I have an active hatred for the first six “Potter” movies, so when people told me that “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is leagues beyond the other movies, I was pretty skeptical. And rightly so.
Those first six movies are awful. They completely miss the point of why the books are so damn engaging. They’re schizophrenic, poorly-paced train wrecks filled with amateurish, embarrassing acting that’s painful to watch.
So why is “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” any different? Because for the first hour, the core cast––Daniel “Stone-Faced” Radcliffe, Emma “Acting Hurts” Watson, and Rupert “Surprisingly Good” Grint––are barely in it.
Instead, supremely talented British actors carry the weight of the film. Bill Nighy––better known as Philip from “Shaun of the Dead”––opens the film with a masterfully delivered speech that sets the darker tone. Following that up is a brilliant, charged scene where a dangerous Ralph Fiennes addresses his sadistic followers.
Basically, playtime is over, kids. Move aside and let the adults act for a while.
“Part 1” moves at a brisk pace at first, going from one memorable scene to another, filled with humor and real tension, especially in a gripping scene where Potter and friends disguise themselves to infiltrate the corrupt Ministry of Magic.
Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever, and once the Potter trio “apparates” out of the wedding scene and is expected to carry the movie themselves, the movie reverts back to the same trite, eye roll-inducing garbage it’s been for almost a decade.
Simply put, none of them are skilled enough actors to carry the movie to the credits. Radcliffe is the least animated actor on the planet, never changing his facial expression or even moving at all while he flatly delivers his lines. He’s everything I hate about the movies. Zero personality.
Watson is no better, playing her one-dimensional role with a constant pained expression on her face. She has no onscreen chemistry. Grint has actually been improving as an actor over the years, and despite an awkward emotional outburst here that was only that awkward thanks to the movie’s ragged pacing, was still easily the best of the three.
“Awkward” really is the perfect word to describe the second half of the movie, especially once Grint leaves Radcliffe and Watson to their own merits. A truly uncomfortable and out of place dance between the two punctuates just how lackluster the film becomes.
So yeah, “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is definitely the best “Potter” film thus far and worth your dollar just to see the first half of the film, but it’s just too bad that it all falls apart after the truly sublime first hour.
“Harry and and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is playing in Combs 139 for $1 on Friday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.