Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Released: November 19, 2010
I saw this movie at the refurbished Memorial City mall at a special screening. There were hundreds of eager Harry Potter fans lined up to see the latest escapades of the Boy Wizard who is no longer going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because he has been too busy fighting Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Death Eaters, and various other evil wizards.
Luckily, the PR folks had set aside Cinemark's Theatre #1 for the "press" so Eric H. and I had great seats. I've read all seven of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, but Eric H. has read them twice and knows all the back stories and latest gossip; he would not miss Harry Potter 7.1 as dubbed by my friend Regina S. This is the seventh movie, but covers the first half of the last HP novel. The last movie, the eighth, is expected in the summer of 2011 and will cover the dramatic ending of the seventh novel.
The Dark Lord (Voldemort) has taken over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts and his power is growing stronger. Things look gloomy for the good witches and wizards, but Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) have not given up and are desperately trying to locate and destroy the Horcruxes. As further explanation, the Deathly Hallows are three highly powerful magical objects supposedly created by Death and given to each of three brothers in the Peverell family.
This is very spooky and scary stuff if the bad guys are chasing the good guys and trying to kill them while the audience is pulling for the beloved Harry, Hermione, and Ron. But very boring if returning Director David Yates loses his way and allows the action to come to a halt in a trade-off for in-depth explanations, useless dialogue, and unnecessary character development of our three heroes. For over an hour!
Yates has done some good Harry Potter work, but the middle of this movie was dreadful. The beginning was spellbinding and the audience was mesmerized; the ending was at least interesting and entertaining which caused me to wake up and pay attention. But Yates blew it big-time for most of the movie.
Who was the big winner? Nobody, but Alan Rickman shines as the evil Professor Severus Snape even though he is on the screen for less than five minutes. Hey, Yates, give Rickman more face time. Fiennes as the slit-nosed Voldemort brings an archetypical touch of hatred and abhorrence worthy of the Dark Lord who murdered Harry's parents and has vowed to kill the Boy Wizard. The three young stars that were paid many millions to reprise their roles were adequate at best.
Who should see this movie? All the Harry Potter freaks and those of you that have seen the previous six movies. The franchise is too valuable to quit because of this bobble. Surely, Harry Potter 7.2 will be wonderful, cross your fingers and touch blue, so most of us can not take the chance to pass on this movie. If you do not know the characters and have to scratch your head to even remember that Harry Potter has a lightning bolt scar on his forehead, then don't bother with HP 7.1. Rock 'n Roll.