At this point with the 7th installment of a film you’re either already onboard with the series or not. It pretty much makes said film critic proof. So I’m really not going to critique this installment as much as comment on the world of Potter.
Those whom are still on board most likely fit into 1 of 3 categories: fans of the books, fans of the films, or both. I’m a mixture of both. I’m a fan of the books in which I read all 7 quite rapidly as soon as they were published. I am probably however only considered a “casual fan” as I’ve only read the saga once. For the record I found all of the books to be imaginatively fun and exciting.
The films on the other hand have been quite hit or miss for me. The first two films were only okay. It seemed like the filmmakers were trying too hard to be too faithful and I felt the movies seemed bloated and bogged down in their own importance.
Fortunately the 3rd film really turned things around for me. Expertly directed by Alfonso Cuarón (the most talented filmmaker of all the H.P. installments) “The Prisoner of Azkaban” was a fast and furious film that managed to hold onto the essence of the book but also was throughly rousing in its own right. Maybe not so ironically this was the film that most “true” book fans derided due to its lack of adherence to the book.
I digress… For the remainder of the films and books I really don’t remember too much. They’ve all kind of jumbled together in my brain. I do know my second favorite film is the one that concludes with a showdown at the Ministry of Magic. I was just reminded by my 10 yr. old, walking “Potter Encyclopedia” (aka-Emily) that I’m referring to “Order of the Phoenix”.
So where does this final installment fit in? Heck if I know. It somewhat meanders all over the place but what I was surprised by was how much time many of the scenes were given to breathe, which is not always the case for “kids films.” There’s a lot of despair all over this Part 1 and you really begin to feel and understand the hopelessness of the unsurmountable task that is asked of the Harry, Ron and Hermione. Don’t get me wrong there’s some exciting stuff too but this one is really a slow burn that is leading up to what should be a spectacular finale in Part 2. Now that’s the part I really want to see!
Bottom line: Potter fan? Then you know you will see it regardless of what anyone else says.
Rated PG-13: In theaters now.