Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

The Nominations:

  • Art Direction
  • Visual Effects

The Black-and-White:

A review by spacedcowboy

The latest installment of the Potter franchise is mostly faithful to the book. As such we are told (and I believe) 784 pages of wizardry could not be compressed into a single film. Part One takes us to the death of Dobby and Valdemort securing the Elder Wand.

Plot synopsis from imdb.com:

Voldemort’s power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore’s work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned. 

First of all, to the nominations: securing nods for Art Direction and Visual Effects can not be a surprise to anyone.

While I think the other elements of the film have many strengths, it is almost impossible not to acknowledge how completely this alternative world was created, thanks in large part due to the visual effects. With flying motorcycles, death eaters, wizard battles and the like, this film creates an  alternate reality that is compelling, believable and easy to embrace. I can’t point to a moment where I didn’t full engage this world of muggles and non-muggles alike.

In this category, however, HP faces stiff competition from somewhat traditional, solid fare from Iron Man 2, as well as efforts that stretched the boundaries in Alice in Wonderland and Inception. Will HP prevail? Not a tragedy if it does, yet my money lies with Inception, which used the effects as an active plot device to take us deeper, and deeper, and deeper, until we didn’t know where we were.

For Art Direction HP finds itself again against Inception, Alice in Wonderland, and also against The Kings Speech and True Grit. I think all are eminently worthy entries, with a slight lean towards the more fully live action films. Not that HP doesn’t deserve to win, but I think The Kings Speech will out in the end, if only because it used fewer effects devices to create the final spectacle.

As to the rest of the film, I will say it continues a tradition of very, very capably acted, directed, scripted, sounded and produced movies in the Potter series. All of the enthralled readers, and all of those happy movie viewers can’t be completely wrong, right? Right. It’s an admirable franchise and the latest entry holds its own among those who have come before.

The film does stumble, slightly, away from the innocent joys that pervaded the previous films, especially the early entries. Part One of the Deathly Hallows does not present much comic relief. However, this reflects faithfully the mood of the final book; in a masterful wrap-up Rowling, ties-up as many loose ends as she possibly can, and sets the stage for the ultimate showdown. The movie, like the book, takes us along the journey of the characters as they travel uncertainly to their inevitable fates. It isn’t always an easy journey – for them or for us – but still it is one with an arc, and is created so that we continue to care for our heroes, rooting for our faithful Gryffindors.

Bottom-line: Bravo to the film and to this series. An uphill battle awaits to secure the Oscar for Visual Effects and Art Direction, yet consideration among the other nominated films is most deserved.

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One Response to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

  1. […] review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One ! Good movie. Tough competition in the nominated […]

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