Oh, dude, shit is going DOWN. V-mort is totally taking over the Ministry of Magic. Hermione just obliviated her parents' brainz. Snape is wearing more eyeliner than ever. Ron drank too much Muscle Milk and Hedwig is dead and wandlore is confusing and Dobby is gross and I sincerely hope you read the book because otherwise I'm basically Gary Busey speaking Esperanto right now. You're fucked. (Also, why didn't you just read it? It's really good. You think you're better than me? You think you're better than WIZARDS? Muggle, please.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 has a lot going for it and a lot going on. Too often the film feels like it's scrambling to play catch-up: new characters introduced and abandoned every five seconds; awkward, short scenes of rapid-fire exposition; dialogue like "Hey, Hermione, I had a dream about Gregorovitch, the famous wand maker we've never mentioned before, and he had something that Voldemort wanted, probably because our wands have twin cores from the same magic phoenix, which means something important but I'm pretty sure even J. K. Rowling is only pretending to get it, and also something about basilisk venom!!!" Accio CliffsNotes, AMIRITE??????

A book is not a movie, and I'm still pissed that they didn't hire Alfonso Cuarón (Prisoner of Azkaban) to direct every one of these suckers. You can feel the holes where the book's richness is missing, replaced with special effects and cheap scares instead of Cuarón's warm cleverness. But overall, director David Yates does an adequate if imperfect job, and he has an especially sure hand in the teen-angst department (although there is a dancing scene so uncomfortable you will pee yourself to death).

Plus, it's Harry Potter! Wizards! You love it! Shut up! There are exciting parts (infiltrating the Ministry of Magic), corny parts (Dobby-related emotions), terrifying parts (Bathilda Bagshot's reanimated corpse vomiting up that anaconda [who is maybe kind of Voldemort's wife? Let's talk about this some time]), and snogging parts (SNOGGING). Once you get past the bumpy nuts and bolts—once Harry, Ron, and Hermione begin their slow, frustrated, frightening journey, apparating aimlessly from one lovely lonely place to the next—Deathly Hallows becomes the immersive magical funtime you're looking for. If you've read the book. If not, you're still totally fucked. recommended