My Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows part 1 Review.

Harry Potter, Dealer of Death
For the past ten years or so, it's almost been a given that at Christmas time, we'd get a fresh new Harry Potter adventure stretching the metaphorical sock over the mantlepiece. They've been a sort of warm and cosy Christmas expectation, even here in Australia where warm and cosy at Christmas really means hot and sticky. Realistically though, Christmas in Australia is more a season of death what with the road toll, drownings, bush fires and shark attacks we have, so appropriately this season, we're lucky to be spoilt with two evil movie blockbusters who will murder your family while they sleep.

The point of any grin
Well almost. At Christmas we have part 1 of the Deathly Hallows and at Easter or thereabouts, we get part 2. Judging by the box-office take on the opening weekend of part 1, I'd imagine the producers are laying back now on their Lilo's in the pool with the biggest shit eating grins on their dials and toasting together large German Steins overflowing with cocaine and sprinkled with chocolate. Or is that just me? Hmmm, I just wrote `shit eating grins' automatically then without giving any thought to what it means. The only reason I could think of to be grinning while feasting on faeces would be if you'd gone completely insane or are into German Porn.

So enough drivel. Is it any good?
It is very good.
It's part one of a bigger and darker tale with wonderful characters we're more than familiar with in a world we think we know well but still holds many surprises, including an appropriate way of entering a Government Civil Service building. I love this alternate world that JK Rowling has built. I've read that at university she was heavily into the classics and mythology and it shows. This is a world you can believe exists because she has painted it with such confident detail and affection. The story is building to the climax of Harry's young life and quest. `Destiny' even, if you're one of those. It's genuinely spooky and creepy and has several shocks in store. If you're a book fascist then there are a couple of disappointments for you. I'm not a creature of that ilk but even so, I was a bit disappointed they left out a couple of strong plot points that would have given the movie more gravitas.

But leaving them out I guess gave them room to play with ideas that weren't as strong in the books. I don't remember the rise of magical fascism having the same prominence in the book as it does in this movie but then that may be because it's more interesting as a visual theme then a literary one and I noticed it more. Or more likely it's been a while since I read the last book.  The designers have obviously had a great time designing magical fascist propaganda items, I'll be keeping my eye open to get a better look at them next time around.

Harry's ever so big Climax
This movie is the build up to the climax.  (Narrative Foreplay anyone?)  It's Harry and friends on the skip ' run around the UK all the while being pursued by the evil wizard, Voldemort and his many minions. It's all about the rise of magical fascism and the ever so English insurrection against it. The three wizardeers, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are hiding out in their magical wonder tent (I would love one of those tents) around the countryside of England in pursuit of four Horcruxes, magical totems that hold different quarters of Voldemort's soul. His backup drive so to speak. Tension builds between the three with Harry believing that he's responsible for the whole world going to shit. Hermione is torn between her sense of duty to the wider wizarding world, her loyalty to Harry and her conflicted feelings about Ron Weasley. And Ron just wants to go home, preferably with Hermione at his side.

It's great to see a continuity and thoughtfulness in the progress of all of the characters we've followed in the movies and books - there's a short dream scene where Harry and Hermione get a bit nude and get it on however it's not as interesting as the media makes it out to be, (is it ever?) But it's great that it acts as a catalyst for Ron to finally put to rest a few demons of his own.  Even Neville gets to heroically hold his own - to many cheers, part of what makes seeing this movie at a full cinema so much fun. There are a couple of laughs but mostly it's a dark action, adventure about a civilisation and it's people teetering on the brink of the abyss. It's like the Schindlers List of Harry Potter movies. Well, maybe not that dark, but pretty dark.

I'll give it 4.5 stars. It's worth seeing at a good cinema too. They've spent a lot of money making this movie and it's all there on the big screen. Seriously, Dobby and Kreacher look far more real than they ever have, it's quite amazing.