DVD Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

The penultimate Harry Potter film as the previous is nothing more than fan service. It rewards only those who have read the books or have followed the entire series. Personally, I don't fit into either category. I am not a fan, so I admit that there's really nothing for me here and I'm pre-disposed to dislike it.

The Harry Potter franchise nonetheless has had overwhelming success. It has become a worldwide spectacle, a worldwide phenomenon. It clearly has broad appeal. Even this late in the game, having not read the books or even seen the last two films, I figured there must be something onto which I can latch. Unfortunately, I was wrong. If I'd gone to see this film in theaters last year, I would have made the argument that it was by far the worst movie of 2010.

Putting aside the narrative or character developments for which I didn't understand nor cared, from merely an aesthetic standpoint, the movie looks horrible. The reason it looks horrible is mostly because you can't see anything. The first half hour of this movie and the majority of it after that takes place at night.

I realize that if the story is taking place after sunset and you have characters running around in the woods or places that don't have street lights or lamp posts, then realistically things will look dark. I realize this, but, at the same time, this is a movie. The point of going to see something projected onto the big screen is to see something on the big screen, something other than darkness for nearly three hours straight.

This movie would work better as a radio program on NPR. The action scenes were so shrouded in darkness that there was no point in paying to see them in a theater. There weren't many action scenes anyway. The movie opens with Ralph Fiennes who plays Voldemort, the bad guy who wants to kill Harry Potter, basically sitting and saying so.

The movie then launches into a chase scene that was pointless to me. Later, Harry and friends go on a journey to find Horcruxes, which will allow Harry to kill Voldemort. Along the way, we see Harry walking through the woods or across various landscapes. This is when the movie starts to drag. I will admit the speed and pacing during this section was so slow and dull that I actually fell asleep and for an hour and a half I had to fight dozing off. It's surprising because most British productions, whether it's an action flick or even a soap opera, in terms of pacing are generally fast and snappy. This movie, however, is incredibly boring.

The only time I woke up is when Rupert Grint who plays Ron, Harry's redheaded friend, yells at Harry and then ditches him. Grint is a good actor who has grown up along with the others in front of our collective eyes. He, in my mind, is the better actor of the three young stars here.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, frightening images and brief sensuality.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 26 mins.


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