Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Pt. 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, the penultimate film in the Potter franchise,  is the best Harry Potter film to date. It is a heart-stopping, violent, and utterly frightening adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s series that never wavers in its depiction of the violence that plagues the wizarding world.

I don’t need to get that into the plot; by now I would expect you to know what happens in the Harry Potter books and films.

Dumbledore’s death at the close of Half-Blood Prince has led to the collapse of the wizarding world and to questioning about the wizard’s life. (“Did you even know him at all?” someone asks Harry.) What should be happy moments Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Harry’s burgeoning romance with Ginny Weasley are cut short by the dangers of the war and the Nazi-like state created by Voldemort.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson)  set out on an arduous journey to find the Horcruxes, the items where Voldemort has divided his sole, and destroy them. They have nothing to guide them anymore except some seemingly useless clues from Dumbledore: a snitch, a deluminator, and a copy of children’s fables. They only have each other but that relationship begins to falter because of a lack of progress, their isolated life in hiding, and Ron’s jealously.

Dealthy Hallows is building up to the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort (as always, played perfectly by Ralph Fiennes). Every scene — the fast-paced escape from the Dursley’s; Dobby’s much-adored reappearance; the brilliant, macabre animated short of “The Tale of the Three Brothers” —  has been executed so that the finale is everything that it has been advertised to be: epic.

With David Yates behind the camera, the Harry Potter franchise has matured and developed a necessary consistency. The first four movies provided context and established the series brilliant characters, brought to life by some of the best thespians. But these movies lacked a certain artistry and cohesiveness that Yates brought as the series became more emotional and bleaker.

Now about that controversial added scene. After Ron leaves the trio, Harry and Hermione dance. For a few minutes they engage in a goofy, frivolous act that ends with a short pause and a look. If Yates wanted to frame Harry and Hermione as a romantic pairing, this would have been the moment to do it. But the pause and stare between them would have to linger for longer than a second. Instead Hermione turns away quickly; the brief moment of joy she experienced is still no match for the private anguish she has gone through this journey.

For the audience too, the scene serves a pivotal purpose. This is the darkest, most violent Harry Potter film to date. The blood and deaths will only increase in the final film and the final battle scene bodes to be the most harrowing moment of the films. It is also a reminder that these characters who we have watched for almost a decade now are not the adults we sometimes think them to be. They are still teenagers figuring out how to be normal while dealing with, you know, having to save the world.

July 15 cannot come soon enough.

Trailer Fix: Deathly Hallows – Part 1!

I’m a few hours late with this post. The trailer was released around 9 p.m. last night. Blame it on my lack of internet and the fact that nothing, not even the second to last installment of the Harry Potter franchise, could get in the way of watching the season premiere of Modern Family. (I just really like watching a show with my parents every week, guys.)

But I digress. Here it is. Be prepared to crap your pants.

This trailer has so much footage we haven’t seen yet – the escape from the Dursleys, Ron and Harry’s fight that splits up the trio, DOBBY. Even though I’m not ready for these movies to end, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be awesome!

Trailer Fix: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“Only I can live forever.”

Here it is – the first complete teaser trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and it is intense. This trailer, which is filled with exclusive footage including a clip of that final showdown in the Forbidden Forest, will send chills up your spine.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The final confrontation between Harry and Lord Voldemort is guaranteed to be an exciting, action-packed, and thrilling ride. Considering how the movies have not always set up the conclusion exactly like books, it will be interesting to see how these last two parts wrap up the franchise.

Is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows “the motion picture event of a generation”? Do you think that this is one movie worth seeing in 3D? Most importantly, is it November 19 yet?

Nine and Three-Fourths Years Later

June 12 was the last day for principal photography for the Harry Potter series…ever.

Isn’t that an odd thought? Unlike the Twilight series, which has been rushed into production and most people cannot wait to end, the now very imminent end of the Harry Potter films still seems so unlikely.

Even though I know that the films are coming to an end, I still can’t fathom a time when a Harry Potter film is not in production or about to be released. This is because the Harry Potter film franchise began in October 2000. The filming of the entire series took approximately nine and three-fourths years. I’ll take that as a sign that good things are going to come of Harry Potter, the series and its stars once Deathly Hallows is released.

Up Close And Personal With Harry Potter’s Magic Wand

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

There are moments when we just have to embrace our inner geek. Considering that this is Mount Holyoke, where many of us have quirks and hang ups about the strangest things, this is something not unusual. I had one of those moments when my inner film nerd came out in full force this weekend. There I was, standing in front of the Mecca of all film set props: Harry Potter’s magic wand…and broom…and everything else from the Harry Potter movies you can imagine.

Harry Potter™: The Exhibition is a new exhibit that opened at Boston’s Museum of Science on Oct. 25. Here more than 200 props, costumes and creatures from the six Harry Potter movies are on display, transporting fans into the wizarding world. The props are displayed in settings inspired by the film sets: Hagrid’s hut, the Dark Forest, the Great Hall and many more.

The exhibit begins with a sorting. Several lucky members from the tour group are chosen from the crowd (I suggest you jump like a maniac in the back row, like my friend Ruth did, if you want to be selected), are placed under the sorting hat and learn their Hogwarts house. From there you enter into a screening room where clips from the films are shown, setting the mood for the experience you are about to have.

Once the doors open, you are led past the Hogwarts Express and down a corridor filled with magical paintings. You walk through the Fat Lady’s portrait and into the Gryffindor common room. Now the real adventure has begun. As you stroll past endless props and costumes, you are transported into Harry Potter’s world. There is Harry’s admission letter to Hogwarts from Sorcerer’s Stone; the Basilisk from Chamber of Secrets; the Time Turner and Marauder’s Map from Prisoner of Azkaban; Hermione’s Yule Bal gown and Triwizard Cup from Goblet of Fire, Dolores Umbridge’s office from Order of Phoenix; and the potions book from Half-Blood Prince.

These props and costumes are a part of elaborate film set recreations. Everything from Ron Weasley’s dorm room to the Divination classroom to the Great Hall have been splendidly recreated. Throughout the exhibit, you can participate in essential wizarding world activities toss a Quaffle, pull a screeching Mandrake and sit in Hagrid’s chair. All that is missing is the chance to ride Buckbeak the Hippogriff or duel a Hungarian Horntail dragon.

While at Harry Potter: The Exhibition, I was reminded of the significance that Harry Potter has had in my life. They certainly are not the first books I remember reading as a child, but are among my childhood favorites. This exhibition is a wonderful reminder of why I love the Harry Potter films. Most of all, it is a reminder of how Harry Potter has affected not only my life but will influence a whole new generation of fans. Throughout the exhibit, I kept stumbling over a little boy who was no more than 10 years old dressed like Harry Potter. While his costume was not as elaborate as the couple dressed as Dumbledore and Trelawney (it was Harry Potter), this little boy perfectly encompasses what the Harry Potter franchise truly represents. J.K. Rowling created a world that offers the perfect escape from reality, and there is no doubt it will continue to influence and delight in the years to come.

The flying car from the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be on display at Boston’s Museum of Science until February 12, 2010.

Published: November 5, 2009
The Mount Holyoke News