Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Talk about timely reviews, approximately 6 months after the movie was released in theaters, and one month after it was released on DVD the world will finally get to hear my much anticipated thoughts on the film. After years of dismissing Harry Potter as a silly children’s series, this 25 year old, chiseled, classically good-looking, professional accountant was swept up by the fascinating wizarding world. It was just too hard to ignore a series that has sold a bazillion copies, and had been a cultural phenomenon for 10 plus years. The books are amazing; JK Rowlings has created an incredible universe that sucks in both kids and adults. I am only truly lucky too not have discovered this series growing up, had I been younger, I guarantee I would have been that kid using spells in class, reading during recess, and realistically asking my teacher if magic was scientifically possible.
I promised myself I would only dedicate one chapter to the film series as a whole. I knew the movies would be just one interpretation of the novels, and in no way would it match up to the way I perceived the books. But as a whole, I have truly enjoyed each and every movie on very different levels. The majority of the film series criticism comes from what was left out of the novels. Many of the novels were over 700 pages long and there was just no way to put it all on the screen, a common problem with all films adapted from novels.
I personally enjoyed the earlier films because they had much simpler source material to cover. As the books progressed, the films became more and more disjointed as confusing plot points had to be condensed or all together left out. I personally feel Alfonso Cuaron’s The Prisoner of Azkhaban was the best film, as it transformed the series from an entertaining children’s series, to a much deeper, darker story, without losing any of the original charm.
As the seventh movie starts, Voldemort is on the rise, he has slowly been gaining power and support as the ineffectual Ministry of Magic has stumbled in their attempts to address the growing threat. Harry Potter and his two close friends, Ron Weasley, and Hermionie Granger, have decided to abandon their seventh year at Hogwarts and go on the run. They search out Horcruxes, pieces of Voldemort’s soul, in an attempt to finally destroy the dark lord. After Ron’s older brother’s wedding is interrupted by the bad guys, Harry and his friends go off the radar to avoid capture. The characters feel lost as Harry’s old school teacher and mentor, Albus Dumbledore, only left a series of mysterious clues and ambiguous plans. The trio feels alone and frustrated, as the pressure starts to mount, they have few allies and they struggle to identify, find, and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.
I was very excited to learn that Warner Bros. had officially decided to break up the complicated epic, that was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It truly allowed the first part to be a journey film, in which the true elements of each character are given time to grow and develop on screen. Few elements of the book were cut out as there was just so much more screen time to let the story breathe. Director David Yates, doing his 3rd Harry Potter film, has put forth his best effort so far, the film is exciting, and visually impressive, yet the frustration and wandering of the novel is conveyed perfectly. The action is intense, the acting has really matured, and the vast characters and dialogue are masterfully condensed into a very focused, entertaining film. A very entertaining animated segment detailing the Tale of the Three Brothers is very concise and well executed. The only major criticism I have of the film, is that the other elements of the wizarding world are lost in the film, as it solely focused on the three characters and their pursuit of Horcruxes. Updates on Hogwarts, the growing threat of attacks on muggles, and the rise of death eaters in the ministry are largely left out.
Hardcore Harry Potter fans will not be disappointed. It is an exciting and faithful adaptation that really captures the essence of the book. Casual fans will enjoy it, as it is visually appealing and is definitely one of the better Harry Potter movies. If you have never heard of Harry Potter, well, I don’t know why you would start with the seventh movie. You will probably not like it as you will really not understand any of the characters or story, and you will probably just lump it in with Twilight, dismiss it, and make fun of anyone who does like it, and you probably have no imagination…or soul.