Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I review "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 1" pt1

            Last fall the 7th movie in the highest grossing film franchise of all time came out, that movie was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1".  I didn't like the movie.  So I figured I would give a list of reasons why I dislike it, and maybe give a big reason why I dislike the Harry Potter universe as a whole.  But first, the good parts.

            I like the magical junk that pops up from time to time, like the fancy flashlight, and the tent and bag that are tesseracts, and maybe best of all... Wait, that was all the new gadgets.  Huh, bit of a let down.  I mean we've had plants that allow you to breath underwater and a map that shows where everyone in the building is all at once, and a mirror that shows your hearts desire.  But for the first half of the last installment we get two things (I'm counting the bag and tent together)?  That is kinda weak... Stay positive this is the good list.

            I also really like the animated portion of the movie, done in what looks to be stop motion it is a really cool looking part of the movie, and shows that perhaps this series should have just been animated to begin with rather than relying on child actors whose acting varies wildly in quality sometimes.  Thing is, the story made no sense, why was death offended by the wizards using magic to cross a river?  If a muggle mason had built a bridge would death have given him a cloak of invisibility?  I doubt it... Positive.  POSITIVE!

Anybody else frustrated that the most visually stimulating part of the film has none of the cast in it, and does not in any way advance the plot?

            The best thing in the movie I would wager is this: reverse witch trials.  The idea of taking people away and giving them a show trial before... Ethnically cleansing them?  What does happen to them?  Whatever, the idea is very cool and calls back to the Salem witch trials, HUAC, and most important modern anti-terrorism trials.  It is more clever, insightful, and apt than all the other movies put together.  It's in screen about 5 minutes, is poorly explained, poorly showcased, and is almost ignored compared to them hunting the fucking MacGuffin hanging around the neck of the judge (a character that is practically a fucking cameo)... You know what?  That is all the positive I had, so let me just hunker down and start conjuring up from the back of my phlegm choked sinuses some yellow-green goo to spit at this let down of a movie... And I can already tell this is going to be a multi part rant as this list I've got is freaking huge.

Umbridge, and excellent villains who has more personality than the rest of the bad guys put together.  What is more?  She actually doing evil things while wearing bright pink.  Her five minutes are better than all of Malfoy's scenes.

            Let's start off with something big that will get me some hate from fans of this mess: Bellatrix.  I have no real problem with the actress, Helena Bonham Carter, I have a little bit of a problem with the character, and a lot of problem with how she is used.  Here is a question, how does 'raging psychopath' translate into 'Slytherin'?  As far as I can tell, Slytherin is about having ambition, cunning, a streak of ruthlessness, and maybe an air of superiority dependent on how hard you lean on the 'pureblood' part of the equation.  How does Bellatrix embody any of this?  Moving past that, why does Malfoy let her in his house?  Lord V, sure, he's a snake-lich monster, but he is also the wizard equivalent of Magneto, you let him in cause he is the boss.  But Bellatrix seems like the type to get blood on the carpets.  She is a loose canon, I imagine that half her kills stem from boredom and a good number are friendly fire casualties, so why in the world is she sitting in on the planning meetings?  Just cut her loose.  Don't give her authority, just point her at your foe, and hope she kills a lot of them before one of them has the good sense to knock her dead.  You don't want her around in the peace time, rebellions will incite just to get rid of her.

Also, she is stone stupid.  Like, really, really stupid.

            Dobby.  Or as I like to call him, "The Jar Jar Binks of Harry Potter".  The single most annoying and dumb... and I mean dumb with a capital backwards 'B' character in the entire franchise.  His entire presence could have been cut with a handful of lines and the movie would have been faster and smarter for the effort.  And the thing that really irks me: he gets a mournful on camera funeral.  FUCK'N 'A' MAN!  Mad Eye Moody didn't get an on screen death!  Which is my next point.

There is not one moment this character exists in which I am not annoyed by his presence.  He is also stupid.  And worst of all, is given way too much heroic stunts in the last 5% of the movie, making the central cast look even more inept.

            Mad Eye, Snape, Luna, Lupin, Neville, and the rest of the great characters who are little more than cameos.  I know that there is a limit on how many characters you can have on screen, how much time can be spent with each, and that not everyone has a great deal of importance at this point in the story, but here is the thing, if a character is there just so fans of the book can get a nerd boner by remembering how that character happened to be in the same scene in the book, then that is a bad scene and a disservice to the character, especially when there are lots of crappy minor characters that could get cut to make room for these established and interesting entities.  Who the hell was that thief guy who hasn't been in any previous movie and was in a total of two scenes in this movie, who could have easily been subbed out with a more likable supporting role?  You know what?  Don't answer, I don't care, because you are already gearing up to tell me, "You should read the books, they are soooooo awesome in the books."  I don't want to read the books, I want to watch a good movie, and if a character can't be fully developed in a movie, then cut them and give more time and responsibility to another character.  The "Lord of the Rings" movies cut characters by the bus load for the sake of time and pacing, and those movies kick ass.  Which brings me to another point.

I am choosing not to put up a picture of Mad Eye, if the producers of the movie don't respect the character enough to, then I won't bother either.  Instead here is my favorite character from the movies, Luna, who gets even less time than Mad Eye in this movie.

            Pacing is totally fucked in this movie.  " Oh, this looks like a good spot to camp and be morose while plotting our next move."  Here is an idea: Get on WITH IT!  I know, and yet still do not care about the internal struggle that the stupid horcrux is causing Ron.  The actors aren't good enough to handle a subtle progression of mood and tension, and their collective inability to execute a plan of action when faced with a ticking clock that is driving them insane shows them to be very inept heroes.  What happened to the characters who played murderous chess to find a damn mirror in the first one?  Or who faced off against giant spiders and snakes?  Why are they just sitting around?  DO SOMETHING!

Hope this picture looks entertaining, cause this is a good representation of 40% of the film.

            Let me take a left turn to focus on some more nit picky complaints.  Why are all the villains in black like it is a uniform?  There is very little variation between their looks, and it comes of as lazy costume design; if they were trying to make them easy to identify as bad guys, that is lazy too, have them act and do evil, dressing evil is not interesting, it just makes the movie's coloring bland, and once again, the bright and colorful world of Hogwarts is sorely missed in these instances.

Umbridge is the only bad guy not wearing black.  BOOOORIIIING.

            Okay, time for a break, I'll continue this tomorrow, which is fine cause I have to go set up camp and talk about nothing for way too long.  I'd tell you about it in excruciating detail but I understand how boring listening to someone brood in a tent can be, so I'll let you off the hook in this instance.

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