Episode 90 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Borings

November 26, 2010


Let’s be honest. The film’s a bit shit. From missed oportunities to pacing issues, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is probably the sloppiest of the series.

The polyjuice transformation you’re cheated out of actually seeing happen.

In this episode of Nerd Hurdles we spoiler the hell out of the HP7 as we try to get to the meat of where it fails. So if you haven’t seen the film, or at least read the book, heed that caveat before you listen. Heed this caveat as well, the list below contains spoilers for the podcast episode as well as the film. We’ve gone spoiler crazy at the hurdle hut apparently.

6 reasons why Harry Patter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 wasn’t a good film.

1. Ralph Fiennes’ performance as Voldemort in the previous films had me impressed with his shedding of the Ralph Fiennes persona and perhaps actually doing some acting. But apparently that was only achieved by the fact he had two, maybe three, lines in each of those films. Given a sizable scene Ralphie falls back on his wet-noodle impersonation. It’s tough being the Dark Lord, apparently. First your wand doesn’t work anymore and then nobody understands what you’re going through. At least that’s what I got from the few words I was able to make out of the stream of whingy blubbering he was doing under his breath.

2. When you read Deathly Hallows, during the Bathilda Bagshot/ Nagini scene didn’t you just think to yourself, “Self, this is going to be freakin’ HARDCOAR in the movie.” But no. Instead of a giant snake bursting out the mouth of an old lady, you get Obi Wan Kenobi’s empty robes falling to the floor. The scene also made no sense to people who hadn’t read the book. I know because I asked them. They had no idea Hermione found Bathilda’s actual mutilated remains while Harry was upstairs. For a scene that should have been creepy, suspenseful and eerie, it made almost no impact.

3. Also lacking impact was the fumbling of the whole horcrux pendant episode. The teenaged trio wander aimlessly through the woods, sharing the load, and trying to evade the Snatchers. Who, by the way, aren’t really explained at all in the film. They seem more like random bandits than a nationwide terror. Nor is the significance of the underground radio station explained.

Anyway, I’m not griping about that, I’m griping about the horcrux right now. As we know, the horcrux makes the trio progressively more despondent and paranoid as they take turns wearing it to keep it secret, keep it safe. You know, just like Ring and Frodo. We know this because we read the book. From watching the film, you’d probably only get a vague idea of what was going on. And then only because you’d seen or read Lord of the Rings.

So of course Ron comes to believe there’s something romantic going on between Harry and Herminione and takes off in a huff. But unlike in the book, it seems to come out of nowhere since we barely see him wearing the thing. It also seems to happen after about fifteen minutes and not the slow burning tension in the book. Which might have actually been interesting to watch.

Instead it just felt like another scene marked off on a checklist. Which is what the whole film felt like, really. There was no time to give the appropriate treatment to scenes that needed a little breathing room because scenes that could have been cut (or drastically shortened) weren’t. As Mandi said, “Nothing happens but it felt rushed.”

4. Harry and Herminione slow dance (to Nick Cave of all things) in the tent after Ron takes off. Which does two things wrong. First, it suggests Ron was right to be jealous and it wasn’t all the horcrux’s fault. Second, there was no point to it if there isn’t something going on between them. And it also kind of sullies the whole Harry/Ginny thing.

5. The motivations of the Malfoys makes no sense. If you hadn’t read the book you might have actually been better off because I was trying to remember exactly why Lucius was suddenly hating on Voldemort and if they’d touched on that in the previous film. A little expository dialogue would have been nice.

6. The animated sequence when Hermione takes time (they can’t really spare) to read Harry and Ron the story of the Deathly Hallows from the Tales of Beadle the Bard was the best part of the film. It’s a bad sign when an entirely out-of-place vignette is the best part of your film.

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