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November 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

USA Today critic Scott Bowles’s review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows serves as both encouragement and warning to those who still haven’t made up their minds about whether to see it. It is, he says, “arguably the best installment of the planned eight-film franchise, though audiences who haven’t kept up with previous chapters will be hopelessly lost.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times reaches the same conclusion. The movie, he writes, “is a handsome and sometimes harrowing film, and will be completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time.” A few critics accuse Warner Bros. of crass exploitation by releasing the final J.K. Rowling novel in two parts. (“Rowling wrote one epic funeral that Warner Bros. requires us to attend twice,” writes Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe. But most maintain that the division makes logical sense. (It “gives its characters and audience time to inhale and process the gravity of the situation,” Carrie Rickey remarks in the Philadelphia Inquirer.) Bottom line, according to the New York Times‘s A.O. Scott, Potter fans are likely to be pleased with this penultimate installment. “While there is still one more film to go,” he observes, “this one manages to be both a steppingstone and a reasonably satisfying experience in its own right.” Not so satisfied, however, is Joe Morgenstern, who says that the production suffers from “baffling” deficits that include “commonplace chases, the murky look, the indifferent effects” as well as wooden acting by the stars. Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail faults this “Part 1” for being little more than “two hours and 26 minutes of hurry up and wait.” And Lou Lumenick in the New York Post says that the film delivers "no dramatic payoff, no resolution and not much fun.” But Morgenstern, Groen and Lumenick are clearly among a tiny minority of critics who are dissing the film; most, in fact, appear, well, enchanted by it, including Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel, who ranks it as “the best film in the series, an Empire Strikes Back for these wizards and their wizarding world.” And Claire Martin in the Denver Post calls it a “ripping thriller.”

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