Nov 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Review - Spoilers Abound!

Spoiler Alert - spoiler alert - Spoiler Alert

If you haven't seen it and you want to see it, (although you probably shouldn't,) don't read any further. Go plunk down your ten bucks, then come back here for the "I told you so."

First, the book, (while J.K. is the Goddess,) was, horribly slow and rambling, especially in the opening, so I was really curious to see how the movie makers might fix this. Too bad they didn't. The movie is equally slow and plodding during that whole angsty first bit in which Harry, Ron, and Hermione, (H.R.H.) go traipsing across the countryside with horcrux in hand, trying to find the means for destroying it. This is equitable to the first fifty pages that editors commonly tell you to cut. Well, that's pretty much the gist of this entire movie, culminating in the death of Dobie. (Yep, that's how it ENDS.)

Second, there's a whole continuity issue with regard to cinema-graphic tone. During the "Tale of the Three Brothers", the movie entirely leaves off to go on a cartoonish jag that simply does not hang well with the rest of the movie. Great art work, no denying it, but jarring in difference. The other jarring bit is the whole scene in which Ron is taunted to destroy the horcrux. There's some sort of weird C.G. thing going on there and can anyone say "gratuitous"? Puh-lease.

And on that note, the last two movies have needed some serious help with regard to sexual tension. Harry's relationship with Hermione is far more fraught with sexual tension than any of his scenes with Jenny, (in this movie and the last.) Let me clarify. "Sexual tension" has nothing to do with graphic content, everything to do with emotional promise to your reader/viewer, and a sort of foreshadowing of an emotional connection between two characters. In the last movie, there was that one beee-u-tee-fulll scene between Harry and Hermione in which she asks Harry, "what does it feel like when you see Jenny with someone else," and he responds after Ron exits with Lavendar Brown, "it feels like this." FABULOUS scene! Amazing acting, directing, writing... Too bad Harry isn't meant for Hermione. In the book, the tone describes something akin to a growing brother/sister relationship and that is almost achieved in the movie, right up until one of them slips their hand between the other one's thighs. Ooops. Not exactly a sibling relationship there. But once again, in this movie as in the last, the director/writer/whoever leaves an emotional void between Harry and Jenny. "Zip me up?" What? They're about to head in opposite directions, facing what could be certain death, and that's the best they can offer one another? Not to mention, cliche. Sure, the reaction of Fred/George is cute, but diffuses any tension there might have been.

Back to this whole weird gatuitous thing during Ron's big opportunity. This is a pivotal growth moment for Ron in which he defines his adult character. The sub-text here reads, "am I the second banana or am I something more?" to which Ron should be responding, "something more. I'm my own person." Too bad he doesn't accomplish that in this scene. Instead, the horcrux calls him second banana, gives him a voyeuristic peek at his inner demons, then in a fit of rage, Ron strikes the horcrux - or was he aiming at Harry's head? Hmmm. Didn't really feel like growth of character to me.

Finally, the ending. Sigh. Yes, this could have been a hugely touching scene, if the director/writers/whoever, hadn't beat me about the head with what a good deed Harry was doing by burying Dobie by hand, without magic - in a soft sand dune - but I was busy wondering how they were going to wrap up this rambling mish-mash. I kept thinking, how much longer is this going to play out before we get to the cool stuff at Gringott's?

Now confession time. I went into the movie with a preconcieved idea about how it would play out, where it would logically end, and what would be cut. It seemed commonsensical to me. IMHO, (yeah, right,) you don't leave a popular fiction novel, (or movie,) on a death scene, but rather, on a high note. Whenever you wrap up a book or in this case, movie, on a low like the burial of Dobie, you turn out a sullen audience. On the night in question, people were leaving the theater still hiccuping with tears streaming! Granted, I wasn't one of them, and that's saying a lot. I weep over the untimely death of a fly. But in this case, I left the theater with my jaw hanging. Give your audience some respite, dudes.

Sorry, but it was difficult for me to see this as anything more than a means of scoring more box-office mulah. Too bad. It had so much potential.

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