Thursday, November 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - 3 stars

The 7th Harry Potter book was my favorite to read. The six that proceeded it were all basically setup for the events in the last book. The problem is there are a lot of boring parts of the 7th book, and they're all in the first half. And this movie is the first half of the book. By the time the movie ends, I really wanted to see the second part.

After six movies, this is the first one to drastically alter the formula. Every movie before this started at the beginning of the school year at Hogwarts. The movie covered one school year, and at the end there would be a big climax. This time, Harry, Ron, and Hermione don't go back for their final year at Hogwarts. The reason is they are going to look for the remaining horcruxes (items that hold pieces of Voldemort's soul).

Early on in the movie, the ministry is taken over by Voldemort's people, and the wizarding world becomes a fascist police state. The ministry is obsessed with getting rid of wizards who are not pure bloods (the wizarding Master Race). Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to go on the run, and they spend the entire movie hiding from the ministry.

One thing I didn't like in the movie was how much time they spend in the tent. There is a long section where the three have no idea how to proceed. They don't know where to look for the horcruxes, so they just sit around moping. This could have been shortened in the movie. If they had done that, they would have had more time to include a couple of other things from the book that were cut out.

One other complaint I have is with the dialogue. Except for a few jokes here and there, the characters only say things that advance the plot. Once in a while I wish the characters would talk about what just happened. For example, Snape becomes headmaster of Hogwarts. In the book, they talk about this when they read it in the paper. It's kind of a big deal. But in the movie, Harry hears it announced over the radio and doesn't say a word about it.

I really liked the music in this movie. This is probably my favorite HP score since Prisoner of Azkaban (the last movie scored by John Williams). The score really helps make this movie feel epic. I also liked the animated sequence that explains the history of the Deathly Hallows.

Overall I liked the movie. It's one of the better ones in the series. It just feels incomplete without the finale of the second film. July 15th can't get here fast enough.

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