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Posted at 3:29 PM ET, 11/16/2010

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1': Five things that may surprise you

By Jen Chaney

You-know-who, up to no good in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." (Warner Bros. via AP) | View 'Harry Potter' photo gallery

After a screening last night of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" -- a film that Post critic Ann Hornaday will officially review later this week -- I did a little math. And I realized that, factoring in last night's feature, I have now spent 895 minutes of my life watching Harry Potter movies. And that doesn't even include the moments I spent watching the DVDs.

That's 15 hours, people. I could have taken 89.5 showers with those minutes, or gone to L.A. and back 1.5 times, or watched the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy almost one-and-two-thirds times.

Needless to say, that mammoth total surprised me. And it wasn't the only thing that came as a mini-shock during my "Deathly Hallows" experience. Here are five more things that surprised me -- and may surprise you -- about the new Harry Potter movie.

Note: I will not reveal any major plot points in what I am about to write. But anyone who is an ultra-purist about spoilers may want to wait and read after they see the movie, which, as the Warner Bros. marketing department has made abundantly clear, opens in theaters Friday.

1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" reminded me of "The Empire Strikes Back." I wasn't expecting to think of Episode V of the "Star Wars" saga while watching Harry, Hermione and Ron go on their horcrux-destroying crusade. But I did, and so did my movie-reviewing colleague Travis Hopson. As in "Empire," the tone is dark, a showdown between our protagonist and our villain looms large and (no surprise) the film ends before we get to watch that epic battle play out. Also, a very helpful house elf definitely brought to mind memories of a certain wrinkly little Jedi master.

2. For a millisecond, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" also reminded me of "Inception." This I definitely did not see coming, but there is a brief moment on a sandy shore that had me convinced that instead of horcruxes, Harry might also be carrying around a small, silver top and entering people's subconsciouses. (Before you get your Hogwarts scarf in a twist, don't worry. He wasn't.)

3. "Deathly Hallows" is funny. Despite the aforementioned dark tone, there are far more laugh lines -- of the wry, British variety -- in the film than I expected.

4. Harry and Hermione kind of get it on. Please note that I said "kind of." If you've read the book, you already know there is a moment when Ron experiences some jealous visions of his two best friends. In the film, those visions also include partial nudity -- nothing terribly racy by regular movie standards, but a little surprising within the context of the Potter universe. (Before you ask, no, there are no nude scenes involving Hagrid. Sorry to disappoint.)

5. You won't miss the 3-D at all. The Warner Bros. team wisely decided to forego 3-D for part one of "Deathly Hallows" because they couldn't convert the film to the level of quality they wanted and make their release date. Wise move. While there are a couple of instances where the in-your-faceness of 3D might have been cool, overall, the funny glasses -- the 3D kind, not the Harry Potter kind -- won't be missed.

By Jen Chaney  | November 16, 2010; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
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Ok, so two things:

#1: The Empire Strikes Back" is Episode V, not Episode II. You would think someone who wrote movie reviews and a celebrity gossip page for say . . . oh I don't know . . . THE WASHINGTON POST might check their facts before they so ridiculoulsy discredit themselves in the middle of an article. The "Empire Strikes Back" was the 2nd film to be released back in 1980 so I see why you would come to the conclusion you did, but let's tell it like it is. This is the major leagues and that's a pretty amature mistake to make at this level.

#2: So basically, all you're saying is that there are similar themes in both movies and that the Houseelfs in the movie looks a little like Yoda? NEWSFLASH: There may be similar themes between the two movies, but there are also similar themes between a whole lot of movies. How you picked Star War, Episode 5 is truly a mystery. I think you need to do a little more research and fact-checking and think about some of how some of your opinions might go over before you make such an abstract suggestion about a movie billions of people are anxious to have released.

Posted by: gregrn05 | November 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse


....Dude, seriously?

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | November 16, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Is it this part or the next part when the Death Star destroys Hogwarts?

Posted by: jeadpt | November 16, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Gregrn05 -- You're right about the Episode II/V mistake. I was typing too quickly and should have caught that. I've gone back and corrected that error, which was one made in a moment of haste, not out of lack of knowledge.

As far as the comparison to Empire, you're reading me a little too literally. Obviously the two are very different movies. And in Deathly Hallows, no one goes to Dagobah.

I just meant that tonally, in some plot elements and in the way that the movie has to break off the action, it reminded me a little of where we were in the same point in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Again, this is not a review, this is a blog post with some very general thoughts. Take it as such. And may the force be with you. (And yes, I know Harry Potter didn't say that.)

Posted by: Jen Chaney | November 16, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

4. Excellent.

Snogging is good.

Posted by: WillSeattle | November 16, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll be watching the IMAX 3D version on opening night with all the UW Alumni and our kids, here in Seattle.

My 19 yo son grew up on Harry Potter - both reading and watching - and he's bringing his girlfriend too.

Posted by: WillSeattle | November 16, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Kids and I are watching all the prior HP movies before seeing DH so will be doubling your total viewing hours in one week. Waste of time? Perhaps, but still fun.

Posted by: DMcG | November 16, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Nerd rage!!!

Posted by: loaf667 | November 16, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

What a horrible idea to make every movie into a 3D movie. Good they couldn't do it with this one. Too bad they will with the next one.

Posted by: unitcaptain11 | November 16, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Black White Hub * C o m is a nice and free place for SINGLES- a nice and free place for singles- black & white, to interact with each other. Maybe you wanna check out or- tell your friends.

Posted by: abulaw | November 16, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The IMAX in Seattle. Brings back memories. For years I went there with my daughter to watch the HP movies. I would travel from the East coast to visit and we would go to the movies. Oh my, she has moved to Alaska now and I can't wait until next summer to see the Deathly Hallows. antonina ferrarri

Posted by: antoninaferrarri | November 19, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The IMAX in Seattle. Brings back memories. For years I went there with my daughter to watch the HP movies. I would travel from the East coast to visit and we would go to the movies. Oh my, she has moved to Alaska now and I can't wait until next summer to see the Deathly Hallows. antonina ferrarri

Posted by: antoninaferrarri | November 19, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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