Movie Review — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

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I wrote this weeks ago, then never did anything with it. In fact, I wrote this only a week after seeing the film, just enough time for everything to sink together. Expect Part 1 and Part 2 spoilers, for any of you that somehow haven’t read Deathly Hallows.

I need to preface this by saying I have a lot of problems with Deathly Hallows as a book. I will forever be bothered that Harry’s 7th year at Hogwarts did not happen at Hogwarts, and I was dreadfully bored by the entire thing until they—gasp—arrived at Hogwarts. It feels like a long drawn-out piece of fan fiction and I’m afraid Jo’s editor reached a point where she was allowed to do whatever she wanted. The book was going to sell no matter if it was 200 or 300 pages longer than it should have been.

As a result, even while waiting for the midnight showing, I was more excited to be spending the time with my friends and fake dueling with my roommate than I was to be watching the film itself.

So, that said, I enjoyed the film for what it was: the first half of a two-part miniseries geared at the readers of the books, very unfriendly to film watchers only. And I have a problem with that. As a reader of the books, that isn’t a serious problem for me. However, I believe a film should be able to stand on its own, without additional required knowledge. Who, without book knowledge, would have any idea what the shard of mirror is that Harry is suddenly keeping in his sock? What does the death of Scrimgeour matter without him making an appearance in Half-Blood Prince? Why do we care that we’re chasing this random short crook of a wizard named Mundungus Fletcher? And why the crap would anyone trust him?

Is it possible to follow the film without knowing the answers to these questions? Sure, but I can imagine it’s frustrating. When I saw Golden Compass, my friends that had read His Dark Materials had to keep whispering things in my ear so I could follow the story from Point A to Point D. Deathly Hallows didn’t have holes that big, but the elements not in the continuity of the film canon should have been explained.

I’m not saying Deathly Hallows failed as a film. I don’t think it did. I do think it could have been better, however, were it made longer and had they sat down and come up with a seventh movie that would have worked inside the canon they created. The film ignored the previously set precedent, something all fine and dandy for a reboot, not so fine and dandy for movies seven and eight of the same incarnation.

I think it was a film that set out to make book purists happy and did not try for a true adaptation. Rather than adapting material for anyone to understand and follow, they decided to cater to what is probably the pickiest group of movie watchers ever created by a fandom.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Blog Comments

The problem, really, lies in the fact that the adaptations of every movie before 7 failed and therefore when we got to 7, too many things that needed to be in it were never explained beforehand.

Example: Bill and Fleur. Really?

I don’t know if that’s necessarily it. None of those would have been a problem if the books were finished before they made the movies, but they went for it when it was still at the top of its marketing value. Considering not even Jo knew exactly what would be important and what wouldn’t be by the end, you can’t really blame the films up to OotP for “failing.” Jo had them add back a few bits to OotP they took out for DH continuity, and clearly with HBP they should ahve realized they needed to be very careful with what to leave and what not to, but before those films, I can’t really fault the filmmakers.

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