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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Review

 

Kieran’s Rating: 9/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 9.0/10
(5 reviews total)

Opening with a rusty looking version of the Warner Bros. logo, an ominous warning, Harry and Ron look to the distance with worry and Hermione erases her parents memories of her. It is clear that we are getting a very different type of Harry Potter. Director David Yates sets out to show a gloomy, bleak world where war and repression are about to inflict the Wizard world.

Picking up where “The Half-Blood Prince” left off, Dumbledore has been murdered and there is no one left to stop Voldermort. The new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy), states the gravity of the situation. Harry was given a mission by Dumbledore to find Voldermort’s remaining Horcruxes (pieces of his soul), but has no idea what they are hiding in, how to find them and how to destroy them. When Voldermort launches a successful coup against the Ministry of Magic, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to go on the run when they are declared public enemies.

Yates had already shown that he coul make a dark “Harry Potter” film when he made “Order of the Phoenix,”  but with “The Deathly Hallows” he takes it to another level. Like with “Order of the Phoenix” and “The Half-Blood Prince,” he was able to change his style of direction yet again. The repression of the new Ministry of Magic was brought to life, looking and feeling very much like the Ministry of Truth in 1984, with a little bit of Brazil for good measure. There are wonderful little details to windowless environment, the costumes of the wizard enforcers and the 1940s-style propaganda posters. The animated short of “The Tale of the Three Brothers” (whose director was given free reign by Yates) was very Tim Burton like: so dark, visually stunning and flowing beautifully with the rest of the film.

Yates delivers on the action front yet again, excellent chases from when the Death Eaters chase the Order of the Phoenix in the skies above London and seeing that real people get hurt, the chase in the Ministry and the scenes in the woods. Helena Bonham Carter was finally allowed to let loose and Bellatrix Lestrange is turned into a truly scary character — we get to see some of the horrors she is able to inflict.

Because of the dark, slow and sombre direction at times there are some effective horror moments and there is a permanent sense of tension and terror. Yates slows the film down long enough to unveil the mystery and quest and show how the characters we know handle their mission. The House Elf Kreacher (Simon McBurney) was made into a nastier little creature with bitterness in his voice who had been taught a hateful ideology. A great of example of all this bleakness is that John Williams’ soft signature tune is no longer used in the film.

Senses that were only mentioned in the book are actually shown in the film, following the old screenwriting maxim “show don’t tell” and having much more of an impact for the audience. Yates and Steve Kloves attempt to show the wider picture of the conflict and the ideology of the wizardening world, showing the Death Eaters as being akin to Nazis and Stalinists. But it is not all doom and gloom and there is still plenty of humour and lighter moments, most of it being visual and some funny lines via Dobby and various Weasleys

This time round the main three actors have to stand alone with little support from the adults. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have all grown as actors over the years. All three give fine performances, Watson giving her strongest performance in the series and Grint showing more range then just as the comical sidekick. Radcliffe has already proven himself the best actor of the trio and his performance was natural as in the previous films. There is a large number of cameos in the film from actors who have been in the previous films and its great to see the previous film referenced like this. Imelda Staunton returns, being deliciously evil and sickly-sweet as Dolores Umbridge, and Rhys Ifans gives a surprisingly understated performances as Xenophilius Lovegood.

“The Deathly Hallows Part 1” is one of the strongest entries in the Harry Potter series but there are some faults preventing it from topping the list. When the main three characters are on the road, it is sometimes too slow and some scenes could have been cut or shortened: the film itself is about 10 to 15 minutes too long. Also a problem from the book is that the Horcrux is pretty much lifted from The Lord of the Rings, acting as a corrupt force on anyone who touches it. But all this is minor as the film will satisfy and delight fans of both the books and the films. 

I personally really looking forward to the concluding part to the series with what should be an epic finale.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Directed by David Yates
Written by Steve Kloves (screenplay), J.K. Rowling (book)
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint

Other Player Affinity Reviews

Steven thought:Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 is a true epic — a dark and brooding journey with a tone remarkably akin to The Lord of the Rings. Yates has taken a film series which was once a fanciful, light-hearted rendering of author J.K. Rowling’s imagination and made it feel real and especially dangerous. This time around there’s lots of blood, characters are dying left and right and the stuff that supplements the main plot, instead of being fluffy and magical, is decidedly dramatic. Succinctly put, the cinematic quality of the films has continued to improve as it has done ever since Yates took over. What used to be the emphasis in the plot-driven scenes (action and visual effects) has changed. With the PG-13 rating back on, “Deathly Hallows” feels real and the action is palpable. Instead of calling attention to pretty visual effects, Yates and crew make them feel naturally part of the action, which keeps our focus on the characters, who if you’ve followed the series with any closeness, you will realize are dearer to your heart than you thought. Maybe most importantly, “Hallows Pt. 1″ sets us up for a dramatic, exciting and cathartic finale to the most impressive movie franchise ever made.” Rating: 9/10

Joseph thought: “For my money, this ranks up there with Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire as my favorites of the series. Yates gives us a very dark and dreary film, where the trio are now basically adults and must find a way to kill Voldemort, whose power increases by the minute. This is not a film for children, and for that, I’m grateful. There’s a good deal of violence, there’s an infamous naked make-out between Harry and Hermione (which is pretty racy for a PG-13 though it is an “illusion”), and moments of intensity that will simply frighten the little ones (a vicious snake attack and Voldemort robbing Dumbledore’s grave, for instance). Some people bemoan seemingly unnecessary scenes (some of the forest scenes do feel just a tad long) and the fact that it doesn’t follow the book to the T. I haven’t read the book (I stopped after trying to read “Order of the Phoenix” because Harry was being such a prick), but I just might have to pick it up. Honestly, if they had made the whole thing in one huge fiv- hour movie, I would’ve been happy to sit there through the whole thing. These characters and their story pulled me in and I got lost in their world.” Rating: 9.5/10

Max thought: “While “Part 1” feels very much like one half of a larger film, it’s safe to say Yates and his crew have done remarkably well in closing out the franchise. The tone of the series has never been darker (as an animated sequence in the second act beautifully illustrates) and in many ways, the crew is holding no punches when setting the film’s scale. The “road trip” aspects give a strong sense of scope and how far Harry’s inevitable confrontation with Voldemort will reach. The cast is at the top of its game in its respective roles: Radcliffe, Watson and Grint live up to the high expectations laid out to them (10 years in the making for that matter). It’s unfair to simply write “Part 1” off as simply setting the pieces up for what is sure to be a much more action oriented “Part 2.” On it’s own, “Part 1” allows the characters, who have spent so much time on the screen, a rare moment in such a franchise’s history: sincere reflection. If “Part 2” is to represent all of the blockbuster aspects that made the franchise so popular, in terms of large scale effects and production values, than perhaps “Part 1” will come to represent the heart of the franchise and it’s characters.” Rating: 9/10

Simon thought: “Though containing enough novel-jargon to drive any non-fan away in the first act, part one of the seventh instalment delivers on the character-driven aspect that make the novels the special additions to literature that they are. The three principle actors, Radcliff, Watson and Grint, by far give their best performances of the series and it is their interactions that make the film memorable. Director Yates has upped the ante with regards to magical mayhem and combined with main character death, a deeply ominous plot and foreboding scenery, this is the most mature “Potter” yet. Although I wished they had not stripped much of the aerial battle that occurs towards the beginning, the great majority of the novel remains (well, the first half that is) and is done in a way that leaves the proceedings feeling less rushed than some of the previous instalments. If the second part of this exciting conclusion can match, or hopefully exceed, the heights of “Part I” then this series will conclude in a manner making it worthy of unbiased recognition.” Rating: 8.5/10

Player Affinity Composite Rating: 9.0/10 

 

Rating
9.0

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