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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The first part of the two-part finale to the Harry Potter franchise released in 2010.

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Not A Bad Film, But An UnInspired One That Serves More As A Cash Grab Than Anything Else

  • Nov 26, 2010
Rating:
+2
I’ll go ahead and clear the air here; I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world. Not to say I don’t like the films or the books though. I saw the first two films whenever they came out in theaters, and I remember seeing and really enjoying the fourth film. Until now I’ve not seen either the 5th or the 6th films, and I’m not a big reader, so none of the books ever really caught my eye. I can also say that I’m not the biggest fan of the latest installment in the Harry Potter series. The newest film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the David Yates-directed penultimate volume in the Harry Potter film series. The final result isn’t a bad film; in fact it definitely has and will please millions of fans. I, on the other hand, have never been a fan of films in which nothing happens and it seems like things are just being dragged out as long as possible. Much like the past 6 films, the talented cast reprises their roles. Daniel Radcliffe, who has come to define the role of Harry Potter, does a perfectly fine job, and Rupert Grint will hopefully get more film roles outside of Harry Potter thanks to an exceptional performance here. Emma Watson is easy on the eyes, and has her moments from time to time. Ralph Fiennes, playing he who must not be named, is suitable although he’s not really in the film all that much. Also, although I’ve not been the biggest fan of her in the past, Helena Bonham Carter does a fantastic job as one of Voldemort’s evil henchwomen. She cackles and sneers as one of the film’s few shining moments. Although some of the performances are exceptionally great, other times the movie takes itself a little too serious. I get that that’s the general tone of the series and the books, but it’d be nice to see Yates take more light-hearted liberties like one particular disguise scene early on more throughout the film. At times the seriousness of the set pieces and characters came off a little bit as laughable. By far the biggest drawback of the film is the fact that there’s little to nothing happening through a majority of the movie. Now understand, this isn’t some angry fan boy whining because I didn’t understand the movie or what was going on, I followed the movie 90% having not seen the previous two films or read any of the books. It’s safe to say that 90% of the film is exposition, and 70% of that 90% exposition is needlessly slow or could have easily been cut from the final product of the film. I respect the ideas that are being presented and the way that they’re advancing the story, but did it have to be in such a dull way? It almost feels like the movie should be called “Harry and Friends Go Camping!” because that’s where we spend a majority of our time; in the woods. While the introduction of this grand story might be grand in concept, in execution throughout the film little to nothing happens. Even when something perked my interest and I was starting to get involved with where the story was going, it was delivered in such a drawn-out manner that I couldn’t help but realize the whole film feels like 7 sentences of story stretched over 3 hours. Not only is that a little bit of story stretched out a lot, it means a lot of that previously mentioned “dull momentum” isn’t much more than filler. Sure that’s great for the fans and all to have two different movies to “enjoy”, but it’s even better for Warner Bros. considering that instead of $1 Billion they’ll get $2 Billion. Overall, although I was interested in the chunks of fine storytelling found here and there, there’s an unbelievable amount of material here, filler and plot elements alike, that should have been cut to benefit the overall movie. Maybe the concept of one film instead of one camping trip movie and one action-fest summer film isn’t such a crazy idea. Although that seems like a lot of nitpicking, I’m not quite done yet. Although it’s nowhere near the structural mess Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”, there are a few elements here in Deathly Hallows structure that rubbed me the wrong way. While I do understand that’s sort of the point of a Part 1, there’s really not a huge sense of escalation until the final 5 minutes when the cliffhanger comes in. The first 30 minutes move quickly and tackle a lot of material fast, and the next 2 hours sort of go with a whimper. It almost works in a backward sense compared to a regular film, in that it goes from a climax to a consistently slow slew of “discovery scenes”, where things get slower and slower until the movie peters out with a final, quick action piece. Although I do appreciate certain elements being presented here, and it definitely gives that Empire Strikes Back feel by the end of the film, one of my best friends put it best by saying the entire film is a first act, and it never really starts. It knew what it wanted to be (besides a cash-grab), but it just doesn’t know how to get there. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can say that there are parts of Deathly Hallows Part 1 that I did like. Much like I said earlier, it’s not a bad film in the slightest. What few action scenes there are (towards the beginning and right at the end, if you’ve seen any of the television spots you’ve seen every action moment in the film) are well made. There’s some great staging, a lot of fun elements going on at once, and for once I didn’t have as much trouble taking the wizardry action seriously. There’s one forest chase right at the end that, although short, is a lot of fun to watch. Also, some of the actors and a good amount of the set pieces have a great style. The special effects look fantastic, even though some of the basic effects on Voldemort’s nose and the later appearance of Dobbie didn’t look quite right. All of the costumes look spectacular, sets like the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort’s “Evil Lair” look phenomenal, and a few of the actors there much like Carter clearly were made for their role. To close things up here, I feel like I can put my feelings best when I say that Harry Potter 7-1 isn’t really a bad movie, it’s just really uninspired. I don’t think you can really argue that Warner Bros. and the rest of the crew aren’t trying to make more money by splitting this final chapter in half. In case the past weekend’s box office gross wasn’t evidence enough, the film’s beyond dull pacing and excess of both plot and needless exposition should convince you. There are things that I liked about the film, and I have all the respect in the world for people that stayed awake through the whole thing when they saw it at midnight last week. However, Harry Potter 7-1 plays it far too safe, trusting in their fans’ eagerness to see this final chapter a bit too much, and the end result is a film that drags its feet too much in anticipation of the sure-fire box office breaker that’s coming in June 2011.

3 out of 5

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More Harry Potter and the Deathly H... reviews
review by . November 16, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Prepare For The Final Chapter
Having secured a seat at a local sneak peek premier (all it took was dressing up like Mad Eye Moody!), I had the grand opportunity to check out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I last night.  I must admit that I wasn't a fan of Potter until the first film came out.  After that, I was hooked.  I've gone on to watch all of the films and read all of the books.         Deathly Hallows, as far as I can remember since …
review by . November 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Prelude To War That Sets Up The End For The Harry Potter Franchise...
Admittedly, I haven’t been the biggest fan of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise (though I still saw each and every film after “The Sorcerer’s Stone” on dvd); I thought they were decent movies but I just wasn’t its intended audience. Well, the last two sequels caught my attention since they became much darker and more exciting, so I decided to see the first half of the final chapter of J.K. Rowling’s magical fantasy series called “Harry …
review by . November 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Prelude to The Finale: It's showdown time!
So, Harry James Potter finally grows up and the series is coming to a halt? Hmm, not sure if I like that. Harry Potter was not only legendary but he's truly cute and adorable as a child. I know, I know, we all have to grow up... Yuck, that takes the fun out of life, don't you think?      Before we get on with life, as we all do, let's take a look at these kids who have made the series of films such a joyful journey, even for the adults. Cute, aren't they? Reminded …
review by . December 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A major improvement over the previous movie!
I finally made it to the theater to see the newest addition to the Harry Potter series, and i will start off by saying that all the fears and doubts that i had after the terrible movie that was The Half Blood prince where completely dissolved by the time the end credits were rolling. More than any other in the series this movie reminds me of The Sorcerers Stone in the way that it follows the storyline in the book almost perfectly, right down to the majority of the script. There are even parts in …
review by . December 24, 2010
Finally! After weeks of anticipation and quiet thoughtful patience, I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1. And may I say, I was not disappointed in the least. It was every bit what it marketed itself to be and everything I expected. I expected an epic penultimate film to lead to the last film, and that's certainly what I got. Some may not agree with me but I think this is the best Potter film to date and I can't wait to see how the second part will top it.      …
review by . December 03, 2010
   So here we are at last. Part one of the last film of one of the best series of movies in a very long time. The Harry Potter series, books and movies both, have been generally very good, very well-received and very profitable. Part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is very good. In many ways its better than the first half of the book it’s based on. It tells the tale… well, you all know what it’s about. Harry and friends go hunting down the various parts …
review by . November 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
                So after an unsuccessful attempt at rallying a large group together to go see this film (stupid Thanksgiving holiday), I opted to go with a few frat brothers late last night. Of course I was dressed up all day as a Hogwarts Ravenclaw student (faux blue-striped tie and all) amping myself up the whole day. Plus I’ve been reviewing the Deathly Hallows by listening to the audio book (which is extremely well done) and was ready to test …
review by . November 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   Is anyone going to come to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 who is not aware that it is two unfortunate things: part of a series and a tease? If you’ve been in a coma for almost a decade and think that Part 1 means the first part of the series then you will be lost and nothing in the movie or this review will change that. If you cannot read, then explaining, in print that “Part ONE” means that the movie will stop instead of end would be similarly wasted. …
review by . November 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The final chapter is here. When they first movie came out the high school seniors now were in first grade. We have grown alongside Harry Potter and now his final task is upon us in what will no doubt be the biggest hit of the holiday season. This series both has left its mark on our culture both with the written word and cinematically. While I have never enjoyed the books, I appreciate that it got kids to read, and in a day of growing technology there is not enough one can say about J.K. Rowling’s …
review by . November 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The decision to split the final of J.K. Rowling’s novels into two films was a wise one, for it allows for the inclusion of crucial details that simply couldn’t be cut for the sake of time and pacing. This first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the most faithful adaptation since the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s also just like all the previous films in that it’s spectacular entertainment – provided you don’t mind …
About the reviewer
Jake Wilbanks ()
   My name's Jake, I write film reviews and the occasional music/video game/comic/tech review. I've been involved in journalism over the past 3 years, and am currently majoring in Journalism … more
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Wiki

  • Opens Friday, November 19, 2010 | Runtime:2 hr. 27 min.
  • PG-13
    For some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images
  • Without the guidance and protection of their professors, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) begin a mission to destroy the Horcruxes, the sources of Voldemort's immortality. Though they must rely on one another more than ever, dark forces threaten to tear them apart. Voldemort's Death Eaters have seized control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, and they are searching for Harry -- even as he and his friends prepare for the ultimate showdown.
  • Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman
  • Director: David Yates
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Poster art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: An IMAX 3D Experience"
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is a brooding, slower-paced film than its predecessors, the result of being just one half of the final story (the last book in the series was split into two movies, released in theaters eight months apart). Because the penultimate film is all buildup before the final showdown between the teen wizard and the evil Voldemort (which does not occur until The Deathly Hallows, Part II),Part I is a road-trip movie, a heist film, a lot of exposition, and more weight on its three young leads, who up until now were sufficiently supported by a revolving door of British thesps throughout the series. Now that all the action takes place outside ...
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