Nov. 24, 2010 - Issue #788 : Wool On Wolves
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
The first half of the seventh franchise installment a stagnating set-up
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, full of wide-eyed sternness), Hermione (Emma Watson, full of brow-furrowed concern) and Ron (Rupert Grint, full of stirred-but-not-shaken resolution) are on the run for most of the film, searching for magic Horcruxes to destroy before the boy-wizard's showdown with newt-faced Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, full of wasted talent). The infection of the Deadly Hollows spreads from gloomy Muggle streets to death-eater-crashed wedding to cramped rowhouse to overcast moor. The British Isles—except, magically, a stretch of sunswept Scottish Highlands—seem to be under a spell of awfully grim weather while flooded by a constantly burbling score.
This pathetic fallacy (speaking of phalluses, I won't dwell on the merely "10-inch wand" Harry gets after his special wand's broken or the odd vision Ron has of silvery, nude Harry and Hermione when facing his deepest fear) isn't grounded in any emotional complexity down on earth. The trio's adolescent feelings are reduced to a few kisses, flashes of anger and more merry old questing.
At times—spacey Luna, a slitheringly spooky second-floor snake attack, the Fagin-like Mundungus Fletcher—this lumbering spectacle lurches to colourful life. The best sequence comes with the trio's infiltration of the Ministry of Magic, through their perplexed impersonation of civil servants, when they flush themselves down into another daily grind. The potential here's for a quaint old England (radio, newspapers, grille-doored elevators, steam trains, cottages), with Dickensian characters, to rub its patchily eccentric shoulders up against bursts of modern magic and flashes of the supernatural. Instead, colourful characters and genuine danger get snuffed out by car chases and foot chases, instant teleportation, waiting (unbroken by nuanced acting, dialogue or humour), telegraphed plot twists and a shrugging body count (five kills and piling or, to quote a non-Beedle bard, "O death, where is thy sting?").
There's so much glumness and lethargy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, a new character—call him Excelsior Lugubrious—emerges from the mega-budget, moody mist, threatening to slay Death himself with Sleep.
Opens 19 November 2010
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves (screenplay), J.K. Rowling (novel)
Featuring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy