Friday, December 3, 2010

Movie of the Week - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

My wife (who has read all the books and seen all the movies) and I (who has only read the 1st book but has seen all the movies) went to see this the other night. She liked it quite a lot. I, didn't like it so much.Don't get me wrong, it's a fine piece of movie making. The characters are very believable, and the interaction among the kids has grown over the years into something real. There are plenty of exciting parts, some sadness (parents beware, some characters who have been with us for awhile get killed), and some reflection.

So what's my problem? I had thought that each movie was better than the last until the last one "The Half-Blood Prince". At the end of that movie we find out who the Half-Blood Prince was but my feeling was "So What?" What is the importance of the Half-Blood Prince? What does it mean to the story that Snape is the Half-Blood Prince? Apparently, if I'd read the book, I'd understand. My feeling about movies that adopted from books is that the movie has to carry the story. It can't rely on the audience having read the book to understand what's going on. And that's really been my gripe about all of the movies.

So, back to the "Deathly Hallow". First, I'll say that at least I got the significance of the Deathly Hallow. But very little else in the movie made much sense to me. I get that Voldemort has been trying to kill Harry since Harry was a baby. Why has never been clear to me. Voldemort is certainly an evil character but why does he have a special animosity toward Harry? Why is Harry the Chosen One? And as powerful as he is, why hasn't Voldemort been able to kill Harry before now? Most of the movie is spent by Harry, Ron and Hermione chasing around the countryside in an unsuccessful attempt to find and destroy things called a horcrux. What is a horcrux? I remember this being mentioned in a past movie but this movie doesn't spend the one minute it would take to remind us what they are and why they are important.

A lot of things happen in the book that have been growing through the past several movies. That I follow. The Ministry of Magic has been taken over by jack-booted Nazi-like thugs. Hogworts is now run by Snape. Various wizards and witches have openly declared for Voldemort or Harry. Somehow all this is going to be resolved in the next (and last movie) along with a battle (to the death?) between Harry and Voldemort. And Voldemort has acquired the wizardly equivalent of the nuclear bomb just in time for this battle while Harry has lost his wand and is making do with a old wand that Ron found.

By the way, Snape is just about my favorite character. Alan Rickman is doing a great job of subtly indicating that perhaps Snape is not the evil character he appears to be. There have been some overt actions by Snape as well. Perhaps he will be redeemed in the last movie but I wouldn't be surprised if, either I'm just imagining things, or the movies have been deliberately misleading me.

1 comment:

Captain Canuck said...

as a dad who has read all of the books, i cannot imagine trying to watch the movies without having read the books. There is so much you miss in the movies without the prior knowledge revealed in the books.
And usually, after seeing the movie, i go back and re read the book.