Saturday, December 4, 2010

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” – I hope you like tents.

Here we are at last, the final installment of the Harry Potter series. A nine-year odyssey of…what’s that? They split the last book into two movies? Are you f*&#ing kidding me!? The movie is two and a half hours long and you’re telling me that’s only half of it? How much money are we going to have to shovel over before we finally get to the end of this mediocre story?

Okay, I’m really not that upset, but that was similar to my reaction when I originally found out they were splitting the final book into two movies. I’m also dead serious about the money thing because that is the only (ONLY) reason for the split. With the exception of the first two books, they are all very similar in length, yet none of the other books required two movies. Plus, every movie has been almost identical in length, so why is this one so special? It’s been a couple of years since I read it, so I admit that I don’t remember too many of the details. What I do remember is that Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend roughly 400 pages sitting in a tent trying to figure out how to destroy a locket. Surely, any writer worth his salt could condense this down to about five minutes of screen time. Enter: the affliction known as J.K. Rowling.

Imagine my surprise as the opening credits rolled and Rowling’s name appeared under the title, producer. Good lord, is anyone going to tell her no? Once I saw this, I understood why this movie included parts that had no business wasting our time. Remember how agitated the uber-geeks were that a handful of unimportant parts had been cut from the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Well, Rowling sure as hell wasn’t going to let anyone do that to her over-praised writing. In addition to the obscene amount of tent-time that should have been cut, there’s a wedding scene in the beginning of the film that steals a few minutes of our lives, especially since it involves a Weasley brother that we have never even seen, let alone bother to care about. These are just some of the reasons why Rowling shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the set.

If you are one of the six people who haven’t kept up with the films, don’t bother watching this one because you will be completely lost. While it claims to be part one of the final book, it’s really part two of the preceding book. The Half-Blood Prince was the first book of the series that doesn’t really stand on its own, as it ends with Dumbledore dying and Harry left on his own to figure out how to find and destroy the rest of Voldemort’s horcruxes and ultimately, Voldemort. Without this knowledge, you’ll be sitting in the theater wondering why these kids aren’t back in school.

As I said, The Deathly Hallows resumes where the last film left us. After a massive chase scene involving almost every character we’ve ever met, the afore mentioned wedding, and a few more minutes of them wandering around the Weasley house, our three Hobbits set off on their quest to destroy the One Ring. What’s that? Wrong movie? Are you sure about that? Follow me on this one – A group of little people travel through countless bits of terrain and are friends with elves and wizards. The hero has a magical sword, wears the magic jewelry around his neck, which causes the wearer to slowly become evil, and the jewelry is almost impossible to destroy. Demons in black cloaks are trying to catch them, the two best friends get in a big fight ending with the sidekick temporarily leaving the group only to come back just in time to rescue the hero. And while they are out on their quest, everyone in the world is battling the forces of evil to buy them time to complete their quest. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure I saw this movie when it was called Lord of the Rings.

To be fair, there are some non Middle Earth scenes mixed in, including a most unexpected nude scene featuring Harry and Hermione kissing and covering each other up with strategically placed limbs. Don’t worry, it’s just the evil locket creating visions for Ron, but not so evil as to make the film rated-R. We also get a short animated film smashed into the middle of the movie that explains what the deathly hallows actually are, though I still don’t know what a generic hallow is. As it turns out, Voldemort is searching for one of the hallows – a powerful wand that will allow him to kill Harry. The explanation for why Voldemort can’t kill Harry with his own wand (their wands share the same core) is probably the dumbest reason ever invented to create a story line. It’s like saying I can’t kill you with my shotgun if you have a shotgun too. And why don’t his followers ever point out that a knife requires no magic to slice someone’s neck open? Hell, Voldemort even cuts Harry’s arm open with a knife in The Goblet of Fire to get some of his blood. I guess it just wasn’t the right time to kill Harry, even though he immediately follows that act by trying to kill Harry.

I know this review sounds awfully negative and I do want to give some credit to the filmmakers – excluding those named Rowling – as well as the actors. The quality of the film is equal to the others and is entertaining, if somewhat long and tent-y. The actors continue to deliver solid acting, though Alan Rickman appears to be a little bored (can you blame him?) in the one scene in which he appears. It’s also funny to see how they continue to pretend that Emma Watson is not a grown woman by dressing her in the most unflattering clothes in the United Kingdom. Though, I will give them credit for allowing her to show off a little during the nude scene. In the end, I consider this film to be the worst of the series for the sole reason that it wasn’t necessary to split it into two parts. They could have cut out the unimportant parts and lengthened the film to three hours or more and people would have been more than happy to sit through it. At least there’s only one more movie left and no more books…I hope.

Rating: You should ask for five dollars back since they only showed you half the movie. Plus, you already saw this film when it featured orcs and dwarves.

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