Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

22 Feb


Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Here we go—the beginning of the end of the popular “Harry Potter” film series, based on the book series by J.K. Rowling. The book series ends with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which was so long that the filmmakers had to split it into two parts. And so, here is “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” which of course ends abruptly and keeps us waiting anxiously for Part 2 to arrive in a few months.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is not a film to start with if you are not familiar with the “Harry Potter” series or haven’t seen the previous films. This is strictly for fans only. This is the setup to what we have been waiting for since the evil Lord Voldemort has risen and Harry Potter must fight him in the end. The battle will most definitely happen in Part 2 and that will be the end of this wonderful series about the young wizard Harry Potter who started out as just a regular kid who found out he was a wizard and came to Hogwarts School to test his wits, and wound up in many adventures that lead to the rise of Lord Voldemort, who killed his parents long ago and tried to do so with Harry and failed. Now, Voldemort is back.

No place is safe anymore. It’s dangerous to the point where Harry’s friend Hermione is forced to erase any memory of her from her parents and run away. Harry’s hateful relatives have moved out, knowing they are not safe in their house anymore—Harry would have been thrilled that they are leaving if not for the reason why. Now Harry, Hermione, and their friend Ron are in the world away from Hogwarts, which is dangerous for them now. But then again, it’s dangerous here too as Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters draws near.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is a solid entry in the “Harry Potter” series—the best in quite a while. It’s action-packed, the three central characters are here with things to do, and by now, we more than care about everyone involved here. This is why it hurts us when about two characters we knew from earlier films meet their ends here. I won’t give away who dies in this movie—I wouldn’t dare spoil anything.

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has survived every incredible ordeal in the past years, and so have Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson). But somehow this is different—the villains mean business and the situations are more deadly, if you can believe that. Even the Ministry of Magic is out to destroy the three young heroes this time.

These three characters are not kids anymore—their school days are nostalgic memories now and the stakes are higher this time around. They have reached the state of adulthood and now have to take things upon themselves. They spend most of their journey alone as Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) sends his minions out to get them, as well as Ron’s numerous family members and old friends. The three camp out at night and go searching for new clues by day in order to find the key to stopping all of this madness. While they camp out, they are safe from Voldemort but they find complications with themselves, particularly with Ron who not only is jealous of Hermione being alone with Harry but also with Harry’s persistence. There is one scene in which Ron is about to lose himself entirely and sees Harry and Hermione completely nude and making out with each other. This is when you know that you don’t know what is going to happen because this time, all bets are off.

There are many great sequences in this film. One shows the characters as they use a Polyjuice potion in order to disguise themselves as members of the Ministry of Magic and get the next clue (and meet an old friend who will send a chill to anyone who knows who the character is). This scene is suspenseful and also funny at some points. And then there’s a big snake that will definitely scare small children—the PG-13 rating is deserved. There are many other scenes like this and it’s only Part 1 and the major conflict hasn’t even begun yet. We have to wait for Part 2 for more.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have grown into their characters and are still engaging in their roles. They have changed here as well—Radcliffe begins to grow a beard, Grint has his demons within him, and Watson is becoming a very attractive young woman. I will follow them anywhere in any Harry Potter movie. The studios made the wise decision not to recast these three people and allowed them to grow with the movies.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” does end abruptly—someone should have added a caption, “To be concluded.” Part 2 arrives in a few months and we will finally see every plot point line up, every character’s situation resolved, and the villains will fight the heroes in a final climactic battle. But you must see every Harry Potter film before you see that film. And before this film as well.

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