Sean K. Cureton

Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Final Chapter

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on November 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Directed by David Yates
3 out of 4 stars

Up to this point, the Harry Potter movie franchise has been plagued with unending problems. What started out as a loving adaptation of the beloved series of books written by J.K. Rowling has turned into a parade of mostly cringe worthy films that have kept little to none of the essence and spirit of the books. And the past two films, both directed by Deathly Hallows director David Yates, have been by far the worst movies in the entire series. Based on the past two films, it would seem as though Yates had no idea what was going on in the books, and therefore made really awful film adaptations based on his absolute lack of knowledge of the books themselves. It also doesn’t help that Yates may be one of the worst directors to ever pick up a camera. The fact that Yates has made two films that have gained a lot of attention and gathered a lot of money world wide due solely to the fact that the films are part of a multi-billion dollar franchise is heartbreaking. However, despite Yates’ own ineptitude as a director, and despite the abysmal quality of his first two Potter fiascos, Yates has finally done something right with the first installment of the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Yates has finally delivered a Potter film that lives up to the books. Not only that, but the film itself is not all that bad either. Instead of getting rid of crucial scenes, cutting corners, and making up completely frivolous and unnecessary sub-plots, Yates has taken great attention to all of the details of Rowling’s final novel, and has been able to adapt it without leaving out anything too important. From the first scene with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, to Harry, Ron, and Hermione chasing down the final horcruxes, this Potter film finally provides fans with the first truly faithful Potter adaptation since the first two films in the series. Everything that happens on screen will remind fans of the pleasures of reading the book, and will bring back fond memories in some of waiting in line at midnight to be one of the first people to receive the final chapter.

Not only is this film faithful to its source material, but it truly delivers a satisfying conclusion to a movie series that has been going on since 2001. Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely, every character that has been presented in the films makes an appearance, and the audience is left with the feeling that they have spent their time well following this magical and gripping series.

However, there are a few flaws with this film, as must be expected given Yates’ track record with the last two Potter films. One, there is not nearly enough Snape, played by the amazingly talented Alan Rickman. The fact that this series has trivialized Snape to such an extent is criminal, given how important he is to the series. The second thing that this film did wrong was to start the film not with the Death Eaters’ meeting, but with a completely non-authentic scene of Hermione erasing her existence from her Muggle parents. This scene alone was probably the worst thing about the movie, and quite frankly made me want to vomit. Finally, the last thing that I really didn’t like about the film was the way in which the story of the Deathly Hallows was presented via an elaborate animated sequence. Instead of just casting actors to portray the parts in this short story within the larger narrative, Yates decided to create a very cheap looking animation using mainly shadows and somewhat dark imagery. While the tone of the animation may have gone along with the film as a whole, it still felt like a cop out, and could just as easily and more effectively been done with actual actors.

Despite these small flaws, and the flaws that were the two previous Yates films in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was the best film in the movie franchise since the Mike Newell directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In the first part of the final film in the series, Yates has redeemed himself to an extent, and has provided avid Potter fans with both a satisfactory adaptation and a good Potter film. The only thing to do now is to wait for the second part this summer, and to hope that it will be just as good as the first part, and will effectively wrap up the movie franchise in a pleasing way.