Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1

Oh so pretty! No, I'm not talking about Miss Watson, you pervert. On which note, what's up with that? On the pale, vacant English rose stakes, she's no Keira...

But we're off topic, the topic being OH SO PRETTY! Every location, every set, had this crisp sumptuousness about it. Harry Potter brings New Zealand's Lord of the Rings back home. It's not out of this world, it's this world, slightly out. Rowling's fantasy takes drab Britain and pushes the quaint, the eccentric, the scary and surprising to the fore, making the world familiar-but-not, strange but recognizable, delightfully weird. This film, even more than the three before it, gets that aesthetic effectively onto the screen.

Well shot too. The opening extreme close up is a stunner. Voldermort and Harry's 300mph air battle is another. Watch out for the snake, another stunner. The long animated sequence telling the story of the Deathly Hallows, another. In fact, almost every frame is gorgeous. I was in a state of constant stimulation all the way through.

Even tho Daniel Radcliffe is in it! It's pretty churlish, being mean about Mr Radcliffe. But honestly, there really isn't enough charisma there. My buddy Aitch concurs. And in a story where the relationship between these three friends is front and centre, Radcliffe's (lack of) presence leaves a huge hole. To be sure, the others don't get top marks either. Hermione's strop just doesn't convince (flipping HIT RON PROPERLY!). Watson is great at the snide and the troubled, but there's not enough love in between. Grint is better, but even he can't get the soppy speech about lights and hearts off the ground. If I were directing, I would have got all method on them -- getting the three to really go camping together for a month. ACTUALLY become friends. So that on screen, we can see those invisible bonds of affection that is such an enormous part of what Harry Potter is about.

I evaluate Harry Potter movies according to how many scenes make me wince. Deathly Hallows Part 1 only has one, which doesn't irritate so much as bewilder. Harry and Hermione's dancing was an interesting idea, but ultimately the experiment fails because it cannot replace what the film really needed -- a convincing portrayal of genuine friendship. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do, particularly if you have to be moody and silent all the time. Nonetheless, it's not there, and so (no matter how beautiful it is) the film leaves your emotions unbruised.

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