Film Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

(Warner Brothers.  2 hours, 26 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality. Directed by David Yates.) Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Alan Rickman (Professor Severus Snape), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore).  Music by Alexandre Desplat.
As Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) gains power and begins his war against both the wizarding and Muggle worlds, Harry, Hermione and Ron (Radcliffe, Watson and Grint) go into hiding as they search for the Horcruxes, mystical objects that hold the key to Voldemort's defeat.  Fighting for their lives and trying to stay together, they uncover the mystery of the wizarding world's most powerful tools: the Deathly Hallows.  A dark, intense setup for what is sure to be an epic finale.

I have to wonder what value there is in really reviewing this movie, short of saying "if you liked the others, you'll like this one."  We're on part 7 of 8: if you're not "in" by now, you're not going to be.  Anyhow, David Yates takes his third turn at the helm, and does a fine job bringing the grimness and gravitas of the final book to the screen.  Given the extra time afforded by splitting the book in two, the adaptation hews very closely to the book, which may frustrate some of those who are only familiar with the movies.  This film is a marked departure from the previous six, in that we never see Hogwarts, whose hallowed halls provided a sense of security that is all but gone.  As such, this installment is raw and not a little bleak, leaving our heroes alone with all the angst, confusion and terror that that entails.  To some, these parts may drag, but there are some moments of genuine, honest emotion that make it worthwhile. On the technical side, the battles are vivid and gripping, the special effects keep getting better and the scenery is breathtakingly shot by Eduardo Serra.  The only complaints I had are that some scenes are very dark and hard to decipher and for all that happens, it's all "middle" (a necessary thing, given that it's part one of two, but still disappointing).  A very competent continuation to whet your appetite for the climax next summer.
Bio photo of Jared Counts

Jared Counts

Web Developer

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...