Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1


Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Cast:Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint,, Ralph Fiennes
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Director: David Yates
Producer: David Heyman, David Barron
Writer: Steve Kloves

Pics:The Harry Potter Saga
Pics:Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Pics:Premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a curious film. Long stretches in it are a dull slog but many sequences are also gripping and surprisingly emotional. Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves have split JK Rowling’s sprawling and intricate last book into two films. So this one has no discernable narrative arc or climax and feels instead like a set-up.

It’s all the information you need to see the next film, which will give us the final, epic battle between Harry and the Dark Lord Voldermort.

Our heroes – Harry played by Daniel Radcliffe, Ron played by Rupert Grint and Hermione played by Emma Watson – are no longer in the protective confines of Hogwarts, the school of magic and wizardry. Their beloved headmaster Dumbledore is dead.

The Ministry of Magic has been taken over by ultra-conservative, neo-Fascist leaders and Voldermort’s followers are on the rise. This is a dark world, with little cheer or love to break the atmosphere of relentless gloom. At one point, even the three friends, exhausted, desperate and horrifically sad, tear into each other.

This is the dreariest Harry Potter movie yet but what’s more problematic is, that it’s also the most arcane. Viewers who haven’t read the books or seen all the previous films will be lost in the complex plot, which involves the search for Horcruxes which are objects into which Voldemort has hidden parts of his soul and the search for the Deathly Hallows, three objects which make the person who possesses them death-proof.

Clearly Yates has no interest in catering to non-Potter fans and yet the film is so full of exposition that it becomes ponderous. There are of course several almost fatal attacks by the dark side and just as many escapes. These action scenes are nicely orchestrated—there is a real suspense and sense of danger—but after a while, the pattern becomes predictable.

What’s more interesting is the human emotion and interaction between the three friends including a not-in-the-book scene, in which Harry and Hermione dance together, even as death surrounds them.

These actors, who have literally grown up in front of us, have wholly become these characters and yet, their acting doesn’t have enough heft, to support the almost static mid-section of the film.

At no point does their predicament devastate you. Eventually then, Harry Potter is grim business—children under ten will find it very scary—but check it out anyway as preparation for the last film, which you will have to see, even if it’s only to give the world’s most successful film franchise, closure.
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