Published: 18 November, 2010
by DAN CARRIER
Directed by David Yates
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
THE Gothic charms of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have seen their most famous alumni graduate – and take with them the jolly-hockey-sticks escapism that made JK Rowling’s stories such fun for the age group the tales are aimed at.
In this, the seventh and final adventure in the Harry Potter franchise, the wizard and his sidekicks, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, are about to face down their ultimate enemy, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
It is an elongated and lengthy tale involving the three setting out to find items called “horcruxes” – the keys to Voldemort’s immortality – on a big fat treasure hunt and destroy them. But they are in big trouble as the evil Voldemort has seized the Ministry of Magic and his Death Eaters are searching for Harry to kill him.
The trio spend a lot of the film trying to solve the mystery of the horcruxes, and, as they do, they come across something called the “Legend of the Deathly Hallows”, which I’d like to tell you all about but is not adequately explained in this first part of a double-header, so I’m not confident of getting it right.
I suspect there may be a sigh of relief from even the most hardened fans who have grown up with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson that the end is in sight. For a film that has attracted such hype it is a disappointment. When you sit through Deathly Hallows, which is not short at 153 minutes, it is hard not to suspect that the film company knew this was the last of the Potter cash-cows so splitting it in two would simply double the revenue stream.
JK Rowling is a phenomenon. She has sold millions of books and become one of the premier storytellers of our time. But it’s a damning indictment of the poor competition she has faced.
It is just not original, and I don’t mean those tales you’d find in Hotspur, Enid Blyton or other adventure stories about boarding schools which were so popular from the 1920s to the 1950s. The film reminded me of common themes found in English literature. In this film there is an amulet the three have to carry – and when the wearer of the amulet hangs it round their neck, it makes them sick, suspicious, evil, even – just like the ring from Lord of the Rings. The Tolkien-like mythology continues with a Gollum-like goblin character popping up, and Voldemort is Middle Earth’s Dark Lord in another guise.
A Nazi element arrives as we watch jackbooted guards in the Ministry of Magic dragging off “undesirables” – and trying them under legislation tastelessly reminiscent of the Nuremberg Laws.
Then there is Arthurian legend with Harry having to find and wield a special sword only he can use...
Despite a great cast of British actors, it’s long lost its magic.