“We have both light and dark. The part we choose to act on… that’s who we really are.”
Director David Yates helms this two hour and 20 minute film based on the fifth book of the highly popular series by J.K. Rowling. After a shaky beginning, filmmakers mix in several familiar characters as power struggles at Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic surface. Fans of the book will surely find issues, both pleasant and offensive, with the various additions, omissions, and embellishments in this installment.
The whimsical world of magic and clever quips (e.g. “you have the emotional range of a teaspoon”) still exist, but Harry’s battle with the big “V” puts the story in a progressively realistic state. Oscar winning cinematographer Slawomire Idziak (Black Hawk Down) helps set the tone with great visuals blending the grand sets and colorful special effects. Nicholas Hooper contributes a nice musical score, but John Williams’ original themes still have the most impact. This fantasy film has plenty of heart-pounding action sequences involving various powers and creatures (centaurs, death eaters, etc.), which all function well within the plot.
Daniel Radcliffe again stars as Harry Potter, a caring young man pursuing a unique lifestyle that he never knew existed. Harry never has the easy route (or the clearest), which makes him an engaging character. Besides his related family tragedies, audiences can easily treasure Harry’s humble character as he struggles with fear, confidence, and friendships. When hearing his accomplishments proclaimed Harry says, "It sounds great, but most of it was just luck and I had help.”
Most of Harry’s help comes from Rupert Grint and Emma Watson respectively starring as Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. Grint may look ordinary but the realism and resolve he puts into Ron translates well on screen. Watson emits charm and appealing personality in every scene. Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg (Contact) does an excellent job adapting the book to the screen while the newspaper headline cut scenes help summarize a lot of information quickly to keep audience updated.