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.

1 comment:

  1. You haven't read the books, so without berating you too much, I will let you know these adaptations are not actually so faithful. Yes, they keep the gist of the overall story, but writer Steve Kloves is more concerned with honing a discernible theme in each film. They accomplished this best in "Half-Blood Prince," a film that dwells moreso on the loss of both sexual and moral innocence than it did the book's plot that a lot of the books' fans were upset.

    'Hallows 1' was a story that focuses on the uncertainty and conflict one faces as they step away from something that is comfortable - in HP's case, academia - in order to take a risk that could possibly blow up in your face. For all of his life at Hogwarts, HP had been told he was hot shit, but in this film, he starts to feel like a fuck up now that he is away from his beloved school. I think the film's length helps play up the unease caused by the uncertainty these formerly bold characters now face.