Saturday, May 28, 2011

Movie Log: Harry Potter #7.1

The full title, of course, is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, since this is the movie that adapts the first half of the dullest and dreariest of the series of books by J.K. Rowling. (Not the longest book, nor the book with the most events, but I'm sure Warner Brothers is now kicking themselves and wishing they'd started splitting these back at Azkaban to make twice as much money.)

I haven't changed my opinion of the book -- which is, by far, the worst of the series, with a sag in the middle like a couch that Hagrid just sat on -- and the movie is as deeply faithful to the book in the way that this series of movies always has been...and that means, of course, that it's full of dull, dreary camping sequences, in which Harry, Ron, and Hermoine mope at each other for what feels like the full eight months the book covers.

(Somewhere in the middle of that, my younger son quietly stated that he wasn't having any fun and went up to his room to play. When your movie isn't more entertaining than playing alone with dominoes, you've got a serious problem.)

The plot makes as much sense here as it did in the book: which is to say, it's still the quintessentially English story about a boy who definitely isn't too smart for his station, but is indomitable enough to muddle through because his heart is true. Rowling has no interest in a resistance movement against her magical dictator, nor does she care about what's happening to the UK under Voldemort (much less the rest of the world, which nearly doesn't exist in the Harry Potter world), or even in depicting Harry Potter as any kind of leader or competent hero.

No, instead Deathly Hallows 1 is the story of three friends (who hate each other) hiding out in the woods instead of trying to find the seven magical Plot Coupons Horcruxes, which they need (along with three pounds fifty in coins) to send off to Rowling for an ending. And this movie doesn't even get them to the point where they actually start to accomplish their quest, so it's entirely ominous beginning and dreary middle. This is the movie you have to get through to get Deathly Hallows 2, and you'd have to be a stone Potter fan -- the kind unwilling to admit anything connected to Rowling is less than fabulous -- to strongly enjoy it as a movie in its own right.

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