It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Voldemort's power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned. Written by
It's obvious that Harry's glasses don't have lenses during certain parts of the film. See more »
These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry: We, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you! Your Ministry remains, strong.
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The end credits are in 3D gold text. When they conclude, the Deathly Hallows symbol appears, first in extreme close-up with all three items rotating independently (like the one Mr. Lovegood wears around his neck), then shrinks down with the title appearing centered across it. Next, the line fades out followed by the circle and, as the triangle fades out, the Elder Wand appears in its place. See more »
Since we first heard of WBs decision to break the last book of the HP series into two books, we've all been asking "is this required to give full treatment to the Harry Potter universe wrap-up, or is it just a ploy to make the studios more money?" After seeing HP/DH Pt I, I have to say "it's the latter".
I say this because it's a very weak movie.
It is slow. It is ponderous. It is blandly written, blandly acted, muddily filmed, badly directed. It has no heart, no soul, it's just a collected series of vignettes and action sequences strung together by lots of wandering around. This is a phoned-in movie, you can see that the filmmakers have simply stopped caring but do it anyway because they know people will buy it. Or perhaps it's like a parent who has read the same book to their 4-year-old 87 times and has had just about enough of it, but still reads it again.
Purists will probably like this film because it does contain more "canon" than prior films. But this film ALSO explains why you can't film a book beat-for-beat, it ends up bland and lifeless. The screenwriter did not do a good film-to-book translation this time, it seems like he just shoved the manuscript into screenplay software and called it a day. All the various episodes and incidents are simply chained together without much to tie them in. There's very little emotional reason to move this story along from point to point, things just sort of move. This is a lot like JKRs writing itself, she always found some little hunk of trivia to shove the plot along rather than developing a story that grows organically. It should have been the screenwriters job to find the emotional cores of the story, focus on those, and craft a screenplay accordingly. But he didn't. This is like recipe cooking instead of culinary artistry.
The primary actors (the three heroes) didn't help matters much. Either through choices of their own or through poor direction, they woodenly carry on, showing very little emotional range, even during the various argument scenes. And AGAIN they're playing broody, angsty teenagers. OK, OK, we've seen that in the last three movies. Can we move along now, please???? These actors are not pushing themselves and are not being pushed. Again, they're phoning it in, just like everyone else phoned it in. I hope they at least made barrels of cash for the effort.
And where are the rest of this stellar cast? There is some enjoyable stuff from Brendan Gleeson and Imelda Staunton, and Helena Bonham Carter has a far-too-short, intensely creepy scene with Emma Watson, but the rest are absent or nearly so. Alan Rickman only has a cameo, and basically everyone else acts as nothing but window dressing. Even Bonnie Wright, playing Harry's love interest, is given nothing more than a single scene, where in the book she's constantly in his head. Part of the appeal of the HP movies is the richness given by the myriad of characters, but here they're just set pieces. I'm not even a fan of Ralph Fiennes work in this film, he was better in earlier ones. They should have cut back-and-forth between actions elsewhere in the world rather than making us watch the Three Amigos lost in the woods for hours on end.
Then there's the cinematography. Somewhere down the line, someone said "this is a dark film". And that's how it's filmed: dark. Has a perpetual eclipse hit the Hogwarts world? Ugh, it's downright putrid to watch. Guys, "dark" is a DESCRIPTION OF THE FEELING OF THE MOVIE, not a literal description of the visuals. You can have moods and tension and "darkness" in broad, sunny daylight. filmmakers have done this all the time for decades. Watch the ending of "Se7en", filmed on a bright, sunny day in California scrubland, yet is one of the creepiest, nastiest scenes ever captured on film. Dark doesn't mean drab.
What I see in HP/DH Pt. 1 is a full retreat into complacency, pattern, style, and motif that these producers have used for the past two films. They have taken no risks, are making no statements, are doing nothing more than mass-producing HP movies for our consumption. They are phoning it in. The HP franchise has officially become stale and lifeless.
Sadly, they'll make millions making it.
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