David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is a drastically unique entry into the franchise with its narrow focus and steady, persistently moody atmospherics - yet ultimately, the decision to split the epic finale into two films leaves this initial installment feeling like a rather perfunctory, anticlimactic setting of the table.
For what its worth, the rather meager and trifling first half of author J.K. Rowling's finale is somewhat miraculously transformed by screenwriter Steve Kloves into something resembling compelling drama - an almost motionless transition piece with a drastic emphasis on character moments that luckily (and surprisingly) carry the film through its many slack, fickle downturns.
Of course the series still exudes the technical mastery and British class acting that we've come to expect, but this is perhaps David Yates' most composed and relaxed work to date and that includes the central performances from our three leads who do most of the heavy lifting. (On a side note, let's forget about that unfortunate "Three Brothers" animated sequence, which looked like a cut-scene from Okami.)
In fact, the film's overriding emphasis on the transformation of Harry, Ron and Hermoine from Hogwarts troublemakers to real-life survivalists provides the stark backdrop for this beginning of the end, a transformation that not only occurs on paper but on the screen, as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint show the same sudden maturity and resolve as their wizarding alter egos.
But this sullen, grittier Harry Potter unfortunately has its drawbacks - chief among them that the magic of Hogwarts seems to have apparated from sight. I'd imagine that taken on the whole, this bisected cinematic experiment will turn favorably towards this initial installment, but as it stands, this is the rare Harry Potter entry that feels helplessly undernourished and glaringly irresolute. [B-]
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Posted by Chase Kahn at 8:12 PM
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Couldn't agree with you more. Very well-said sir.ReplyDelete