At The Theater #36: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

When I first heard that the seventh Harry Potter book was going to split into two movies, I thought it was just a greedy move designed to milk as much money from fans as they could at the end of this series. Now that I’ve seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, I take that back. I think it’s great that the decision was made to divide the final book into two movies. While watching it, nothing felt overly padded. And unlike some of the other movies, nothing felt rushed or obviously left out from the book.

During the movie, I kept wondering where in the book the movie would end. I haven’t read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows since the book was first released. All I remembered about it was the flight of the many Harrys at the beginning, the camping that seemed to go on forever and the fight at the end.

Harry Potter and the Secret of Victoria

My favorite part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the lead-up to the flight of too many Harrys. Seeing Daniel Radcliffe as Fluer as Harry in a bra saying “Look away! I’m hideous!” made me howl. 

My second favorite part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was Hermione’s red dress.

A friend pointed out that in the book, Harry and Hermione disguised themselves with polyjuice potion when scoping out Godric’s Hollow. I’m glad this was dropped in the movie. Harry and friends had already used polyjuice potion twice before this in the movie and using it again would have felt like they were going to the polyjuice well one too many times.

One thing I discovered before the film even began is that if I walk around in novelty Harry Potter glasses, there is 100% chance that I will speak in a British accent. It’s an insanely accurate accent. You should hear it sometime. You will think I am British.

“Accio booger!”
Severus, wands aren’t for picking noses.

A group of friends joined me for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We caught the 10:30 Saturday night screening on opening weekend at The Ziegfeld. Figuring that it was Saturday night, opening weekend of the hugest movie of the year, there were five of us who wanted to sit together, and it was The Ziegfeld, we weren’t taking any chances. We showed up at 9 PM to line up for seats. Also, I bought the tickets three days in advance to avoid the inevitable sell out.

We were the first ones at the theater. Is there a line inside? No? We’re it? Huh. A mother showed up wiht her two kids a few minutes after us and bought tickets. So it’s not sold out? Huh. She considered lining up behind us, asked the ticket seller a question, and walked back to the street, laughing “There’s 1100 seats in there.” Well, at least we were guaranteed seats.

Looking around the theater right before the movie started, it looked like there were maybe 60 people in the whole place. People of NYC: The Ziegfeld is the nicest theater in NYC! Where did you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Saturday? Apparently it wasn’t there. What kept people away? The lack of stadium seating? Not having Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 3D? A deathly allergy to awesome movie theaters? Whatever it was, I was shocked at how empty The Ziegfeld was. Of course, someone sat down right in front of us. But they were nice enough to move over when we asked politely.

Before the movie started, I had what might be the oddest thing to happen to me in a movie theater this year. No, let’s change that from this year to ever. Yes, the oddest thing to happen to me in a movie theater ever. I went to the men’s room. No, that’s not the odd part. After finishing up, I turned to the sink. No, that’s not the odd part either; I wash up every time. Blocking my access to the sink was a Ziegfeld employee who was standing at the sink changing his pants. That’s the odd part. He was just standing there in his boxer briefs changing out of one pair of pants and into the other.

The strangest part about this scene was how meticulous and slow he was in neatly folding the pants he just took off before putting the other pants on. Isn’t there a storage closet that could have doubled as changing room? Or maybe one of the toilet stalls? Not right in the middle of the men’s room, blocking the sinks. Right? It’s okay though. I figured it out after the movie ended what was going on. He was clearly one of Harry’s friends from the beginning of the movie and had to make a quick change now that his polyjuice potion was wearing off. Obviously.

Theory: Voldemort would be a tiny bit nicer if he had a nose.
I was happy to see two things addressed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 that were omitted from the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The first was Voldemort talking about how his wand and Harry’s share the same core, which is an integral story point for the finale of the franchise. The second was Bill Weasley introducing himself to Harry. Bill had small, but pivotal roles in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, so it was nice to see him finally acknowledged in the films.

I’ve never done the “see the previous movie on opening night right before the new movie starts” thing, but I would be very tempted to do this for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. A 10:30 PM screening of Part 1 followed by a midnight screening of Part 2? Something to think about…