Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One.

The motion picture event of a decade is slowly coming to an end. After ten years and grossing over $5.4billion worldwide, the penultimate film of the series gets its release. And for the first time, since the start of the film adaptations, the makers have got it right. What they had contemplated on with the Goblet of Fire, they have done with the Deathly Hallows; and seeing the first 2 hours and twenty minutes of the five hour finale, one feels a certain sense of satisfaction.

It's very difficult to adapt something like Harry Potter to the screen. One must understand that over the last ten years numerous stories that were there in the books have disappeared in the films. This task of what to keep and what not to keep is extremely crucial. One must create a fine blend out of the parts that are being kept in order to make the films feasible. It is, quite simply, a harrowing task to adapt something of such magnitude onto the screen. Seven books. Thousands of characters.

At some point of time screenwriter Steve Kloves must have asked J.K. Rowling the question as to how she came up with and gave a background to almost all the characters that she created. After a gearing up with the Half-Blood Prince the makers of the films have done a very organized task of polishing up and putting things in their rightful places. It's simply impossible for someone who has not been acquainted with the books or the previous films to understand anything. But that's how things are. The tale is so vast that it requires that kind of special attention.

What they did with the Half-Blood Prince; the frolicking of the seventeen year old wizards, their intorduction into love and loss, is completed right at the start of the Deathly Hallows. The two, extremely grave, opening sequences tells you that things are no longer to be taken lightly. 'These are dark times there is no denying'. Draco Malfoy's coming of age, perfectly shown in the previous chapter, now shifts to the trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

This part seems to be more about Hermione and Ron, than Harry himself. There is a clear concentration on character. Finally. Snape, for example, is almost completely absent in this film. Hermione's wiping out the memory of her parents, a scene which was made for the film, only hinted at in the book, is given voice when she erases the memory of a Death Eater. Her charms are what keeps the trio safe whilst they go hunting for Horcruxes. It's also a film about Ron. His constant attention to the radio, listening in to check whether anyone from his family has gone missing or has been killed. His mind trailing off, finding meanings which aren't there in Harry and Hermione's friendship. The grim sight the Horcrux shows him. Dark times indeed. Harry's troubles and pains are reflected on his brow, taking complete shape only at the end with the sad death of a certain free house-elf.

Deathly Hallows Part One is, at heart, a road movie. It is a film where the main characters are on a search. On the path they find several secrets, several hints to achieve what they ultimately seek. Lord Voldemort is close, and getting stronger. Dumbledore's many truths are slowly coming out into the open.

There are also several instances where one will be reminded of the story as it has happened. The Deluminator, from the very first page of the first book, the very first scene of the first film. The first Golden Snitch Harry ever caught; in his mouth rather than in his hand. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, mentioned so many times throughout the books (Babbity Rabbity, no?). One must make a special mention of the animated tale of The Three Brothers as shown in the film. It is indeed something that the films were lacking. A certain Del Toro'ish touch to the whole thing.

Its safe to say that the franchise is finally ignoring the PG-13 cut and going the way the fans of the series would really want it to go. The first part leaves you in a rush, all geared up. Just when you think they're going to have the infiltration into Gringotts in this one itself we see Voldemort take possession of the Elder Wand. And there it leaves you hanging. It is an absolute pity than one has to wait for eight months for the conclusion.


Anushka said...

Very neatly reviewed. I need to watch this. Soon.
You know, I keep trashing the older movies and it's not because they're thaaaat bad but because they're pointless. Forget miscasting and leaving this out and leaving that out, they all made me feel, 'ok, so what?' Your review somehow makes this one feel Bigger than all the previous ones. Yippity.

Magically Bored said...

Ditto to what Anushka said. Good review, makes me want to watch the film. I've seen the first four, and after that I couldn't take much more of the franchise - found them really bad. But if this one is as good as you say it is, then I can't wait to go watch it. Blasted exams.

Xiamaze said...

"The Deluminator, from the very first page of the first book, the very first scene of the first film"

i said the exact same thing to you while watching it =)

"One must make a special mention of the animated tale of The Three Brothers as shown in the film. It is indeed something that the films were lacking"

and this- i completely agree.

i love this review.
i love all your reviews.
i loved the film. for once. at last.

Annesha said...

Ishhh. Ekhane toh release korechhe. But Tamil-e, and if it were any of the earlier ones, I would have most DEFINITELY watched it in Tamil. Not this one though. Sigh.
I need to travel to civilisation(i.e Chennai) to watch it now. This review really makes me want to :|

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

This is a wonderful blog, and a wonderful review. Can't wait to watch it. :)

Sambit said...

@Anushka,Brinda. It's actually true when I say they've finally got it right. And I've never really thought too much about the previous films. I dont mind them. They're fun to watch sometimes. But that's kind of the point. The moment you think of the books, poof.

@Rupsha. I actually quoted you :)

@Annesha. I'm finding it difficult to believe that there isn't a theatre running it in English where you are. Seriously, you're Nowhere.

@Shrabasti. Thank you :)

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