Film Review: HP7.1

The opening line, read by Bill Knighty’s character of Rufus Scrimgeour, reminds us that there are dark times ahead. The film is certainly very dark, and a contrast to the first film, the Philosophers’ Stone from 2001. Of course, both the actors and the audience have grown up since then, so you’d expect the films to evolve over time.

So while the film is very different to the first film, there are still a couple of amusing scenes. One is when Harry leaves Privet Drive; 12 Daniel Radcliffes appearing on screen is an interesting idea… especially when Mad-Eye Moody called Harry’s name and 12 of them reply!

But has splitting the book in to two films worked? In my opinion, yes. Its meant that massive chunks are not missed out, as has been done in some of the previous films.

We still see Voldemort and the Death Eaters planning Harry’s death; we still see Harry, Ron and Hermionie on the run (including the scene involving Gryffindor’s sword); we still see  Godrick’s Hollow with Bathilda Bagshot; and we still see the three visiting X Lovegood’s house where they are told about the Deathly Hallows. And there are of course many more scenes.

Would these important scenes be covered in as much detail if the film had to fit in the whole book? I don’t think so. Certainly, it wouldn’t have worked as well had the whole book been squeezed in to one film.

I’m not saying that bit haven’t been missed out. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that during Harry’s escape to the safe house, he isn’t given away by his owl, Hedwig, trying to save him, but by casting “Expeliarmus” (which in the book, seems to be Harry’s signature spell); Stan Sunpike is the one who recognises Harry during this escape in the book, and he does not appear in the film.

I think the only really important thing that’s been missed out from the film, is that when on the run, Harry, Ron and Hermionie had taken a painting from Grimmauld Place which contained a photo of Phineas Black, who, as a former head of Hogwarts, has a portrait in the Headmaster’s office, which the three use to keep an eye on Snape.

The ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger… but then, what do you expect from a film which only shows half of a book!?? HP7.2 comes out in July 2011. I expect part HP7.2 will be even better; in an interview on Radio 2’s Steve Wright In the Afternoon last week, the 3 main characters all said that there’ll be lots of deaths in the next film.

To sum up, a very good film. I preferred it to the Half-Blood Prince, because there were very obviously bits missed out of that, where as here, this wasn’t done in the same way (as the Telegraph’s review puts it, it could be argued that they’ve tried to put too much in to the film. Personally, I disagree with this).

I’d give this film an 8 out of 10.

Notes

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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