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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (A Movie Review)

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1


Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Julie Walters, Evanna Lynch, Bill Nighy, Peter Mullan, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Warwick Davis, Matthew Lewis, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Natalia Tena, David O’Hara, Clemence Poesy, Frances de la Tour, Rade Serbedzija, Miranda Richardson, Jamie Campbell Bower and the voice of Toby Jones.

Screenplay by Steve Kloves.

Directed by David Yates.

Distributed by Warner Bros.  146 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

The beginning of the end for Harry Potter fans is upon us as one of the most consistently imaginative film franchises ever reaches its final chapter.

Actually, unlike the previous titles from this literary sensation turned blockbuster movie series, the final Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – is being stretched out into two full length films.  (All the previous books were compressed into single movies.)  The first part is being released in November 2010; the second half will show up in multiplexes the next summer.

As Harry Potter and his wizard friends have grown older, the series has grown steadily more adult and darker.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I continues this trend, and at the same time it is definitely the most exciting film yet in the series.  The last few films, while all enjoyable and well-made, had a bit too many slow patches.

Deathly Hallows 1 starts off at a trot and never really slows down.  Two and a half hours pass with surprising fleetness.  Also, the inevitability and finality of the storyline – after all unless author J.K. Rowling changes her mind and writes another book, these two films are as far as the story will ever go – gives the proceedings a gravity that the series has not always captured.

Still, for as much is going on here, not all that much gets accomplished.

Part 1 works well and yet it feels, by necessity, incomplete – like you were reading the book and someone stole your copy for several months when you were right in the middle.  I would venture that Deathly Hallows will work much better when both parts are on DVD and you are able to experience the story as a whole – as it was meant to be told.

That said the film (or half of the film, as Part 2 contains necessary information to make this narrative make sense) does find a relatively good place to stop the action.  Like The Half-Blood Prince, the last Potter film, Deathly Hallows – Part 1 climaxes with the death of an important character in the Harry Potter universe – though not as important a character as the one who died last film.  (Apologies to fans of that character, but the dead character simply was not as vital to the storyline as Dumbledore was.)

Deathly Hallows – Part 1 starts off where Half-Blood Prince left off and continues that chapter’s dark tone.  Harry and his friends are under attack by the minions of Valdemort, so they all risk life and limb to hide the young wizard.  The Ministry of Magic is being perverted from the inside and Hogwarts is reeling from the death of its headmaster.

The rest of the film is essentially Harry, Ron and Hermione trying to evade evil while on the run.  Of course, being teenagers, there is a certain amount of rampant hormones and a bit of jealousy muddying the waters.

Therefore, the story necessarily has the characters hiding out in remote places, searching for clues and not quite getting where they need to be.

However, they will get there soon enough, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a good place-setter for the final showdown.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2010 All rights reserved. Posted: November 17, 2010.


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