Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

I’m going to try to keep this brief for two reasons.  First, I’m not sure how much I can say about this film without giving away spoilers for those who haven’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies.  And second, I will most likely be having my first guest blog next week, where some of the biggest Harry Potter fans I know will be giving their thoughts after seeing it premiere tonight at midnight.  But I do have a few thoughts of my own I’d like to share on the series in general and this particular installment which is truly the beginning of the end.
It’s hard to put into words how much this series has meant for so many fans, including me.  I know there are many people who aren’t the least bit interested in the world of Harry Potter, and there are some who tried it and just didn’t get into it.  Well, I must admit I was initially a skeptic as well, thinking this was a series for children.  So I came late to the party, and read all seven books back to back when the seventh was released in the summer of 2007.  (And let me tell you, that’s the way to do it!  No waiting!)  Anyway, to those who think this is a series for children, it may start that way, but it absolutely does not stay that way for long.  It begins with young wizards in magic school, but by its end it becomes an epic battle of good versus evil.  The material matures as the books progress, and once the series hits its stride in the fifth installment, things get very dark and very intense.
While the films of 5, 6, and 7 Part 1 don't match the books completely, they do capture the essence of the books extremely well.  Unfortunately, some of the material had to be cut out or changed, but I believe the final product works amazingly well as long as you’re not hung up on a complete copy of the book.   And while I certainly have to give J.K. Rowling’s tremendous story a lion’s share of the credit, perfect casting, excellent directing, and a superb score were essential.
The cast truly gets better with each film.  Virtually every great British character actor manages to find the perfect part in the series, including Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Branagh, and too many others to name.  (How did Michael Caine miss out on a role?)  In this one we get the brief addition of Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic.  Sadly there wasn’t enough of Alan Rickman’s Snape, but when he walks on screen at the beginning you just can’t take your eyes off him.  That guy has some serious screen presence!
David Yates directed films 5, 6 and 7 Part 1 and he set the dark tone perfectly.  The seventh film looks and feels completely different than the first, as it should because it’s no longer about young kids in magic school.  It’s about a group of heroes facing real danger in the real world.  And it absolutely feels real.
And the score of the entire series has always been a favorite of mine, beginning with master film composer John Williams' iconic theme.  (Once it's in your head, there's no getting rid of it!)  Alexandre Desplat carries the torch in this one and does justice to his predecessors.

OK, well I guess this blog ended up longer than I expected, but in closing I couldn’t have enjoyed 5, 6, or 7 Part 1 more.  And I couldn’t feel more sad that this installment is now over.  But I also couldn’t be more excited for 7 Part 2, the final chapter, to be released in July.  And then, sadly, we’ll all have to close the book on Harry Potter forever.  I can tell you now, I won’t be ready.
Grade:  A+


  1. hi we are the fans from CT. Heard you had a great lunch with my dad!!!!!!
    just finished reading your blog about Harry Potter. I am going to go see it today. Shea's for HARRY.

  2. Great, thanks for checking out my blog! I know you're going to love the film. You should post your thoughts about it here afterwards.