Rather than go through the painful process of attempting to review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (painful for you, because it would probably be a lot of “OH MY GOD”s and “YES THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT THAT WOULD LOOK LIKE”s), I think I’ll go through and refute, line by line, this absolutely atrocious “review” I found.
I suppose we should start at the beginning, where Gary Wolcott fairly neatly (if snarkily) lays out the plot: Voldemort ascendant, Harry and Co. on the run looking for Horcruxes.
But then something peculiar happens. Despite having just succinctly summed up the plot, Wolcott goes on to complain– in the next graf, natch –that the plot is “hard-to-pin-down.” Wait, what? You just showed that it wasn’t. Did two people secretly write this review? One person did one graf, the other did the other, and they didn’t talk to each other until after it’d been posted?
“Even if you’ve read all of the books and are familiar with the characters, terms and magical gadgets, you are going to be challenged to make sense of this one.” You will? I dunno, my friends and I had a fairly easy time understanding everything that was going on. Two of us had recently re-read the book, but one of us hadn’t, and he was fine. This is a troubling indication of the intellectual capacity of this reviewer. Granted, I felt the same way after watching Inception— I had no idea why so many people thought it was hard to follow. I suppose I could cut them some slack on that one, but this? Is fairly basic; a logical continuation of the previous installments.
“Added to the plot difficulty is the poorest possible sound recording and a cast — especially Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley who serves as “comic relief” — that either mumbles most its lines or throws them out in indecipherable rapid fire.” This is the same reason my mother gives for not watching movies with characters who speak with English accents– she can’t understand them. My mom didn’t learn English until her 20s, though, and then it was American English, so perhaps she can be excused. In reality, these people are not hard to understand. Especially for writerly types like us, and for people who make their living watching movies. Moreover, this is the one Harry Potter film where Ron Weasley’s raison d’être has not been comic relief. He actually has a fairly meaty, dramatic role, and Rupert Grint does a bang-up job with it while not completely abandoning the levity his character has typically brought to the table.
“Note to screenwriter Steve Kloves — who has penned all seven movies —” I’m going to stop you right here, Gary, and award you an honorary Medill F. Kloves adapted all the books except Order of the Phoenix. If you’re going to go out of your way to mention a fact like that, you should probably do a basic IMDb search to make sure it’s, you know, a fact.
“This movie needs what all of them have needed, and that is to start with an overview of what has happened in the previous film or films to help set the stage. Not that it would have helped here.” Now you’re just being persnickety, sir. This film was made, yes, to snatch $14.50 out of the wallets of every single person in the world, but if you’re going to see the seventh film in a series, odds are you’re the type of person who is invested enough to remember basic plot details of the previous ones. And then, to say (in a very sour-grapes sort of way) that an extra steaming pile of exposition (of which there actually was a decent amount already) would have been wasted anyway, is just silly. Childish, even.
“Nothing comprehensible happens for 146 minutes.” Someone nodded off in the middle of the screening, apparently. Just admit it, man. It happens sometimes. We have maimings, major character deaths, concrete steps taken towards defeating Voldemort, beautifully underplayed character-driven scenes, and the hot evil mess that is Bellatrix Lestrange. Even if for some reason you don’t find it comprehensible, it’s certainly gripping.
In all honesty, this is a film made for the fans. Where that would seem like a particularly crude excuse for other fandom-based movies, the Harry Potter fandom comprises a large enough percentage of the population that it makes sense. This isn’t Spider-Man, or The Incredible Hulk; this is not a series that can ever be rebooted or remade. (…Oh god, I just jinxed us all, didn’t I?) The squalling of the comic-book-boys is nothing compared to the outcry of the enraged Potterdom, and if that means splitting the final book into two chapters so that everything can fit with exquisite neatness, then so be it.