Over three years since the publication of J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed novel “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and a year and a half since the release of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” in theaters, Warner Bros. pictures debuted “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1” in theaters last Friday, November 19. “Hallows” is a film packed with action, drama, romance, and so much more.
The film begins with a dramatic speech from Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic, played by Bill Nighy. His daunting speech includes phrases such as “dark times” and “your Ministry remains, strong”, setting a dark tone for the movie and promising a dramatic two and a half hours.
Picking up where the six film left off, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are out to find Lord Voldemort’s horcruxes, small objects containing bits of his soul, when, destroyed, will make it easier to kill Voldemort himself.
The journey does not prove easy, and it’s one that leads them through the Ministry of Magic, into the depths of freezing cold lakes, across the English countryside, inside the safe confines of Grimmauld Place, and into Malfoy Manor where they have a dramatic confrontation with some of their biggest enemies.
Similar to its dramatic beginning, the film continues to offer several dramatic scenes that pull at the hearts of movie goers.
Prior to Potter leaving his home in the beginning of the film, he takes one last look inside the cabinet under the stairs, the room he stayed in during his childhood until he was eleven and was sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Radcliffe’s eyes are filled with pain and sadness. His character seems torn between the life he once led, and the life he now has to accept, one of a painful journey that may lead to his death.
Later, when Harry and his two companions Ron and Hermione escape danger and arrive at a safe house, Hermione casts a charm to reveal any human presence among them. When the spell reveals that no one is in the home, Hermione utters “We’re alone.” This statement has a powerful meaning in that the trio are not only alone in the house but alone on their journey.
Perhaps the most dramatic of scenes is the death of a character that has proved himself loyal and loving toward Harry and his cause over the years. His sacrificial death is one that left several audience members in tears, as Harry weeps over his body and subsequently buries him.
Despite the dramatic scenes, the film is also riddled with bits of humor. After George Weasley (Oliver Phelps) has his ear blasted off from a curse, leaving him with a hole in the side of his head, he declares himself ‘saint-like’ because he’s ‘holey’, lines taken directly from Rowling’s novel.
Grint proves himself to be a comedic actor, as several of the funnier lines in the film come from him. When disguised as Ministry worker Reg Cattermole, Ron finds himself locking lips with Cattermole’s wife, as he transforms back to his true form right before her eyes. As she stares back at him, wide-eyed, Grint simply chuckles and mutters “Long story…nice meeting you!”
Romance comes into play between Ron and Hermione, as the audience is left wondering if the two will ever become an item (of course, readers of the books knew this answer years ago). Ron’s affections for Hermione are obvious, as we often see him staring at her and doing whatever he can to win her affections. Despite their obvious chemistry, Ron still struggles with the strong friendship between Hermione and Harry, as evident during a dramatic horcrux scene.
Besides the drama, romance, and comedy, the director includes a beautifully done animation sequence as Hermione reads the story of “The Tale of the Three Brothers” aloud. The animation is far from anything Pixar or Disney would create, but instead is a dark, Tim Burton-esque representation of the tale. Its beautiful black, white and orange imagery and illustration will leave you in awe.
Though the film’s main focus is on Harry, Ron and Hermione and their journey, several minor characters impress the audience with their small, yet significant roles.
Imelda Staunton returns as the cold-hearted Dolores Umbridge, now in charge of the Muggle Registration Commission at the Ministry of Magic. She is as menacing as ever as she interrogates a Muggle born witch with a Nazi-like attitude.
Helena Bonham Carter reprises her role as Bellatrix Lestrange, releasing her crazy anger upon any and all but the Dark Lord himself, to whom she seems hold a strange love and compassion for.
Jason Isaacs and Tom Felton return as Lucius and Draco Malfoy respectively, a father and son duo bent upon winning the affection of the Dark Lord back after Draco’s failure to perform a task for Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." Their acting ability to both seem as though they love and fear Voldemort is one that translates well to screen.
Overall the film is full of everything Harry Potter fans have been wanting for years. It’s the most accurate representation of the books, which may be due to the fact that the filmmakers split the film into two, allowing for more dialogue, plot and action than films in the past.
If you haven’t seen “Deathly Hallows pt. 1” yet, I’d urge you to before it leaves theaters. It’s a dramatic cinematic experience that you’ll want to see again and again.
And don't forget to check out the final film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2" when it hits theaters in July 2011.