Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – an obsession
Embarrassed though I am to say it: I really, really like Harry Potter. Having read the books since the age of 11 (I was the first to discover them, honest!) I waited an agonisingly long time for each of the sequels to reach our shelves and for the story to reach its dramatic, if somewhat predictable, denouement in the last instalment, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, when it was published in 2007. So much so, in fact, that I read the thing in about four hours, seriously pissing off my relatives at a family party by being anti-social.
So, as you’d imagine, I’ve also been a firm follower of the films. The first was, in my opinion, dreadful. Child actors are rarely just cute. They are often nauseating, try-hard and utterly emotionally off-kilter. Poor old Daniel Radcliffe fitted into all the above as far as I was concerned, and the fact, that to my mind, he looked totally wrong for the part didn’t help. Still, I persevered as the films came out, anxious to get a taste wherever possible of the world of Hogwarts. By the third film, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner Azkaban’, I felt things had improved. And I actually quite enjoyed ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,’ although this may have had more to do with Robert Pattinson’s cameo than I’m prepared to admit. The ‘Order of the Phoenix’ was interesting because, like the book, it delved deeper into Harry’s moody-teenagedom, but the story was totally rushed. I found ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’ a bit of mixture: On the one hand the story was played out well (yes, I did cry when Dumbledore died), but the half-blood prince bit and Professor Snape’s role in the tale was badly overlooked.
Despite my reservations, it is clear that the mega blockbuster factor, the acting of the once child stars Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, all of whom (somewhat surprisingly) have achieved acting success outside of the Rowling-remit (perhaps thanks to the tutelage of the enormous cast of A-list luvvies they’ve worked alongside), the special effects and the general panache of the thing have all improved exponentially in the last ten years. But what has remained sketchy is the story-telling. I’m convinced that any young-ish kid and any adult totally unfamiliar with the tale would have a hard time telling wrackspurt from the sorting hat.
I’m optimistic that the splitting up of J.K Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, into two films, is not just an attempt by studios to make more money out of eight blockbuster films rather than seven. I’m hoping that by devoting at least four hours to the mammothly long book, the story will be explained more fully, characters developed and the acting spectacular. It’ll probably provide as much bitchy fodder for the initiated as the previous six, but I was still excited to watch the official trailer (which oddly seems to combine both films), released today. The first part is out in November and the last one hits cinemas in July 2011. I wait with bated breath and crossed fingers.
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