Sunday, December 5, 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I **
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltraine, Jim Broadbent
Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Rhys Ifans, John Hurt
Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton
Have you ever noticed how the trailers for the Harry Potter movies often make for much more exciting experiences than the films themselves?
Judging from what we were presented in the previews for this (the first part of two, in the series finale) this movie should've made us be on the edge all the time, gasping for air and having our jaws fall to the floor in amazement.
The truth is that the film feels like nothing else than a marketing ploy to extract every single penny from Potterites and those who accompany them to the cinema.
It's said that this film was meant to be as close to the book as it possibly could and perhaps that is why it fails to be engaging in a purely cinematic level.
The filmmakers seem to have forgotten that not everyone has read the books (or ever intends to) and besides recreating entire passages from J.K. Rowling's prose, they should also be creating something worthy of being transferred to the silver screen. Something that will feel magical for everyone who buys a ticket.
Instead we get almost three hours of Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) moping and setting up tents in lush forests where they hide from Lord Voldemort (Fiennes).
The kids are looking for the horcruxes they began looking for in the previous installment but now have to deal with the fact that the entire magical world is under Voldemort's rule.
Still there's not even a single moment when we feel these people are real and before you make some joke about Muggles keep in mind that these characters should be true to the world they inhabit.
This almost never happens, except of course with the mature actors but this movie belongs mostly to the children. Yates is often redundant (how many times can we see Ron feeling Potter envy in this series?) and while he concentrates on silly twists we never understand how is it that the kids have no protection against evil but still packed a different coat to wear during their escape.
The action sequences are limited and as usual character development is restricted to a few moments of big dialogues that often result more stilted than not (why are they wasting Carter's Bellatrix Lestrange so much? She has such potential!)
It's a shame that the film feels so stale when absolutely everything is so handsomely crafted. The cinematography by Eduardo Serra evokes ancient carvings and even when he tries too hard to emulate Andrew Lesnie's magnificent work in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Alexandre Desplat provides a sumptuous score that perfectly works with John Williams' already iconic theme.
When you come to think about it, this movie might be the exact opposite of The Two Towers, an introspective chapter that serves mostly to link plot turns. While Peter Jackson's movie managed to make the film a stand alone piece upon itself, Yates makes this Potter feel like waste the movie's almost three hours long and we find out what the deathly hallows are during the last fifteen! He even includes his own Gollum in the shape of Dobby (and sometimes even Ron) but fails to make any sort of emotional connection between what we're seeing and what we're supposed to be feeling.
Speaking in simple literary terms Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I is a luxurious hardcover version of a silly airport novel.