Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Second Opinion

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 7 out of 10

For Andy’s Original Interview, Click Here

It’s the last hoorah for the series (well the beginning of the end).  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the first half of the epic finale to the beloved franchise.

Picking up where the Half Blood Prince left off, it’s the beginning of the 7th year at Hogwarts for Potter and the gang.  Headmaster Dumbledore is dead, killed by Snape, and Voldemort’s power is growing.  The scenery moves away from Hogwarts and more into the country where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are searching for the last of the Horcruxes in order to destroy Voldemort’s immortality.  Death Eaters are seizing control of the Ministry of Defense, and they’re after Potter.  Along the way, they learn the tale of the Deathly Hallows, which if the legend is true, could give Voldemort the power to destroy Potter once and for all.

The film is by far the most emotionally charged of the series.  With David Yates’ direction and Steve Kloves’ script, the franchise recieves its darkest moments (both have previously worked on Half Blood Prince).  At one point Hermione (Emma Watson), erases herself from the pictures in her house in order to protect her muggle family, a decision not easily made.  Ron (Rupert Grint) brings more humor to the movie than any other character (well, maybe Dobby), and he show’s more backbone in himself when looking after Hermione.  Harry is grieving over the death of Dumbledore, trying to save those who are risking their life to keep him safe.  Daniel Radcliffe has done a fantastic job with the character.

While the film is one of the best in the series, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations.  The first half of the film was great, a good blend of action and intrigue.  The second half however, was a bit of a letdown.  There were extensive travel scenes with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and not enough focus on other characters such as Snape and Malfoy (10 minutes of Alan Rickman and Tom Felton aren’t enough).  Maggie Smith, who portrays Minerva McGonagall, is a no show.  Maybe it’s good to have it more focused on Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but other Harry Potter fans may feel cheated when they’re favorite characters have little or no screen time, and the uneven pacing of the film may bother some movie goers.

The film is still great, and to know it’s coming to an end in July of 2011 is bittersweet.  The first part of the end, while great, is incomplete.  Hopefully with Part 2, the experience will be greater and the film as a whole (so putting parts 1 and 2 in one long 5 hour movie) will be complete.  For now though, Harry Potter fans (whether you read the books or not) will enjoy this installment in the franchise.

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