Monday, November 22, 2010

Valerie Tanswell "What Val Thinks" reviews "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I"



If you're a real Harry Potter "fan", then skip this review. Honestly. Am I going to rip apart the latest Harry Potter film? No, not at all. But I have a sense that no matter how gentle my observations and criticisms are, if you are a die-hard fan you will disagree. This is because you adore the series (just like you can't say anything negative about The Matrix Trilogy that I would agree with!) So fair warning: if you're one of those types of Harry Potter fans, I respectfully tell you that I'm not your girl. Move along.

But, if you're an average movie-goer who hasn’t read every Harry Potter book, then this review is for you! What should you be aware of if you go and see the latest and already record-breaking Harry Potter installment (no spoilers, I promise).


It's all about the preparation people!
Rent the previous Harry Potter film (the Half-Blood Prince). Watch it. Then watch it again. Get the cliff notes. And study up. Because I fear if you don't, you'll have no idea what is going on in this film. I've seen the Half Blood Prince...only once...so I was screwed. I was not alone! 2 of my friends who have also seen the last Harry Potter film commented during and after The Deathly Hallows, "Did I miss something? Did I miss a Harry Potter film somewhere? Feels like I've missed something." I concur.

Anyone suddenly feel like sleeping under the stars tonight?
Okay so I have admitted I didn't have any idea what was going on. But that was okay. A well made film can still be enjoyable even if the plot is lost on me. However, it seemed much of the film was spent camping. No spoilers here, but expect a fair number of camping out scenes. Hey, I grew up in British Columbia, so I have nothing against camping but after the 4th or 5th camp site I was finding it rather boring. Or was it just me?

When animation is cool.
Like black and white films, I'm not a fan of cartoons or animation in motion pictures as a general rule (obviously I have no appreciation for fine arts). But I was really wowed by a brief but key scene where Hermione is retelling the tale (of the Deathly Hallows) and we are treated to an animated sequence following the story. It was done really well and was a highlight for me.

Deja-Vu
If I weren't so lazy, I'd look up the production crews of both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings just to see if any are the same. Since I am too lazy and without a shred of proof, I'll just hint that some of the production staff are the same because there were a couple of occasions where I had a strong sense I'd seen it before. I don't blame JK Rowling but Dobby...c'mon on now, he's what Gollum would be if he'd turned out to be a good guy. Just saying.

Last thoughts (because I can't think of a way to cohesively group these)
• Ronald - he's bulking up and it's working for him.

• Hermione - much less annoying in this film and the actress really showed some acting ability.


• Why is everyone so untidy in the world of Harry Potter? The characters need some life coaching with their clutter issues and somebody hand them a nail brush for goodness sakes!

I think...this is not a movie to go see on a whim. The plot was layered (apparently very true to the book) and not easy for a “layman” to follow. This film doesn't stand on its own so maximum enjoyment is probably best had by (re)watching the Half-Blood Prince before (more than once ideally!)


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