There I sat in the darkened theater, with perhaps half the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One yet to play and from behind me, some joker says, This was a waste of money.
A waste of money? I wanted to turn around and scold him for such an ignorant statement. What had he expected?
The movie followed the book into the Dark Lord’s rising. Certainly it is serious and colored by evil, more so than any of the others, but so was the book. Perhaps no other scene epitomizes the evil more than the meeting of Voldemort’s council.
Granted, there is also less of the fun stuff—the magic of Hogwarts, the youthful shenanigan of school boys and girls. But the movie makers managed a few of the traditional action/adventure devices—”car” chase scenes and things blowing up—to keep viewers riveted.
The scenery wasn’t anything so grandiose as Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, but there was appropriate bleakness that played into the feeling of hopelessness and desolation that reigned during the first half of this final chapter of the Harry Potter saga.
I also thought the movie version did a very good job explaining Harry’s quest and showing why he felt he needed to go it alone, or nearly so.
And there still were lighter moments, such as Hermione’s bottomless bag (or whatever it was called) and the break-in into the Ministry of Magic in the guise of adults. There were some clever lines and excellent acting. As always the special effects were superb.
The cast was huge in this one, and I suppose someone who hasn’t read the books might struggle to remember some of the players. There were occasional flashbacks which brought in characters from the past too—all enjoyable, from my point of view. I liked seeing some of my favorites, even though they had small roles.
I especially liked the way the movie handled Harry’s “visions”—when he and Voldemort are connected mentally and Harry sees what the Dark Lord is up to. Again, it might not have been so clear to a viewer who had not read the books, but I thought it was handled well.
Of course there was a moment of sadness, greatly reduced from what the book generated, I think. The fact is, the movies de-emphasized the house elves throughout, so it was hard for Deathly Hollows to give them their proper place of importance and emotional value.
But what a small thing when considered with the far-reaching scope of the movie.
Above all, I applaud the decision to make the final book into two movies. Some might remain skeptical and think this was a pure financial decision. Undoubtedly the potential for another blockbuster must have played some part in splitting the book in two. But I shudder to think what kind of movie we would have had if the powers that be had tried to cram the whole of book 7 into one.
I also applaud their decision to break the story when they did. I thought there was sufficient resolution to make me feel like I’d seen a complete picture while leaving me with intrigue about the unfinished parts, and hope for Harry in the clear tasks yet ahead.
As far as I’m concerned, the movie-goer behind me must only think his money should be spent on happy-go-lucky romps or silly vulgarities or non-stop action flicks with no substance. Really, if that’s what someone is looking for, then Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One isn’t for him.