Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I: Movie Review

I am a Potterhead, or Pottermaniac, or whatever you want to call the illogical devotees to J.K. Rowling’s books on the magical world of Harry Potter.  And as such, we crazies have been devoted to the movies from the beginning.

But no movie in the series has been looked forward to like these last two, that will bring the Harry Potter saga to a close.

Deathly Hallows is a clear divergence from the rest of the series.  Although each iteration of the Potter storyline gets darker and darker, Deathly Hallows magnifies that darkness geometrically.  All the other movies, including the ever dark Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince still took place at Hogwarts, with school surroundings that made the entire storyline just a little less deep.  You still had the school age crushes, teenage angst, and of course, schoolwork to worry about.

No more.  As the above poster shows…this is war.  This is pure and unadulterated war, in all of its destructive elements.

The bulk of the movie (without giving away any of the true storyline; don’t worry, NO SPOILERS!!!) is largely with our three heroes surviving on their own.  There are no parents, no schoolteachers, no Dumbledore (literally) to look after them.  They have, for all practical purposes, entered the reality of adulthood…with all of its drawbacks.

As has been the case for several volumes of the movie, the three continue their goal of finding a way to destroy the evil Voldemort, while at the same time being the primary target of the forces of darkness.  As Voldemort’s power increases, the security that Harry had enjoyed through out his childhood continues to wane, to the point of nonexistence.

But the movie is remarkable in its ability to really delve deep into the thoughts and fears of the characters.  Director David Yates, with the freedom of splitting the last volume of Rowling’s saga into two movies, spends more time in the relationship between Ron, Hermione, and Harry…a friendship based on trials, survivals and blood.

Ultimately, it is the unknown future that Harry Potter faces.  And although he has his friends at his side, more or less, the weight of the world is on Harry’s shoulders.  That is what drives the movie.  He knows, ultimately, that the fate of the world lies in his less-than-qualified shoulders.  But, even knowing his fallibility, Potter shows strength, tenderness, and resolve that we look from the great leaders.  And that, ultimately, is what drives the three heroes to their goal.

Yates has woven a beautiful film, dramatically different than the other iterations of the Potter saga.  This movie is very dark…so dark, in fact, that I wonder at what age I would feel comfortable showing this to my children.  As I said at the start…this is about the harsh realities of good and evil, of adulthood, and of war.  Yes, it is still a Harry Potter story, but in its darkest realm.  And Yates does a magnificent job of blending cinematographic artistry with the elements of emotion essential to the story.  The three main actors, additionally, show that they too have grown up, and are now able to place the weight into their roles necessary to carry out the story.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 in many ways is not the most enjoyable of the Potter series, because of the death and destruction and hopelessness of our heroes cause.  But it might well be the best movie of the series so far.  Watch this movie, and try not to be excited for Part 2, arriving next summer.   I dare you.

One thought on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I: Movie Review

  • November 19, 2010 at 9:32 am

    It sounds good… real good. That said, I have never read the books or seen any of the movies to date. I have to wonder what I am missing. This is similar to the Chronicles of Narnia for me. Though I have seen the movies I did not read the books. With Harry Potter the initial stories seemed to much like school scenes for me with magic thrown in. When on TV what I did see just didn’t capture my attention.

    I suppose at some time I will find the time again to read these… will I then see what I missed or will I wonder what everyone was so enthralled over? Time will tell.

    I have deep admiration but, at the same time, regret for the mostly isolated successes of someone like JK Rowling. I am thrilled to see anyone be so successful. However, there are the few like Rowling and then there really are nearly everyone else in the industry. God bless her truly for her success. Sometimes though, I wish that the numbers of authors that people loved and followed were a bit larger… There is more room no?

    Think of the movie possibilities if we all expanded our horizons a bit!

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