Length: 146 minutes
Release Date: November 19, 2010
Directed by: David Yates
Genre: Adventure / Family / Fantasy
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the first of two movies based on the final book in the “Harry Potter” series. As the book series grew darker with each installment, the subsequent movies followed suit. Director David Yates took over the final four films, steering it away from the relatively fun and lighthearted tone the series had up until the very last part of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” The dark, moody undertones of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” set the stage for the harrowing battle between good and evil that the series has been building up to all along, but fans have to wait for part two to see that battle in all its glory.
This installment focuses on the preparations Harry Potter and his friends have to make in order to have even a remote chance of defeating Voldemort, the main antagonist of the series. Voldemort split his soul into several pieces and hid them in objects such as rings and diaries. Once an object contains part of a soul, it is called a “Horcrux.” If Voldemort is killed before all the Horcruxes are destroyed, he is reborn.
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are the three main protagonists of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” They have been the best of friends since they met on the train to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first movie. Even though Harry is the only one who can be ultimately responsible for the slaying of Voldemort according to prophesy, he is far from being the only hero. Hermione, Ron and Harry face many dangers together on the journey to collect and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, all while being hunted down by those who serve Voldemort.
Of course, that is not to say that the three friends always get along. In spite of their love for each other, there is anger boiling under the surface, especially between Ron and Harry. Ron, who is often treated as Harry’s bumbling sidekick, is tired of being pushed out of the spotlight. His strong feelings for Hermione and the unspoken rivalry he has always had with Harry for her affections are another strain on their relationship. Hermione is having a difficult time herself. In order to protect her “normal” non-magical parents, she erased herself from their memories so they would not have to deal with the stress of knowing their daughter is in very real danger.
Meanwhile, Harry struggles to keep his heavy emotions to himself. Being the one destined to defeat Voldemort is weighing him down. He is sure he is going to have to die, but his desire to keep his friends strong keeps him from being honest about his fears. The dark emotional elements throughout the series are stronger than ever in this installment. Fans should be as prepared as possible for the heartbreaking final battle in part two.
The acting is what really brings “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” to life. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have portrayed Harry, Ron and Hermione respectively since they were children. As the characters have aged, the actors have aged along with them. The three actors have been close friends offstage since meeting on the set of the first movie, and their natural chemistry brings a depth to their portrayal of the characters that is not often seen. The multitude of well-developed side characters are portrayed just as flawlessly by renowned talents such as Helena Bonham Carter as villainess Bellatrix Lestrange, Jason Isaacs as Voldemort’s loyal servant Lucius Malfoy, Alan Rickman as the misunderstood professor Severus Snape, Timothy Spall as the cowardly Wormtail and many more.
Fans should be warned that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is the most difficult installment to follow. The story is more complicated and mature than ever before, and the screenwriters responsible for translating the book to the big screen did not cut any corners. Viewers who have not seen the previous movies recently may find themselves lost at times. For the best experience possible, fans should consider refreshing their memories by watching “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” again. This is especially important for a more thorough explanation of why Harry, Hermione and Ron have to go through so many trials to collect the Horcruxes. Fortunately, Hermione takes several minutes here and there to explain things to Harry, so viewers who find themselves confused by the elaborate plot are likely to have their questions answered before long.
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