The biggest screen in Britain was where I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 tonight. What a lucky girl.
It was at the London BFI IMAX, and I think it was the combination of white wine and white wine that made me particularly awe-struck by the absurd size. It even got an introduction from someone with a mic who raved about “THE IMAX EXPERIENCE” and showed us all the weird... technical things behind the screen.
It was so big that it was kind of difficult to watch the movie. I need each frame to be framed. I couldn’t take in the edges when I was looking at the middle. My peripheral vision doesn’t stretch that far. Regardless, it was a really enjoyable movie, even though it was very dark and depressing for a family film. For the record, it still felt like a family film, though there was one particular little horror scene that worked quite well, even though it worked better in the book, where its horror – interestingly and very effectively – came almost entirely from the description of smell.
One of my other favourite scenes in the book was one featuring a silver doe and what comes after. It didn’t work in the film. I do think a lot did work, though.
Just like the last film’s unexpected star for me was Draco Malfoy and his actor, and the film before that Luna Lovegood and her actor, this time it was Ron, played by Rupert Grint. Whilst Harry remains a humble hero and Hermoine remains an emotional busy-body, Ron has evolved way beyond the bumbling comic relief. He is now a mighty giant who resembles a teenaged lion, and he’s been given a far more subtle acting style. To be fair, Emma Watson (Hermione) is a lot more subtle too. But the Harry Potter writers and directors still seem to have a creepy-crawly sadistic way of treating her on screen. It reminds me sometimes of the way women are often treated in anime. Still, she’s finally learned to control her eyebrows (wow, what a nasty thing to say), and she’s become loveable for the first time since she became pretty. Together, Ron and Hermione, now both 17, continue that inept, delicate romance that's been maddeningly endearing since they were 11. The books and movies both get that right, every time. Awww. AWWWW!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is as star-studded as its predecessors, but there’s not enough time to cram them all in properly, and we don’t even catch a squeak of Maggie Smith, who earns Brownie points for any and every film she’s in. Bill Nighy plays a rangy Welshman, and a rangy Welshman (Rhys Ifans no less) plays a rangy Irishman: Luna’s father. Old characters, both loved and loathed, make an appearance, and half of them are getting hit by deadly curses. By that I mean deadly magical curses. Not swearing.
The movie stops abruptly. Just like that. Right now I think it might be the weakest of the Harry Potter movies so far, but that’s only because it’s just half a movie. When it’s put together with next year’s second half, it might be the strongest so far.
Going to the BFI IMAX is one of my Londony experiences. I like those. I’m collecting Londony phrases too. Ones that I have said in a serious tone. The latest in my arsenal, collected mere hours ago, are “had to run for the last train” and “tried out this lovely Greek restaurant on the South Bank”, phrases so Londonly that it’s mildly embarrassing.
Not nearly as embarrassing as one scene in Harry Potter 7, though: a passionate semi-naked semi-sex scene. Oh that’s right. Harry Potter gets raunchy. The boy wizard whips out his wand.