Sunday, November 28, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1

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Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermoine (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), as well as the good-guy members of the Order of the Phoenix, are on the run, with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters in hot pursuit. Our heroic trio sets out to locate and destroy the Dark Lord’s four horcruxes, hidden vessels containing pieces of his soul, before the entire world becomes “a wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

Essentially an epilogue to “Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” when stuff really goes down, “Part 1” drags a bit, while suffering from the sort of middling middle film feel that comes from the story’s most important events happening before and after those depicted onscreen. Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 Online FreeStill, the movie achieves its primary tasks: building anticipation for what’s sure to be a slam-bang finale and finally winding down a venture that’s past its sell-by date.

Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 Online Free Moments of levity are few and far between too. Gone (mostly) is Ron’s goofy facial mugging and the sometimes-embarrassing diversions into the world of adolescent romance. In their place is a more apocalyptic, melancholic mood, especially in the film’s second half, when Harry, Ron and Hermione find themselves alone in a world that seems intent on destroying them. When Christmas takes place in a cemetery and Harry’s only moment of respite comes from an impromptu dance with Hermione to a Nick Cave song, you know things aren’t looking good.

Before the film goes all Children of Men, though, they go a bit Brazil with an extended and quite marvellous diversion to the Ministry of Magic – a wonderfully nightmarish bureaucratic hellhole of Terry Gilliam-esque proportions. It’s here, under Voldemort’s fascistic rule, that the business of purifying the magical bloodline can begin by weeding out half-breeds and disseminating hateful propaganda, something that enables all sorts of political subtexts to be projected onto the film. Mercifully it’s also the backdrop for great spot of derring-do from Harry and co, as well as being a suitably malevolent locale for properly introducing Peter Mullan’s deliciously menacing Death Eater, Yaxley, to the series.

Not that Mullan is given much screen time. This time the action is focused almost exclusively on Harry, Hermione and Ron as they embark on a quest that takes them far away from Hogwarts. Sadly, it’s also here that the weaknesses in the film become apparent. Details of said quest introduce a dizzying array of references that require an intimate knowledge of Potter lore to decode, something that slows the film down too much and ironically ensures the final act feels a little rushed. Indeed it’s hard to escape the feeling that such pacing might work better when the film is eventually able to be seen as part of a double-bill. Still, if its total success can only be properly measured upon arrival of the conclusion in July, the fact that Part 1 makes that worth waiting for should be taken as some kind of victory. Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 Online Free

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