Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1"

In haste because I am running around getting ready for Thanksgiving ... I saw the latest Potter flick on opening night with some fellow fanatics, and I have to say that it was the best Harry Potter movie in a long while.  The enormous book was cut down effectively, and the cliffhanger came as I expected even as it still had been on tetherhooks until the final installment of the story. 

The plot focuses mainly on the adventures of our familiar companions Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) as they go on the run from the ascendant forces of Voldemort and the corrupted Ministry of Magic, which is fine, but I really wanted more of my other beloved characters.  For instance, the glorious Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) had only one, all-too-brief appearance, though I did get a bit more screen time from my beloved Weasley Twins (James and Oliver Phelps).  There is never -- never -- enough of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. One flash of inspiration that must not be omitted: the ever-wonderful Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour. 

Still, if the movie is intended to bring home the creeping terror and horror of a world now overpowered by the English Patient  Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters, the atmosphere doesn't quite do it.  (Then again, this might not be the fault of the flick, really.  Maybe my inability to be readily terrified is a function of my surviving graduate school...)  Then again, I have never really bought Fiennes as Voldemort.  You-Know-Who has always been more frightening in my imagination than he has ever been on screen.  Well, enough of that.  Let's get to finding and destroying some Horcruxes, shall we?

MM gives this movie a grade of B.  RottenTomatoes give it a Fresh rating with 79% positive reviews.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" runs 146 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, and one brief (and disconcerting) moment of fantasy sensuality.

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