Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- After destroying one of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1,” Ron Weasley proclaims, “Just think, only three to go.”
Potter fans have just one film to go in the highest-grossing ($5.4 billion) series of all time. And that’s probably good news, considering that the seventh installment is bloated and boring.
“Deathly Hallows,”, the third Potter movie directed by David Yates, drags on for 146 minutes -- a half-hour too long. Only the most hard-core devotees will be able to sit through it without getting fidgety.
In Part 1 -- the last book in J.K. Rowling’s mega-selling series is being broken into two films -- Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) try to destroy the Horcruxes, those magical objects that make Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) immortal. They don’t have much time because the noseless Dark Lord and his Death Eaters are out to capture and kill Harry.
To confuse them, “Mad-Eye” Moody uses a magic potion to create six Harry look-alikes. Along with the real Harry, they flee through London’s streets and tunnels -- on brooms, winged horses and a motorcycle -- in one of the film’s most harrowing scenes.
By moving away from Hogwarts and other fantasy settings to modern London, the film loses much of the other-worldly atmosphere that made the stories a sensation. The more realistic the movie gets, the less interesting it is.
Many of the favorite characters from earlier episodes return in “Deathly Hallows,” including spooky-eyed witch Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), half-giant Hogwarts caretaker Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and “Mad-Eye” (Brendan Gleeson), the wizard whose pirate patch features a bulging eyeball.
Among the newcomers are stern-faced Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) and long-haired editor Xenophilius Lovegood (Rhys Ifans), whose tabloid magazine makes the National Enquirer look like Reader’s Digest.
With characters falling left and right, not everyone will be back for next July’s finale, when Harry and Voldemort face off in an apocalyptic battle. The ultimate winners, of course, will be Rowling, Warner Bros. and anyone else connected to Harry Potter’s gold mine.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, opens tomorrow across the U.S. Rating: *1/2
What the Stars Mean: **** Excellent *** Good ** Average * Poor (No stars) Worthless
(Rick Warner is the movie critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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