Under Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’


Nine years ago, my grandmother took me to see “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Last night, sitting in the theatre I couldn’t help but think about how much both the Harry Potter film series and I have changed. The kids who first started watching the movie have grown up and so has the series along with them.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” begins with each of our three heroes — Harry, Ron and Hermione — alone. That feeling of isolation stays with the film. Even when the three are traveling together, the locations they are in are vast and empty of life. This exemplifies the seemingly hopelessness of their cause, and foreshadows the fact that in the end it can really only be Harry against Voldemort.

For those of you who have depraved yourself from the book series, here’s a quick summary: Harry, Ron and Hermione have left their family, their friends and Hogwarts to search for Voldemort’s horcruxes (parts of his soul) in an attempt to destroy them, thus making Voldemort defeatable. And since the film splits the book, don’t expect a conclusion just yet.

For a while, I was under the jaded cynicism that the people behind the Harry Potter films knew they were going to have a huge audience no matter what, but with “The Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” it’s plain to see that everybody who works on the film cares about it. From the acting to the editing to the camera work, everyone is doing their best to tell this story. However, it is really the beautiful cinematography and art direction that shine in this film. The series began as a bright family movie, but the films have progressively gotten darker. This darkness works just as well to show humor as it does the levity of the subject matter in the film. Most of the laughs come from sight gags, like the scene with the seven Harrys, and from one-liners that mostly are adapted from the novel. Believe, me the humor is welcome after all the heaviness.

Unfortunately, I’m not so blinded by my love of the films and the books to not see flaws in “The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” The film was supposed to be released in 3D, but only recently it was announced that the film would have no 3D release. However, there are moments in the film when you know that they were shot just for the 3D aspect (mainly anytime something is jumping out at you). Sometimes the timing isn’t quite right either. It may be the absurdity of the plot/effects , but you can see the actors a struggle at times to keep the flow going. And, as always, I wonder if those who have never read the film can keep up with what’s going on.

For those of you thinking about bringing children, I guarantee that you will be disturbed by more in the film than anyone under 13 will be. In one of the first scenes, a former professor (though never introduced in the films) is hovering in silent pain and it is hauntingly done. However, my 10-year-old sister (who I, unfortunately, can’t convince to read the series) said she was only a little scared and that she both laughed and cried during the film just like many of the high school/college crowd in my auditorium did.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is in theatres now, with “Part 2” being scheduled to release July 15.

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