Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
What it’s up for: Art direction, visual effects

I want to go see it again! Right now!

Ok, I haven’t read the last book since last spring, so the details of it are kind of fuzzy. BUT I remembered enough to think “Oh no, something bad happens here…but I don’t remember what!” I think that might be the best way to watch movies based off of books – with enough knowledge so you know what SHOULD happen plot-wise, but not knowing every little detail by heart.

So, anyway, even though it’s been awhile since I read the book, I thought it seemed pretty accurate. There were a couple key lines spoken that I did remember from the book being most likely word-for-word. They DEFINITELY benefited from having 4+ hours to work with to get through the book rather than just 2. I mean, why do you think LOTR was such a big hit? They weren’t every-detail-accurate, but because of their length, they were able to adapt the books into worthy film versions.

This movie almost redeems numbers 4-6. Almost. The movie franchise began to hit a good creative balance with Prizoners of Azkaban. (Thank you, Alfonso Cuarón – the genius behind Children of Men.) But that’s when they REALLY had to start sacrificing some loyalty to the books. POA wasn’t that bad. But 4-6 were crap. And the crap writing affected whatever cinematic benefits their new creative direction was reaping. DH1, although it feels a lot like 4-6, it’s not as rushed and their able to spend more time on plot development.

Regarding the acting: I feel like all the “kid” actors have vastly improved. I was impressed with the Hermione-Ron-Harry interactions more so in this movie than in any other. They also seemed to spend more time having them work on their method acting. Hermione wasn’t as obnoxious as usual, which was nice. Ron seems finally matured. Harry is less angsty but still intense. Well done, all.

Now, regarding the Oscars: surprise, surprise it’s up for visual effects and art direction. Both were spectacular, per usual. I was especially impressed with the visual affects. It’s interesting observing the visual affect development of a movie series that spans over 10 years. I mean, seriously…Sorcerer’s Stone came out in 2001. The Oscar for visual effects that year went to The Fellowship of the Ring. The only other nominees were A.I. and Pearl Harbor. Yes, FOTR was brilliant. But it also wasn’t heavily reliant on visual effects (we’re talking primarily computer generated visual effects here) like DH1 was. And DH1’s effects were very realistic-looking, for the most part.

Art direction: Unlikely.
Visual effects: I want to say “possibly”. Mostly for the sheer immensity of what they had to create. But Inception was also beyond belief, in a much more realistic way.