Another year, another Harry Potter movie — and it’s not over yet, with Warner Bros. cleverly halving the final installment of the series to ensure audiences will be back to do it all again come next summer. But for now we have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, which marks the seventh film of J.K. Rowling’s publishing phenomenon, and the beginning of the end of one of history’s most successful movie franchises.
To date, every chapter of the series has earned a solid “fresh” on the Tomatometer; despite a general preference for some films over others, the lowest score has been 78 per cent — for both 2001’s fledgling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (curiously, the two highest-grossing movies in the series). Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) remains the best-loved among critics at 90 per cent, while last year’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince conjured up a healthy 83 per cent.
How do the critics see the latest Potter? Reaction thus far seems predicated on the knowledge that this is the opening half of a much larger film, and that perhaps the bigger picture will emerge with Part II‘s release.
IGN UK says “it’s by no means a bad Harry Potter movie,” but adds that “the overriding feeling is that it’s an incomplete one”; Variety suggests it’s “suffused with a profound sense of solitude and loss”; while the UK’s Independent offers, “your appetite will be whetted for what promises to be an almighty showdown.”
Still, questions over the validity of splitting the film in two linger. Empire is eager to move ahead, calling to “bring on part 2”, and Total Film are more direct, arguing that “there’s absolutely no artistic justification for a two-movie split.” And then, for those who never liked the series anyway, there’s The Guardian: “It’s hard to mourn the demise of a franchise that was never more than half-alive to begin with.” Ouch.
So, what’s you guess for Deathly Hallows‘ T-meter? Can it top the best of the series, or will it lower the bar?
As reviews continue to roll in all week, be sure to check back here and on Harry Potter‘s page to keep up on the latest reviews and Tomatometer scores.