The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ is mediocre, not awful

The Harry Potter film series has been a bit of an anomaly in the film world since its first release in 2001 with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Nine years and five more films later, the common consensus among critics is that the series can be summed up with a shrug of the shoulders and a resounding “meh.” On the other hand, the movie series has grossed over $5 billion, so take that how you will.

In the end, the movies have been good for what they are, taking a popular book series and translating them to the big screen, competently enough that its fan base doesn’t try to blow up Warner Bros.’ corporate offices.

In the continuing adventures of “Harry Potter and the pivotal plot device,” director David Yates brings the series to a close with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” the first chapter in the two-part adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s 7th book. Will this film finally be able to rise out of the trenches of mediocrity that has pl0.agued the other movies in the series? In short, not really, but the film didn’t make me want to gouge out my eyes either.

One of the real problems I had with this movie is its reliance on the actors to properly emote the anger, angst and hopelessness the characters are supposed to be feeling at the time. 

These moments usually fall flat, not because the acting is bad, but because the moments run on for too long. You can only show one angle of Harry “savior complex” Potter brooding at the camera for so long before it looks stupid and you start glancing at your watch. 

In every one of these instances I waited for the characters to say something insightful or let off a quick quip to end the scene. What I got instead was almost a “deer-in-headlights” effect. It’s like the actors were teleported to a Broadway stage, they called for their next line and it never came.  The technique was distracting, and I found myself thinking, “What are you waiting for? End scene already.”

Ultimately, many of my complaints come from choices made by the director. Like with other films in the series, a lot of plot points are not thoroughly explained, due to the time constraints of adapting a book for the silver screen.

For instance, the story of Regulus Black and his relation to Voldemort are quickly glossed over. On the other hand, audiences get a five-minute montage of different images of the countryside as Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the run from Voldemort’s “snatchers.”

While these vistas would probably make great background images for a corporate PowerPoint explaining the virtues of avoiding sexual harassment lawsuits, this isn’t “Sexual Harassment and You” so it comes off as nothing more than, “Hey they went to a place with a river. Now they’re in a place with lots of trees. Hey look, now they’re in a place with snow. Oh, there’s another river.”

These things do not work in the context of a film. What does work, however, works very well. The action sequences are thoroughly exciting and the special effects are used tastefully. 

While the battles between Harry and friends and the forces of evil could easily devolve into a maelstrom of sparks and whooshes akin to an overactive gun fight with fireworks, neon-spell effects are kept to a minimum and instead are replaced with small controlled explosions where missed spells hit. It’s less “Star Wars” and more “Indiana Jones,” if you’re looking for a comparative shortcut.

The acting of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, playing our three-main characters, is adequate and has remained consistent throughout the series. If you were fans before, their performances won’t disappoint you this time. 

Now that he is actually alive and not some corporeal ghost thingy, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is also well done, although I became distracted by the increasingly prevalent series of veins that seemed to appear on his head as the film went on, and his oddly bulgey brain pan. While my first thought was that he should see a urologist because his blood vessels appeared inflamed, Scrotumort’s screen time is thankfully kept to a minimum.

All in all, it’s hard to be too angry at “Deathly Hallows.” It managed to take a world that previously existed on the pages of a book and turn it into a fully-realized world on the brink of destruction. Because of that feat, the consistently-solid acting, impressive special effects and Emma Watson’s increasing attractiveness, the film is a success and a must-see for any Potter fan.


Contact Troy Patton at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Troy Patton
Troy Patton, Arts & Features Editor
Arts and features editor, spring 2013.

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‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ is mediocre, not awful