Real World Magic
image from cbc.ca
RANT: Actually went to the theater on opening night for a change. What? Are you serious? Because the backlog of films to be watched in building, I actually had to try and get ahead of it if I could. Now I know why I go to the matinee. The theater was filled with 14 year old kids trying to save 5 extra seats for their friends, constantly calling and texting to see where their missing comrades were, constantly sending one or two out to see if anyone showed up to the box office. And even though they did not shut up during the previews (poor form), they actually sat quietly, or as quietly as 14 year olds can be throughout the film.
SYNOPSIS: Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley race against time as they try to find and destroy the Horcruxes that contain pieces of Lord Voldemort soul, learning along the way that there exists a powerful trinity of magical items - the Deathly Hallows.
David Yates, the director of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" returns with part one of the last installment of J.K Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" with a screenplay by the film series scribe, Steve Kloves. This film focuses mostly on Harry, Ron and Hermione, playing out like a road trip movie. But there are other influences as well.
Inside the Ministry of Magic, as the hero trio attempt to find and recover the third Horcrux that contains a fragment of Lord Voldemort's soul, the scenery and pace is reminiscent of Orwell's "1984" or Lucas' "THX 1138". Big Brother is watching and the oppressed magical masses shuffle along, heads down and eyes averted, fearful of being singled out, buying into the ministry machine now spouting out muggle mudblood propaganda. Later, as Ron, Hermione and Harry, hide out in the wilderness trying to destroy the Horcrux in their possession, the visual style changes into something more raw and wild, the colors washing out into gray autumn and winter.
Remembering back to the first four films, I hearken back to a simpler, more naive mystical world of wonderment. But as we all grow up, so also is the magic stripping away and the harshness of reality seeping in. With the death of Dumbledore at the end of the "Half-Blood Prince", any glowing glamour of innocence is gone. These school kids have grown up and are meeting maturity as most children shouldn't be expected to. They face hard times with harsh decisions and difficult decisions.
Although some critics have panned this entry of the series as a teaser for part 2, I enjoyed the film. And, of course, this IS a teaser for the second half of "Deathly Hallows". But that's like saying that "LOTR" Fellowship of the Ring" was a teaser for the second and third installments of that franchise. There is a lot of story to be told in Harry Potter's final year, and at 2 hours 27 minutes for part 1, there is plenty to see.
Worth: Matinee and DVD
I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!