Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (David Yates)

Harry, Hermione and a Horcrux.

It's easy to say that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" pumped you up for the final Potter film. But aside from that plain rave about the film (I honestly think that saying that this merely 'pumped' you up for the next one undermines this film's true worth as a pure film on its own), this one's also a well-conceived exercise in atmosphere building. True to the inevitability of its transition of tone, it's given that "Half-Blood Prince" fully paved way for the immense darkness that has since fully set in into the whole magical saga. But this first-half adaptation film really makes the previous installment seem like an exuberant daisy farm.

With "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" indulging its key story into such themes as death, emotional degradation and desire, one can easily suffice that this one's a true departure of what the film series used to be. But again, unearthing these dark undertones and integrating them into the mythos of Harry Potter purely enhanced the potential of what the series can really be.

The film opened with a stark dramatic introduction into the emotional and decisive conflict of Potter and his friends, looking at windows and uttering 'Obliviate' spells as they try to meditate on their final adventure where both Hogwarts and the world's fate lie. Through this and a cunning initial action sequence (that has brought magical carnage into the city outskirts), it's easy to see that this film won't be hesitant anymore in its displays of negative emotions and suspenseful chaos.

Then the film suddenly transports its heroes' quest into the Ministry of Magic itself that seems like a fantastical remodeling of the bureaucratic, uber-cyclical world of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" (with a Graham Chapman look-alike as Ron Weasley's disguise). Two introductory scenes of pure adventures wrapped in dark intents and intrigues. These types of moments, no matter how bordering craziness some scenes may look like, truly conforms with the wondrous tradition of the Potter lore. But hinting at shades of blackness and blue, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" is much grittier in its collection of episodic tasks and missions and are ultimately more satisfactory in their respective in-between catches of breath.

But this time, there's no dragon-riding suspense or broomstick-riding, flying keys-fighting excitement just for the sake of it and how the word 'fantasy' relate with the name Harry Potter just like how the term 'adventure' connects with Indiana Jones. This time, there's much more at stake.

Among the other films in the series, this film is the most mature in its exploration of the Potter-Granger-Weasley friendship dynamics and marks David Yates' pure ease and proper form as a "Harry Potter" film director. Its only minor flaw, though, is the eponymous Deathly Hallows' improper narrative positioning within the duration of the film and how it was actually tackled. For 2 and a half hours, the film has gotten itself from the most dangerous of perils and into the most bitter of jealousies yet the very titular 'Deathly Hallows' were only imposed into proper exposition in the last 20 minutes or so of the film. Although the very retelling of the "Canterbury Tales-like" story of the Deathly Hallows legend is thoroughly overdue, it was visually told in a style that has likely to have merged Indonesian 'Wayang Kulit' puppetry with atmospheric CGI animation that bursts of great imagination.

Now, if 'hyped' is the only thing that you've felt after watching "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1", then the film has failed to inculcate its whole power unto you. For me, I'll describe it as a very 'powerful prelude that can wholly stand alone'. But of course, speaking of the anticipation regarding part 2, I was also truly pumped, alright.


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