24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous | 24 Frames Home | Next »

Are reviewers turning a cool eye to 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1?'

November 17, 2010 | 12:57 pm

It's still early, but "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1," the latest installment of the fantasy franchise, is not exactly casting a spell on critics.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has garnered an 81% fresh rating, lower than ratings for all of the "Potter" films except for 2001's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and 2007's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." (Most of the movies scored closer to the mid-80s, with Alfonso Cuaron's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" holding the high score of 90% fresh.)

For New York Magazine's David Edelstein, the magic is missing. “'Hallows’ first hour is deadly, all right,” he quips.

The Times' Kenneth Turan isn't hugely enthusiastic either.  “What's the latest Harry Potter film like? If you've seen the previous six, you already know. If you haven't there's no point in trying to catch up now.” But instead of feeling a sense of excitement as the series nears its conclusion, Turan believes director David Yates plays things too safe. “To be fair to ‘Deathly Hallows,’ the filmmakers have tried hard to fill the proceedings with battles and chases and debilitating curses. Genuine filmmaking excitement, however, is harder to provide.”

Roger Ebert doesn’t classify himself as a "Harry Potter" fan (he expresses a lack of interest in knowing, say, what expelliarmus does) but finds himself in a Muggle-ish fog for much of the film, describing the movie as "completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time." He still manages to give it three stars and describes the film as "handsome and sometimes harrowing."

The movie has managed to win over a few critics. The Independent’s James Mottram gives the movie four stars out of five, and the Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore’s review reads like he was sitting down front wearing his own striped scarf and shoe-polish lightning scar. “Alternately funny and touching, it’s the best film in the series, an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ for these wizards and their wizarding world."

Audiences will no doubt eat up the latest installment; the movie has been gathering fans along the way, and the two-part structure gives the new release an event feel. But for a franchise that has long been able to unite both audiences and critics, it's an open question whether it can finish with that same kind of flourish.

— Steven Zeitchik and Patrick Kevin Day


Photo: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1," with Daniel Radcliffe, left, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Credit: Warner Bros.


Comments () | Archives (6)

The comments to this entry are closed.

What's with the headline of the story? If the critics are turning a "cool eye" towards the new Harry Potter, then just SAY IT in the headline -- "Critics turning a cool eye towards the new Harry Potter."

This habit of posing questions in blog post headlines is getting very lame. It shows no backbone.

Kind of amazes me that people who haven't seen the others will jump into this one and then criticize it for being dense and hard to follow. What did you want, a refresher in the opening? If they always rehashed the previous movies we'd never get anywhere. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is one of my favorites of the series, and fans of the book will NOT be disappointed.

My question is whether critics have read the books or not. Much of the information within the story is pretty accurate, and all those who have read them knows the importance of all the previous information given. For a critic who looks at the overall film, they are not seeing the broader picture. I'm sure if they look back, they would realize how ingenious this story actually is. Also, speaking of visual effects, I'm sure that Part 1 will be lacking, as it's an "on the run" movie, with no Hogwarts, no neat little magic trics, etc., because the characters are now in the real world. The climax, in Part 2, will be epic as ever. The ending reveals and ties together all the loose ends. You find out that Snape is not Snape, there's more info about Harry's destiny, it's just overal ingenious!

If the film is bad it's David Yates's fault. This brilliant series went down down hill when the he took over it. But based on the trailer the film looks REALLY good but obviously I'll reserve my judgement until I see it this Friday.

Nobody complained that the second and third parts of The Lord of the Rings were confusing to people who hadn't seen the previous installment...oh wait there were a few...and those people were called idiots because they WERE idiots.

Criticizing a film for being confusing and inaccessible to first time viewers in which that film is one in a series DELIBERATELY told in episodic chapters forming an overall arc, is about the dumbest thing you can do. It isn't the movie's problem, it's your laziness and your undeserved sense of entitlement that's the problem.

Sheesh...and in what bizarro world is 81% on RT a "cool eye"? Way to be dramatic. Any series should be lucky to have every installment as critically successful as this one is.

Completely agree with 'Super Mario'. There are these people who call themselves 'Critics' and jump into any successfully running franchise mid-way (in this case towards-the-end) and then complain: "Well, that didn't make much sense to me.. too difficult to follow.." When was the last time we saw a 'recap' in a sequel or 'sequels to sequels'?? What do such 'critics' expect?? If they show a recap then I think Deathly Hallows would have been splitted into 3 parts - part 1 to show the recap of past 6 movies, and then part 2 and part 3 to continue with the story of 7th installment... Funny isn't it??


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: