Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series – movies and books, then you are probably going to enjoy this movie. If you aren’t then you will have no clue what is going on. Actually, if all you have done is watch the movies, you might be a little lost as well.

The movie is beautiful in a moody, dark sort of way. I’m not sure what a non-Potter fan would make of all the camping and longing, wistful glances out to the horizon but Potter fans know what’s coming and can make sense of the strung together bits of war, intrigue and relationship squabbles. There is a lot of filling in the blanks required but to be fair, as one reviewer put it, this is the penultimate movie and is a set-up for part two.

Of course, it is always difficult to fit the many nuances of a book into a movie and when the book is 608 pages long, even if you split it into two movies, it is impossible. We miss a lot of character development and important details including plot points. But David Yates does cover the major aspects of the plot and manages to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the book. The books and movies have moved from a child’s fairy tale to something quite sinister and adult.

Which leads me to a very important point – this movie is NOT for children. This is not a lovely Christmas family romp with beautiful mythical creatures and evil foes easily overcome. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a war movie complete with violence, repression and horror. Our plucky heroes are fighting the good fight but it is all pretty grim. This is manageable if you know how things will eventually shake down but if not then you are going to find this movie pretty depressing. I can’t imagine what a young child would make of it.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed the return of some of my favourite characters – the lovable Luna, feisty Dobby and the evil but interesting Bellatrix Lestrange. I loved seeing Harry, Hermione and Ron growing up. They shouldn’t have to save the world at their ages but they know what they have to do and are willing to do it despite the danger involved. At the same time, they aren’t able to avoid the usual challenges of adolescence: jealousy, insecurity, trying to figure out how to tell someone you like them.

Above all, Harry Potter is about magic and even if most of the magic at this point is grey/black and evil, it is still exciting. The special effects do what they are supposed to and they do it well without overwhelming the movie. The action scenes are fast-paced and gripping.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this movie and would say it’s a great bet for Potter fans. A caution, though, if you are just entering the Potter world. This is not the place to start your adventure. Begin at the beginning and you will find yourself here eventually and much better prepared to enjoy this bumpier part of the ride.

6 comments:

Paul Kelly said...

Lovely review, Sandra. When I read the last book in the series I cried several times. Part of it was that the series was coming to an end. Part of it was the bleakness of the story and the demise of some of the story's best loved characters. I did tear up a few times during the movie. So I guess it's an effective adaptation of the book.

I loved that by the end you were left with the unmistakable feeling that the bad guys were winning. I liked the way they shot the onscreen battles, too -- which bodes well for the final battle when it eventually arrives. I think it'll look spectacular.

Juliette said...

Agreed that it's certainly not for young children, the tone is far too bleak and that vision scene towards the end is rather - passionate, shall I say?! - for younger children anyway. Without Part 2, it's all a bit of a downer, but when the two are eventually put together, the tone should (hopefully) even out.

Gus Brunetti said...

The tone is certainly bleak.When I was watching, I was constantly reminded of one of my top 5 all time favorite movie, "No country for old men". Dark indeed.

Anonymous said...

I was soo relieved after watching this movie! I was very disappointed with HP6 and the cutting of some very important scenes. HP7 captured the dark tone of the book very well. I was happy that all the major scenes were in the movie. I cringed when Bellatrix was interrogating Hermoine, I cried at the events on the beach of Shell Cottage, I laughed at Luna and her Father at the wedding. I was so pleased.

Great review!

Mike said...

I was wondering if I'll get a review of this movie on this site. And I'm extremely happy and grateful that you thought about putting it out here, Billie Doux staff writers. So big thanks at the beginning! :)

Secondly I want to say that I just loved this movie!! It did a great job at capturing the spirit of the book and I was amazed at how close to the original this adaptation was. The last two movies left me wondering if David Yates cares at all about the subject matter and I was extremely happy to see that if given a reasonable amount of time he really does. :)
I think that this one was the best of them all and I enjoyed every minute of it! :)

I have a lot of hope towards "part 2" and I think it will be really spectacular.

I guess that's all I wanted to post.
If you're able to read Polish I invite you to visit my site, where I wrote few things more (I'll think about translating it and putting it out here for those who can't read my "exotic" language) ;)

Thanks again for a nice review. :)
Mike

Nick said...

I think just about everyone agrees that HP7 part 1 is foremost a movie for the fans - this review is absolutely right, the fans are just about the only people who'll fully understand what's going on. And I think that's the best move they could've made, because had they tried to cater to everyone (assuming that's even possible without altering the book's plot) then - well it'd be a trainwreck no doubt. But pleasing the fans, the core demographic, that's most fitting.

And it was great. The visuals are even better than HP6, whatever people may say about the film itself. The trio are putting in their strongest performances yet.

If anything felt out of place, it was:
1) that weird awkward Harry-Hermione dance scene.
2) the fact that somebody did NOT die at the end (since the review lacks spoilers, I won't say who - but honestly I think at this stage putting a spoiler alert on anything Harry Potter is redundant and fruitless).

Other than that, well...given that Part 2 obviously has all the better parts, I'm looking forward even more to that - if Part 1 is any indication, they'll likely nail it.