Thursday night, I rushed to SM Marikina to meet Den and watch “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I”. She invited me a few weeks ago to this advanced screening and I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. However, by some sneaky twist of Fate, local cinemas decided to show the movie a day early, ahead of the rest of the world. Considering that the Philippines is already ahead of the U.S. and other western countries, thus making our November 19 showing way ahead, they went and released it on November 18, making my advanced tickets just plain tickets. Oh well, it’s for a good cause… but it grates.
Still, it couldn’t dim the excitemet bubbling within me. I was babbling and very nearly dancing while we waited for the ushers to let us in. Once inside the theater, I made a mad rush for the topmost row, which afforded a great, non-nauseating view of the screen.
Since it was a special screening, we had the National Anthem before the previews were shown. Halfway through it, a representative from the St. Camillus College Seminary said a few words. Everyone seemed to know someone, so the atmosphere felt like a sort of school gathering of sorts.
Then, the dark clouds that seems to be a trademark of the more recent Harry Potter movies rolled on screen. I grabbed Den’s hand, and sat back for a long ride.
The Fast and the Furious
It’s always a big frustration for any reader when a book they so enjoyed is adapted on screen. I often feel that while anything is possible with film these days, they are also limited to the time a film is shown. As much as I love Harry Potter, I probably won’t be able to sit for anything more than three hours for a film. I suppose if they faithfully adapted the book, it would be “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, II, III, IV…” and so on until the story finishes.
The movie is wonderfully crafted, I’d say that. Technology has improved so much since the first Harry Potter that the special effects don’t seem so special anymore. Instead, the real actors merge seamlessly with the computer animation, making the scenes more believable and realistic.
Props to the cast as well. Hagrid sums it all up in his line at the start: “I brought you here sixteen years ago, it seems right that I take you away.” (Or something to that effect) What makes Harry Potter different from any movie that has gone for so long is that the cast from the start of the movie is the same cast at the end. Sure there were some changes, like Sir Michael Gambon taking over Dumbledore’s role due to the untimely demise of Richard Harris (from Hodgkin’s lymphoma), but everyone essentially grew up in this epic film series.
It is also interesting to note that the cast has, in a way, acted in every kind of film. Harry Potter is a film set in a fantasy world, but it has a wide range of elements that let the cast be funny, scared, dramatic in various scenes. I’ve seen people laugh, cry and be scared while watching Harry Potter movies, so if the casts’ acting chops haven’t been well polished by the end of the series, I don’t know what to call it.
I enjoyed myself, definitely. While I wouldn’t say that the movie was brilliant and would win awards (except maybe for the soundtrack), it was a culmination of so many things in the last ten or twelve years. It doesn’t remove the fact that there are, however, many little things I could nitpick on, and I’m positive that it would be a rather long list.
Be warned, spoilers ahead.
There’s the scene at the start where Dudley says he doesn’t think Harry is a “waste of space” and gives him tea as a sort of peace offering. How about Harry’s birthday? Where was the animosity between Harry and Scrimgeour? How about the fact that Voldemort’s name is jinxed and using it breaks all protective enchantments? Let’s not forget Kreacher’s back story, which for me is a rather crucial part in the book. Non-readers won’t really notice it, but we certainly did. One of the most captivating parts of the book is how J.K. Rowling made everyone human, no matter how powerful or different they seem.
I don’t know if the director and scriptwriters believe that 1) readers will take it for granted that “Oh, I already know that it happens” or 2) those who didn’t read won’t care and won’t wonder. Well, number one is definitely off the mark.
I did like the treatment of Hermionie’s parents leaving for Australia. It was clever and fast and very effective. I did wonder about the trio leaving and it seems that Lupin knew that they were planning something.
I teared up when Hedwig died. I very nearly bawled when Dobby died. I was amused by Ron, and at the same time found him very manly in some parts. The Harry-Hermionie kiss was hot, and seriously, if Ron and Hermionie’s kiss is anything less than that, I’d be really mad.
Best surprise of the entire movie? The telling of “The Tale of Three Brothers”. I didn’t expect them to show the story in it’s entirety, more like Hermionie or Ron just giving a quick run down. It’s a brilliantly done by Swedish director Ben Hibon.
There’s still so much I’d want to rant and rave about, which I’ll probably add later on. On the whole, the movie was a good watch. Like I said, it wasn’t spectacular, but similar to the last three Harry Potter movies, it is more of an accompaniment for the book. It will be able to stand on it’s own if the audience didn’t read the book, but it wasn’t as magical as the first few movies.
July is still so far away.