This is not the best Harry Potter movie, one reason being the decision of the distributor to bring out two films instead of one, the second and final production appearing next summer. That said, one of the best things about all of the Harry Potter movies concerns the steadfast effort to make them productions that reflect the history of England and an attempt to remove most of their magic from being swallowed whole by America.
To wit: There are actually old people in Potter movies, people with white hair and wrinkled faces. None of the stars acts like a typical Hollywood darling and our three young heros have evolved into a fine trio of actors but none have the facial images of the typical movie star.
The sets have their history in what you might expect to find if digging around under London looking for the capital where Lord Voldemort has his power base. And the rural houses where Harry and his friends meet are straight out of the visions found in art produced by the Sidney Simes, Arthur Rackham, Willy Pogeny, Dickie Doyle, and Edmund Dulac, to mention just a few of the English artists who reigned supreme from 1850 to 1930 and lend their imaginations to the current set designers and all the rest needed to make a good movie.
The actors are blessed with the kind of screen chemistry that Hollywood would ransom its soul for the these productions got them from the first movie and now that high jinks and super witchy games are over and real evil is afoot, they are all perfect. And be aware, there are no comic asides ala James Bond here, just the very visious Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes wearing incredible makeup), all playing to the hilt!
The story begins with the effort to help Harry and the crew escape to safety from Voldemort resulting in the death of the Hedwig the owl and Mad-Eye Moody.
Then the Death Eaters (again great special effects) race through the skies and eventually, Harry, Hermione, and Ron escape to the woods where Ron is overcome by jealousy because he believes that Harry and Hermione are overly involved.
While they march through a typical English forest much of the action is photographed in especially fantastic geologic sites that only England can boast. The trio are then captured and taken to Malfoy Manor where Bellatrix Lestrange sends Harry and Ron to the wine cellar where they meet Griphook, the Goblin. That’s all the plotline you need to follow the action.
One awaits next July knowing that when the chips are down, perhaps there will be one good blockbuster for 2011.