I’ll admit it: I’ve never felt so bored or yawned so much in a Harry Potter movie. Not even while I was seated in the left-most seat on the first row at Prasadz IMAX for HP & TGOF…whilst my neck muscles sure needed some respite after that experience, I still felt excited at the movie & the happenings. Not so much this time around.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows or HP7 for short, feels like (to borrow a line from a sitcom) the stand-up comedian you’ve to sit through before Pink Floyd shows up. Its just the prelude to bigger, and hopefully better, things in store. A tedious, slow and dragging build-up to an ultimate showdown – the finale. The Denouement. I know I said the same things after HBP but back then I didn’t know the finale would be a two-part one 😐
With Albus Dumbledore now Avada Kedavra-ed, the Dark Lord and his minions train their sights on Harry Potter and the Order (of the Phoenix) try their bloody best to keep him away from the enemy’s clutches. Camouflaged subterfuge or not, the death eaters still find them out and after the death of one and injury to another member of the order, they find that the Ministry of Magic has also fallen foul of Harry and have branded him their Most Undesirable No. 1. Harry, Ron & Hermoine are forced to go on the run and try to find the rest of the Horcruxes, the things that hold the secret to Voldemort’s life/death. Wandering across forests, plains, grasslands, snowy villages, hillsides etc, they come to know of the story of The Deathly Hallows which probably holds the key to unlocking the mystery of the last Horcruxes. The movie ends with Voldemort laying hands on one of them…will Harry find the others in time for the great final showdown?
We’ll know in 2011.
Gone is the initial train journey sequence which was ubiquitous in the earlier movies and what’s even surprising is that there’s no Hogwarts at all in this one. All the nitty gritties that one would associate with a school-sy atmosphere is done away with and though I felt the dark tones were more stark in HBP, there’s a continuous undercurrent of something menacing and gloomy throughout the movie. Add in a bare-backed Ginny, a kiss between Harry & Ginny and another more lusty one between bare-naked Harry & Hermoine (!), and you realize this is no longer your kid-friendly, wizardry-laden, fun & frolic filled magical movie.
The lead characters and their relationships show definite maturity, with the bond between Ron and Hermoine moving a notch up from the casual friendship to genuine feeling of well-being for each other, tempered by the jealousy of Ron towards Hermoine & Harry’s closeness. The menace factor was solely lacking for me in this one though. Voldemort & his snake make a brief appearance but it sends nary a chill down the spine and neither are there some feisty encounters between the wizards and the death eaters. Then there’re the members of the order, who do not reappear at all after the wedding sequence! We do have Bellatrix lending some much-needed malice and to represent the villanous party but what the hell happened to Lucious and Draco? Why were they acting like total wusses?
The best part of the movie for me was the portrayal of the Deathly Hallows story. The animation for the sequence is spot-on and it was good that Hermoine was the one narrating it and not the Lovegood dude!
Daniel Radcliffe now probably has a feeling of desolation & maybe hatred for the character of Harry Potter and he kinda sleepwalks through the role, with the occasional glimpses of the confidence of being the chosen one. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint’s performances are better than in the previous one, with Emma sharing equal screen-space with Daniel. The regular recurring actors do their bit but I did miss Snape’s acerbic and laconic dialogues. There were some new characters, which I’ve got no clue about (I never read the books) but isn’t Grindenwald someone from LoTR? Who’s Rufus Scrimegour? And the source for Rita Skeeter’s book on Dumbledore? Who’re the people Voldy is seen torturing in Harry’s dreams? The wand-maker & the wand-stealer? What’s the mirror that Harry keeps looking at mean?
Too many unknowns…at least for me. Guess we’ve to wait for the part II to arrive in 2011.