Coming out of the cupboard – the 7.1th Potter movie

yodahomelife, movies, thoughts1 Comment

‚Coming out of the cupboard‘ is the Urban Word of the Day of November 20. The definition reads:

„coming out of the cupboard“ is a figure of speech for popular or non popular people’s disclosure of their secret obsession for Harry Potter.
The term comes from the well know phrase „coming out of the closet“ which refers to a person revealing that they are gay/lesbian.
The „closet“ part is replaced by „cupboard“ because, as we know, Harry Potter lived in the „cupboard under the stairs“ in the beginning of the book series.“

Harry Potter is back. And I am too. Yes, I just returned from the afaik only opportunity to watch the latest Potter in english (at least near the area I live in) when I started to write this. Well, as usual I’ll try to talk about the movie in general without giving away important plot points, so you can go and have an evening yourself.

Hogwarts1
Image via Wikipedia

That said, I also won’t use the word ‚funny‘ in this review (from now on), because this movie simply isn’t. It’s entertaining, pretty exciting, scary at times but fun is probably the wrong word to describe what’s coming upon you there. The movie starts out on a very dark note if you remember the end of the last movie „Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince“ (which I hope is fair to reveal now to those who managed to not have seen it): Dumbledore, headmaster of the „Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry“ and father figure to Harry Potter, was killed after introducing Harry to the fact, that during the last 5 movies he found and destroyed several horcruxes, dark magical items to which the dark lord (Voldemort, not Vader) had uploaded parts of his bad mojo. He can only be fought through finding and destroying the remaining horcruxes asap.

In the beginning of this movie we now meet Harry Potter when he is escorted to a safe place knowing that the dark lord is after him (grave danger). So all those helpful characters we’re familiar with from the earlier movies step in for a short period of time to help, then there is a marriage taking place that is unsurprisingly blown by the dark forces who have invaded the ministry of magic, which quite quickly becomes a 1984, almost nazi-like version of itself, introducing anti-muggle propaganda and a witch-hunt for mudbloods.

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Po...
Image via Wikipedia

The magic triangle starts out on a solitary journey here: Harry, Hermione & Ron sneak into the ministry to get hold of a horcrux, then hide in the woods looking for ways to find the other horcruxes and how to destroy them once they’re found. They visit the town where Harry was born and where his parents died. In the end they somehow get caught but also manage to flee with a little help from a little friend. As this is the first half of two movies that tell one story, there is no real end to this. Unfortuneately. Some characters are wounded, some die, no real victory to cheer upon. There are happy moments and a few good laughs, but overall the dark atmosphere once more thickens with many sad, some horrific moments, fights that are rather survived than won, questions that we’re merely reminded of. Harry Potter has a few hero moments (so has each of the main characters), something that, I feel, has been mostly avoided in the other movies, because that’s his character: he’s usually not aware or sure of his powers, he doesn’t fight alone (or only in the last moment) and he gets rescued most of the time. The idea remains but there are a few exceptions, a few sparks of hope that are needed desperately because otherwise the story would get even more depressing.

Deathly Hallows symbol: simple geometric shape...
Image via Wikipedia

Until now I can’t really say whether I like this movie or not. I do like the way the story is taken, the seriousness in the tone that’s uncommon for a childrens book (I’m looking forward to your comments) or movie and does work well. The secrecy that clouds everything and at the same time makes everything possible. I don’t like that they not even tried to end the movie with a more hopeful prospect and only a slight cliffhanger. I do like the depth of the main characters (who are once again brilliantly played), although some aspects are kind of repetitive to say the least. E.g. Ron takes a hike after a quarrel (which has happened before and in the context of the story seems a bit forced) only to ‚magically‘ re-appear in a convenient moment. I also had the impression that some scenes took a lot of time without real progress. As for the reason to make two movies out of one book, it has been said that „There have been compartmentalized subplots in the other books that have made them easier to cut — although those cuts were still to the horror of some fans — but the seventh book doesn’t really have any subplots. It’s one driving, pounding story from the word go.“ (mtv.com) Therefore it really seems odd to me, that some scenes make a drawn-out impression. But perhaps that’s just me.

In fact I could be quite sure it’s just me because the movie had a dream start at the box office grossing almost 330 Mio. $ worldwide the first weekend (with an estimated 250 Mio. production costs) making it the most sucessful start of the whole series (says TIP Berlin). At rottentomatoes.com 90% of the audience likes it, while the Tomatometer ist at 79% .
The music (and you know that’s important to me) for this movie was composed by Alexandre Desplat which makes him the fourth composer to take on Harry Potter. There’s some good music there but I missed the incorporation of the established themes (especially those by John Williams) which always felt like a red line to me connecting the movies as they evolved in different directions. I don’t get why you would write new themes for characters or situations that already exist and have been with the audience. One thing I really liked about the movie was the animated sequence during which the actual story of the deathly hallows is told.

deathly hallows.
Image by calleecakes via Flickr

In the end it’s one half of a whole so that there’s no way to tell whether it finally pays off. The second part will have to answer that. It’s sucessful though (obviously) but then again there’s no real competition at the moment. I tend to wonder that perhaps actually you could and should have made one movie out of it, it could have been a three hour piece. That has been done before. Also I vividly remember the Matrix sequels where they actually managed to have a great spectacle at the end of each movie, they had questions intentionally left open with a huge cliffhanger and still they worked well as two separate entities. So this could have been done better. Then again it’s an emotional movie that doesn’t really fail to deliver in that regard. I guess I’ll have to wait until the votes are in on the whole. Next year.

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