Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Directed by: David Yates Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes Running Time: 2 hrs 5 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: November 19, 2010
PLOT: Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) race against time to destroy the Horcruxes as Lord Voldemort grows in power. Harry and the gang stumble upon the three most powerful objects in the wizarding world known as the Deathly Hallows.
WHO'S IT FOR? Have you gone along with the books and movies to this point? Well, it's too late to stop now with this film and Part 2 coming out in July 2011. Once again, it's a little darker than the last, so keep that in mind with your little ones.
EXPECTATIONS: As a big fan of the novels I look to these movies to happily remind me of the books. With this film, I was curious where they would split the story and figured I would once again question some cuts.
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter: Radcliffe is Potter. Only time will tell if he can shed that and be other characters for other films. For now, it's a good thing. Thank god Radcliffe has made this character work for a decade. Harry once again must depend on others, but he has finally embraced being "The Chosen One." There is a lonliness that Radcliffe nails. Ginny seems like an afterthought. Thankfully he no longer seems to be getting lucky with his spells. Harry can carry his own. I did notice something odd with this film. Harry is a little asexual. It's like he has forgotten about Ginny, and his moments with Hermione, when Ron is getting jealous, are so nonthreatening. Score: 8
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger: Look, I know Harry is "The Chosen One," but isn't Hermione getting the shaft a little bit with that? Not only is she the smartest, she's clearly the glue keeping this group together. Hermione also has one of the most effectively sad moments early on in the film. Instead of saying goodbye to her muggle parents, she removes herself from the pictures hanging on the walls. She knows she might not be coming back. Man, these kids have grown up. Score: 8
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley: Normally Ron is just the comic sidekick. Grint is good at it. This time around he broads, and he's not bad at that either. Plus, Ron definitely got the coolest device Dumbledore left behind. Ron is serving the purpose of making us understand just how serious this journey is for the gang. Let's be clear though, it's more like "The Chosen 2.5." Score: 7
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort: The non-nose is just great. It's a much better device than just having Fieennes talk like a snake, even though I'm sure he's capable. Voldemort's purpose and passion are a little bit under-explained here. From the flashes of Harry's dreams we know Voldemort is up to know good, but that's about it. I'm sure this will change in the final film, but here he doesn't really measure up to "He who will not be named." Score: 6
Rest of Cast: Um, they're not really present. Early on we get Mad-Eye Moody, the Weasley twins, Hagrid and all the others. Any potential romantic feelings toward Ginny quickly disappear. Then there's Snape, Draco and Bellatrix, but they don't really feel like they're around much. We do meet Xenophilius Lovegood (Rhys Ifans) who is Luna's dad, but he doesn't steal the show. That's the main difference with this film. No side character nails it. That's always been the case in the other films. Score: 6
TALKING: While there is plenty of talking with all of the camping that occurs, most of the dialogue can be boiled down to ... Where are the Horcruxes? How do we destroy the Horcruxes? All hope is lost. Score: 6
SIGHTS: The film has a blue/grey tint that helps set the tone. Yates and his team have really nailed the look of the Harry Potter world. The technology behind the special effects always seemed a step behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but they've really caught up. When the story of the Deathly Hallows finally comes up, there's a really cool animated scene that brings it together. The flying sequences, fighting, Harry Potter clones, and most surprising Dobby all look great. Yes, I said Dobby. Plus, a chase in the woods verges on SCS (Shaky Camera Syndrome) but never falls prey. And of course, when wizards fight, sparks fly. No really, that's exactly what happens. Score: 9
SOUNDS: It's a classical musical score. The tension created by the music helps push us through some of the slower times. There's also an insanely effective buzz from the locket Horcrux. A slow dance with Harry and Hermione will be sweet for some and others will just feel like they are killing time. Score: 8
BEST SCENE: Dobby. I kid you not. When things look their worst, the little elf comes to the rescue. Not only that, it's the exciting conclusion to this film.
ENDING: You just read what was the best scene, right? It's that great to know the best is last? I had no clue where they would split the films, but they did a fine job. Yes, I'm excited for July to get here so it will all be over. Dang, I just got a twinge of sadness.
QUESTIONS: With two films there is plenty of time. My memory isn't great, so people who have read the book a couple of times ... what did they leave out in the adaptation?
REWATCHABILITY: Yup. It will be curious to see if they rush the DVD out before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on July 15, 2011.
Right away with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 you feel this is a little different. Something is truly at stake. It's not play time any more little kids. Plus, the little kids are acting and being treated like adults. The story is a little under-explained and you'll either need to remember the book very well, or just go along for the ride. That is one issue. The ride seems to slow down when camping is the highest priority on the agenda for our fearless three. There will be a few moments in the middle when you wonder if they could have just fit everything in one film. Luckily, at about the moment you think that, the tension and intensity pick up. Attached to this excitement ... Dobby (at one point the Jar Jar Binks of the Harry Potter world). He and his efforts make you care and worry and most importantly get you excited for the second part of the final chapter of a wizarding world that has entertained millions.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10