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MOVIE REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

The beginning of the end of this series

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Daniel Radcliffe as Harry in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
  • A scene from the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
  • Michael Gambon as Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
  • Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."
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As I see people camping outside the Mira Mesa Edwards Theater – I immediately think about the time I was meeting my girlfriend at Pat & Oscar’s in that same location a few years ago (because that’s where I take the ladies on a Friday night for dinner).

There were sleeping bags and people out front waiting for tickets for the latest Potter film. And the same situation is going on now. It makes me wonder what one of these folks would’ve given for my press screening ticket last week.

And you wondered why the last book in the series is being split into two films. Can you say: $$$.

This was a two and a half hour film and it felt long to me; full disclosure – I’m not so familiar with all the characters and I’m not a teenage nerd or 40-year-old virgin that’s fascinated by these characters.

That being said, I found the movie interesting enough. I certainly didn’t feel I wasted an evening watching it.

Since I’ve only seen the first two films (I found them to be okay, but more for kids than adults), I brought someone with me that has seen them all. He loved the first two but said they have gotten worse with each one. He agreed that this one was okay, but a bit on the dark side (no Pink Floyd reference intended, but don’t let that stop you from playing the first Harry Potter film with the Wish You Were Here album; it’ll put the Wizard of Oz/Dark Side comparison to shame).

The film meanders a bit in the third act, and I wondered as they sat in tents in a forrest – what preparation happened at the school that prepared these kids for this? I thought they were playing some broomball game in the sky and learning fun magic tricks. Now they’re on the verge of being killed, drowned in icy water, etc.

It seems a lot of this extraneous stuff could’ve been cut into an hour and a half, and been a great movie. I know a Beatles fan that feels the same way about the White album. He hates that some call it the best Beatles album, but he feels that if the weaker songs would’ve been kept off the record and it was just released as one record, it would’ve been the best.

I’m almost certain that the unclear narrative was only for folks like me who haven’t seen all the movies. And someone who has never seen one of the films probably shouldn’t start here.

I won’t mention the entire cast of talented British actors, but I will say that Helena Bonham Carter – who was the only thing I liked in Alice in Wonderland last year – was great in this. I’m convinced that any crazy character she plays in a movie I’ll love (there was a brief time I said that about Jennifer Jason Leigh, too).

I’m guessing the last Harry Potter movie, which is scheduled for release in July, is going to be great.

I’m giving this a C-.

I’m guessing fans of the series will give it a B+.