We’ve been waiting for what seems like forever, and finally the time has come: the beginning of the end for Harry Potter and his magical pals in cinematic form. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is more than just the first half of the conclusion to one of the biggest movie franchises in history; it also marks more than 10 years we’ve spent growing up with these characters, experiencing everything with them from their first spells to first kisses, and now their mission to save the world. It’s a dark film that packs two-thirds of the novel on which it is based into 146 minutes. It’s more about friendship and emotions rather than action, but it’s the perfect build to what we all hope will be a spectacular showdown between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in Part 2. For more of what I thought, just read more.
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For those of you who haven’t read the book, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 follows Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) on their mission to find and destroy Horcruxes, magical items that contain pieces of Voldemort’s soul. Their journey is often emotionally taxing and the film’s generally grim mood extends to the main trio, though there are still pleasant moments infused with humour and light. One scene in particular is an improvised dance scene between Harry and Hermione, who is reeling after Ron’s sudden departure. It’s sweet, touching and provides a much-needed distraction from the task they’ve taken upon themselves.
Every scene either featuring or relating to Voldemort has a dark element that means his return to power and desire to kill Harry feel threateningly real. From his savage disposal of an ex-Hogwarts teacher to his control of the Ministry of Magic, the terror of Voldemort permeates not only the magical world but the Muggle world, too. As I mentioned, there’s not a whole heap of action in this film, but let’s face it—the book also has a lot of camping (cue a different landscape every night) and fruitless Horcrux-hunting, which is needed to show the characters grow stronger despite their setbacks. Hermione, in particular, takes on more of a leadership role as Harry and Ron battle their own demons. And we’ll be treated to lots of action when Part 2 rolls around.
One scene that is worthy of mention is the tale of The Three Brothers, which is a beautifully animated sequence, narrated by Hermione, that gives the film a nice break from its bleak reality. Its aesthetic difference from the rest of the film also highlights the importance of the story, which is all about the titular Deathly Hallows.
Potter fans will devour every minute of Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and when the credits start they’ll only be hungry for Part 2. It would be impossible for a film to satisfy everyone’s interpretation of the book, but Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a faithful adaptation and a great way to start bringing this popular series to a close.