Here we are at what should have been the final movie of the Harry Potter franchise. What we get instead is the first of a two-parter, which the cynical might say is Hollywood’s way of cashing in by dragging things out, but I do sympathise with the screenplay writers to some extent, since the source material they had to work with wasn’t exactly something that fits nicely into your usual 90 page script.
Author J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final book about the adventures of “the boy who lived” should have been a short, tight and thrilling conclusion, but the complexity of the previous books meant that she’d painted herself into a corner with a huge number of loose ends that needed tying up. That’s why it’s baffling she chose to introduce the eponymous Deathly Hallows: three magical objects that combined, give one power over death.
I would’ve forgiven the script if it’d taken liberties with the plot in order to make it a better fit for the format, because what we end up with is a 2-hour+ treasure hunt with Harry, Hermione and Ron – young adults now – who are just too old for that kind of thing. As the series progressed (in both book and movie forms) the gap between “magical kids story” and “dark adult novel” has increasingly widened to the point where they’ve simply lost cohesion – the story somehow expects the reader to develop (in age and maturity) at the same rate as the characters being portrayed. If you let your pre-teen child start reading or watching the Harry Potter series, don’t expect to let them finish until they’re well into their late teens.
Back to the movie: while the kids are out wandering in the wilderness without a clue, the audience also finds itself lost since the plot fails to deliver any kind of motivation or suspense for the characters; by the time the credits roll they haven’t even found everything. It’s also interesting to note where they chose to draw the line between the two movie parts, with the second one shaping up to be just one big extended epic battle between the forces of good and evil at Hogwarts.
Hopefully that means part 2 will deliver the punch that that this one sorely lacked.