Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hogwarts, Class of '98

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy
Released: November 19, 2010
Viewed in theaters: November 19, 2010

Oscar nominations:
Best Art Direction (lost to Alice in Wonderland)
Best Visual Effects (lost to Inception)
(This movie is waaaay better than both of those!)

The final installment of the Harry Potter films, as everyone knows, was divided into two films. This was probably a smart idea because I don't think they could have crammed all the events that happen in the novel into a nearly three hour movie. They would have had to cut a lot of things. I remember there being talk of splitting Goblet of Fire into two movies as it was the first film where the book was considerably longer than the previous three. Of course, in the end, it was only one film, but a few storylines (like SPEW) were cut.  They had the luxury to cut the subplots from GoF as they weren't that important in the grand scheme of themes, but to cut anything from Deathly Hallows would be doing it a major disservice.

Before I get into the review of the movie, I had to share this with you. Check this out: the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Austin is having a Harry Potter-a-thon this Thursday. Notice the running time of 680 minutes. That's 14.3 hours. I know because I converted the minutes. FOURTEEN HOURS SITTING IN A THEATER, PEOPLE! I may love Harry Potter, but that just sounds absolutely atrocious to me. They're even starting at 4:30 in the morning. It looks like when you've seen the first seven movies, then it will be midnight and time to see Deathly Hallows Part 2. Personally, I'd be so sick of watching Harry Potter and so sore from sitting for so long, that I wouldn't want to stay for that one! I imagine there's an intermission between each film, but still! No, thank you! However, if a film a day was offered at a theater for a week, then I would consider that.

This is the first time where Harry and his trusty sidekicks and most loyal friends, Ron and Hermione, don't attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for what would be their seventh and final year. Instead the film turns into a bit of a road movie as they search for the Horcruxes that were explained to us in the previous film. (Of course they're explained in much more detail in the books!)
Basically a Horcrux is bad and they gotta destroy them! They're the only way to defeat Voldemort, pretty much.

Ministry Mayhem
Things aren't looking too good in the wizarding world. (Hmm, should that be capitalized?) To make a simple analogy, Voldemort = Hitler, Death Eaters = Nazis, and Muggles and Muggle-born wizards and witches = Jews. As you may have guessed, Voldemort's goal is to extinguish all Muggles. Only Harry and his friends can stop him (well, really only Harry, but Ron and Hermione do help along the way).

There is much tension on their journey due to it being tedious finding the Horcruxes and due to Ron being worried about his family. (Hermione cast a spell on her parents so that they would forget about her - in the novel she sends them to Australia where they'll be safe, but they don't mention if they go there in the film and Harry, as Ron so nicely pointed out, doesn't have any parents because they're dead). But don't be too hard on Ron for saying such a sh***y thing. He was wearing a locket, one of the Horcruxes, when he said this, and the Horcruxes make anyone who is in possession of them become filled with hate and rage. Nevertheless, he decides to leave, feeling that their mission is a lost cause and having become quite jealous of Harry and Hermione's relationship. But we all know who Hermione will end up with.

Awwww. (They're sad because Dobby just died).

One of my favorite scenes was when Hermione read the "Tale of the Three Brothers". I thought the animation was quite gorgeous. A scene that made me giggle when I saw it in the theater, but nobody else laughed at was when Harry was in Umbridge's office in the Ministry (disguised as an employee) and he opens a drawers and sees a book titled, "When Muggles Attack." I mean, c'mon, how can you not find that funny? It was a complete rip-off of those stupid FOX shows.

They learn from the story about the Deathly Hallows, which are the following three items: a wand that gives you all the power you need, an invisibility cloak, and a stone that brings back the dead. Harry already has the invisibility cloak and Voldemort is looking for the Elder Wand

E-e-vil woman!
The climatic scene has our heroes being captured and sent to Malfoy Manor where Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix and Harry and Ron are locked in the basement along with Luna, a wandmaker, and a goblin. They managed to escape safely with the help of Dobby, but unfortunately Dobby had to sacrifice his life to safe them. Well, on second thought, no he didn't. If he didn't talk so dang much and just, you know, got the Trio out of there, then Bellatrix probably wouldn't have had time to throw her dagger at him. But I digress.

The movie ends with Voldemort finding the Elder Wand. Uh-oh! What will happen? Guess you'll have to stay tuned for Part 2. Unless, of course, you've already read the book. Then you already know what happens!

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