Harry Potter universe, after seven books is arguably convoluted. Trying to keep up with sublplots, characters and all from the book is already a daunting task. Cross that with films that span for nearly ten years and to keep up with actors and faces to associate with a particular character, had made me given up in remembering who was who in the Potter-verse film version. I had to re-read the book and open a cheat-sheet from hp-lexicon.org afterward before I went to this film and even that still got me scrambling. I guess it tells that I’m not a Harry Potter die-hard fan. Even so, I liked the film and it is probably the best in the series. It’s bleak atmosphere, a brooding theme that bordering to desperation, its more than your average actors (heck, I was impressed with Bill Nighy even if he is only had seconds of screen time) are more than enough to warrant this film a solid three stars and I was pleasantly surprised during one of the action scene. Niftly choreographed.
I cannot, for the love of me, to pretend that I hadn’t read the book and just recently, at that. Therefore, I really couldn’t positioned myself as an Outsider, looking in. I was there, inside, which got me I bit biased for I’m enjoying every least bit of it.
The film picked-up from what had happened at the end of the previous film. Dumbledore is dead, Voldermort is stronger and ascending the power throne, and our three heroes, with allies and friends, are left to recuperate and find a way to beat the Dark Lord.
I loved how the film started. Decidedly different from the book, it has all the excitement and prepping up from there. From a close-up of Bill Nighy’s eyes to Emma Watson’s signs of burden when she casts her first spell in the film, it was foretelling the doom that lies ahead. And the quiet, almost chilling atmosphere had forced me to recall where I had put my jacket (it was at home. I didn’t bring my jacket). In overall, the film was properly constructed, alternating between thrilling and amusing with a properly placed humor here and there but the atmosphere was bleak, gloom, grey and almost depressing. It’s lovely how the film translates the trio’s adventure and camping in the wood into something artful, meaningful and showcased the young actors’ potential in the acting department. Heck, even Daniel Radcliffe is improving a lot here.
I hope it is already no secret that the final book will be divided into two films. Doubtless, Warner Bros. wanted to doubled its take from the final of this successful franchise (besides, Warner Bros. wouldn’t dare to make another sequel after this film’s part two lest they’d be stormed by millions rabid fans) but the film, even if it can’t stand on its own, almost as good as The Two Towers in whetting our appetite for the grand finale next year. Almost, but not quite. All in all, I considered this to be an appetizer and my oh my, I am ravenous for the main course meal.
On a final note, I had an impression that on average, British actors are far more capable in acting than their trans-Atlantic brethren. Bill Nighy appears only seconds but he nailed that scene he was in. Alan Rickman also had a few screen times, but he’s been doing what he did best in all the previous Harry Potter films. Being amazing. Helena Bonham Carter is a lunatic, and I can’t see anyone who would fit Bellatrix’ shoes as well as she did. Even the I-can’t-put-a-name-to-that-face actors weren’t make me squeamish in boredom and that says something. And of course, the obligatory redux, “Heck, even Daniel Radcliffe is improving a lot here.”
My rating: *** / **** – Perfect appetizer. Aptly constructed, deftly paced, solidly acted. I am especially in love with Emma Watson. This film is her turns to shine as she moved from one facet to another. Plus, she is gorgeous and that alone had enough to made me braze through the rain for a ticket. I may have to revisit and adjust the rating based on the Part II next year.