I'm a huge Ron/Hermione fan. Actually, Harry/Hermione had way more chemistry than Hermione/Ron, which irked me slightly.
So, all in all, it was an excellent film, but there was something definately missing. I hate to admit it, but when me and my mum watched the DVD, I felt slightly embarrassed by the acting. However, it didn't fail to captivate me, and I cried so much at the end. Cannot wait for the next installment; I feel it's going to be epic.
-- On a side note, I'd like to say that Amazon were excellent, yet again. I recieved the DVD on the 9th of April, 2 days early, and I didn't even pay Postage and Packaging. Just like to say, order your next upcoming DVDs a month in advance; it pays off! --
on 7 June 2011
Being an avid Potter fan, first the books, then the films, but living abroad I rely
on the release of the films on DVD! Eagerly awaited Deathly Hallows Part 1, but so
very, very disappointed. Despite continually trying to sharpen/brighten the picture
half the film was in darkness! I enjoyed what I could hear and parts which were
bright enough to see! Having read the book I know that it is a sinister therefore
dark story but surely there is enough expertise in the DVD world to adjust the film
when reproducing! Must have been terrific in the cinema! This is the first Potter
DVD I will not be keeping, I might not have agreed with the previous intepretations of
book to film but have always enjoyed watching them for sheer entertainment! Not worth
keeping this one just to listen to!
on 11 February 2011
I was always a little dissapointed with how the series translated to the screen (particularly the very first film), however, this is a really great little film.
Although I was dragged to see it with my girlfriend, once I had sat down with my popcorn and coke I felt myself riveted.
Many of the flaws in the earlier films have been corrected, particularly the wand fights. Previously, the wand fights were a little slow and nothing you hadn't seen before. In this film, the wand fights are unexpected and like something from a shoot out in a cops and robbers film.
The performances are excellent, and the quality of the film as a whole is very good. I am not giving this five stars just yet, not until I see the final film.
Two hours well spent.
on 21 November 2010
The Deathly Hallows Part I is by far the best adaptation of the Harry Potter series so far. Whereas the Half Blood Prince took liberties with the plot by including new scenes and skmimming over those which perhaps ought to have been longer, this movie not only is unprecedentedly devoted to the book, but captures the feel of the book exactly, without being overly miserable. This is no mean feat, as the Deathly Hallows is the most difficult and harrowing of the books, particularly with much of it focusing on the trio camping in wildnerness, it could have become tired and repetetive but the movie was very well paced and these scenes were particularly well-handled by the director and actors.
I was literally on the edge of my seat for the dramatic, sinister and action-packed parts of the movie and the tensions was brilliantly dispersed throughout, making me jump when I least expected it. More than this, the film managed to be incredibly moving and poignant, while still lightening the mood occasionally with some much needed humour. Of course, there is much less humour in this movie than in its predecessors, but that is to be expected. One of my favourite scenes was in the beginning where Hermione, knowing the danger before her, wiped her parents' memories in order to protect them. Then she walks out of her home and down the street, alone and apparently empty handed, never to return. I would go as far as to say that in this scene the movie surpassed the book, and its poignancy was enhanced by Emma Watson's beatiful portrayal of Hermione, and this movie showcases her incredible talent. There was another particularly beautiful scene, also not actually in the book, where after Hermione and Harry have been left alone by Ron for some weeks, Harry and Hermione, both coming very close to despair, have a dance to a song on the radio in the tent, in an effort to regain some normality, be silly and carefree and cheer themselves up. It could have been crass but it was really touching and exemplified so much- the burden that these teenagers shoulder, who ought to be leading normal lives and enjoying themselves.
The cinematography was amazing, and most satisfyingly for me, places like the Malfoy mansion, Godric's Hollow, the Lovegoods' House and the wilderness locations were exactly as I had imagined them! Another reviewer has said that Daniel Radcliffe was the weakest link of the trio, and I can see why, but perhaps this is simply because Watson and Grint have grown so much and surpassed themselves, whereas Radcliffe has always been consistently good. Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour was also very good, as was a surprising Rhys Iffans as Luna Lovegood's father. There was also a nominal appearance of Dave from Gavin and Stacey!
This movie was absolutely stupendous, and as near faultless as I think the Harry Potter series can get. The only criticism I can make is not of the movie itself, but of how many young children I saw in my local cinema. This film is a PG 13- scary in parts (and there was one slightly raunchy scene), and I did feel that it wasn't suitable for young children. Otherwise excellent in every way!
on 16 April 2011
I eagerly awaited my copy, which was delivered very speedily. However we were disappointed with the picture quality, especially in the darker scenes. The movements appeared blurred and jerky. It almost seemed like a copy - not sure whether to return it?!! Loved the film though and can't wait for the next.
on 9 December 2010
This one is for lovers of the books - not "non fans" or smug critics who do not appreciate the genius of JK Rowling or the original target audience she was aiming to reach with her books i.e 11 to 18 year olds. Or for those who harp on about how it is impossible to recreate the books as the media of film is so different - duhhh. With the money Warner's are making - anything is possible and thankfully this has come to pass.....
I think I have been to the cinema about 3 times in the last 10 years, but had to see this one. I was prepared to be a bit dissapointed, as I have been from Prisoner onwards. However this film is very close to the book, even going so far as to mop up plotlines missed or skirted around in the other films.
The tone of the movie is set from the outset, with poignant scenes of Hermione and Harry leaving their family homes never to return. Didn't even mind that they missed out Dudley's epiphany with regard to Harry.
The escape scene was comedic then epic in equal measure.
The wedding at the Burrow was rushed but all the important parts were there.
Criticism has been levelled at the long shots of the British countryside during the camping phase. I think that people who poo-poo these are missing the point - they set the tone of the character's isolation and separation from the rest of their world. Plus, what an advert for British tourism!
The finding of the Sword of Gryffindor and the visit to Godric's Hollow were spot on. The capture by the snatchers and the scenes at the Malfoy's manor were brilliant, thanks in no small part, to Helena Bonham-Carters joyously spiteful portrayal of Bellatrix. I'm also so glad they included Dobby this time as he has been a key character that was badly missed from previous efforts.
This film takes us as far as the arrival at Shell Cottage and of the theft of Dumbledore's wand by Voldermort. Assumedly, the next film will kick off with the break in of the Lestrange vault and the escape from Gringotts by dragon.
If the makers have given the same care and attention to the final film - I absolutely cannot wait!