Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow: Part 1 is bad on an epic scale. The worst film in the series.
The foul Lord Voldemort is making his move. He and his dark forces take control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and are terrorizing wizards and witches. Voldemort is also focused on finding and killing Harry.
Very much alone and on their own, Harry, Hermione and Ron -- with no help from their more experienced teachers -- are trying to avoid Voldemort and his forces while looking for the Horcruxes that hold all of the pieces of Lord Voldemort’s soul.
Their goal is to destroy him. Failure means disaster.
In the first installment of the climax to the boy wizard’s tale you get a series of unpronounceable names and unexplainable clues to a hard-to-pin-down plot. If you’re not up to speed with the series and the characters, what any of the them are saying or doing will be almost impossible to discern. Even if you’ve read all of the books and are familiar with the characters, terms and magical gadgets, you are going to be challenged to make sense of this one.
Added to the plot difficulty is the poorest possible sound recording and a cast — especially Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley who serves as “comic relief” — that either mumbles most its lines or throws them out in indecipherable rapid fire.
Note to screenwriter Steve Kloves — who has penned all seven movies — and director David Yates who did the last two: guys, it has been a year since Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Not everyone eats, breathes and sleeps Harry Potter — including aficionados that devoured all of J.K. Rowling’s popular books. This movie needs what all of them have needed, and that is to start with an overview of what has happened in the previous film or films to help set the stage.
Not that it would have helped here.
The kids get into trouble — zap. Scenery change.
A puzzling clue or two later and — zap, they’re somewhere else.
As expected, they get into trouble there, too. Zap. Scenery change.
And on it goes. Nothing comprehensible happens for 146 minutes.
No doubt Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow: Part 2 will be a spectacular and satisfying end to the movie versions of a terrific book series. You’ll see it in July 2011. Equally of no doubt is the motive of the producers, director and writer in dividing the final book into two parts.
And it doesn’t take a magic wand, a potent or a crystal ball to figure that one out. That — fans — is a different kind of evil.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, violence. It opens Friday, Nov. 19 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.