Film Reviews

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PT 1

By • Nov 19th, 2010 •

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Dreadful. Horrible acting. Only for Potter fanatics.

The hallowed film franchise of the beloved Harry Potter books semi-ends with Part 1. I’m looking forward to the end.

The first thing you notice is the fast aging of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). With all the wizards and witches in J.K. Rowling’s epic ugly and very, very old (you’d think there would be a spell to never age!), the trio is on the fast track to decrepitude. Poor Hermione stands around in homeless clothes. Ron has never been a ladies man and looks confused at Hermione’s attention. Grint’s wonky face can make only one expression – shock and awe. Reluctant ‘Chosen One” Harry is, well, impenetrable. He keeps his acting in his invisibility cloak. And when Harry and Hermione danced, even the rabid Potter fans in the audience mockingly laughed.

It’s a long, boring camping trip. As teens, the trio has no awakening sexual dynamic. That’s odd, n’est-ce pas?

Screenwriter Steve Kloves literally just throws the book at us. While the trio fails to bring the slightest emotion to their roles, all the other actors ham it up. First up – Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) who crucifies his amazing career with this performance. Then there is villainous Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) who thinks he’s Robert De Niro playing Al Capone in THE UNTOUCHABLES. Voldemort is obsessed with killing Harry Potter himself. And while he smiles and his sycophants cower at his table, Potter is not that scared.

Crazy-eyed Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) takes multiple Harrys to a wedding for safe-keeping. I needed online research to dope out that Harry must find Voldermort’s Horcruxes. Who leaves parts of their soul lying around?

Before the trio’s camping trip, they go to the Fourth Reich’s Ministry of Magic and assume the identities of three employees. At least these three can act! Since Kloves has absolutely no talent finding a way to give us much needed exposition, the Potter-less are left floundering. If only Lord Voldemort had showed some anxiety over parts of his soul gone missing.

Does Rowlings give any reason why all the wizards are missing body parts?

For the uninitiated, I have done the research.

From Yahoo Answers: The stereotype of the green-faced witch with the crooked nose stems from the so-called “burning times” or the Inquisition. Women were persecuted and beaten severely and tortured to “confess” to witchcraft before being burned, hanged or beheaded. These women were paraded through the town before execution and looked frightful due to the beatings and torture. Their faces were horrible shades of green from the bruises, their noses and teeth were usually broken, among other things. This is the last sight people saw of the accused and “convicted” witch before her death.

Wikipedia’s explanation for Voldermort’s appearance: Rowling described Voldemort as having pale skin, a chalk-white, skull-like face without hair, snake-like slits for nostrils, red eyes and cat-like slits for pupils, a skeletally thin body and long, thin hands with unnaturally long fingers. As mentioned in the first chapter of the seventh book, he also has no lips.

Earlier in life, as seen through flashbacks contained in the second and sixth books, Tom Marvolo Riddle is described as handsome. The transformation into his monstrous state is believed to have been the result of creating his Horcruxes, becoming less human as he continued to divide his soul. Dumbledore also speculates that Voldemort may have gained his hideous appearance by undergoing dangerous magical transformations.

This is the third Harry Potter film director David Yates has helmed. It appears that the skill at directing hundreds of people with military efficiently is the sole criteria for the job. Artistry be damned! With the DEADLY HALLOWS divided into Part 1 and Part 2, Yates will deliver the end of the Potter saga.

While the scenery is lovely and the mood darker but without menace, Yates cannot pull a sincere emotion out of his stars. I doubt he even tried. And, as I said, the other actors play cartoon caricatures of evil wizards. I must call out the costume design by Jany Temime as terrible. What teen witch would not use her magical powers for some couture threads? The makeup department makes the trio old beyond their years.

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