Musings on Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part I

After months anticipating this, I wasn’t going to wait another week to check this out. Early Saturday afternoon, hubby and I made our way to the cinema to see an HP movie for the first time on the big screen.

The gist of the story of the last installment of the series center on how Harry and his two BFFs, Ron and Hermione on their quest to find the evil Voldemort’s horcruxes, which are objects in which the dark lord has hidden a fragment of his soul into for the purpose of attaining immortality. Obviously, if you have not seen any of the HP movies, the plot wouldn’t make any sense to you, but basically, finding these objects is the key for Harry to destroy his nemesis. The movie picks up where the 6th movie (HP & The Half-Blood Prince) left off, which ended with a terrible sadness of Dumbledore’s death, which led the three main characters to quit school and hunt for horcruxes instead.

  • Alan 'Snape' Rickman

    Though the movie starts out pretty comical—which explains what in the world is going on with these multiple harrys in various outfits—this movie is dark and brooding through and through. I mean, I can’t imagine little kiddies not being terrified of this even if they had been a fan of the books. The scenes of Voldemort and his cohorts and that humongous cobra is pretty hair-raising stuff, though it’s great to see many of the series’ top notch supporting cast in one room. And man, that Professor Snape certainly knows how to make an entrance 😀

  • It starts out pretty strong and action-packed, what with that intense aerial battle with the Death Eaters as Harry & crew fled his home. And then there’s the sudden attack at one of Ron’s brothers’ wedding, which leads to an exhilarating chase in downtown London. But then the movie sort fell into a lull as Harry, Hermione & Ron (I’ll just call them HHR for short) hides out in the forest for a long period of time.

    Harry & his BFFs

    Part of me wish there had been a bit more ‘action’ in the second act, but at the same time, the quieter scenes kind of allow me as the audience to get into the characters’ head so to speak, which help me relate a bit with what they’re going through. The bickering, jealousy and tension between these friends practically ricochet through the small tent they share, but isn’t that what real friendship is all about? Given the circumstances, things wouldn’t have always been so rosy even to the best of friends. The long, slow scenes really put the young cast’s acting chops to the test. I must say that in all of HP movies, the most intriguing sequences usually involve the more mature supporting cast members. Yet because I’ve grown to truly care for these three main characters, I still enjoy those slower scenes. If anything, you can take your time enjoying the beautiful cinematography of the lush British landscape.

  • Watching a group of kid actors grow up on-screen is definitely something I’ve never experienced before, which is fascinating. Most of HP fans have seen Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up in the span of 10 years, but as I just saw them as kiddies less than a half a year ago, it’s funny to see them now sporting scruff and dealing with grown-up issues such as sexuality. They’re definitely not kids anymore and that passionate kissing scene in one of the crucial scenes in the movie will definitely remind you of that 😉
  • The action sequences and special effects are top notch, which is what you’ve come to expect from a HP movie. Some of the tense scenes are also quite funny, which usually involve some form of disguise. I’ve mentioned the first one with the the multiple Harrys, and the second one was when HHR disguise themselves as adult civil servants of the Ministry of Magic. The three actors playing the real ministry bureaucrats did a smashing job capturing the nervous mannerism of the young cast, which makes for an amusing yet edgy scenes. For each of the comical scene though, there is a grim and melancholy one for good measure. The scene at Harry’s place of birth and parents’ graveyard really resonates with me and reminds me why the story of the orphaned Harry appeals to me in the first place.
  • Actor Rhys Ifans holding the Deathly Hallows symbol

    One of the most memorable sequence was the shadow-puppet animated sequence of “Tale of the Three Brothers” that explains the origins of the deathly hallows. It kind of reminds me a bit of Indonesian Wayang (which literally means shadow puppets). According to this site, apparently it’s created by a guy by the name of Ben Hibbon (there’s a video video featuring one of his work). The animation is stylish and beautiful, though it did take me away from the movie a little bit as I was transported into a world of its own.

  • If you ask me if I like this movie or not, I won’t hesitate to say yes. The fact that this is the first time we pay full price (and more for an IMAX viewing), I’d say the movie didn’t disappoint. Though it wasn’t thoroughly captivating, I did enjoy it for the most part. One thing though, as Andrew has pointed out in his review, the trailers might have been slightly misleading as they seem to promise a whole lot more, but most of them haven’t been shown in Part I. The despair and destruction of Hogwarts depicted in this poster is all to follow in Part II (to be released in July 2011), as there’s not one scene takes place in that Wizarding School here. But as my friend Ted who’ve read all the books told me, “…nothing really happened much in the first half from the book and then on the second half, all hell broke loose.” Well, in that case, the best really is yet to come. As of right now, what Part I does well is it makes me anticipate the FINAL movie all the more. The eight-month wait better be worth it!

***

Those who’ve seen HP7, what do you think of the film?

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24 thoughts on “Musings on Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part I

    1. Actually, there weren’t that many kids around me when I went Saturday afternoon. I was kinda dreading it but glad there were mostly teens and adults.

  1. So you went to a IMAX screening? That would be preetttyyy…

    I’ve only seen it once (two or three more times is inevitable), but I personally thought every second zipped by, and seemed far shorter than some of the other ones (ugh, CHAMBER OF SECRETS). I love, love, LOVED the tent scenes, when HHR are at each others throats. Good stuff.

    And hell yea about the three older actors portraying the teenagers, their mannerisms were terrific! I especially loved the man playing Harry, although his movements sorta reminded me of the Angel puppet from “Smile Time”.

    And don’t worry, all Hell DOES break loose in the next movie. I’m pretty sure I recall David Haymen saying a good hour will be the Hogwarts battle (not much of a spoiler, for those pointing fingers). Cheers!

    1. I went to the Southdale IMAX, not the one at the zoo. My friend Ted calls it ‘fake’ IMAX as the screens aren’t as big, but it was still better than the regular theater IMO. Wow, you really are a huge HP fan, I think once is enough for me… I might catch it again when it’s out for rental.

      It didn’t feel long to me either, sure there are slower scenes but they still serve the story well.

      Ha..ha.. it can’t be a spoiler if it’s all over the poster 😀 I saw a behind-the-scene clip of the Hogwarts battle… man, that looks epic!!

  2. ah, I think I’m among those to whom HARRY PLOPPER films represent an eternal lull 🙂
    But I’m glad you and Mr. Flixy have enjoyed some time in cinema 🙂

    Don’t forget to stop by HOLLYWOOD SPY tomorrow, Flixy, I will have some super exciting update on SUPERMAN 🙂 One of my top five all time favourite actors is in now in the run as well 🙂 and it’s not Patrick Wilson or Karl Urban.

    1. Ahahaha… you are too funny, Dez… that’s ok, I wasn’t into it until this past Summer either. Yes it was nice to get to the cinema with Mr. Flixy (oh he’s gonna love his new nickname! :D)

      Well I always stop by your place Dez, but I think I know who you’re referring to… he’s one of my fave Brits, too. Remember, I even had a dream about him http://wp.me/pxXPC-1CI No, not like THAT. I know what you’re thinking!

  3. I haven’t seen it yet and have no intention of seeing it (unless when it finally show up on TV) but a friend of mine sees it and said a bit dissapointed in the kissing scene. Her judgement is based on children who watched the movie.

    She said that there was so many elementary children in the cinema, and she felt so uncomfortable of seeing that scene with the silhoute of their naked body. If it is only kissing scene without the silhoute, its still fine for the children.

    Since I haven’t seen it, I only listened to her with no comment. Is the scene that inappropriate for children?

    1. Hi Nov, you know, that scene caught me off guard a bit too. I totally understand your friend’s discomfort watching it with kids in the cinema (especially back in Indo!). I think they’re really sending the message that these three young leads are grown ups now, so they went a bit further with the silhouetted naked body. I think yeah, it’d be fine for kids if it were just a kissing scene. But at the same time, that’s what rating is for. It’s rated PG-13 which means kids under 13 really shouldn’t watch these unless the parents are comfortable with it. In general though, this movie is quite dark, some of the violent and scary scenes are also not suitable for children.

      1. Ahh…so it is rated PG-13 now?
        I didn’t know that, I can understand the use of that scene now. But, you know Indonesia 😉 they tend to ignore that rate and then complain later

        1. Yeah, I don’t think people there pay attention to MPAA rating. I mean it’s there for a reason! I’d think she’d do a bit of research before bringing elementary students to any movie 🙂

  4. I think that a lot of the action promised in this film comes from some of the early trailers which actually included scenes of what’s to come in part 2.

    I wasn’t really impressed with this installment, marking the first time since part two I walked away ambivalent.

    1. Hi Hatter, yeah I can understand people don’t love this, but as I said, it still wet my appetite for the final movie where everything goes kablooey! 🙂 I thought it was ok but I certainly don’t love it as the other ones. I think my faves are still Goblet of Fire and Prisoner of Azkaban (love Gary Oldman!).

  5. Ruth, I am so glad that you enjoyed this film! I know that you have been waiting to see it! It’s always great when anticipation is matched with expectations fulfilled!! The film was quite dark wasn’t it?!

    1. Hi T, yeah I really did, it only felt long at some parts but it picked up again quickly so overall I enjoyed it. The film is indeed dark, but then again it’s grown more bleak steadily so it’s kind of expected. I think the PG-13 rating is suitable and parents really should exercise discretion before bringing little kiddies to this.

  6. Mike

    Well, surprisingly my daughters wanted to see this. I was like “are you guys gonna be scared?!?!”. Nope they said. So into Harry’s dark world we ventured!

    I guess with any movie that involves supernatural phenomenon I find it hard to get all excited about the plot. When trouble hits the fan the central characters just have to go “poof” and they’re safe. That makes it hard to get too involved. So I just kicked back and enjoyed the computer graphics and editing. Which were top notch.

    Bottom line (IMHO): the story was an endless stream of situations that were very loosely tied together and seemed to go nowhere. The HP series reminds me of that old ’60’s show “Gilligan’s Island”. With the castaways trying but never able to get off the island because if they did the show would be over.

    1. Ha..ha.. you’ve got some brave girls there Mike. How old are they again? They’re almost 13 right? I think that’s ok for kids 10 and above, it’s the really young ones who might get really spooked.

      As for the plot, well I’ve never seen Gilligan’s Island but I’m pretty sure this is a lot different. There is an ending and finality to the story of HP (obviously this is the first half of that final piece)… so I don’t feel that the plot is going nowhere. In fact, everything that’s happened are all relevant and they point to how the hero will defeat evil in the end. The magic does help the protagonists in various times, but the enemy also posses the same (if not more) power so they’re on the same playing field and thus their safety is temporary… it lasts only until the next attack.

  7. Vince

    This is my favorite so far – it’s brilliant how the series gradually got darker and darker leading up to the final climax. I also realized how smart the franchise has been in choosing the right directors for each film. Obviously, Chris Columbus could not pull off this installment. I can see Cuaron doing it but Yates has been outstanding. This one really is Emma Watson’s moment – she is what glues this movie together.

    1. Hey Vince, welcome back! Hope you had a nice time in CA. You’re right that the choice of director is critical, but Yates’ HP movies had been quite dark so I guess people should know what to expect. He’s also not afraid to fill the screen with quieter scenes but still keep the suspense up. I think all three of the young leads are impressive here, some say it’s also Rupert’s moment to shine but Emma does have a bit more screen time here.

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