Heya – Jedi Elvis here; It’s a good thing I busted my butt doing my first ever concert at Nuke The Fridge Con yesterday because that means all I am able to do today is sit here and write during some much-needed down time. The concert went GREAT, thanks for asking. Where the heck were YOU? Or maybe I just didn’t see you from the stage in the horde of screaming people? But seriously, a big THANK YOU to everyone that came out to support NTF Con, it was a great time! Saber Guild, the Mandalorian Mercs, the 501st, the SoCal Ghostbusters Costuming Club (Gotta get me one of THOSE), I even saw a fully-costumed Doctor Doom, who was taller than Saber Guild’s Vader! Big fella.
In any case, to business: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? I had the opportunity to catch a midnight showing on Thursday and let me tell you, they’re really swinging for the fences with this one. The first indication of that is in the title, which indicates to me that they’re taking their time getting this movie right by splitting it into two movies. This is the big one, people.
So, where do I start? First of all, I’d like to say that I’m going to try to make this as Spoiler Free as possible, but let’s be honest – haven’t you already read all the books? If you haven’t, stop reading now, go to a bookstore, buy all the books and start reading. I’ll wait.
Second, I’m going to say that I REALLY enjoyed this movie, even though after it, I felt like I’d been dragged by a race car over 30 miles of bad road. Read on to understand why this is a GOOD thing.
Here’s the Reader’s Digest rehash of the movie. Following the events of the previous year, our trinity of heroes have dropped out of Hogwarts in order to hunt down the Horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul and destroy them. Once they do that, Voldemort becomes vulnerable and he can finally be destroyed. In the course of their quest, they discover the existence of the Deathly Hallows, a trio of items that would make the person that had all three the Master of Death. The Hallows are a) The Elder Wand: a wand crafted by Death itself that makes the wielder undefeatable, b) The Resurrection Stone: a plain simple rock that gives it’s owner the ability to return someone from the dead and c) The Cloak of Invisibility: a cloak that makes the wearer unable to be detected, even by Death itself. (Hm… where have I seen something like this before in the Harry Potter movies? I’m sure it was just a coincidence…)
Through Harry’s link with Voldemort, they realize that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is seeking the Elder Wand, because Voldemort’s regular wand does not work against Harry. (Please don’t make me explain why. Read Goblet of Fire.) Harry, Ron and Hermione, after an extremely rough road dealing with the Dark Lord’s minions and the corrupting influence of wearing a piece of the Dark Lord’s soul around their respective necks, manage to destroy one of the Horcruxes after getting it in a daring snatch and grab raid on the Ministry of Magic. In the meantime, ol’ Voldy discovers that the Elder Wand was last in possession of Albus Dumbledore and was buried with him at Hogwarts. He cracks open Dumbledore’s tomb and pries the wand out of Dumbledore’s cold, dead fingers and our final scene of Part 1 is Voldemort at the tomb, howling in triumph as he casts a powerful curse into the sky with the Elder Wand. Oh crap.
So let’s talk about intent and tone for this movie. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is, basically, the set up for the knock out punch that we’re all hoping Part 2 is going to be in Summer 2011. You don’t even need to have read the books to know that this is the knock-down, drag-out, barroom brawl to end all barroom brawls in the Wizarding World. That all is going to happen in Part 2, so what is the intent for Part 1? Quite simply, it’s intent is simply to get you spoiling for the fight. And they do that by making you tense, making you outraged and making you howl for retribution, and NOT GIVING IT TO YOU. Not until next July, at least.
About 90% of the screen time in this movie belongs to Harry, Ron and Hermione, a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. It’s a pretty daunting task for three actors to carry most of a movie this epic in scale, but they do it well. After 11 consecutive years of filming the same characters together, their chemistry is already firmly in place. Voldemort has most of the remaining screen time in Harry’s visions and even favorite series regulars Severus Snape and Neville Longbottom show up in only one or two scenes for this go around, presumably to get more play in Part 2.
(MINOR SPOILER: If I remember correctly, this is the first Harry Potter movie that did NOT feature something blowing up in Seamus’ face, because I didn’t see him once in the movie. Awww.)
“Deathly Hallows” takes you away from Hogwarts for pretty much all of the movie, which is a departure for the series. In exchange, however, you get to see some really beautiful country in England, which makes the movie seem larger than it already is, almost “Lord of the Rings” in scale. In order to make you feel as though you are questing and suffering with our heroes, we are taken through some pretty harsh (but stunning) terrain. Most of the movie is purposefully washed out in color, to heighten the sense of bleakness, although the scenes where they’re at home or in their magically protected tent, the warm colors return to increase the feeling of safety and temporary return to normalcy.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, although it meant I was dragged through the muck and struggle of the first half of the book, where our heroes and the forces of good generally take it on the chin the entire time as their lives are assaulted and generally torn out from under them one pillar at a time They suffer loss, persecution and yes, death as they strive to put down the most malevolent evil of their time. The only thing it was missing was Voldemort cutting off Harry’s hand in duel and then revealing that HE was Harry’s father. When you leave the theater, you are spoiling for a fight, a fight that comes in July 2011. I’m up for it.