Collect the 7 Dragon Balls! er… “Horcruxes”: Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Review

I’m sure some random internet fact-checker will get me on this, but as far as I’m aware of, the Harry Potter franchise is one of the longest-running movie franchises in existence, spanning for eight movies, the penultimate (yeah, $5 words are fun to use in their right context) of which came out last Friday.

The series started of simply enough, doing an excellent job of weaving a world full of witchcraft and wizardry in a nice, palatable form for the masses. While I won’t say author J.K. Rowling’s completely re-written the Halloween stereotypes of sorcery like certain other authors that apparently have no clue what werewolves and vampires are really like, there was a large enough of a reboot for modern audiences to enjoy without the feel of watching something that could only be watched in the month of October. Yes, there were goblins, and broomsticks and the like, but it was done all surrounding a school called Hogwarts. Ridiculous? Maybe, but in a pop culture where blue hedgehogs and turtle martial artists exist, it’s nothing far from the norm.

The first four movies themselves were excellent, keeping a good balance between what basically winds down to a mystery story while still seamlessly explaining the magical world that is the Potter universe. And with the fourth movie ending on the resurrection of our heard-but-never-seen villain, I must admit that I was psyched for the adaptations of the rest of the movies.

Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to experience the sheer movie-watching glee of another Potter movie for some time, since the fifth and sixth installments ended up being a total bust. Sure, there are super-fans out there that will say otherwise, but I just have to get it off my chest: I seriously hated Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. In general, the two movies themselves suffer from the same ailments, which makes sense, considering one immediately follows the other with literally no time passing between the two movies. Without going into too much detail (I’m already 337 words in and have yet to get to the real movie review at hand) I will say that long gone is all the wonder that made the first four movies, with all the characters for some reason being much too cool to follow the dress code while on campus. But it’s not just the wardrobe changes—it felt like the entire crew of the movies have gotten so accustomed to the world that they didn’t put in any extra effort to things, merely going through the oh so familiar motions that they thought could be simply yoinked from the previous movies. On top of that, attention to what should be te main focus of each story was horribly done. Think about it: After seeing the fifth and sixth movies, would you dare say that one was about the Order of the Phoenix and the other about finding who the Half-Blood Prince was? Story-telling in general seemed incredibly muddled with no clear direction, instead focusing on the major deaths in each movie which also turned out to be sloppily done. Conclusion: I was incredibly colored insecure for the final installment in the series, especially after finding out it would be split into two parts.


Going in to see Deathly Hallows: Part 1 just yesterday afternoon, I was incredibly skeptical about things. With the previous two movies being so forgettable, I wasn’t sure what to make of the latest installment. As the WB logo appeared on screen, I tried my hardest to remove my “snooty blogger reviewer” cap in favor of one more suitable for the occasion (perhaps the same cap I wore during the Transformers movie?). As each scene came and went, though, I could find nothing wrong to pitpick at and as a whole, I feel like this is what the other two movies should have been—a much darker mystery in connection to the movie title (the deathly hallows) all of which just happened to take place in the wizarding world rather than the human world, which the past two movies awkwardly inserted. Although it was the first part of the final arc, the movie still moves at a somewhat fast pace, starting things off with a chase scene resulting in not one, but two deaths, both of which were done so much better than either major death in the past two movies. The death scenes were done in a rather blunt fashion, unceremoniously killing off characters as if to say: “sh*t just got real”—something that should have been expressed in the last two movies already but wasn’t.

What followed were the camping scenes, something I was almost confident would get boring right away. Thankfully, these scenes were also played off well for the most part, perfectly portraying the protagonists’ feelings of helplessness as they’re trying to piece together clues to find out just exactly what they’re supposed to do next. If anything, I’m sure people fresh from watching would complain about the awkward dance scene (you’ll know it when you see it) coupled with Nick Cave’s “O Children,” to which I say that as awkward as it was, it sure as hell beat the awkward teen-themed jokes surrounding the previous films that tried to break the tension.

With there being little to no multi-part movies to compare it with (the last two Matrix movies, Kill Bill, and maybe Back to the Future) I wasn’t sure just how the movie would end. “To Be concluded” end cards seemed much too passé, and straight-up cliffhanger endings seemed awkward, too, leaving me curious. Thankfully, the movie did a good job of keeping enough things in the air while still touching ground on other plot points, leaving viewers left with some kind of sense of closure rather than being used and abused until the vicious cycle begins again come July when the second part rolls around. Consensus: Deathly Hallows: Part 1 alone makes up for the disappoint-fest that was the last two films and it’s good to know the series shows signs of going off on a high note.


~~~

On another note, I was wondering if anyone’s had any kind of experience growing up in the middle of a movie franchise and watching one of the latter movies in the series without any prior knowledge of its previous installments. From personal (well, to some degree) experience, my sister’s taught some kids that were completely hyped about Spider-Man 3, being completely oblivious to the past two movie (sadly). Thinking back, I couldn’t think of that many movies out around my own childhood that I could have been stuck in the middle of. Sure, there were the ‘80s/’90s Batman films but even then, I was smart enough to know that there existed (better) movies prior to Batman and Robin. I dunno, maybe I’m just weird like that.

The closest me an’ my sister could get to a movie example was The Neverending Story movies, but even then that seemed like something of a stretch. So, I raise my glass to you, Harry Potter movies—you’re the only movie franchise in the past 20 or so years I could think of where some kid born between movies would have had to do some backtrack marathoning.

On a third note, I’m sad about Emma Watson’s post-production short hair. That is all.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

2 Responses to Collect the 7 Dragon Balls! er… “Horcruxes”: Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Review

  1. Pingback: DaemonCorps: 2010 in review « DaemonCorps

  2. Pingback: Enter World 7-2: Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 Review « DaemonCorps

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