Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Well, it’s finally here, the moment Harry Potter fans have all been waiting for.  While true Harry Potter fans already know what’s going to happen in the movie version of the final novel of the series, and while they have already pictured what happens in their imaginative mind’s eye, we all know that we have been waiting with baited breath for the moment when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit theaters.  The announcement that the final novel was to be split into two movies was not only seen as a brilliant marketing scheme, but also gave fans hope that two parts meant that the powers that be were doing the best they could to accurately portray what takes place in the final novel.

            At first, we were told that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 would be in 3D, but when the filmmakers realized that they couldn’t get the 3D work done on the movie in time for the release, I was a tad worried that they might push back the release date to take advantage of the overly used new 3D technology.  Thankfully, they decided to release the film in its original 2D format and keep the original release date.  Who needs 3D?!  The Harry Potter films have been entertaining enough without it thus far!

            I received the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Soundtrack first and found it to be perfectly suited to this novel.  The novel was the darkest of the series and the movie’s soundtrack, composed by Alexandre Desplat, was as dark as any composition I’ve ever listened to in the Harry Potter series.  Gone was Hedwig's Theme that made its appearance in each of the films thus far.  It was there for a fleeting moment and then gone, reminding us that Harry’s innocence has been left behind by the beginning of this novel.  Now that I had listened to the soundtrack, I couldn’t wait to see the film!

            So, this Sunday, I headed off to the theater hoping that the matinee hadn’t yet sold out.  Happily, though the theater was crowded, I was still able to get a ticket and a comfortable seat.  Normally, I enjoy watching the previews.  This time, I couldn’t wait until the movie theater completely darkened and the opening theme of the movie began.

            Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 begins with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) on the run from Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).  Now that Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is dead and Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) has revealed himself, Voldemort is free to make more bold attempts at Harry’s life.  The times are changing, becoming as dark as the days just prior to Harry’s parents’ death.  Harry must go underground and his friends have vowed to keep him safe at the risk of their own lives.  Still at the forefront are Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) who have pledged to join Harry on his journey to destroy the horcruxes that are the secret to Voldemort’s immortality. 

            Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to find the various horcruxes and destroy them before Voldemort finds a way to destroy Harry.  However, the road before them is difficult and before they are done they will be put through many trials…trials that will test the strength of their friendship and their courage.  Many will fall before the might of Voldemort and his evil horde before the movie is over.  And this is just the first part…there is still more darkness to come!

            Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a treat from start to finish.  The action begins right away and keeps on coming as Harry and his friends are hunted incessantly.  There are some quiet moments as the characters go through bouts of self-reflection and doubt, but the fast-paced action scenes outweigh any slow moments.  I believe that this film contains more action and intensity than any other series in the film.

            What you must keep in mind before venturing out to see this film is that the last book in the series is very dark and the director has gone to great lengths to keep the movie as close to the book as possible.  Thus, the scenery, for the most part is rather dark.  There are a couple of beautiful locales, but mostly things are dark and dreary.  Things that take place in the film have dark undertones and characters…well, some of them are…shall we say short-lived.  If you thought this movie was going to be as light-hearted and fun as the first movies in the Harry Potter series, you will be shocked beyond words.  Harry is all grown up dealing with some very heavy issues and that translates into this film perfectly.

            Another thing that would be good to remember when going to this film with your family is that this movie is not for children.  The novel series was written in a way as to grow with your child.  If you are bringing someone to the film that is not a teenager, they may be upset by the adult content.  There is also a slightly risqué scene that you might be concerned about allowing a young child to plant their peepers on as well, so be forewarned - this movie is not for the youngins. 

            I have enjoyed all of the movies in the Harry Potter series, but I believe that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 may be the best in the series thus far.  It’s incredible to look at these actors and realize how much they have grown with their characters.  That growth is not just present on the outside - there is a depth to their acting brought out by the depth of the movie’s content.  We get to see a more mature side of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson never before revealed.  These are excellent actors that only grow better with age performing in a storyline that only gets more challenging as it goes forward.  They are definitely up to the task and this film is definitely up to Harry Potter fan standards.  I can’t wait to see the final film of the series scheduled to hit theaters next summer!


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