Film reflection: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

This is going to be a lot more confused than most of my other reviews, especially for someone who has neither seen the movie nor read the books.

In his “Bum Review” of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,” Doug Walker (a.k.a. “That Guy With The Glasses”) said “’Harry Potter’ was good, but dude, lighten up.” This assessment was exactly 50% correct.

If I were to to sum up all one-hundred-and-forty-seven minutes of this movie in fewer than twenty-five words, it would go like this:

angst, angst, filler, filler, teen drama, filler, melodrama, teen melodrama, filler, filler, angst, filler, filler, filler, filler, filler, melodrama, angst, whoops—movie over.

Now for those observations (spoiler, duh):

– Bill Nighy makes Rufus Scrimgeour look like a relic of the Rolling Stones, or maybe Monty Python.

– Hermione memory-zapping her parents: starting right off with the angst to set the tone for the rest of the movie.

– Voldemort’s little Council of Doom. I think I’ll call him and Bellatrix “No Hair” and “Awful Hair” respectively.

– No Hair is also probably the least scary-looking movie villain I think I have ever seen. Ever.

– Do you really have to bore me discussing the minutiae of Lucious Malfoy’s wand?

– Bill Weasley (whose face was disfigured in the book) appears to have suffered the same scar-reduction process as Doctor Saunders from Dollhouse. Too bad. A heavily scarred face might’ve given him a greater illusion of personality.

– The Death Eaters identify Harry via Hedwig this time? Makes more sense than that “signature spell” crap from the book.

– Do we really need a two-minute sequence of the nWo breaking into the Ministry via the bathrooms? Really? (Also, long lines of people walking into a bathroom, into the stalls, and not coming out again isn’t the least suspicious.)

Archancellor, er, I mean Minister Thicknesse makes a speech, promising to “restore this temple of tolerance” (paraphrased) when he and the Death Eaters take over the Ministry. I find it hilariously fitting to hear Rowling’s weak-tea liberal (“liberal” here used in the same sense as “Love Me, I’m A Liberal”) “tolerance” rhetoric in the mouth of a villain. I suppose it’s supposed to be ironic, but to me the irony is that it exposes how empty and vapid this “tolerance” discourse so often is.

– The actor playing the person Hermione’s impersonating looks chronically constipated. The one for Harry moves like an automaton and has a default facial expression of one mildly concussed—pretty damn good casting, actually.

– I thought the movie makers might decide the Epic Camping Sequence was beneath even them. I thought wrong. Very wrong. This is where a significant amount of the “filler” part comes in.

– Any time you’d like to have something happen, movie. Any time at all.

– Seriously, any time you’d care to have something happen.

– Ron is jealous of Harry and Hermione—God, this was annoying enough in the book.

– And now the scene where Ron has his momentary attack of sanity, and essentially tells Harry: “this is completely and totally stupid, the only hope we have is to be saved by authorial fiat” and storms off. Yeah, if you were expecting this movie’s plot to make any more sense than the books, I suggest you make an appointment to have your head examined.

– Wait, now Harry and Hermione are dancing? Where the feck did that come from? Now the movie’s generating its own brand new filler.

– Even the visit to Godric’s Hollow feels like filler. Even the snake fight feels like filler. That’s a really bad sign.

– The movie makers did change the whole snake-jumping-out-of-Bathilda’s-neck sequence—apparently, there were a couple things from the book too ridiculous for this movie. (Wonder what they’ll do with the Snape-killed-by-snake-in-giant-magic-hamster-wheel sequence for the next film.)

– Ron’s return and Harry’s dive for the sword, exactly as stupid as in the books. Though I suppose with the advantage for those who dig guys of Daniel Radcliffe stripping to his underwear.

– Speaking of fanservice, Naked (or at least Topless) Harry and Hermione making out in Voldemort’s vision-mist. I’m not sure whether to burst out laughing or cock my head to the side and assume a “say what?” expression.

– I’d thought the movie makers might find some way to condense the Tale of the Deathly Hallows to the essential points. I was mistaken. Though that video game CGI the story takes place in really is hilarious. I suppose at this point I should give the movie some slight props for not loading us down with any of the other fictional documents from the book to pad out its filler quota even further.

– At last, the nWo captured by the Snatchers; at last maybe something will happen now.

– In the book, Wormtail’s metal hand kills him after Harry reminds him about the whole “I saved your life” thing, ensuring the buildup in book 3 had absolutely no payoff whatsoever. Here, Dobby knocks Wormtail out, so maybe they’ll be some actual payoff in Movie 7 Part 2? Probably not, but I can hope.

– Cut to Dobby frantically unscrewing the chandelier and dropping it almost right on top of Awful Hair—easily the coolest moment in the movie; and it wasn’t all that cool.

Awful Hair: How dare you defy your master?
Dobby: Dobby has no master. Dobby is a free elf, and Dobby has come to save Harry Potter and his friends! [actual 4Kids Warner Brothers dialogue]

– You know, if Awful Hair had just thrown the knife into the center of Dobby’s teleportation mist or whatever-the-hell that was, it would’ve been cool. The drawn-out slow-mo and waiting around until the people had vanished and the knife should—had continuity not taken an extremely convenient coffee break—have passed right through it instead of vanishing along with it is just stupid.

– But yes, the knife does enter the transportation mist and gets lodged in Dobby’s chest. Dobby collapses into Harry’s arms

Harry: [insert generic exclamation of denial/grief here]
Dobby: But … at least it was a good speech was it not, Harry Potter?
Harry: Actually, no. It was pretty awful.
Dobby: Oh bugger. [*dies*]
Grand Admiral Thrawn: But it was so artistically done.
Harry: Dude, it totally wasn’t; it was probably the most ridiculous and stupid character death I think I’ve ever seen, and I’m friggin’ Harry Potter for Merlin’s sake.
Grand Admiral Thrawn: Yes, on second thought, I was wrong, it was shite.

– Seriously, was anyone even a little upset by the death of the two-scene non-wonder? I mean, I know they were, I’ve seen the comments but … really guys? Really?

– For the big finish, No Hair nicks the Elder Wand from Dumbeldore’s final resting place and goes all “I am the prince of all Sayans once again,” setting off an unimpressive green light show in the sky. I’m shivering in boots. What’s he going to do, sic his plastic surgeon on me?

In summation, there were a couple good jokes and decent bits (like the chandelier), but for the most part, it’s just one looooong string of nothing happening, punctuated by bouts of angst.