Harry Potters Empire Strikes Back? Dont Make Me Laugh
12 reasons why Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is no Empire Strikes Back … or even The Two Towers
BY Steven D. Greydanus
| Posted 11/29/10 at 12:59 PM
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Monday, 11/29: The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner died this morning. As it happens, this essay, just published Friday, is probably about as in-depth a paean to that film as I will ever write. As one of the all-time great sequels and the most-admired of the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back was a constant point of comparison in evaluating other sequels. Few if any films to which it was compared benefited from the comparison. I’d like to think Kershner might have appreciated this essay.
To the unenchanted, myself included, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 plays as a dark, confusing downer without much magic, action or emotional weight. Enthusiastic fans, though, have dubbed it a deeper, more mature film, even going so far as to compare it to one of fantasy cinema’s most revered classics: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
Not that anyone, so far as I know, is actually putting Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in the same league as The Empire Strikes Back. That’s obviously crazy talk. Still, as a dark, penultimate chapter with an indefinite ending setting up the triumphant finale, could Deathly Hallows: Part 1 reasonably be considered, in its own modest way, a loose counterpart to Empire Strikes Back?
Or, failing that, how about a somewhat less revered point of comparison? Say, The Two Towers, another dark prelude that’s cropped up in discussion around Deathly Hallows: Part 1?
Um. No. What makes The Empire Strikes Back so great as a sequel is that it is not only darker but also grander, more heroic, more romantic, funnier, richer, and in practically all ways more ambitious than its predecessor. The Two Towers may not outdo its predecessor in the same way, but its inventiveness, visions and vistas take the world of The Fellowship of the Ring into utterly new places, enriching the series with many of its most memorable elements.
Even by the more modest standards of Harry Potter films, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 doesn’t do anything like that. Here are a dozen reasons why.
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