Review – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

Veronica has lived with this series from the beginning, eagerly anticipating each installment and booking days off to read each one as they were released. Nerdy and awesome? Yes and yes.

Ashley, on the other hand, has followed the series through the film versions as they were released, only recently succumbing to Veronica’s persistent demands that she at least read the final book before it’s too late.

Either way, the Harry Potter franchise has been a constant companion in our lives for as long as we can remember and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 being the second to last movie of the epic series, we hoped it would live up to our expectations and all the hype. We were excited to learn that they were going to split the 700 page tome into two movies and hopefully do justice to JK. Rowling’s prose. And we can honestly say we were not disappointed.

A lot of people still think these are children’s films but they’re not. The dark turn, not only in the images but the characters as well, has made the last few films distinctively adult. This latest installment has firmly rooted adult themes, with the artistic nudity, death and torture; it is definitely not for kids.

It is the darkest of dark times in the Wizarding World, Voldemort now has control over the ministry and is seeking out those witches

and wizards who are not pure bloods. This is laughable being that Tom Riddle is himself a half-breed; but being the vilest of all dark wizards has its perks. Harry, Hermione and Ron are on the hunt for Horcruxes, seemingly ordinary objects that the Dark Lord himself has secreted bits of his soul, which must be destroyed if they are to win the battle against him. This is an uphill battle that even the most resourceful and cunning wizard would have a hard time doing, yet three fledgling wizards band together to do what others cannot.

While there is so much we can say about this movie, we don’t want to risk spoiling the experience for any other die-hard fans out there, so we’ll keep the movie rundown to a minimum and generally sum up the experience as being more than thrilling.

Having to adapt from a book that contains so much magic, it must have been a difficult task deciding what aspects to include in the film and what to cut. It was agreed that some scenes in the film lacked the tremendous intensity depicted through the written pages, but the overall impact of the movie far surpasses expectations and makes up for the missing components.

As for our three leading Wizards – such a risk was taken in the initial casting of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, committing to three unknown kids and giving them such giant shoes to fill. Those initial casting decisions could have gone drastically wrong (see: Twilight), especially without any solid indication of whether they would be able to grow up on screen and handle all the attention at such a young age while continuing to exert the passion and focus needed to do each role justice.

It’s almost unbelievable when you look back over the different films and realize exactly how much the three of them have grown, not only in age, but also as actors. As mentioned, this film dives deeper into some darker, heavier themes and there are many scenes that require a lot of emotion, angst and jealous anger. Each performance is sincere and believable; the kind of authenticity that leaves you aching for each character like you would an old friend. After all, at this point, anyone who has followed the story from the beginning has been standing alongside Harry, Ron and Hermoine as loyally as any old friend would.

One sequence that was done exceptionally well and deserves to be mentioned is Harry’s introduction to the Deathly Hallows. The creepy, Tim Burton-esque animated retelling was all at once perfect and apt. It flawlessly captured and illustrated exactly what the trio was seeking in their quest. And not only was it visually stimulating, but the short was thoroughly descriptive so that even those who have not read all the books will understand the significance of the Hallows and how they fit into Harry’s story.

Our only issue with the existence of two movies is that as the first movie comes to a close, the exhilaration beings to build and once you reach that final climactic moment and the credits role, you are callously left hanging and wanting more. We sat there stunned and waiting optimistically for a preview of Part Two that just didn’t come.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will hit theatres in July 2011 and you have our word we will be counting down every day until we can witness Harry, Ron and Hermoine in all their deserved glory.
images from google images