Thursday, April 3, 2014

Movie #244: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1, is, of course, the beginning of the end of the series. We've got the same cast as before, plus Bill Nighy has the new Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, if briefly.

So, shit has gotten real. Voldemort has a puppet in the Ministry, and the Order of the Phoenix, now down two members since Snape kills Dumbeldore, sets out to get him safely away from his home. Hermione, meanwhile, wipes her parents' memories of her entirely, which is a great scene and made me wish her relationship with her parents had come up a bit more previously.

Anyway, they're betrayed, Mad-Eye Moody dies offscreen (which happens a lot these last two movies), and the crew winds up at the wedding of Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson) and Fleur Delacouer (Clemence Posey). Harry, Ron and Hermione inherit some widgets from Dumbledore, and then BAM, Death-Eater attack, the kids are separated, and they wind up wandering in the woods for most of the rest of the movie.

I say that flippantly, but it actually works. We get some good scenes with the trio, some nice Lord of the Rings-esque stuff going on with them trading the horcrux around, Ron storms off, they find the sword of Godric Griffyndor, destroy the horcrux, go and visit Xenophilius Lovegood (Rhys Ifans), who betrays them. They get captured and taken to the Malfoys' house, where they escape with Dobby's help, but Bellatrix Lestrange kills him, and we ended with Voldemort finding the Elder Wand, one of the titular Deathly Hallows...and supposedly the object that can kill Harry.

The mythology gets thick, and if you don't know what's going on at this point you're utterly fucked. I think the filmmakers put as much in from the novel as they possibly could, but I'm really glad they split this one in two, because if they hadn't everything in this movie would have been cut in favor of the exciting stuff (which largely comes in the next movie), and that would have been a shame. The chemistry between the three principals is amazing (should be, after this many years), and, somehow, they all grew up to be good actors. Standout supporting role: Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, who's the kind of villain you can just hate unreservedly (unlike Tom Felton's Draco, who engenders sympathy now that he realizes that all his bluster over the years means he has to actually be evil).

My grade: A-
Rewatch Value: Low

Next up: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows pt. 2