Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

At this late date, it is essentially a given that a Harry Potter movie will be financially successful, capture some number of iconic moments, and have pacing problems inherent in adapting a multi-hundred-page book to a substantially-fewer-minute movie. Upshot: except in case of unforeseeable production errors, you already know everything you need to know to decide whether or not to go see part one of the series’ climax. Which leaves me with the unfortunate task of coming up with something to add to a closed topic.

Well, first I have the task of saying that there is no inexplicable failure right at the end, and that after a breakneck-paced opening in which we establish that evil is ascendant in the wizarding world, nobody is safe, and our heroes don’t have much in the way of a solid plan for how to do anything about it, the film settles into an excellent character study of Harry, Hermione, and Ron on the cusp of adulthood, finally set free from Hogwart’s apron springs, with the weight of the world on their shoulders. In a very real way, every scene of every previous movie has been leading to the last two thirds of this one, where we get to see what has been forged. And I have to say that the same segments of the book didn’t really give me that sense of completion to the series; which is not to say that the movie is better than the book, but that it’s nice to be able to contrast them and find strengths in each.

So, okay, I had a little to add to the topic after all, and that’s cool, because those three actors and the various directors who have led them through this past decade of films deserve a lot of credit. But still, on the whole you really already knew what you wanted to do about the latest Potter extravaganza long before I popped open my laptop to give you my opinion, and since you deserve my opinion on something, it’s this: I came out of the movie extremely disappointed. Disappointed, that is, that at least the sixth and probably the fifth movie deserved a similar amount of extra time to flesh out those stories as well, with these actors.

Too late to do anything about it now, I guess, but it’s at least nice to see they would almost certainly have been excellent.

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