Review: Deathly Hallows Part One

Posted: November 20, 2010 in All, Children's books and movies, Movies, Reviews
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Review: Deathly Hallows Part One

This contains spoilers only if you haven’t read the books. Mainly you’ll learn about what was included and where the movie leaves off.

Was it a bad sign that I was actually nervous that this movie would be good?

I’ve been so disappointed with movies that I don’t let myself get worked up for anything lately. And maybe that was why I was surprised by how good it was.

No review of this movie can avoid comparisons to the book for what was put in and what was left out. I think the parts they left in worked, and the stuff they added in worked.

It still wasn’t better than my favorite of the series, “Order of the Phoenix.”

The things they added were really good. Harry trying to dance with Hermione to lighten her mood, the awkwardness of getting caught kissing Ginny…they all felt right. I don’t remember Hermione mindwiping her parents, but it was sad.

Some scenes were extended, like Hagrid and Harry fleeing Privet Drive, which made sense. It was an extended action scene to show how dangerous it is now.

The one where they’re running from the Snatchers was hard to watch. Too much flashing around. Why not just apparate?

I had seen Hedwig being freed in press photos, and thought he was going to be spared. I thought that would have been better. It was too sad to lose her in the book. But it wasn’t meant to be. I guess it was better than losing her in a cage, but still, she should have been free.

And I still never bought that Delores Umbridge was a Death Eater. A prudish, power-hungry, cruel bully, yes. But not everything needs to be so black and white. Not everyone needs to be on one side or the other.

Rufus Scrimgeour didn’t have much of a role in the movie, or a point really. I guess they had to explain that there was a new Minister of Magic, but for all his function in the movie, it didn’t really matter. Wouldn’t it have been great for Umbridge to become minister, the job she clearly coveted, and then it turns out she’s the one who’s murdered by Death Eaters when “the Ministry has fallen?” Scrimgeour has to bring Dumbledore’s will to the kids, but wouldn’t it have been painful if the person doing this was Umbridge? And with all the magic they have, couldn’t Dumbledore’s voice been recorded into his will?

I knew that the movie would end where it did. Dobby’s death and the escape from Malfoy Manor was a key point-one where there were a lot of characters around. It was an emotional touchpoint that a lot of people focused on. I also appreciated that there wasn’t any wrap-up dialogue at the end, which always seemed hollow in the other movies. They always had a few words exchanged between the main characters, and no amount of words could sufficiently sum it all up.

People watching this movie all have the book in their minds, they’ve read it recently. So the argument has changed: There’s no “they needed to explain this for people who didn’t see or read previous movies and books.” No one’s going to see the 7th installment without prior knowledge. And if they do, they accept that there’s no way to get all the references. But will it hold up in 20 years, if they haven’t reread the books during that time?

Again, there’s too much to explain to get everything. There’s only so much dialogue you can give to Ron to push the plot along and fill in the holes.

Looking at the ads, people I know didn’t understand why they were introducing a Snatcher with such a prominent role this late in the game. But it makes sense to have some of the Death Eaters more prominent-something I wished they had done from the earlier movies, so it didn’t seem like these people came out of nowhere.

At least in this one, they weren’t even pretending to have a full movie. That was the problem with “The Half-Blood Prince.” It was trying to be a movie, when in reality, it was just a chapter.

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