I just got back from seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I do have to warn that there will be MINOR SPOILERS to follow. So if you have not seen the movies and you do not want to read more this is the place to stop!
I have to say that this movie has lived up to the hype. It really is a different feeling Harry Potter movie. It seems as if everyone threw themselves into making these last two films the best they could be. Acting performances were amazing and this movie was definitely a treat to books fans over the movie ones. If you have not seen this movie then you must soon. It was hands down the best one yet.
The story of the first part of Deathly Hallows really focuses on the trio. Their friendship is tested with the stress of the mission, evil manipulating lockets, and being cooped up together in a tent for months. The trio focuses on trying to figure out how to kill the horcruxes and where to find them. They try to figure out the riddle that Dumbledore left behind while trying to stay together as a team as doubts arise. This movie feels almost gritty and very much adult. The torture scene with Hermione is brutal, the splinch scene with Ron is graphic, and the Bathilda Bagshot snake scene was downright gory. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are no longer in the safe environment of the Hogwarts corridors and they are out in the mean world with no one to trust but each other. The movie does a wonderful job portraying this.
Romance is also a huge part of this story. The beginning scene with Harry and Ginny was downright sexual for Harry Potter standards. Though I still argue that the relationship between Harry and Ginny has never been developed in the movies at all it still feels really weird to see them share such a sensual kiss. I actually let out a sigh of relief when George came in during the kiss he literally broke the awkward tension for me. Harry and Ginny’s story seems like a sub plot compared to the evolving relationship between Ron and Hermione. I have never seen Ron so confident in the movies before. The fact that he initiated many romantic moments throughout the film shows the growth of his character. The chemistry between Rupert Grint and Emma Watson was on fire. The fact that Ron is in love with Hermione has never been this obvious and Hermione’s love for Ron was also on display.
Another amazing thing about this movie was that is showed the bond between Harry and Hermione. The dance scene though I felt was unnecessary did show that Harry really cares about Hermione. He tries to make her feel better by showing off his spastic dance moves. Though she did walk away from the dance just as sad as ever before. Again, their friendship is shown with the scene in Godric’s Hollow as they stand before Harry’s parents’ grave. It is sweet to see.
Emma Watson gives a wonderful performance. I will even go out on a limb and say it was her best performance since the second movie. She was given tons of heavy scenes to play being tortured, dealing with a splinched friend, and not to mention a broken heart. She has tone down the eyebrow play and even has stopped with the unnecessary heavy breathing. It was nice to see Emma back. I was impressed.
Daniel Radcliffe’s performance was equally as good. I do have a hate/love relationship with him. More hate than love. However, he really did play the complexity of Harry’s emotions pretty well. Only a few places did I cringe. Though I do think that is more my personal bias than anything else.
Rupert Grint though stole the show. He has always been a comedic actor and it delivers some of those amazing one-liners so well. However, it was the not-so-nice side of Ron that he portrayed so well. The fight scene was amazing. The tone of voice, they eyes, the body language, and the delivery blew me away. I began crying with Hermione when he left. Also the tender looks he gives Hermione throughout the entire movie was also incredible. He has such great command over his face, body, and eyes! Another thing that I loved being a Ron fan…he played Ron as a man. His downright manliness shows from beginning to end. In many ways it made Harry seem like an emotional boy. I also love the fact that after this movie I am seeing twenty times more support for Ron and Rupert. It was a great one for Ron!
The only thing I have to complain about this movie that I have are the normal complaints that fans have when they want the movie to be exactly like the book. I especially did not like that they did not include the talk between Ron and Harry after the locket scene. To me that scene shows the love between Ron and Harry. Harry tells Ron they need him and more importantly Hermione wants him. They also share a wonderful hug and they go back to Hermione as brothers. This was left out. It would have been nice to see the reconciliation between these two characters. Some people could argue it wasn’t necessary, because it was proven in the fact that Harry did forgive Ron and they share that moment with Hermione’s fire. It still would have been nice. I also think that they really need to develop the Harry/Ginny relationship otherwise the relationship is going to feel like a last minute happy ever after for this fictional hero.
The pace of the story was constant action and fast. I remember thinking when the movie ended that I could not believe that it was two and half hours. I actually wanted to sit there for a couple more hours. All in all I thought it was a very entertaining movie and one of the best movies of the series for book fans. I am very proud. For the first time in a long time I did not leave the theater with a laundry list of complaints. I instead shed a tear for Dobby and sighed with contentment that these characters that I have grown to love as if they were friends were treated with respect and love. It also gave me great pleasure that when Ron returns to save Harry from drowning in icy water the audience clapped. It made me smile and this movie for the most part made me smile.
Join us for New Music and Movie Mondays tomorrow at 10EST/7PST for a more in depth discussion about the seventh Harry Potter movie. We will discuss what we like, don’t like, and also talk a little bit about the second part due out July 15, 2011.