Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: You have to earn it

23 Nov

Somewhere an executive at Warner Brothers is crying in a Scrooge Mcduck size pool of money.  That comically large pool of gold coins was not due to a government bail out but one of the most successful franchises in entertainment history, the tears are because the Harry Potter franchise has started to end.

Although, they are squeezing every penny out of the final book installment, splitting the 784 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows in two feature length films.  And to be fair the story is large enough to split into a Ken Burns documentary, so it’s not like WB is spreading this out to weasel an extra $10 out of you, that is just the icing on the gold plated  birthday cake they are sending to JK Rowling at her Scottish castle-home.

The thing I really enjoy about Part 1 is that it is not for everybody. It is for the fans. You could not just show up to this movie and understand anything that was going on. These final two films are  the payoff for those who read the books and followed the movies, and if you didn’t well then you are SOL.

For those of you who are fans (of the paleness or Harry Potter) continue.

With so much story to cover in the final two films director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves do an excellent job of establishing the most important aspect of the Deathly Hollows – the stakes.  The world of Harry Potter isn’t going to spell’s class, pranks on Snape or even Hogwarts anymore, schools out and it’s time to get expecto patronum on some death eaters imperiusing asses.

( I told you fans only)

That is why the early deaths of Hedwig and Mad-Eye Moody are so important. Both in the novel and in the film.  At it’s core the Deathly Hollows is about transitioning from the innocence of youth to the reality that we will all die, and all that we can control is how we go about living.

To effectively communicate this though, Yates has to keep the pace high and cut out a lot of the secondary character’s background stories. Bill Weasley is awkwardly introduced in the first few scenes as if he were a throw-away character and then all of a sudden you are at his wedding.  But that is what has to happen when you have so much story to cover and only so much attention span to work with.

Also, Yates has a uncanny ability to mix the humorousness that is so much a part of the Harry Potter franchise with the incredibly dark and evil events of the deathly hallows. This is war and you know it, but with a few laughs along the way…like a children’s book morphing into a adult fiction.

But that is basically the way Rowling wrote it so Yates must be doing something right.

Though their are more than a few moments where the dialogue is weak and awkward shots seem to waste valuable screen time, on the whole this will be an enjoyable film to Potheads everywhere.

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