Harry Potter – The Deathly Hallows Part 1

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I’ve read the books, and I’ve enjoyed the movies, despite the necessary abbreviation of the plots .  The Harry Potter series will never challenge The Lord of the Rings for translating literary fantasy into screenplays, but they’ve been decent overall.

I’ll review this movie in two ways:

1) Visually:

The latest chapter to me, can be summed up with the below picture:

Yep, that’s Harrison Ford captured back when he was still relevant to popular culture.  Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back (were the later movies really worthy of being listed as episodes 1-3?) was a great movie, wasn’t it?  We tackled Imperial Walkers, met Yoda and Boba Fett (before he was unnecessarily edited into the revised Episode 4 years later), flew through the cloud city above Bespin, found out that you’re born into a family rather than choosing them… wait, I’m reviewing the wrong movie! 

But you know the story…  It picks up not too far later than the original Star Wars movie, then moves forward with a straightforward narrative that keeps us engaged because the Dark Lord of the Sith was last seen spinning through imagespace in his Tie Fighter – Advanced x1. And, at the end, Han Solo gets the ice treatment.  The result? We, the audience, are also put on ice until the next episode arrives.

Now, see the similarity to HP-DHP1

The Empire has stricken back.  Good guys are dying.   And like the Jedi, there’s precious few of them.  Bad guys hold positions of authority.  And worse, Darth Vader just gained the upper wand.  There’s no corbomite, but we’re just as much on ice at the “conclusion.”  Don’t you hate it when a movie doesn’t have a clear ending? 

Fear not, because below I’ve included a sneak peak from the final chapter where Hermoine has managed to gain the trust of “he who should not be named.”

2) Musically:

Look around the theater before the movie starts.  After all these years of Harry Potter was first introduced in 1997, it’s conspicuous that there are no longer any small children in the audience

Those children who were began this saga are now young adults.  That little girl enjoying The Chamber of Secrets is now a freshman at Ga Tech.   LIkewise, the actors have grown.  Long gone are the “gee whiz” discoveries about magic and and coming of age in the wizarding world.  It’s a dark and challenging time, when Harry’s heroes are being killed and friendships are few and tested.

When hiding from the evil powers that be and without a clear direction about what they should do, Harry and Hermoine draw strength from each with a dance, carving a single carefree moment.  It’s not a pivotal scene, but it reflects a tension that defines this chapter in the saga.  They’re adults, and the weight of the world has fallen on them.  Now, how do you put music to that?

Curiously, and very successfully, the director chose Nick Cave, an artist who tends to strike dark, gothic tones with lyrics about sin, death, violence and salvation, yet also about love.  His repertoire sings to an adult audience.  The song chosen for this scene is “O’Children,” written in 2004, which captures perfectly the mood of the moment… and this difficult chapter in the series.

"O Children" – by Nick Cave

Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darting one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don't even want to let them start

They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They're mopping up the butcher's floor
Of your broken little hearts

O children

Forgive us now for what we've done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They're gathering round with all my friends
We're older now, the light is dim
And you are only just beginning

O children

We have the answer to all your fears
It's short, it's simple, it's crystal dear
It's round about, it's somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings

O children

Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

The cleaners have done their job on you
They're hip to it, man, they're in the groove
They've hosed you down, you're good as new
They're lining up to inspect you

O children

Poor old Jim's white as a ghost
He's found the answer that was lost
We're all weeping now, weeping because
There ain't nothing we can do to protect you

O children

Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
And the train ain't even left the station

Hey, little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now
I see Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?

Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I'm free
I'm hanging in there, don't you see
In this process of elimination

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
It's beyond my wildest expectation

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We're happy, Ma, we're having fun
And the train ain't even left the station

Okay, but what does it sound like?

4 of 5 STARS

2 comments :

  1. I completely disagree with you i think that the harry potter movies are may better than the lord of the ringd and all other fiction movies/books because you can actually relate to these characters in real life. They are like real people.

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  2. Thanks for posting!

    Actually, we can agree. My comment about Lord of the Rings is that it's much more successful in capturing the details of the book and telling a story that is easily followed, even for someone who hasn't read the books.

    Harry Potter - not so easy. On the other hand, I do agree that the relationships are much more human and accessible to the audience. Despite the Frodo/Sam and the Strider/Legolas/Gimli affections, the trio in HP are much more engaging.

    I do like this HP movie very much - it just leaves unfinished business, which was the point of the Han Solo picture.

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