Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

In a nutshell: Harry Potter and the End of an Era

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

The final instalment in the Potter franchise lasts for 130 minutes. That’s not especially long these days, and as a 12A, it’s not like DH2 (as no doubt the ‘fandom’ is calling it on the ‘internet’) has to finish before a toddler needs a wee.

So why this film isn’t 20 minutes longer is anyone’s guess. It’s great fun, with some dazzling set-pieces, full-on scares and a neat, satisfying conclusion. All your favourite characters are there, and they all deliver. But some scenes are so perfunctory I felt cheated. A pivotal moment from the book, when Harry reveals his return to Hogwarts by manfully avenging a gobbed-upon Professor McGonagall, is replaced in the film by, er, going to assembly. And Snape’s revelatory back-story, a highlight of the seven books, is over in barely a minute.

It’s frustrating to see great actors given so little screen time. The golden trio are expected to carry this film, but while Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way in eight films, they’re not going to out-act Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman any time soon. Director David Yates admitted on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row recently that his solution to the problem of the supporting cast inadvertently stealing the kids’ show was to cut their roles to shreds: a cynical, foolhardy move which shows little regard for the audience.

Moreover, although action-packed and pacy, DH2 covers the plot-shy part of the book. Oh, there’s angst. So much angst that it’s all shot in that faded, greyish colour palette that makes everyone look ill, one of the many heinous legacies of Twilight. But the real intrigue and mystery is over in Part 1, meaning Part 2 is mostly just a series of daring escapes and battles.

However – what escapes and battles they are! The Gringotts raid and the Fiendfyre are dizzying visual rollercoaster rides that will leave any self-respecting movie-goer wide-eyed. Hogwarts arming itself for the final battle is beautifully done, as if it really is the last bastion of everything that’s good in the world. Other great moments: Harry’s trippy visit to the afterlife, shock heroics from Neville Cutebottom (as he shall henceforth be known), Snape’s harrowing demise and multiple heartrending moments where you’ll snuffle into your popcorn.

My advice? See it twice. See it at the cinema for the end-of-an-era movie event that is undoubtedly is – this is a film that absolutely deserves a big screen. Then rent the DVD with Part 1 and watch them back to back. The two together will be a much more coherent and climactic viewing experience.

* 2D, because 3D is a nightmare for speccy geeks like me who have to wear the 3D glasses over their real ones. 

Reviewer: JoSheppard

In a nutshell: The boy wizard faces his destiny, fans are left hanging but way-hey! The studios make a recession-busting fortune.

Popcorn rating: 3/5

The end is nigh. But don’t worry too much, it’s not the “end” end…not just yet anyway.

To do justice to JK Rowling’s final doorstopper in the series, studio Heyday Films have split the action into a two-part extravaganza – and Director David Yates sets his cards from the off, as Bill Nighy’s Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour intones into the camera: “These are dark times, there’s no denying.”

The fun at Hogwarts is over…in fact, we are leaving lovely, warm, safe Hogwarts behind altogether as our trio go on the run and smack into danger, intrigue and a new battle against eVil.

And, what with chasing horcruxes, growing up, the first flush of love and the rise of old “nostrils” and his Death Eaters …Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a busy affair. Fortunately, with the luxury of a second instalment to play with, Yates is in no rush to bring the magic to an end.

At just shy of two and a half hours, Part 1 explodes with a dramatic (and frightening) sequence dropping us smack into the action but unfortunately stalling and stop-starts dominate the remainder as Harry & Co. run/disapparate/meander (delete as appropriate) from scene to scene.

Overall, Deathly Hallows is not so much a build-up for the final battle in Part 2, as an exercise in schizophrenic pacing.

However, when it’s on the money, it’s absolutely thrilling. Standouts include:

  • The trio infiltrating the now corrupt Ministry – a section delivering laughs, tension and horror with aplomb
  • A closing act chase in a forest with the frenetic intensity of a Bourne film
  • Ben Hibon delivering a beautiful animation sequence for the fable of the Deathly Hallows.
  • A cast which brings so much prime acting talent from this side of the pond together in a range of adorable, horrible and altogetherwonderful characters (Bonham Carter, Mullan, Fiennes, Thewlis, Walters, McCrory, Spall, Rickman, Staunton, Coltrane..etc)

The less said about Harry and Hermione’s homage to Strictly Come Dancing the better.

Boding well for the final instalment, Part 1 is an uneven but extremely entertaining appetiser. Harry’s game remains spellbinding stuff.

Reviewer: AoifeWantonMovieLover