The cinematography is beautiful. It’s the first thing I notice. If the first film was glorious Disney sparkle and the sixth was eerie and blue, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2 goes straight for post-apocalyptic grey. It’s as bleached and hopeless as Terminator 4, but has the poetry and grace of the first Pirates of the Caribbean. It could be Gore Verbinski at the helm, and that is high praise, but fair: Potter 7 pt 2 is a very good film.
I was having a bit of a DVD marathon today, re-watching the Harry Potter films in advance of seeing part 2 of Deathly Hallows next week. It occurred to me, while watching the films, that you could have slipped any number of lines from other films into the dialogue with nobody much noticing the difference. For example:
“Why would I want to read a children’s book?” Him Indoors remarked, smugly, quoting some comedian who also hasn’t read the books.
How many copies now? 450 million? That’s more than … well, almost anything. The Lord of the Rings has sold 150 million copies; A Tale of Two Cities over 200 million.
Harry Potter is, quite neatly, Dickens meets Tolkein, and not a lot else. Sure, it borrows heavily from ancient myths and has quite unsubtle anti-Nazi allegory running through it. It takes a bit here and there from Narnia and has the sly, off-beat humour of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Mostly, though, it’s just Dickens’ David Copperfield with 20% more Sauron.
Sometimes – like David Bowie – the reason something’s popular is just because it’s good.
So, what’s the average now? The first one was an OK kids’ flick; the second a dire abomination; the third watchable; the fourth didn’t really work as a film; and the fifth and six were spectacular. Now the seventh book is to be split in half, and the questions are whether David Yates can drum it up a third and fourth time – and whether he can make the plodding and rather incomprehensible first half of Rowling’s book into a decent movie.
Well, I’m stuck without internet access (don’t ask!) so I can’t actually watch this trailer – so you’ll have to tell me whether it’s any good and I’ll have to pick up any feedback on my mobile phone.
The buzz so far is positive, which makes me hopeful. I thought the first Potter film was a good family movie; the second an abomination and a travesty; the third OK; the fourth a fine illustration that didn’t really work as a movie; and the fifth and sixth films finally f***ing getting it right. I mean, seriously, how hard is it to make a decent Harry Potter movie? Just make it roughly 50% X-Men and 50% Spider-Man and cast Dickens’ David Copperfield in a tale by CS Lewis.
They’ve got it bang on twice so far – unfortunately alienating anyone who hasn’t read the books in the process – so I very much hope they can continue this winning streak.
Here’s the clip …