This was a note that I posted on my Facebook profile a few days ago. Here’s reposting it to share with all Harry Potter fans out there!
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
November 17, 2010 – A day that all Harry Potter fans know so well.
Today is the day when the long-awaited Harry Potter final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (HPDH), Part 1 premiere in Singapore and Malaysia. As a Harry Potter fan, I am pleased to be one of the people around the world to catch HPDH first in theatres. This privilege is thanks to the announcement made last week (on Nov 11 to be exact) that the release date of HPDH in Singapore and Malaysia is brought forward to Nov 17 instead of Nov 18. Hence fans here can really get to watch it even before the people in America, which will be on Nov 19.
One word to describe this film – Brilliant.
It is by far the best Harry Potter film I have ever watched, and I had watched all films from the Sorcerer’s Stone to the Half-Blood Prince. It is definitely a film worth waiting for. If you have not watched it, please do before reading the rest of this reflection.
Unlike my previous experiences, I watched HPDH without reviewing HPHBP first as well as without re-reading the books of HPHBP and HPDH. Prior to the movie, I wondered if this is a good decision, after all I want to be able to enjoy every single scene in the movie itself. However, it is without sufficient prior knowledge of the plot, that I really enjoyed the movie. Here’s why:
Without being in touch with the plot for some time, HPDH did a really good job in bringing audiences up to date with its introduction. Not anything too length or rambling though, simply a few scenes, with a few lines, and I knew where the last movie ended. Character development is one of the plus points of HPDH; and I really applaud the screenwriter for condensing half of a thick book into a two-hour film. Lines, scenes and intricate details crucial to the development of the plot were included, nothing else. There aren’t any parts which will lead you to feel that, hey! they included that just because it is in the book! unlike other seasons.
Unlike previous films like HPHBP, HPDH brings out the personality and emotions of the characters well and natural enough to weave a logical story through it. I think this takes great skill both in the screen-writing and the production processes. Some of these instances are Hermione Granger’s sorrow and frustration, and of course her maturity in handling situations; and Ron Weasley’s anger at Harry for not having a plan to find the Horcruxes, and how their friendship triumphs over petty disagreements.
A comical but yet dark film
HPDH is surprisingly and unexpectedly enjoyable, mostly because of the humorous elements and details that invoke laughter even at the darkest moments. One good example is when Harry, Hermione and Ron infiltrate the Ministry of Magic to look for the locket which they believe is a Horcrux. The entire set of scenes at the Ministry of Magic is hilarious, but yet not failing to induce that constant fear and eminent danger lurking behind every move the trio does.
Humor is also subtlely put across in the scene of the seven potters. Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, Fleur, and Mundungus underwent a funny process to transform into Harry, and at one point in time, you can even catch a glimpse of Harry wearing a bra (okay, that’s supposed to be Fleur). It is these kind of comic relief inherent in the movie, where only the audience smiled but not the actors and actresses, that maintain the attention of the audience to the film itself.
Fast paced, non-stop action
When appropriate, HPDH also provides quick, non-stop action scenes that made me go WOAH THEY CAN DO THAT TOO?! while watching the film. The first time I saw that was where Harry is riding in Hagrid’s motorbike’s sidecar, and they were battling Death Eaters all over the sky. HPDH went further than the book to showcase its action scenes, by having the duo’s pursuit happening on a highway, first with explosions on cars beside them, next with them having to avoid oncoming traffic, and later traveling on the sides of a tunnel before taking off into the air again. This brings the movie up to an early climax which lures you to watch even more of what is going to happen next. Not to mention, the accompanying music is superb during these fast paced scenes.
Amazing narration of a fictional story
Remember The Tale of Beedle the Bard? In the book, at Xenophilius Lovegood’s house, there is a part where Hermione read out the entire story of The Three Brothers to the others. Initially I thought they will take out that part because reading the long story is a boring way to get past those time. But I was completely wrong. They included that entire story with Hermione’s narration, but used a different way to act out the storyline – what reminded me of the exaggerated folk tale cartoons that I used to watch (something like wayang kulit). The characters are represented mostly by silhouettes with thin waists and broad chests, and “Death” had a large cloak and pointed fingers, which by the way reminded me of Death in Death Note. This is something I have yet to see in the past Harry Potter movies. Amazing! And so was the blending-in and blending-out effects as well! Well done! 😀
Anything I dislike about HPDH?
Well, I like to say no, because I am a big fan of the Harry Potter series. But honestly, there is no perfect film. No matter how good it can go, you cannot please everyone. However, compared to the previous Harry Potter films, HPDH is by far the best Harry Potter film I have ever seen, and I truly hope that they keep up this standard in the Part 2 where the climax and audiences’ emotions are the most important. As audiences, we do not want to end the Harry Potter saga with a lousy ending right?
Something I do not really like about HPDH is the bluish filtering in most of the scenes. It is an effect to portray the darkness of their world, but having too much blue in the scenes make it uncomfortable to watch at times. Having said that, I am glad that they do insert natural colors into scenes that are meant to be lighter and happier, for instance, the wedding at the Burrow (yellow, orange & pink), the escapes into the forest (green & white), and the escape to Shell Cottage (nice view of the beach and the sea). There are also other scenes with beautiful scenery as the background, and these plays into shaping the audiences’ emotions as well.
Another thing that I do not really enjoy about HPDH is Harry’s appearance. Well sure, he’s grown up and feeling shagged after all these ordeal he’d been through, but I feel that he can look clean-shaven and yet still have the shagged look. His hairstyle is also by far the worst I’ve seen, in my opinion, among all the different hairstyle he used in each of the Harry Potter films. Plus, I don’t really see the need for the special effects shot of Harry and Hermione hugging, and who both seem to be appearing naked (can’t really tell because of the smoke and the special effects) in the scene where Ron is haunted by the evil that lies within the Horcrux locket.
Having said that, I really really enjoyed this one and looking forward to Part 2.
Part 1 ends with Voldemort finally getting his hands on the Elder Wand, and the trio, with Griphook, Ollivander and Luna arriving at Shell Cottage (note: Dean is not included).
About the Author:
The author is a huge fan of Harry Potter ever since its inception of the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone in 2001. Having watched the first movie for more than 10 times, and have collected articles and merchandise on Harry Potter, this review is truly one of the biggest fans of Harry Potter.
The author also studied film as part of his university degree in Singapore, which made him appreciate even more the effort and skills behind the scenes of these great movies.
Here are some more stills of HPDH: