I could not resist. I've haven't posted in a while, because, frankly I haven't been to see any movies (I'm in the Czech Republic after all- half the time I'm too lazy to look up the theatres that play movies in English). However, I went to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter, and I believe that warrants a blog post. For those of you who have yet to see it, just wait until tomorrow to read this. Or if you've read the books read it anyway, since nothing that happens is really a secret.
First off, I just want to congratulate the makers of this final installment of the Harry Potter franchise for FINALLY GETTING THEIR SHIT TOGETHER. I don't know what they did, but this movie was superb. Not incredible, not wonderous or insightful or the best movie I've ever seen, but I was able to follow the plot without having read the book for three years. My biggest complaint about the other films is that they jump from scene to scene without ever filling in the details, and although there were minor things that were unexplained, the movie was a lot more fluid and connected than any of the others (aside from #1 and 2, but let's face it, 200 page books are more easily adapted than 700 page books), and the events seemed to flow. This was the best HP flick I've seen since #3, and it's because they actually tried to make a movie rather than do random scenes from Harry Potter.
One thing that surprised me about this film was how many laughs it got. In between the incredibly terrifying and creepy moments were genuinely comedic interactions between the three main characters, and it was a pretty consistent balance between serious and funny. On the flip side, the other thing I want to say is that I have never seen a Harry Potter movie this dark. It was epic. I was terrified out of my seat half the time, even the points where I knew what was going to happen. There was also no sparing you from the violence that occurred to various characters. It was like watching a murder mystery thriller/ horror movie.
My absolute favorite part about this movie, and I won't give too much away, is the creepily beautiful animation sequence explaining the story behind the three brothers. I don't know who Warner Brothers hired to do that, but it was incredibly well done. The monotoned yellowish colors contrasted with dark gray and black skeletal forms brought the perfect element that was needed in explaining the dark magic, and was far more artistic than any flashback I've seen in a Harry Potter movie. It was this creepy breath of air that allowed the rest of the story and the magic to sink in without being cheesy or overdone. I applaud Warner for this three minute sequence because it made the movie for me. It sort of brought a new kind of sophistication to Harry Potter and allowed the audiences to not be ashamed that they are adults at the midnight showing of an HP film.
My biggest qualm about this movie that is different from what I haven't liked about the others is that the stakes just didn't seem high enough half the time. I wasn't convinced that any of the characters were out to save the world. It just felt like they were running from Voldemort. Which I guess is true, but I just wasn't sure whether they were more invested in just solving some school mystery or stopping a mass murderer. There was something missing in the reasoning behind what was driving Harry to do anything in this film. I also would have liked to see more of what was happening at Hogwarts, but they might have just saved that for Part II.
Other than that, I was thoroughly impressed. Hopefully the final installment will only get better.
The Movie Mistress