Friday, July 8, 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One (David Yates, 2010) -- C-
Harry Potter makes for piss-poor cinema. Other than the books' legion of fans (and granted, they are aplenty), the films offer no recourse for the unconverted - nor do they make particularly compelling vehicles for viewers interested in anything but fidelity. Certainly, there will be a major divide here, between those who've read (and likely, read again) J.K. Rowling's collective apotheosis of modern literature and those who aren't immediately compelled by the boy (now boy-man) wizard and his posse of muggles, dwarfs, ogres, goblins, and wookies. If some of my terminology is wrong, please forgive, but only the most geeked-out fanboy/girl could become excited by such a world of utter nonsense. Moreover, as envisioned by director David Yates, part one of the saga's concluding chapter seethes with self-importance masquerading as atmospheric dread - dreary is more like it. At a ridiculously bloated 147 minutes, every scene comes and goes, meaningless dialogue exchanged, plodding along to the next, without the slightest recognition that what's on-screen lacks passion or artistic weight. With the pacing of an uber-faithful miniseries adaptation (and a now hackneyed, pseudo-serious HBO aesthetic), few films are this hopelessly leaden.