Lacks the Magic of the Previous Entries
JLFM - wrote on 08/19/13
After viewing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I declared it the worst of the Potter films so far. It was quickly replaced, however, by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Still, when all was said and done, I enjoyed the films, as they still managed to mostly display what had made the more entertaining predecessors so enjoyable. Unfortunately, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (an extraordinarily tedious name to say or type), is the new weakest entry for the series, and it could hardly be considered enjoyable.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out on a quest to destroy the Horocruxes which keep Voldemort immortal. And that's essentially the entire plot.
There are a number of things that make the Harry Potter films enjoyable. The characters are the main reason, but also visual effects, music, humor, and the magical setting of Hogwarts. Unfortunately, very little of this is contained in this penultimate chapter.
Absolutely none of this film takes place in Hogwarts, which means that almost none of the characters that we've come to very much enjoy seeing are in this film. Harry, Ron, and Hermione eat up almost all of the screen time, while their character flaws are more noticeable than ever. Other than Bellatrix, most of the villains get only a single scene.
Neville is seen once, gets one line, and has completely lost his shy, clumsy personality that made him so likable in the previous films. Luna Lovegood is hardly in the film at all. And of course, almost none of the Hogwarts teachers are in this film. The one character that DOES return however, is Dobby- the house elf that makes Jar Jar Binks seem intellectual. Still, he only gets a few scenes. New characters like Xenophilius Lovegood and Rufus Scrimgeour get sadly little screen time.
There is almost no humor in this movie. This is most likely due to the darker tone, but the film is so dreadfully dull, a little more comedy would've helped things considerably.
The visual effects don't get too many chances to show off in this film compared to the previous entries, but the effects do sparkle when they're on screen. Admittedly, there is one less-than-convincing snake, but other than that, the visuals are great, though less so than the last four films.
The pacing is so absurdly slow that one will feel every second of the 146 minute run time. While the other Potter films have also boasted lengths of similar size, they never felt nearly as long. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows drags and drags.
I didn't even feel like it was building up to anything either. Other than in the very last scene, there's no great sense of anticipation. The whole film feels plotless and aimless.
There were really only two truly well done scenes. One involved Hermione Granger reading a sort of fable about three men meeting death, which utilizes some really nifty animation, though this sequence would've probably been enhanced by some music, as there is none during this segment. The other brief, but notable scene involves Bellatrix torturing a main character. This is notable because it's painful and horrific, without actually showing anything. It's by the strength of the onscreen acting that this scene is so successful.
Thankfully, the acting has not slipped much. The main trio of Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson are still solid in their roles. Still, as they're basically the only characters we see for most of the film, there's not much else to say in regards to acting.
The music was immensely disappointing given the composer on board: Alexandre Desplat. There was not a single moment where the score stood out. The entirety of the music felt like underscore, though in all honesty, that's really all it was. Now, this isn't really Desplat's fault. There simply isn't much for a score to do in this film, as nothing really ever happens during the movie. Still, this seems to be the weakest of the Potter scores thus far (a spot previously held by the score for the Half-Blood Prince by Nicholas Hooper).
Boring, uninteresting, and painfully slow, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 takes nearly everything that made the previous films so entertaining, and throws it all out the window. A disappointment in nearly every respect, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 lacks the sense of magic, wonder, and -most importantly- fun that this film very much needed. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 already has the expectations of keeping up the standard of a successful film series. Now it has to make me feel like watching this tedious and frightfully dull film was actually worth it.