Monday, November 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Book and Movie Review by Robert Steven Mack

Oops, J. K. Rowling did it again!
The author of the legendary Harry Potter series gave a new meaning to children's literature. Although her wizarding tales of the young sorceror Harry Potter started out as geared towards younger readers, time will prove this series to be one of the true classics of the 21st century. And here is already some evidence of what J.K. Rowling 's artistically brillant imagination has brought across: Hollywoods most successful film series ever, a wizarding new theme park in Florida, and an international game above all things Quiddich-without magic. I still remember the last two books coming out a couple of years ago. The media made such a fuss about it, and I didn't know what it was about. Yet, I felt there was some secret magic and greatness waiting to be read by me.

Now, as an eleven year old, I have read J.K.Rowling's last book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:" In the "Deathly Hallows," Harry Potter's darkest hour approaches as he nears his 17th birthday. Soon his life, his mind, his friendships, and the world he held so dear to his heart is about to change. Nevermore to be the same! It is hard to believe that seven years have passed since Hagrid had burst through the door and suprised Harry when he revealed to him his true identity and wizarding heritage. Other than that, Harry's days passed relatively normal.

I was saving the book "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" Part 1! to read until last week, when the movie came out. That way, I figured, I'd still have something to day-dream about. During that year-and-half gap I had almost forgotten how wonderful J.K. Rowling's writing is. Rowling's pure and relaxing style put me at ease immediately despite the fact that this was the last Harry Potter book. Despite the saddened longing tone of the book I am happy to report that I enjoyed every word of it. Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are out to find and destroy the horeuxes. That's the plot, with a little twist of romance and jealousy. The landscapes are beautifully filmed. Overall, the film has a lonely and distraught atmosphere I would highly invite you to feel yourself. For any Potter fan who has stuck with Harry to the bitter end is sure to have a truly magnificient and unforgettable experience.

Tragedy, Darkness, Loss
The film is much darker than its predecessor, ''Half-Blood Prince,'' perhaps the entire series as a whole. Even the sixth film, despite Dumbledore's tragic death, ends quietly with a sense of strong hope. Just to mention another example, "The Order of the Phoenix" in which Siruis Black's death, among other things, did make it considerably darker, the film and book end happily. Furthermore,"The Order of the Phoenix" is also filled with adventure, excitement, and sheer fun. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," both book and movie alike, has a lonely, much darker tone. The previously introduced Death Eaters are growing stronger and "mud-blood" wizards are fleeing from the Ministry. The entire wizarding civilization is falling apart as the Ministry is infiltrated by the monstrously evil Death-Eaters. Terror reigns and as long as the Ministry has hold of the newspapers, the Daily Prophet and the one other truth teller The Quwibbler, wizards and people will be confused of who the real enemy is. (Only the radio program "Potterwatch" remains loyale) So the blame for all that is foul in the country is put on Harry Potter. And while the world is no longer safe for ''mud-bloods," the muggle world is not safe, either.

On a subconsciously surreal level, Harry Potter's world can be said to mirror our "muggle" world we live in today yet also reminds us of the horrors of yesterday: a world where tribes, religions, and ethnic groups consider themselves superior and others inferior - where hate, ignorance, and revenge spread terror into every corner of the world. Al Quaeda, for example, reminds me of the ''Death-Eaters." Or think of the persecution of Jews seventy years ago in Nazi Germany - like the "mud-bloods" in Harry Potter. The lack of respect for "the other" and the lack of dialogue of many news channels, the persistence of racism, sexism, injustice, and general intolerance that terrorize the world today is reminiscent of all that we see in this latest Harry Potter movie.

The film with its 146 minutes of vibrant settings is an epic and a brilliant one to boot! Despite the PG-13 RATED film's dark tones, it will please you till the day you die! One thing that really stands out in the book is the death of everyone. Some of those had been with Harry from the very begining. For example, there is the sudden compelling death of Mad-Eye Moody and the heart-felt death of Dobby, the free house elf. Even Harry's beloved owl Hedwick dies. All this gloom makes you think what kind of hell our protagonist, Harry, must be in as his whole world is falling apart, disappearing before his very eyes. To be sure, Harry has experienced tragic losses all through his life. First his parents, then Siurus Black, then Dumbledore, followed by the impeccable ''Mad-Eye" Moody, poor Hedwick, and Dobby. So many deaths but with many more deaths yet to come.

Love, Loyalty, Friendship
Notwithstanding darkness, it's always reassuring to know just who Harry's real friends are. As Harry, Ron and Hermione seem to grow more distant from each other over the course of the series, the main thing that divides them here is love, doubt, and jealousy. On an another level, it's always a pleasure to see Neville standing up to the Death-Eaters on the train and Luna Lovegood being seen as helpful as she can be to her former school mates. The film ends with a bang leaving everyone groaning that it is over. As Voldemort gets what he wants, Part 1 comes to a close.

Conclusion: Fear Not
My concluding words of caution are that the film can be quite unwelcoming to newcomers of the Harry Potter series. Hence, my advice is to read the books and watch the previous movies first, unless you might keep wondering why the plot doesn't this make any sense?

Also one final word of encouragement is that if you, like me, are one of those kids who is "underage" (under 13 years of age) and has never seen a PG-13 rated movie in the theaters before, do not worry. As long as you have read the book and know where any scary parts are you might not want to watch on screen, the restrooms are never too crowded and the snack bar should be open. In other words you will be fine! Anyways, I hope you enjoy this film as much as I have enjoyed it. Still, we can only wait until next year to see the epic Finale to the Harry Potter saga.