Hello there, muggles and puggles and all the like. Harry Potter is quite the amazing story. The magical sensation that was so powerful, it even got Americans to read. Yeah, THAT powerful. Anywhoo, this new movie follows the adventure of our one and only stupendously British Harry Potter as he and his companions try to survive another year at Hogwarts school for Witchcraft and Bastardizing God's World...I mean Wizardry.
Harry now has the increasing responsibilities of not only attending Hogwarts, but discovering the secrets of "He Who Must Not Be Named" (a.k.a. Voldemort, a.k.a Tom Riddle, a.k.a. Notorious TR). Even though my memory is that of a gerbil, I do remember the overall feeling of the books when compared to their film counterparts. While I did have problems with the past films interpretations of the books events, making them obviously more streamlined or dumbed down for timing, I never felt that way with this movie. There are equal parts character and story within the film that make it really fleshed out in comparison to the rather average first three movies. While the action is minimal compared to the over-CG-laden drivel known as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
(a.k.a. "The Movie That Must Not Be Named"), it is really the characters that make the movie shine.
Concerning the main trio of actors: Daniel Radcliffe does a good job at being the stoic Harry Potter, Rupert Grint as always makes for a hilarious Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson finally tones down the attitude of Hermione Granger from the previous films to make her an actually likable and enjoyable character. Michael Gambon does a good job at being the old wizardry gent known as Dumbledore, although at some points he seems to be almost boarderline Ian McKellen; a scene that included a noticeable amount of fire made me think he was about to shout, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" Alan Rickman once again is perfectly cast as Severus Snape, though I wish to hear him once more as a depressed android. For those of you who got that reference, 'Yey you'. The newest addition to the cast is Jim Broadbent portraying Professor Slughorn who does a fantastic job mixing comedy, dumbfounded astonishment, and wisdom to create a really compelling character. The writing in the film is handled as well as the acting: very strong. The comedy and drama are equal in good measures and really do balance the movie altogether.
Unfortunately, because the movie is a truncated version of the book, most of the other characters don't get much screentime and instead just put into the background. The visual style of the film as well as the tone is very brooding and dark. The foreboding nature of the film really does suit the Harry Potter universe the best as every scene is mounted with tension and dread. It's quite amazing that this film wasn't given a PG-13 rating considering some of the more intense scenes in the film. Fortunately, the terrifically spaced out scenes of Potter and the gang dealing with relationship troubles does help lighten the load of seriousness. The cinematography is handled very well favoring single shots of multi-leveled complexity over quick shots and pans.
Given the huge cliffhanger at the end of the film, like in the novel, some may find the ending abrupt, however, I find it suitable since these films, much like the novels, should all be taken into a single context to form a much larger picture. I (a.k.a. He Who No One Wants To Name) heavily enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to any viewer out there looking for a good movie (Harry Potter reader or not).
My Review: Full Price!!
Just remember, you crazy witches and wizards: The Power of Christ compels you.