HARRY POTTER finds an extra gear or two and finally gets the wheels turning.
It’s been what… Ten Years for HARRY POTTER and his friends…
So when the first film came out I was 12. They weren’t lying when they said ” the film event of a generation” when they released the super-trailer for these films a few months ago… it really has been a very long, sometimes arduous journey but it seems that with film 7a, they’ve figured out how to turn Rowling’s world in to cinema…
This franchise lost my interest when the previous installment limped in to theatres with the feeling of a half-hearted blockbuster, made because they needed to get the audience to the final acts of the franchise. The problem was; the film suffered from a lack of development, dodgy acting and a story arc, to non-readers, that was almost non-existant. It had the feeling of frustration seeped through it because it felt like I was being cheated of the emotional truths that lay woven throughout Rowling’s dreamscape and fantasy.
However, when it comes to the discussion of this first part of the final installments then it is good news. The changes to the format seem to breath life in into the film; allowing our characters to grow and change with their surroundings as they become increasingly bleak at the hands of the Dark Lord and his menacing brigade of followers. Hogwarts has become the symbol of safety and I am pleased that it has been jettisoned in favour of a new approach. It also became routine that the films would spend much of the first act travelling to the world of magic and mystery which was keeping the audience from the real adventure and themes that should be explored. Moments in previous installments threatened to reveal this danger but unfortunately it seemed to become rather cartoonish at times.
The choice of locations here is expert; with the travels reflecting the emotional standpoint of our protagonists and also offering some well thought out cinematic splendour. The script seems polished and noteworthy, although some of the overly explanative dialogue remains.
At times, Radcliffe seems to have found a new gear here although he sometimes struggles to convey the sense of danger and responsibility that the film is themed around but the relationship between three friends rescues any moments that may be in danger of faultering. Emma Watson leads off from the front which can give the scenes an overwhelming sense of matriarchal dominance which is both comforting and yet strange, given that her character seems to be more vulnerable than she has before. Grint is solid and offers both comic relief and perspective throughout the film and the departure of his character really serves to up the stakes and test the dynamic.
Voldemort is scary here; I reference the first scene in which his snake devours a dying woman laying suspended in the air above a table full of Death Eaters. So in light of this, it is probably not such a good idea to take your children to this… maybe wait for DVD
Overall… a final installment that teases for PART 2 perfectly and yet tells a compelling story in its own right. The fight ends almost evenly balanced but, it’s up there with LORD OF THE RINGS in terms of dread and suspense. A worthy final chapter should lay ahead if this film is anything to go by. Beautifully shot, choreographed and written; HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 is the best of the series by a country mile.