Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and Imelda Staunton
Director: David Yates
Script: Steve Kloves from J.K. Rowlings' book
Time: 150 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

PREAMBLE: It is the start of a long, long goodbye indeed and it is bound to be an emotional one for the legions of Harry Potter fans. The film-makers know only too well that as a 'last supper', Potter fans would lap up whatever they dish out - and so they prolonged the 'feast', breaking it into two sessions. While those who have read the book may tend to be more patient, those who have not would find Part One rather dreary and draggy as director David Yates does his utmost to stay true to JK Rowlings' book. Yates is also reluctant to lend his own touches to the story - apparently out of fear of committing sacrilege!

THE SKINNY: The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort's Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorising and arresting anyone who might oppose them. After barely escaping, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine (Emma Watson) find themselves on the run and hiding from Voldemort's Snatchers.

Harry's only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, pictured, with Radcliffe) finds him. As he searches for clues, he uncovers the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks. No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing closer to the ultimate battle with Voldemort. However, the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter.

HITS AND MISSES: Deathly Hallows feels very different from the previous HP films because it is the only book that does not feature the rowdy and boisterous Hogwarts School of Magic and fun. It is also the one movie that the three leads find themselves largely on their own and on the road - in a number of picturesque environments. For non-fans like me, the scenes can get repetitious and sometimes feel like 'Sleepy Hollows' instead of Deathly Hallows. There is no doubt that Grint, Watson and Radcliffe have got their roles down pat - but too much of the same thing (of Grint's comic relief moments and Watson's bright spark routine) can even get on our nerves. And spread over more than two hours, the going can get tedious some times.

Well, there are some bright moments, like when Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson) replicates Harry sevenfold fool the Death Eaters; when the trio 'visit' the Ministry of Magic in disguise; and the subplot involving the house elf Dobby. I also like it when Yates presents the legend of the three Deathly Hallows in 'wayang kulit' (shadowplay) style. For this finale, most of the past characters have a bit of screen time - for nostalgia's sake.

Of course, the main object of Part One is to 'stir up the wind and darken the skies' for the lightning and thunder that comes with Part Two. For some, it will be a long wait, while others will begrudge having to pay extra for the two films.

THE LOWDOWN: A by-the-book first parter to delight Potter fans.


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