HP7: IT’S A LONG WAY FROM HOGWARTS
The penultimate installment of the mega-blockbusting franchise Harry Potter emphasises the pain of love, loss and danger. This dark, forboding episode is integral to the entire story: fans will go wild about Harry.
Here’s what the front of the ticket to the London Press Premiere looked like:
And below is the back. These tickets make great bookmarks.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (aka HP7) will keep fans gasping and on the edge of their seats. The lengthy two parter’s edgy, challenging tone proves that Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has come a long way from Hogwarts. Harry’s hunted down with more intensity than ever by Lord Voldemort (the noseless Ralph Fiennes) who must the young wizard before Harry reaches the age of 17. A rip-snorting beginning sees friends taking on the guise of Harry to throw Voldemort off the scent and bring Harry to safety.
But things go terribly wrong: injuries and death are unavoidable. Nevertheless, a wedding between Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour takes place, despite being ideal for attack by Death Eaters who force Harry, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) to London, then to various rural locations, aided by mysterious bequeaths from Dumbledore’s will.
There is a lot of sexual tension between the trio as they flit to and from each dangerous location, with Ron’s jealousy of Hermione and Harry’s closeness always near the surface. Outside the Harry Potter world, the film shows the real acting capability of Rupert Grint who, as Ron Weasley, was always a bit of a comic side character. Now, Rupert’s acting chops give Ron more on-screen presence – and it is his story that grabs both fans and regular cinemagoers who may have tried HP7 as a Harry Potter taster.
The darkness in HP7 is build on deceit, danger and sexual tension. The script is dense and assumes familiarity with the franchise. As with previous films, the cast is a who’s who of British acting talent – among them Richard Griffiths, Julie Walters, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Warwick Davis, David Bradley, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Jim Broadbent, Jamie Campbell Bower, Frances de la Tour, Hazel Douglas, Tom Felton and Michael Gambon all make an appearance, either in flashbacks or otherwise.
One unusual addition is that of rather cool animation in the telling by Rhys Ifans‘ character Xenophilius Lovegood of the story of The Deathly Hallows and three brothers who have an encounter with death.
The set designs are, as ever, spectacular, with the tent, the crooked house and the secret house – all sets at Leavesden Studios – being almost personalities of their own. While the special effects do have the occasional feel of ‘the uncanny valley’ (i.e. when CGI looks ever so slightly wrong for a moment), they are as scary as they need to be. When the audience gasps as Nagini (Voldemort’s snake) slithers into view, clever sound editing gives the snake menacing presence.
What did this first preview audience react to? There were occasional laughs (especially at the bra wearing scene); there was also some gentle whooping made during the awkward dancing/accidental kissing moments and when Harry gets down to his pants to jump through a hole in the ice: about that I’ll say no more.
In a way, this installment of the Harry Potter oeuvre is the unlovable middle child: because of its position in telling the story, it can’t be too brilliant. It exists to set up the dangerous, daring end to a tale that has delighted millions of people all around the world.
In that way, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows IS a must-see. But it assumes too much to be a film you can see on its own, despite its incredibly high production values: the film looks amazing. And now, only an eight-month wait for part II, which is scheduled to be released July 15th, 2011.