Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part One

From November 29, 2010

After I saw Half-Blood Prince last year I might have been heard to say something about being in love with a certain actor who plays Harry Potter, but now after seeing Deathly Hallows I think I should really be saying I love David Yates.  Not yet have I seen a Harry Potter movie that Mr. Yates has directed that I haven’t loved.  And they’ve just got better over the years.  Case in point is Deathly Hallows, part one.  I’ve seen it several times now, and I love it more with every viewing.

 

I am unforgiving to anyone who has not yet read the Harry Potter series, or at least seen the movie, so I will not give you a plot breakdown, other than to say that now that Dumbledore is dead Voldemort is no longer tethered.  He can pursue whatever he wants, and that’s exactly what he does.

 

Here’s what I thought, pretty much scene by scene:

 

  • I liked the scene with Hermione’s parents.  In the book we only get to hear about it, but it makes more of an impact to see the spell being performed.  It’s a huge moment for her character.  She has made her choice to go with Harry and realizes what could happen.  I did not, however, like the way the scene with the Dursleys was handled. In the book we get the chance to se that Dudley might actually be a decent person, but in the movie we get none of that.  Let’s hope for some more on the DVD.

 

  • I think the scene at Malfoy Manor was well done, though they could have done with the stuff about Remus and Tonks’s marriage, I can forgive that though because Nagini was freaky.  I will admit, however, that I didn’t love this scene at first, especially because I thought that Voldemort broke Lucius’s wand and I was prepared to be furious because they did it wrong.  But thy did the thing properly after all, and I have learned another useful lesson about assumptions.

 

  • The biggest fault I can think of with the polyjuice scene was Mad-Eye’s explanation about what the trace was.  It does not tell the Ministry about bodily fluids, it is specifically to detect underage magic.  What was so wrong with just saying that?  And then saying that the Ministry had prevented them from using any magical methods of getting Harry away.  It would make a hell of a lot more sense.  Oh and I like how they kept in Ron’s line: “I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo.”  But it would have made more sense if they’d kept it in the Half-Blood Prince movie.  I understand what they were getting at, but for someone who hasn’t read the books, its a little stupid.  And we never really get a full explanation of what the seven Potters are supposed to do.  They’re all going to the Burrow (Not the Burrows, by the way!).

 

  • the Sky battle scene was a little tame compared to the book I thought, but then that might have been only because we see what’s going on with Harry, whereas we got to see more of what was going on around them in the book.  I wish that they had kept the part where Harry disarms Stan Shunpike and that’s what gives him away, but in many ways I prefer the Hedwig scene.  It was sad to see her go!

 

  • At the Burrow: I like the scene, for the most part, especially that they kept in the parts with Lupin and Kingsley pulling out their wands.  And I love, love, love that they kept in the line “Harry is the best hope we have.  Trust him.”  That was awesome and I think that it was something Harry needed to hear at that point (especially in the book!)  I do not like the way they did the connections to Voldemort’s mind in this movie though.  It was way too hard to folllow, and they truncated the scene with Ollivander too much.  Thankfully there’s a second part to the movie so we’ll be able to see more with Mr. Ollivander.

 

  • You know me, I’m a big Harry/Ginny shipper so I really liked the scene at the Burrow, and I particularly liked that she basically mirrored what Harry said about the wedding and how frivolous it seemed.  I would have liked it if they kept in Ginny’s line about the Veela, but I don’t think they were mentioned in the movies before, so that might be why.  I can forgive that line in favor of George coming in.  That was quite funny, and I love the way they reacted.  It was so natural.

 

  • I didn’t like Scrimgeour as a character, and I don’t like him in this movie.  One of the biggest faults I have with David Yates as a director is that some of the scenes are just too sedate, this being one of them.  Normally calming everyone down improves the scene, but sometimes it just makes it flat.  I do like that Hermione did speak up about the sword though.  And I’m a little mixed about the idea that the sword was missing instead of at Hogwarts, but I guess they did explain that later in the movie, so I will forgive that for now.

 

  • The wedding:  I liked it, it was pretty close to what I remember from the book (yes, I don’t have Deathly Hallows memorized yet!).  The fault I have here is also something that I nonetheless love: Harry’s reaction to Ginny.  I have fault with it because the reason he broke up with her in the book was so she would stay safe.  Shouting her name like that would put her in danger, would it not?  But the sap in me isn’t going to protest too loudly.

 

  • And they kept in Hermione’s comment about the books when she was rummaging around for clothes.  A little aside here I wish that they would have kept in Ron’s comment about tracking down Voldemort in a mobile library.  It would have been a little bit of amusement, but would have felt out of place in such an intense scene.  And intense it was, especially because there was no music.  The fact that there wasn’t any big cinematic build up made the fight in the cafe all the more ominous.

 

  • Grimmauld Place does several important things: it is a good character development scene for Ron and Hermione, shows how alone Harry really feels even with his two best friends there, and of course it introduces us to the hunt for the first Horcrux.  Much as I would have liked to have seen the whole story of Regulus Black played out, I still like the way this was handled.  We really get to see some of Harry’s power here: the “Find him” bit, and then when Mundungus is brought back I really liked the “When you turned this place over – don’t deny it!” bit.  But by far the best was Dobby.  Dobby is freeeeeee!  And he’s just so awesome.

 

  • This is a bit out of sequence, but I love the scene on the Hogwarts express.  Way to go Neville : “Hey losers, he isn’t here.”  That was so wicked, one of my favorites from the movie.  Wish we had seen more from Hogwarts.

 

  • At The Ministry:  I love actors who were portraying Harry, Ron and Hermione.  They did well.  There were some good moments here.  I love Ron’s line about his wife.  I love the Decoy Detonators.  Before the escape though, there were some things that were left to be desired.  I mean, specifically, the scene in the courtroom.  It was more poignant in the book, especially with the man who was being dragged away as they entered.  And I like that they kept the “You’re lying” line.  And I loved the escape.  From the minute they get into that elevator (sorry, lift) and Harry sends out that patronus it was awesome, a perfect example of how he can think on is feet.  Well done scene indeed.

 

Camping

It deserves its own heading because so much happens while they’re on their own.  The first, and really most important thing, is that they did the irritability thing well.  And it was really more than one thing that contributes to their irritability: the danger, lack of food, lack of progress with destroying the Horcrux, or information on where to find the others.  And then there’s Ron!  I think the movie focused more on Harry and Hermione alone together than it did Hermione and Ron, but that was necessary because it has to give him a reason to leave.  And I think that was done well, the scene with Scabior, in particular.

 

You know, I was so mad at Ron for leaving in the book, and I don’t think I’ve ever go over that, because I just find him an annoying character now. But that aside, after he leaves we have one of my favorite scenes from the movie: Harry and Hermione’s dancing.  My theory is that this scene services several different purposes.  The most obvious is that Harry and Hermione are both miserable and he’s just trying to cheer her up – something that any good friend or brother would do.  But I have another theory as well.  In an interview, J.K. Rowling said there was a point when she thought that perhaps Harry and Hermione could get together.  They stayed after Ron left.  And I think this is an homage to that.  I swear the way this scene starts off, it could easily have turned into a love scene – but that comes later.

 

Godric’s Hollow was well done, particularly the scene at James and Lily’s graves.  My only wish for his scene is that they had kept the flashback, and that we would have seen how close they came to escaping Voldemort.  It was almost too fast paced in the movie – another of my peeves.  Things move fast in the book, but not as fast as they do in the movie.  Maybe I just need to read faster.  lol.

 

The Silver Does scene and the Destruction of the Locket were fine.  I don’t really have any comments about that because I can’t remember how the scene went in the book.  I’m going to hold off rereading those scenes until I get to book seven.  I’m just reading CoS right now.  The one thing that stands out for me though, is how graphic the scene was between Harry and Hermione.  I was not expecting that at all.

 

I like Xeno Lovegood and the animation for The Tale Of The Three Brothers, and how the Death Eaters were summoned.  Its really a great build up to the end of the movie.  They escape there, run into some snatchers and get dragged off to Malfoy Manor.  Oh if only they had thought to back up towards each other and Disapparate rather than trying to run.  If they’d done that we wouldn’t have had to endure the minutes long jostlyness of the escape scene.  But then they wouldn’t have got dragged to Malfoy Manor, would they?

 

And then there’s Malfoy Manor.  I will say this to all the reviewers with their surprise over the similarities between the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and the Third-Reich: what did Bellatrix carve into Hermione’s arm, and was there any coincidence in its placement?  It was intense, but would have been more so if they stuck to the book more.  Then again I might be overly critical because I think Helena Bonham Carter way overdoes Bellatrix’s craziness (except for in the beginning when she first discovers the sword).  And it sucks that Wormtail never was defeated by his silver hand – here’s hoping that will show up in part two.

 

Dobby!  Second time I saw the movie I just bawled.  Poor little buddy!  I’d kill Lestrange myself if she was real!

 

And Voldemort gets the Elder wand.  I think it might have a huge impact for someone who has never read the book, but I didn’t find it as climactic in the movie as I did in the book.  But if there ever was a place to end a movie with “Part One” in its title, this was the place.  We have the death of a beloved character, and the evil Dark Lord getting a powerful weapon.  Can’t wait to see what happens next!

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