Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Massawyrm has a few brief words about HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT 1

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Stylistically, Harry Potter has finally returned to a level befit the bar set in PRISONER OF AZKABAN. And while Yates still doesn’t quite grasp at the unadulterated magic of that particular episode of the franchise – which remains in my estimation to be the very best of the series - he comes close enough to it while branding it with his own, definitive style. Don’t get me wrong, he’s directed several beautiful films in this series, but none so cinematically stylish as this one. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS ranks among the very best the series has to offer, and were it not for being split into two different films, this might have been close to being the very best. As a film, DEATHLY HALLOWS only real flaw is being broken apart – something that allowed them to tell every last bit of the story they feel is necessary but also leaves the audience dangling on a fairly weak cliffhanger. The problem is that it is clearly half a movie. Sure, it is half of a GREAT FUCKING MOVIE, but it is half none the less – and that is exactly how it is structured. The moment it ends you can feel the air go out of the room; there’s almost a collective WHAT??? as the film rolls into credits. It is not a particularly strong ending and the emotional beats and set up that lead into it feel almost a bit too forced as to lend itself to being a fine place to end. As a result, I’ve been struggling to write about this film for four days now. The truth is I love the hell out of the film, but I can’t really say how I feel about it as a whole because, unlike every other film in the series, it is not a complete three act film; it is the first act and a half. And I’m dying - seriously, deliriously stoked – to see the rest of it. Everything until the cliffhanger works perfectly. Everyone in the cast has found their groove, Yates is feeling much more confident about injecting his own occasional flourishes into the fray (Including a fantastic opening shot structure that sets the tone for the entire film) and everything feels rather seamless. All of the problems present early in the series have long since been sanded down and on the whole the series has become a well-oiled machine. The film absolutely must be seen, it must be seen big and it will be enjoyed. And once we have the second half of the story I’ll be able to delve much deeper into whether or not it works as a whole. Thus far my only gripe is the cliffhanger and the insanely long wait for the second half. Next summer? July? Really? Warners, you’re killing me.
Until next time friends, Massawyrm
Got something for the Wyrm? Mail it here.

Or follow my further zany adventures on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Nov. 19, 2010, 7:40 a.m. CST


    by AJH313

    can't get here soon enough. and FIRST!!!

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 7:42 a.m. CST

    i disliked it

    by JBouganim1

    very much..everyone looked constipated

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 7:43 a.m. CST

    when they announced it was to be split in two I was skeptical


    To me, the book seemed to have alot of waffle with endless scenes where the three of them are just sat in a tent arguing with each other. Out of all the books I felt this was one that might benefit from being streamlined but from the reviews I've read so far it looks like I'm going to be pleasantly surprised.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 7:46 a.m. CST

    The last one opens this summer

    by pushthebuttonmax

    ...yeah? what were you expecting?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:22 a.m. CST

    I have a question about

    by thepoohguy

    something said in this movie that didn't make sense. Where can I post this question so people can remain spoiler free?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Save your money 'till summer!

    by HopkinsBalls

    Don't let the horny-for-profit motherfuckers get away with this shit - if it is only half a movie, I will only pay half the price, so I'm downloading this one and seeing the next one on the big screen..

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Rent is too damn high!!

    by HopkinsBalls

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:35 a.m. CST

    How do HP fans not feel exploited by this?


    Extending the series is obviously a Cash Grab attempt to squeeze as much money out of the fans as possible. You can't tell me that HP fans would not sit in the theater for 3-4 hours to see the final chapter? If CHOPPAH was a HP fan THE CHOPPAH would be pissed!

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Suffers from the same problem as the book...

    by AndoSoundsLikeAMong

    It's just the three of them in the woods, camping. They blunder about, trying to work out what they should be doing next, with everything quickly dissolving into a badly concieved "fetch quest" for multiple McGuffins. At least they didn't have the "random people come close to the tent and allow important information to be overheard at exactly the right time" device that Rowling used multiple times in the book. But still. If they were going to be faithful to the text all of this crud was needed. It is nicely made, atmospheric crud, but storytelling crud none-the-less.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:49 a.m. CST

    The Azkaban love here is ludicrous.

    by caprica

    It was good. But the fact that Del Toro directed has blinded all the AICN reviewers. You can talk about lensing or art direction all you want, but the fact is that Azkaban was good, but no better than a lot of the Potter films. In fact, the last two films were better and more enjoyable to the average film buff--by far.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:57 a.m. CST

    @thepoohguy - Post it here, encoded in ROT13.

    by V'Shael

    That way, it can be decoded easily enough, but no one is going to read it and accidentally spoil themselves.<br /><br />(Rot13 encoders are easy to find on the web. They make a into n, b into m, c into o, etc... Pushing each letter up the alphabet by 13 places.)<br /><br />example : <br /><br />Guvf vf n fcbvyre grkg.<br /><br />If I rot 13 that, it says<br /><br />This is a spoiler text.<br /><br />Easy, see?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Qbrf nalbar ryfr urer ernq EBG13?

    by V'Shael

    Fcbvyre dhrfgvba, nf V unira'g ernq gur obbx.<br />Jul jnf gur fjbeq va n evire, naq jul jnf Oryyngevk vafvfgvat vg unq orra fgbyra sebz ure inhyg?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:01 a.m. CST

    I'm glad for chopping it in half

    by Chronostf

    Yes, anyway you slice it you can argue that it's a cash move, but it's more than that. Fans of the series have complained that a lot of good material from the books was left out due to them not wanting nor being able to afford to make a 5 hour, $500 million movie. There is enough material in the 7th book, particularly the entire end sequence at Hogwarts that deserves serious screen time and an appropriate budget. By splitting it into 2 films they've been able to include just about everything in the first half (or probably 2/3) of the book, with any changes or omissions being pretty nit-picky. On top of that, I'm certain they're putting more effort (read 'MONEY') into what should be an absolutely epic second half for anyone who's read the book. I'm feeling Helms Deep & Pelennor Fields but with wizards. Having read the 7th book, hearing they were splitting up book 7 was about the best thing I could hope for. It would have been almost a waste of a decade of a terrific series to gloss over the end of book 7 in 20 minutes. So, yes, you could say it's a cash grab, but there are plenty of people glad that twice as much material is making to the screen, and frankly, what WB has done with the series, they deserve the dough. Went to a midnight showing last night. I thought the movie was pretty awesome.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST


    by thepoohguy

    Thanks. <BR> <BR> Jul qvq Eba fnl gurer jrer guerr zber gb tb? Vs gurer ner frira, jbhyqa'g gung yrnir sbhe?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST


    by shenlong77

    Gurer'f 7. - Gbz Evqqyr Qvnel - gur Evat Qhzoyrqber unq - gur ybpxrg - vgrzf sebz gur 3 bs gur bevtvany urnqznfgref bs Ubtjnegf. Ur qvqa;g svaq gur fjbeq bs Telssvaqbe. - gur bar ur pnzr bhg bs jura ur jnf vavgvnyyl xvyyrq. V guvax gung'f ubj vg jbexf bhg.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:09 a.m. CST

    "How do HP fans not feel exploited by this?"

    by Horgy

    Easy: For 6 movies, HP fans have bitched about everything that's been left out of the books. Now, they have an opportunity to witness every campfire-cooked meal, every annoying "overhearing someone who just happens to be right outside the unfindable tent with the perfect piece of information," every time someone mumbles Latin for 10 minutes to protect the campsite, every bit of exposition that not only explains THIS movie, but all the crucial stuff left out of the other 6 movies, and all the CGI house-elves that everyone else will complain about. HP fans are paying another 10 bucks each to see that stuff. For them, it's a small price to pay. Honestly, I feel bad for parents taking younger kids to this, who might not get that it's been split, or really quite understand how gory, dark and grown-up this movie is.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST


    by shenlong77

    Sbhaq n dhvpx jnl bs qbvat vg! ;) - Lbh'yy svaq bhg yngre. - fbzrguvat ryfr jnf va Oryyngevk'f inhyg, V guvax n snxr fjbeq vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:13 a.m. CST

    I'm fine with chopping it in half as well

    by holidill

    I think Warners should have chopped Goblet of Fire into two parts because despite what people say this is the turning point of the series. People Die, Voldemort returns, it goes from whimsy to horror in one story. I liked the streamlined Order of the Phoenix, and nalf blood prince was not big enough to be two films but Goblet should have been and Deathly Hallows sure as hell should be too.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:19 a.m. CST

    @Shenlong77 - Thanks for that answer. :)

    by V'Shael

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    @thepoohguy -

    by V'Shael

    Jr xabj gurer jnf frira ubepehkrf. Gur xvqf guvax gurer jrer bayl fvk.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    V'Shael and Shenlong77

    by thepoohguy

    Fgvyy qba'g trg vg. Svefg yrg zr fnl gung V unir abg ernq gur obbxf. Gurl xabj gung gurer ner frira. Jura Eba qrfgeblf gur ybpxrg, gung jnf bayl gur guveq bar (qvnel, evat, naq abj gur ybpxrg), fb jul jbhyq ur fnl guerr zber gb tb vafgrnq bs sbhe zber gb tb?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST


    by J.B.M.A.

    I think you mean Alfonso Cuarón, not Del Toro, but other than that I heartily agree. Azkaban remains to me one of the most overrated fantasy films of all time. Sure, shot for shot it's much better directed than the first two, but it's strangely unsatisfying as an adaptation of what (next to Goblet) is probably Rowlings cleverest Potter book. Too many of the key moments from that story fall terribly flat and there are some quite baffling omissions that needed nothing more than a line of dialogue to fix.<p>Added to which both the direction and the beautiful production design is frequently undone by pieces of work that are obviously built around flashy shots rather than storytelling - the ridiculous pendulum of death in the entrance hall or the quidditch match that Harry is seemingly playing from a height of 10,000 ft immediately spring to mind.<p>I much preferred Mike Newell's gentler touch for 'The Goblet of Fire' - the first film to employ a director who really 'gets' the very English sensibilities of the series, but who also had the directing chops to match.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:34 a.m. CST

    @Thepoohguy - I haven't read the books either.

    by V'Shael

    I got the answer I gave you, from a wiki.<br /><br />Gurl qba'g xabj gurer ner frira. Gurl bayl xabj gurer ner fvk.<br /><br />Fcbvyre - Rira Ibyqrzbeg qbrfa'g xabj gurer ner frira. Gur friraguf rkvfgrapr vf erirnyrq va gur frpbaq cneg bs gur zbivr.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    @V'Shael & Thepoohguy

    by shenlong77

    Ibyqrzbeg zbfg qrsvargryl xabjf gurer ner frira. @Gurcbbuthl - Gur xvqf nffhzr gung gur friragu cvrpr vf Ibyqrzbeg uvzfrys.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST

    @shenlong77 - Maybe that's one point where the books

    by V'Shael

    are different to the movie? Because according to the wiki (which is based on the book) my answer was correct.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:52 a.m. CST

    @ V'Shael - I'm going from memory

    by shenlong77

    I haven't read the book in over a year. So I could be mistaken.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Prepare to flame me, but...

    by David Assholehoff

    ...when it comes to the Harry Potter franchise, I just can't latch onto the Hollywood nipple like you all obviously have. And I've tried. I really have. Rowlings' books were excreted to be intentional money-makers, the subject matter was cheaply ripped-off and as for the English sensibilities, it's just not present in American made movies. Potter reeks of the same horrid smell of the Caspian films, the Casper films, SpyKids/Sharkboy and Lavagirl, and The Polar Express. I just don't get it.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Wasn't Azkaban just Back to the Future 2

    by DrRumpledink

    In funny hats?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST

    It's very english Assholehoff

    by DrRumpledink

    and the english accents of the kids cover up how bad the acting really is to the rest of the world.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:14 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    The kicking the vag curse.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    They should have done October/December with this

    by kevred

    Waiting 'til next summer is just stupid. Sure, the books typically span a school year and end in Spring, but summer is the season for empty blockbuster trash. Make it a holiday event. The kind of event that might get more notice from the Academy, just as The Return of the King did.<p>Why cut the story off halfway and then let all the excitement and emotion from that moment die long before the final film arrives?<p>A two-film holiday season would have been an EVENT. Something unusual, that would be creating buzz for a couple months solid. Now, the final film will just be sandwiched between other blockbusters in the weeks preceding and following, and forgotten much more quickly. If they had released the final one in December, it would be more SPECIAL.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Part 1 in one theater, Part 2 in another. They'd make the same amount of money and we wouldn't have to wait. Jesus I have the best ideas.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Needed 2-parters since #4

    by Damned if I can login

    Films 4-6 were pretty good, but so truncated that they came off as extremely rushed.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Right, Damned, the split is long overdue.

    by Novaman5000

    At least they pulled their heads out of their asses for this one.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    I will likely enjoy the hell out of this movie. Thanks for the heads-up, Damn_Dirty.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    If you do hurl it, do so in my direction. No need to waste it.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    Who's a Pepper too?

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST



    Now, if you could only drink Dr. Pepper out of Zooey Deschanel's sweet cunny hole, you'd be set.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 9:29 p.m. CST

    @thepoohguy - just to clear up the confusion!

    by Domfred

    Vg'f abg jryy rkcynvarq, be rira rkcynvarq ng nyy va gur svyzf, ohg ibyqrzbeg qbrfa'g perngr 7 ubepehkrf, ur fcyvgf uvf fbhy vagb 7. Gung zrnaf perngvat 6 ubepehkrf, rnpu jvgu bar cneg bs uvf fbhy, jvgu gur bgure cneg fgvyy va uvf obql. Gurer'f n gjvfg va gur arkg zbivr juvpu pbzcyvpngrf guvf, juvpu vf jurer gur jvxvcrqvn ragel pbashfrf guvatf, ohg V jbhyqa'g jbeel nobhg gung sbe abj!

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 10:56 p.m. CST

    If they did an October/December release pattern...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...they couldn't have Part One on DVD/Blu before Part two was released. Release the DVD of Part One a month or so before Part Two and add a "free" movie ticket (i.e. worth about $7.50, which doesn't even cover an afternoon matinee these days) for the second half. Most Potter fans will buy/rent the DVD right before Part Two is released, so no worries about the momentum of the storytelling getting stunted.

  • Nov. 19, 2010, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Where the hell does $7.50 not cover an afternoon matinee?

    by DiscoGodfather

    Most places around me (Detroit area) are $6 or less. Hell, even AMC theaters are $5 Monday through Thursday, even at night.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 3:20 a.m. CST

    Azkaban was good but...

    by jackofhearts29

    IMO, The Goblet of Fire was the best. It was packed with ups and downs, they all balanced, the effects were spectacular (and still haven't been bested by ILM or anyone). It was the perfect explosion of detail for the middle of the Hogwarts mythos, and it cut the dead/darkness with some sex, color, and humor.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 6:51 a.m. CST

    DiscoGodfather, try living near Boston

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Afternoon matinees around here are currently settling at a cool $8.50 (shooting up to an even $12 if the movie is in 3D). Only AMC theaters have $6 matinees...and that's only for showtimes before noon. I honestly haven't paid $7.50 or less for a matinee in at LEAST a decade.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST


    by Kaitain

    I'm with you: Goblet of Fire was the best all-round movie in the series. Which was interesting, because the book wasn't as good as Azkaban - it was where the bloat started to appear as Rowling became too powerful to be edited - but Newell did an excellent job with the material.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 10:51 a.m. CST

    My problem with Prisoner of Azkaban...

    by MrD

    Is simply the existence of the time travel device, and its casual use. Why in the world was Hermoine's little trinket not available in the remaining films? It sure could have saved whatshisnames life in Goblet.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 4:57 p.m. CST

    how can this movie have a cliff hangert when...

    by GreatCzarsGhost

    When evry potter head has already read the book over a year ago. I understand they may want to see what they read but they all know the cliff hanker between the movies and know how the the story ends.

  • Nov. 20, 2010, 10:48 p.m. CST


    by BringingSexyBack

    And I'd have a slice of pizza to go with that too. YUM

  • Nov. 22, 2010, 1:37 p.m. CST

    Yates has shown he can do something good, but...

    by daggor

    he still can't, as is pointed out here, handle the fantastic elements of the magic, which is still missing here. He also botched two more deaths (total four: Sirius, Dumbledore, Mad Eye & Hedwig). The Hedwig death is better than the book as it isn't an accident, but all 4 deaths I mentioned just kinda' happen. He, for reasons I cannot imagine, gives no real weight to the deaths in his films. It makes it even more confusing when he finally gets it right and handles Dobby's demise the way it should. I'm not saying they all needed a long, drawn-out mourning scene, but in DHpt.1 they need just... seconds more added to the film to give Mad Eye and Hedwig a proper send-off. DH works when the scene involves quiet tension, but the early scenes meant to show how bad things are with Voldemort gaining power are flat - especially the bad-guy table scene. Snape's entrance is great, the the group at the table seemed like a group at a table - it needed to be energetic, crackling with tension. Yates seems unable to do this.