Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 [2010]

There's a scene in this adaptation of the seventh installment of J.K Rowling's hit series, Harry Potter, that sort of defined the whole movie for me. It is the one scene I felt Dan Radcliffe (who is at his normal; bad to horrible actor) actually act, and Emma Watson (who is, as usual, the only person in the whole starring trio capable of expressing real emotion and character development and/or depth) display true and visible talent. The scene does not include dialogue, lasts for roughly less than three minutes but is populated with emotion and poignancy that is new to the film adaptations of the previous Harry Potter books. It's so definitive of the hope vs. despair theme commonly found in the books that it just sends chills up your spine as it progresses.

I thought of so many things when I saw that scene. I thought of the young, eleven-year-old trio. I thought of reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (a tattered and worn copy, at that, brought to me by my elder sister) when I was just 12...I thought of writing fan-fiction for upcoming Harry Potter books (I was never right...on anything.) And now, seven years later, at 19 years of age, I feel like Harry Potter, in defining a part of my childhood, had defined a part of me. I have lived, laughed and cried with Harry for so long of my childhood. And when the going got tough; I'd sit back and dream I was a student at Hogwarts. At 12 years of age, convincing yourself that your pencil was a magic wand and then chasing after a non-existent Basilisk (don't ask, long story) in your room...Well, let's just say it's not so tough a task.

And I guess that's the feeling I felt right after finishing this movie...A lot of nostalgia. I felt no thrill; I know how part 2 next summer will end. I didn't even like the visuals much...I did like the fact that a lot of it came very close to what I was imagining when I was reading the book. That was pretty neat. But otherwise, the visuals were the regular for every Potter movie. I would have loved Alfonso CuarĂ³n for one last go after Prisoner of Azkaban, my all-time favorite Harry Potter movie and, to me, the most stylish. But alas; the current mindset of direction is not so far from what an old, hardcore, top-notch Harry Potter geek would like to see.

The story progresses smoothly, usually from the events depicted in the book; details are carefully placed, lots of good people die, lots of people you don't really care about die, and the role of Voldemort is played by the ever-evil Ralph Fiennes with depth, caution and a voice so menacing it seems more evil than that of the hare-lipped serial killer from Red Dragon. The ending is set well for the finale in part 2 and, to those who did not read the books, I'm betting it was quite a thrilling experience to watch. The costumes were, as ever, designed to perfection and the art direction and cinematography flawless (well, there are never really any epic, Lord-of-the-Rings-style battles, but the small 'wand duels' and chases are always well-paced, well-placed and realistic). The score was rather a disappointment; I don't recall any Harry Potter score from any movie feeling so dead and out of synchronization with the action of the film.

It's hard to dislike Harry's adventure, to me, even at my age...Because it was such a long part of my life. Such a significant part of my life. And forgetting that would mean forgetting how much joy I had when my brother surprised me with a collection of the first four Harry Potter books when I was about 13. Not only was I thrilled, I think that kind of happiness I felt was something I had not felt in years since then. And now, as the Harry Potter saga nears its end in the movies after it already hit its end in the books, it feels quite hard to say goodbye to all of it. I think it would require decades for us to ever again, find a story so enchanting and imaginative, to children and adults alike, as Harry Potter's.

Until we meet later, take care and check this if you haven't seen it already.

God bless!

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