It’s never easy to convert books–especially those coming from fantasy genre, and more especially those with millions of devoted fans–into movies. When the first title of the J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece was brought to big screen, I was one of fans whose excitement turned quickly to disappointment. The next chapters weren’t changed much, although the 3rd one (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) successfully captured a glimpse of the series’ dark essence. It kept going darker and darker, yet the ridiculous efforts to present top notch CGI-generated scenes (when they should have focused more on story and characters development) were still pathetic.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I fixes it. Finally. Thank goodness.
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) have left Hogwarts. They are cast out into mountains and icy forests for months as the Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), growing stronger both physically and politically, has taken over the Ministry of Magic.
While running for their lives, they are trying to solve the puzzle Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) had left for them before he was killed: To find and destroy 7 horcruxes. It’s said to be the only way to kill Voldemort and bring the light back into the universe of wizardry and magic.
The story becomes more complex as Harry finds another puzzle to solve: the Deathly Hallows, a tale every wizard mom used to tell their children before bed.
Yates apparently doesn’t try too hard to rebuild the imaginative world created by Rowling. Instead he goes with the “normal” intriguing scenes you usually find in action movies released every summer. Yeah, there are several “abnormalities” you’ll see, i.e. the flush-me-down-to-toilet entrance to the Ministry of Magic. And lots and lotsa wand waving and spell casting. But that’s about it. Which is a good thing. He can concentrate more on political tensions, emotional conflicts and bonds between characters. After all, all these things that make Harry Potter interesting, rite?
The Deathly Hallows Part I somehow jumps to maturity too far. Yeah, Harry, Ron, Hermione are no longer 11-year-old kids sitting in the middle of Great Hall, sorted by the Sorting Hat into one of Hogwarts 4 classes. In contrary, it contains passionate and–in a quite thrilling scene–sexually arousal kisses. I don’t mind with it, I bet you don’t either. I’m just disturbed by the huge leap of maturity, compared to the previous installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Thank goodness humorous lines are well put altogether. It’s a smart move to keep the Deathly Hallows Part I interesting for wider range of audience. Those who like it dark will find it as entertaining as those who like it light.
Yates definitely tries to go all out this time. Almost every character appears, almost everything from 1st to 6th titles emerges all over again, yet there’s not enough time for explanation a la “Harry Potter for Dummies”. Unless you have a splendid memory, or you have read all of the books a day before watching it, you may feel it flows too fast. It’s actually not. You just need to remember too many things at a time. And consider this a fair warning; the rest are most likely packed to Part II (coming July 2011).
Luckily for Yates, all cast support him. They in fact blow my mind the most. Yeah, I’m aware that Alan Rickman is born for our sexiest Severus Snape, or that Helena Bonham Carter never fails lunatic roles, or that Imelda Staunton is so talented in roles that make you wanna punch the screen (Vera Drake, anyone?). What I’m trying to say is that everyone, including the insignificant one, play his/her part well. Heck, even Radcliffe is waaay better now. A Harry Potter dream cast indeed!
Movie buff speaking, I like the Deathly Hallows Part I. Devoted fan speaking, I love it. Yates nails it. Big time.
Btw, I don’t do star rating for movies. I do ass rating. Since my ass stayed cool during the 146 minutes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, it means it’s a must watch. Whether you have read the books or not.