As my NYE tradition, I decided to go take myself to the movies. Today’s movie was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The Warner Bros. release stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, and Helena Bonham Carter. This franchise has been a blockbuster since day one, and I hate the fact that it took me so long to get into them. When I went into the movie, I expected nothing less than mayhem unleashed, and it didn’t disappoint.
The movie begins on a sad note as Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) was forced to cast a spell on her parents to keep them protected, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) sending his uncle, aunt, and cousin away, and Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint) looking over the horizon at the coming storm. The movie then picks up the pace, as they round up the gang to protect Harry from Lord Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters. This sets up a confrontation over Little Whinging as Dumbledore’s Army and the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix take on the Death Eaters in a thrilling aerial battle. Lives are lost, and – after a brief reprise for a wedding – the trio set forth to find the Horcruxes and destroy Lord Voldermort once and for all. Along the way, Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) is named the head of Hogwarts, and Dolores Umbridge and the rest of the Ministry of Magic set forth to persecute any half-blood wizards or Muggles and perpetuate their belief in only pure blood wizards.
To watch Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint over the years, they display a wealth of chemistry and familiarity with each other. It’s been wonderful to watch them grow into their characters and grow into themselves. They are all wonderful actors and it’s fun to see their interplay. Radcliffe and Watson have a scene that really shines, and they’re almost in the same vein as John Steed and Emma Peel from “The Avengers.”
My favorite of the trio was Rupert Grint; he had a lot to do in this movie, and he didn’t disappoint. He showed great range in his emotions, and you actually felt the jealousy Ron felt with Harry and Hermione’s closeness. Of course, it came to play later in the movie, but it was fun to watch it get there.
Ralph Fiennes is given a lot to do with Lord Voldermort, and he really shines in this one. Voldermort is evil personified, and Fiennes revels in playing the bad guy. He chews scenery like it’s pizza, and it’s a sight to behold when he really sinks his teeth into the part. Alan Rickman doesn’t have a lot to do, but he plays Snape with menace and a hint of remorse.
Watching Helena Bonham Carter onscreen is scary. She really acts bedazzled and unstable – much like how Bellatrix Lestrange really is. She had some moments that really creeped me out, and that doesn’t happen too often. For that to happen from this movie was a testament to her performance.
David Yates returns to direct this movie – his third in the series – and he shows his experience and familiarity with the cast. The silent parts of the movie are filled with depth, and he handles the action like a seasoned pro. The cinematography was done by Eduardo Serra, and the only real problem I had with it was that it was too dark. That may be the result of the theater I was in, but I couldn’t really tell for sure. Alexandre Desplat handles the score, joining such composers as John Williams, Patrick Doyle, and Nicholas Hooper. His score is more muted, but it doesn’t slack on emotion. The tenseness of the situation at hand was simply breathtaking.
I really got a kick out of this movie. The thing I enjoyed most about it was how they bucked tradition with the start of the film. Most of the films start off lighthearted and funny, but this one couldn’t be bothered with that. This one started sad and really didn’t lighten up. There was one moment of frivolity, but even that was short-lived, as more despair came into play. I don’t think this is spoiling anything, but it even ENDED sad. That was something I had personally been hoping for, and it finally delivered. It definitely got me in the mood to watch Part 2…just in time for my 34th birthday. I’ll give this movie four More Epic than Love Jones; not giving it five just yet, because I want to see the finished product. Until then…