Harry Potter 7, Part 1

Yes, I used my first day home from an exhausting trip to (1) pick up the cat at the vet; (2) do some laundry; (3) go see Deathly Hallows. I consider it a mark of maturity that I waited until today and didn’t leave the English teacher convention to catch HP 7:1 the day it came out.

I realize my opinion means nothing here. If you are a Harry fan, you will see the movie no matter what I say. If aren’t a Harry fan, you probably won’t see the movie no matter what I say. It’s okay. I can still be your friend even if you don’t heart Harry. I just can’t be your bff. I am somewhat excessive in my love for Harry. I, in fact, have plans to immediately read Deathly Hallows for the fourth or fifth time just so I don’t have to wait six months for the next installment of the film to experience the second half.

I liked this movie. It had a completely different feel from any of the other movies. It was short on action and long on emotional angst. That might not be everyone’s thing, but it worked for me.

As I’ve said with every movie since about the 4th, we’ve given up on making the films for people who don’t already know the story. The film versions are just visual follow ups to the books. They aren’t stand alone products. Maybe the first few are, but once we started getting into gargantuan lengths, putting the whole story on the screen in a way everyone would understand became a physical impossibility. That’s okay. We don’t need the whole story on the screen. Enough people have read the books that the market is enormous regardless.

The fans accepted this approach of creating a condensed version of the story that only fully makes sense if you’ve read the book for numbers 4, 5, and 6. If the fact that this one has already made in excess of $125 million is any indication, they are accepting it for this one too.

Where you have that many people gathered together prepared to love whatever they see, however, you also have a bevy of negative critics. I found this review on Huffington Post to be particularly bad, and I do mean bad in terms of a poorly done review. The movie is trashed by people who know nothing about the series.

This one reviewer in particular keeps going on and on about not understanding why a goblin makes a brief appearance in the film. He calls it bad film-making that he didn’t understand this. I call it bad film-watching. If he had been paying attention he would have heard Hermione mention that the Sword of Gryffindor was goblin made. He would have also heard Bellatrix ask the goblin how the sword could have disappeared from the vault. And if he had even so much as watched the first Harry Potter movie without reading any of the books, he would know that the goblins run Gringotts Bank.

He talked about this scene as if the goblin were a brand new character thrown in out of nowhere, but again, even if he’d only seen prior movies and not read any of the books, he would be familiar with the role of the goblins in the story. I really don’t think David Yates, in directing the 7th film in a series, was responsible for the ignorance of people who never bothered to pay attention to any of the previous 6 films.

These same reviewers go off on a tangent about how “young girls” like Harry Potter, claiming that the film wouldn’t “play well” to other audiences such as themselves. Tell that to the audience of middle aged men and women who were in the theater with me this afternoon.

Anyway, the reviews on Deathly Hallows are mixed, and I thought I’d learn something about why some of the critics seemed to experience such vehement hatred for it, but all I learned from the Cinefantastique Podcast was that the reviewers were too lazy to familiarize themselves with the story before watching the 7th film in a series.

That said, the slower-paced style of 7, Part 1 might put some people off, and we are definitely left hanging at the end, but we are well set up for 7, Part 2, and I, for one, am anxiously awaiting the summer 2011 release.

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