Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1

Thursday, November 18 by

I’ve never been a huge Harry Potter fan. Nothing in the books or movies seems as creative to me as Labyrinth or The Neverending Story. Prisoner of Azkaban was a good movie and Goblet of Fire had the magic tournament. Usually as long as there’s enough to look at, I can get by. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 is the worst of all the Harry Potter movies. This is the most bored I’ve been watching one.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) go on the run because Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is sending dark smoke clouds after them. Well, after Harry. Teleporting between London and various forests, their relationships get strained and they learn more about the backstory between Harry and Voldemort.

At this point, the mythology has gotten so dense that there’s really no room for a casual viewer. That means it’ll be great for the die hards. You guys probably had to wait around while the other movies caught all us laymen up. Now you can just dive hardcore into the horcruxes and Sword of Gryffindor.

There are still some pretty scenes to look at, but I have no idea what was going on in this film. Harry has to find the sword to destroy all the horcruxes. That’s about all I picked up. The trio goes to different characters to find more information. They encounter some new characters who cause trouble. I don’t know what they were talking about with any of them.

The deluminator is a cool idea. Ron uses that once or twice. The cloned Harrys look good. There’s action but no excitement. A freeway chase is just a collection of effects. A wand battle in a diner is sort of like a gunfight, and Hermione is the Chow Yun-Fat role, but it’s short. It doesn’t take long to cast a spell against someone.

Now there’s lots of handheld camera, so even the Harry Potter series copied that. It still looks like the Harry Potter world with overcast light and a foresty color scheme, even without the Hogwarts castle. You do get to see some of the old characters again, like Wormtail (Timothy Spall) and Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) so there’s a throwback.

It’s still a LOT of talking though. The film opens with Voldemort’s sinister council talking about their plans. It’s a long exposition scene. A character’s death isn’t even shown. It’s only spoken about, since presumably Harry didn’t witness it. That may be the script consolidating the story, but it seems like something I remember reading in the earlier Rowling books. She talks about things instead of showing them. The movies just represent that.

Ron’s frustrations sort of represent me. He gives voice to the repetitive nature of the series, but it barely affects the story. It’s like Rowling knows she’s supposed to include themes of jealousy, insecurity and betrayal, but she doesn’t do anything with them. It’s just now he’s mad, and then they talk about it, and then they talk about something else.

Maybe it’s just not cute anymore because they’re so grown up, or maybe the plot has finally collapsed on the story. I’m certainly not going to read any more of them (I stopped after Goblet of Fire) but maybe someone who did read them can explain it to me. And I’m sure you won’t hold back.

COMMENTS

  1. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Gregory Hudson

    The books got worse and worse as they went along — the movies have been getting better. Still haven’t seen this one yet though – supposedly was LOTR style-ish? Either way, it’s going to break records..only to be broken by part 2. And — first.


  2. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Adrián

    agree with a lot of what you say.


  3. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Blah blah

    I don’t understand the point of this review. I don’t want to listen to a lumberjack review Sex in the City and I don’t want to listen to a housewife review a fan-boy comic movie. Why would anyone take seriously a review from someone who came into movie with such a biased attitude? This movie may or may not suck, but I didn’t learn anything from this review.

    Next time just write, “This movie series is not for me and I still don’t like it.”


  4. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Koonnnu

    The first sentence says it all. I dint need to read the full review. thanks for saving my time.


  5. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Justin10139mf

    I don’t understand first you’re not a fan of the series so your coming in with biased views. Second you haven’t read the books or looked into anything that has happen in the earlier entries. It’s called the internet look it up, your review is nothing more then a hate letter to the series. You ramble about how you didn’t understand this and how the action wasn’t to your taste. Sorry it wasn’t a hollywood popcorn flick, it was a film that actually had some thought.


  6. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Peter Griffin

    Rowling does “do something” with the themes you mentioned. It’s Yates who comes up short.


  7. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Rational_Thought

    It’s unfortunate that someone who disliked the previous movies and books reviewed this film. If you don’t like a kind of film, no matter how good a representation it is of that genre it will be dismissed. It’s like asking me to review a Saw film. I detest them, and no matter how “good” they are I won’t like them. So I don’t watch films I know I won’t like, and I suggest the reviewer does the same. It’s almost as if the reviewer is guilty that they didn’t like the film- they introduced the review with a paragraph in length explanation to readers warning them how they don’t like Harry Potter. We get it, you don’t like the film and never will, no matter what. Your loss, I saw it tonight and it is fantastic. Good, but not overused special effects, well acted, and the film has an advantage that the other movies in the series don’t have- it’s been split in half, allowing more time for actual conversation and interaction between the characters instead of having a series of points that the director must fit into a 2 hour film. Unfortunately, that means you are only getting half the storyline. The films really need to be seen back to back. I hope both parts 1 and 2 are released in a back-to-back fashion when the final film comes out so I can enjoy them together. B+, and third best of the films behind Prizoner and Prince.


  8. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Dsfkjdhkj

    Um … this guy CAN NOT write! And we are supposed to take his critique seriously?

    “This is the most bored I’ve been watching one.” That sounds pretty clear?!?
    “It’s still a LOT of talking though.” Sentence ends with a preposition. All caps “LOTS” is unnecessary unless you are texting a friend.
    “It’s just now he’s mad, and then they talk about it,…” Hmm … “it’s just now he’s mad”.

    etc etc etc

    Are there any more serious prerequisites for journalists and movie critics?


  9. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Ezsrocks

    You are a jerk.


  10. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Guest

    Why did you bother watching the movie and getting bored if you knew you wouldnt like it in the first place?
    And then why bother reviewing it, knowing its going to be very biased?
    This review is misleading.
    And stop hating on JK Rowling if you have not even read all the books. This is the MOVIE you are critiquing not the BOOK.


  11. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    guest

    Why did you waste your time reviewing and waste other people’s time as they read your biased and ignorant review?


  12. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Kaylahodz

    Although I enjoyed reading all the books, I agree with you that the mythology got a litttllle too complicated for me in the last one. The complicated rules that govern wand-ship or whatever got a little too involved for me and its not surprising that this comes across in the movie. I’ll still go and see it and hopefully enjoy it more than you but as a casual fan I’m sure I’m going to miss a few things meant for the real big Potterheads.


  13. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Andyconda88

    Did you just say HARRY POTTER isn’t a popcorn flick? The movie that’s going to get asses in the seats for months to come–the one that was almost hastily converted into 3D just to get more money? Isn’t a popcorn movie? Sorry, you’re not credible. I like HP and the movies but this comment sucked.


  14. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Eric

    Really? This was the best and most emotional film in the series. The reviewer admits at the start his bad attitude towards the film. So much for objectivity.

    Awful review.


  15. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    PP

    All you potter stans are psychotic. That movie is fuckin boring


  16. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Juice

    Key word “Almost”, thank goodness they bypassed it. Great film!


  17. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Not a great review...

    I’m not a film critic, but if I were to write a review, I would make sure to include a shred of logic behind my insults…I understand that not everyone is a die-hard Harry Potter fan, but if you are going to review a movie by referencing the quality of the books, shouldn’t you at least uphold your credibility by reading them? At least state initially in your review that you have not read the final three books in the series, that way any Harry Potter fans can close the window up front, rather than listening to your skewed and vague criticisms.


  18. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    revolrtol

    I believe this series ” gets asses in the seats” because of the magic that comes from the books. I mean, there are many, many successful books series, like Golden Compass and the other fantasy series you know, with Jim Carey in the movie (sry, I live in Hungary, don’t know the English title) they have tons of fans, but still when it comes to the films – the fans and the people are simply not interested in them. Why??? And why Harry Potter is still alive in Hollywood? I believe because of the magic that is Rowling’s desert.


  19. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    revolrtol

    ” The books got worse and worse as they went along ” – you are drunk, man.


  20. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Van Balanzat

    Before even reading it, thought this was more of a troll review.
    Skimmed through it.
    Saw things like, “I’m certainly not going to read any more of them…”
    Yeah, troll review just to get some hits to their website. Can’t take it seriously. Next.


  21. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Joni

    Yes for the average movie goer this movie was “boring” for the avid fan who has actually READ the books it was great, not AMAZING but it followed the story line but didn’t waste time touching on several things. As a fan I knew this was going to be a slow movie. But personally it did the book much justice.


  22. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Bothgunsblazin

    I’ve never read the books and have no interest in reading them, but I have seen all the films. The challenge, which has been hit-and-miss, is to make these movies appealing as movies — not as adaptations that cater to a specific audience — but as stand-alone pieces of artistic expression. Were I an avid reader I might have enjoyed this film, but as a film-goer it did little to hold my attention. The bursts of action at beginning and end were fun, but the second and third act were slow, offered little by way of plot development (instead substituting needless and underwhelming character development), and left me at times drifting off to my thoughts.

    For avid readers, as always, there were things left out, and for casual film-goers there were just too many things left out to make it enjoyable, and at times, understandable. This film was akin to “Robin Hood” starring Russel Crow — a 2.5 hour trailer-of-sorts for the film people really want to see. But these movies are a cash cow, so splitting them up is just business savvy movie making.


  23. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    DavidW

    Fred, I’m not going to yell at you incoherently like the other commenters. Rather, as someone who’d genuinely like to see you get better at writing reviews, I’m simply going to offer you a few pieces of advice:

    1. Never begin a review by stating that you had a negative bias going into a film, especially something as extreme as suggesting you dislike the entire source material and franchise on general principle. Most readers will immediately distrust your review of the film because there’s no way to know if it’s a reliable representation of whether or not the movie’s actually good. And that’s your job.

    2. This film is the seventh in a series. As such, it makes no sense to criticize it for not properly explaining the backstory to newcomers who aren’t familiar with the other films. You wouldn’t expect a “layman” to start reading a book series 7 books in, nor would someone begin watching a TV series 7 seasons in. Being familiar with the earlier parts of a series doesn’t automatically make someone a “die-hard fan,” it just means that have the common sense to not expect to be spoon-fed everything every step of the way.

    3. Occasionally try to use sentences longer than 15 words. Don’t get me wrong, short sentences can be useful and appropriate, but when they’re all you use paragraph after paragraph, you start sounding like a hyperactive 12-year-old who can’t form complex thoughts.

    Best of luck!


  24. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Jesus Ramirez Jr

    First of all, I have read many reviews, and they are all the same with saying “Scenery change” or “the characters spend their time mostly sulking” and the worst of all, “the movie is HUMORLESS”
    and they give them a bad rating for this, why? That is what the first big half of the book is about, EXACTLY that. The book is not happy like the previous books, it is all in a dark theme. So if you will write a review on a movie BASED on a book, then you should do your homework and read the book, or you don’t write anything at all.


  25. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Aaron

    Mmm… Maybe this isn’t super positive critique. I liked the review style and am glad that someone who hasn’t read this book is reviewing the movie because a lot of people haven’t either.


  26. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    sasuke

    Good review. Something different from the usual stuff.


  27. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Lil' Beau Peep

    There are legitimate reasons to critcize this film, but “I don’t like the Harry Potter series” is not one of them. The argument of this critic seems to be, “If you just make the movie more dumb, I might understand it.” Critics shouldn’t be dumb. They should provide insight that your average sheep herder is unable to provide. This guy might want to consider a career as a sheep herder.


  28. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Pete Best

    I just watched Casino Royale. I don’t understand it? Why does the main character kill so many people? Ian Fleming owes me money.


  29. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Guest

    Maybe the movie would be more enjoyable if you took your head out of your ass and actually listened to the people talking.


  30. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Hinchy

    Best review ever for non-fans. Agree 100% as I was dragged to this by my gf. Harry Potter fans should grow up and read some real fantasy. I recommend Erikson, Martin, and Donaldson.


  31. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    AQUATEA

    A “popcorn flick” is a movie with no thought or substance, just mindless action. Even the reviewer, who gave the film a negative review, wouldn’t agree that Harry Potter is a mindless adventure movie. If anything, his complaint is that the movie is too pensive, to the detriment of those unfamiliar with the series. “Popcorn flick” has nothing to do with how much money a film makes.


  32. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Voldermort

    you sir, are a complete wanker. a moron. a twat. and a really bad reviewer


  33. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Njrp2000

    I agree with you.. I have heard repeatedly that the movie is humorless and that most of the time they spend time sulking.

    I ask the reviewers to take this into consideration. The characters in question are 17 years old, one of them has been told he is either going to kill or be killed by a mortal enemy. They have seen their lives be destroyed over the course of a year. One of them had to make their parents forget they had a daughter in order to save their lives. The other had to leave his family behind to be submitted to god knows what because they were friends of the protagonist.

    Which of those situations are funny to critics?

    Better yet, what drug induced fantasy world do they live in that someone wouldn’t sulk a little if they were put in the same situation?

    I’d say the film itself is an accurate representation of what would happen given those circumstances. My only complaint from the film is that there should have been more out of Harry in the graveyard scene (no more details to avoid spoilers to those who haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet.)


  34. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Neal Klein

    Your observations are not entirely biased, but they are slanted enough that this review should really have been handed to someone else. Think about it: who is going to watch this film? Fans and followers of the story. If a reviewer does not even like the story he’s reviewing, it is irresponsible of the editor to make him review a film the reviewer is going to dislike. Mr. Topel at least was honest about what he liked/disliked, but honesty is not the only element in a useful film review.


  35. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    DumbbellDoor

    I have watched all the movies in the HP series, but have not read any of the books. I’ve loved the all the HP movies, except for Deathly Hallows, and the previous release. I thought the last potter movie sucked, but boy did deathly hallows change my stance on the last picture, as deathly hallow pt1 was a bit too long and boring for my taste.

    This movie to me was boring, and I say that as a casual movie goer and a fan of the Harry Potter films. The key words in that sentence incase you fan boys want to flame, are TO ME, and FAN OF THE HP MOVIES, not the books.

    I felt the same way about this movie as the reviewer did. I felt after the first 30-40 mins, it turned into the lord of the rings where fredo, sam, and golum need to destroy the ring of power. Do you realize how angry I was when I realized there were 3 more trinkets that potter needs to destroy. It took harry nearly 90 mins to find one trinket and now he has to find 3 more???? Another stupid move I thought was bringing up some lady named bagshot. I was actually looking forward to hearing what bagshot had to say about dumbelldore but we never get a chance to learn more about dumbelldore . It was also actually painful to watch these boring scenes between potter and granger.The best parts of the movie were the first 30mins, the ministry break in, and the last 30mins. The rest I felt was pandering to the hardcore book people and not the causal fan.

    If any fanboys are offended, don;t take it to heart. If you love the movie, then thats all that matters. I’m simply sharing my experience of the film. The world isnt going to end if people actually walk out of this movie thinking it sucked. And i realize almost anyone who thinks that, is probably one who has not read the potter books. And to me, when has it become mandatory to read a book in order to get some enjoyment out of a movie. I can understand that watching all the Harry potter movies are important in understanding the movie, but I refuse to read a book just in order to watch a movie. In summary, I think you fanboys need to put the word out that casual movie goer are not allowed, because we are the like the muggles right? unpure because we havent read the books and not worthy enough of watching harry ppotter I bet.


  36. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    megan

    I hate you.


  37. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Marilyn

    I think you need to recognize that this is movie is a representation of the books. I’m sorry if you found their camping trip to be boring, but that’s really what happens. They camp around to try to figure out where to find the Horcruxes. This movie actually shortened their camping trip, and added a spark of humor to it. And no, they can not just cut out the camping trips because they’re a significant part of the book.

    And if you even a SENTENCE of the book, you’d know that it’s spelled “Dumbledore” not “Dumbelldoor.”

    I don’t think that you’re unworthy of watching the movies, but I do find it ridiculous when people complain about how lengthy, boring, and insignificant certain scenes are when they haven’t read the books.

    Ironic how the moviefans complain about the length and boringness of it all, whereas the book fans complain about the lack of depth. There has to be a medium to it all, and this movie was a fantastic portrayal of that medium.


  38. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Amber

    Honestly, I an say that the movie was bad, but that is because I am a diehard HP book fan, and considering that they split the deathly hallows into two movies, they had a lot of time to work with, without adding stuff that ought not be there, and leaving out explanations that should. My advice, if you want adventure and explanations, read the books, because there is more detail, more fighting and more action.


  39. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    guest

    the books are way better than the movies. the movies have absolutely no explanations such as…how dobby knows Ron, why the burrow is still standing, how Bill got attacked, etc, etc, etc.


  40. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    julian

    why dont you grow a pair and drag ur gf to a movie then bitch


  41. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Leona

    The books become more intense, the magic gets darker but the kids are always kids & therefor funny. I read all the books. As a mother Rowling really incorporated the innocence & mischievousness of kids in the story. It endears you to the characters. The school atmosphere is genius. To me, this movie was the worst so far. In the book the time spent in the woods was not as stagnant as the movie. There was the radio for example, the calling off names of dead & missing day & night made the scene more dull than intense. In the book, there was the banter of the Weasley twins Lee Jordon & others on the radio that encouraged the trio & the readers. There was the scene where they listen in on Dean Thomas & goblins that was cut out. They cut out a very humorous part with the house elf at Grimmauld Place. Also, the plot where all seven Harrry Potter goes straight to the burrow was not as intelligent as the book, where they go to different hideouts & get there by other means. It did not do as good a job as showing why Harry did not get killed by Voldemort when he was so close. It left to much magic out.


  42. November 18, 2010 1:54 pm

    Leona

    The books become more intense, the magic gets darker but the kids are always kids & therefor funny. I read all the books. As a mother Rowling really incorporated the innocence & mischievousness of kids in the story. It endears you to the characters. The school atmosphere is genius. To me, this movie was the worst so far. In the book the time spent in the woods was not as stagnant as the movie. There was the radio for example, the calling off names of dead & missing day & night made the scene more dull than intense. In the book, there was the banter of the Weasley twins Lee Jordon & others on the radio that encouraged the trio & the readers. There was the scene where they listen in on Dean Thomas & goblins that was cut out. They cut out a very humorous part with the house elf at Grimmauld Place. Also, the plot where all seven Harrry Potter goes straight to the burrow was not as intelligent as the book, where they go to different hideouts & get there by other means. It did not do as good a job as showing why Harry did not get killed by Voldemort when he was so close. It left to much magic out.