Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – A Not-review

November 21, 2010 at 6:56 am | Posted in Movies Shoovies | 8 Comments
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From the moment that I left office, at seven in the morning, drenched in rain from head to intermediate body parts to toe, I had a feeling that this day was doomed. When I woke up at 2 things were pretty straightforward. Skip bath – Eat dabba – Find clothes – Wear Them – Run.

Run, because we had to catch the 3.30 show of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 at Devi Cineplex. Run, because Ratatouille was on television and we had wasted 20 minutes watching it while doing the straightforward things mentioned above. And we ran. Ran to Thiruvanmiyur MRTS station, took two tickets and ran to the first floor, only to miss the local train by some seconds. The next train was at 3.30 and we weren’t carrying our wands. So we took an auto who assured us that he’ll drop us at Devi before 3.30. However, true to every autowallah’s word, he remembered mid-way that his auto needed petrol. It started raining again and we were in two minds now, whether to go late into a movie or to stay and enjoy the weather at the Marina beach. In the end, Emma Watson won. Our autowallah dropped us at a turn, pointing to some building at the end which was supposed to be Devi Cineplex. We ran(rather we swam) in the rain only to discover that the building was some bank. Another short run and a few turns, took us to another building which turned out be another cinemahall. In our third attempt we were able to locate Devi Cineplex, after exhausting the choicest north-indian(and marathi) abuses and after being drenched in rain from head to blah-blah to toes.

At 3: 50 we took our seats and Harry kissed Ginny.

HP

Now, let it be known that I love the Harry Potter series. I’ve read the books umpteen number of times(even between semester exams) and somehow the whole concept of the world being divided into Magic and non-magic folk intrigues me a lot. And one day I want to own(or rent) a Castle like Hogwarts(or at least a house like X Lovegood’s). So as a fan of the series, it is disappointing to see the books treated so shabbily, like they did in the last movie(the half-baked Half Blood Prince). I had heard from friends that this movie is far better than the last one and my expectations were pretty high. I was, unfortunately(or therefore), very disappointed at how the movie turned out to be.

Making a movie out of a 700(or something) page book isn’t easy. Making two movies out it, isn’t easy too. Because a book, like a movie, has a climax. You cannot divide the climax into two and make two movies. So one of your movies will tend be less exciting than the other. I understand that.

What I don’t understand is Mr. Yates habit of cutting scenes and not taking things to a higher level. I felt this in Half Blood Prince and again I suffered from the same. He takes a scene, builds it well and then lets it go. Which is very disappointing. Very. And this is my major grudge(and maybe my only grudge) with the movie. You may say that this is best of the lot, because this adheres more to the book and any of its previous counterparts. But that doesn’t make it a good adaptation. Not even close. I loved the First and the Fifth part of the series but this one didn’t live up to my expectations.

Warning: Spoilers and rants ahead.

Since I didn’t see the opening sequence, I won’t comment on that. My worries began when they omitted the altercation between Harry and Scrimgeour. There was zero emotion in that scene, all of them appeared so fake. It was Dumbledore’s will being discussed but there was hardly any hint of surprise on the Trio’s face. And why did they omit the shuffle between Harry and Scrimgeour? That’d have set the pace of the movie perfectly. Talking of fake emotions, Mad-Eye’s death doesn’t come as a heartbreak to any one of them. JKR has described that scene pretty vividly in the book, but the actors fail to live the emotions.

Again, Harry Potter goes undisguised to Bill and Fleur’s wedding? When they land up in Tottenham Court Road(I guess the movie uses some other street), Harry still doesn’t use the Invisibility cloak. Deatheaters march upto the coffee counter, with their back at the trio, when they could easily have stunned them while entering. This isn’t a cowboy movie Mr. Yates.

When Deatheaters stop the train(in a very X-Men-ish sequence), we get a glimpse of Neville and Ginny and then, snap. Mr. Yates doesn’t linger around in scenes where a few extra frames could have made all the difference.

And again, the trio’s plans for infiltrating the ministry aren’t given any footage at all. It appears totally out-of-the-blue.

And my biggest grudge, HOW in the world can Harry Potter walk out of the Ministry without an invisibility cloak or without being under the effect of a Polyjuice potion? Ministry guards do not attack them – why show them when they are redundant(and absolutely useless)? Only one Deatheater tackles them, the rest of the junta is just a mute audience to the show. Can  you be any more stupid? Simple logic, Mr. Yates – Please read the book carefully next time around.

There are more loopholes. How does Bathilda Bagshot know Grignewald? What happened to Peter Pettigrew, why wasn’t his death depicted? No mention of Phineas Nigellus’s painting. Hardly any mention of Snape. Hermione picks up Harry’s wand and still manages to break it. And the list goes on.

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However, this isn’t a bad movie. It has its comic moments(which on most occasions are genuinely funny) and its grim moments.I was particularly impressed with some scenes. The Horcrux’s behavior before being destroyed, Hermione’s torture, the snatcher chase and Nagini’s sequence. They were visually stunning and well crafted, especially Nagini’s attack on Harry. I was almost startled on one occasion(Take that, Mallika Sherawat). So was the story of the Pervell brothers: the animated ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ adds a different flavor to the movie. The locations are handpicked and feel very exotic, pleasant and menacing at different points in the movie. But Mr. Yates will get some brownie points for two special sequences, which are the only things that I’ll carry home from the movie. Harry and Hermione’s dance(which isn’t a part of the book) was a worthy deviation from the book. It could have been executed better, I feel but nevertheless, full marks for trying something different. JKR would be happy. And the scene that stood out in the movie, is that of Dobby’s death. Executed to perfection. "It’s a beautiful place, to be with friends". That, Mr. Yates, absolves you from a lot of your mistakes.

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I won’t say that this is my favorite Harry Potter film but as a sequel to the Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 deserves a lot of praise for setting things right. And I know without a doubt, that the second part will be an outstanding success irrespective of how Mr. Yates treats it. Afterall, all isn’t well yet.

The friend who accompanied me to the movie, hadn’t seen most of the previous movies. He kept referring to Hagrid as Voldemort till I gave him a piece of my mind. However, he did make an interesting observation.The Doe Patronus sequence, he said, reminded him of Ramayana. Ofcourse, the patronus was more well behaved than Mareecha ever was, but interesting analogy I must say.

Should you give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a watch? – If you are a fan, you must. If you aren’t, you can.

And yeah, Emma Watson – We’d like to have the cute avatar back, so pliss to be using some Parachute hair oil and growing ghane mulayam baal.

Disclaimer: This is not a review, this is a rant-cum-reminisces post. We’ll call it a not-review. All opinions expressed are mine(in case you hadn’t figured this out already). Also troll comments on this post will be ‘Obliviated’.


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