Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
I don't usually review movies anywhere, but as this is the most highly anticipated movie of the season on so many levels AND it's based on the final book of a hugely popular series; it just screamed for a review.
I won't say much about this, but I do think it's definitely one of the best in the movie franchise. It hits all the right notes when dealing with the fact that Harry, Ron, and Hermione, for the first time ever, are really, truly alone. There are no adults as back-up here. They have no one to help them or give advice, and the one person they trusted throughout the rest of the series is not only gone, but they are finding out that he was too human in many ways.
It's an absorbing film that drags you in. I'm glad I had re-read the series and the final book just before I saw the movie because it really helped me to understand what was going on and what was coming. I had thought I knew where the break would be between the first and second parts, but I was wrong. It went much farther than I thought, which means that there will be a LOT of fighting in long sequences in the final movie. It should be very good.
One thing to mention: this is NOT a movie for kids. Really. Truly. Not.
This movie is violent, crushingly sad at time, filled with deaths, and has long sequences where the wizards are on the run and just trying to figure out what they are going to do next. The film opens with Snape and, within the first five minutes, a witch, who has been tortured, is bleeding, and is begging for mercy, is murdered and then eaten by a giant snake. This is IN the book, but it's so much more disturbing on screen.
The one fault I find with this is that it's cramming in characters who had been ignored in previous films. Mundungus Fletcher, who was in both the fifth and sixth novels, but had never previously been in the movies, was suddenly in this one because he is essential to a plot point. Bill Weasley had been ignored since the fourth book, but he was suddenly here, being introduced and his scars explained in a couple of throwaway lines. In a franchise that had otherwise been very well planned, these sudden corrections stood out. I remember reading that Rowling had had to work hard to keep Dobby in the second movie, because the screenwriter and director wanted to cut him for time. If they had succeeded, this film would not have. I wish they'd been able to do the same for other characters who just popped up all of a sudden.
In the end, though, this is a great film, and well worth watching. I can't wait to see the finale. It should be completely amazing and awesome, especially if they DON'T succeed in transferring it to 3D. Those 2D to 3D transfers have never worked in the past (see: The Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans), so ruining the last episode of the franchise on bad coloring and lighting because of horrid transfers would be a shame.
Can't wait until July 15, 2011!