! = recommended
* = all-ages
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As anyone who pays even slight attention to these things knows, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is just a set-up for the LAST HARRY POTTER MOVIE EVER (queue shrieking teenage girls), so it’s one long 146 minute tease with a huge cliffhanger at the end, and you won’t find out what happens until next year….unless you read the books, that is. Since I’m assuming almost everyone in the audience HAD read them, I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone there that 3 people die within the first 20 minutes, although the hysterically sobbing girls next to me seemed to suggest otherwise.
Anyhoo, HP & the DH showed some promise initially, starting out with a bang in the form of the Potter kids organizing the removal of Harry to a safe house in the country, juxtaposed against a long table of Goths led by creepy no-nose Lord Voldemort. All the “volunteers” change into Harry doppelgangers (which leads to some obligatory laughs), while the bad guys discuss some mumbo-jumbo about how Voldemort’s wand won’t work against Harry’s so he needs a new one (HELLO FORESHADOWING)—and oh yeah, they murder someone too and feed them to a snake.
Of course, the moving turns into a complete disaster because there’s a traitor amongst the good guys, and then after some bloody trauma and a bunch of brooding and sighs, Harry inexplicably makes out with Ginny Weasley after she saucily saunters over to him half-dressed and asks him to “zip her up”. And that’s the last time you see any of that, as Ginny disappears for the rest of the film except for a few minutes on a train later on, sans Harry. Huh. They made kind of a big deal about that for nothing, didn't they?
Shortly thereafter, Hermoine, Ron, and Harry move on by themselves to find the last of the Horcruxes, which involves more doppelganger hilarity and leads to a plot so similar to Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers that I swear I saw Gollum somewhere in there whispering “precious”…oh wait, that was just Dobby’s friend Creature. Or something.
But seriously, Hermoine and Harry trekking around mountains and forests may as well have been Frodo and Sam, with one of the horcruxes playing the ring and making whoever wears it act all crazy and evil—and I make this comparison also because it was just as boring to watch as that LOTR stretch was, even despite the appearance of a naked writhing Harry and Hermione via some horcrux magic (which was so out of place it was just weird).
There are occasional references back to the bad guys, which imply that the only reason anyone has allegiance to Dark Lord V is because he’s so scary they’re all afraid of him, even Helena Bonham Carter, who is basically just playing her toussled bedheaded, smudged eyeliner, fast-talking self (I actually expected Tim Burton to pop up at any moment saying, "Hello darling! How about some tea? We can wear our matching Mad Hatter hats!" He would have fit right in with all the villians).
The rest of the movie is focused on the three leads looking hollow-eyed and defeated, wherein eventually they stumble upon crazy Luna’s father who tells them the tale of the Deathly Hallows (way to draw it out there guys), which was done in a stunning animation sequence, and happens to be one of the only things I liked about this film.
Given the reaction of the HP super fans curled up in fetal positions around me, and who even let out whispered hisses of, “Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare!!!” when Voldemort was planning to do something particularly nasty, I might be the only one that feels this way…but just in case you’re more like me than them, I wanted to give you fair warning.
Photo: © 2010 Warner Bros. Ent.
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