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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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It's the Beginning of the End

  • Nov 19, 2010
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 the shadowy, deeply emotional, almost funereal direction the stories have been going in. The depth of character is amazing, in all likelihood because of the film’s overwhelming seriousness. The plot is engaging, a mixture of a road film, a scavenger hunt, and a revenge fable. It balances it’s solemnity with a healthy dose of magic and, in a few very appropriate places, humor. It’s also the first film in the series to end with a cliffhanger, always a welcome addition.
Being faithful, of course, does have its drawbacks. The film is not only dependent on the viewer’s knowledge of the previous installments, but also on the viewer’s willingness to listen. Many, many important things are said by many, many people, and if you’re not going to pay attention, you might as well see something else. Fortunately, just about everything is explained at one point or another; this is usually thanks to Hermione Granger, who after seven years is no less of a bookworm. We also have numerous scenes of the three leads piecing things together from little more than sheer speculation, and this is just as it has been since the very first film. What they will discover in Part 2 remains to be seen, but you can rest assured that some of what they thought about certain things will turn out to be incorrect.
Part 1 begins exactly where Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince left off. With the magical world in chaos following the untimely death of Albus Dumbledore and a hostile takeover by Lord Volemort and his loathsome cronies, our heroes are forced to make drastic changes. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), now the most wanted wizard in the world, ships his aunt, uncle, and cousin off to a safe location. At Harry’s side are his two best friends, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). So too are members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and even Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). It will be hard to keep Harry’s location a secret from the snake-faced Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), since it seems he can easily be traced.
A series of terrible events force Harry, Hermione, and Ron to go on the run; they magically transport themselves from one isolated location to another, taking refuge in a special tent that, like Dr. Who’s telephone booth, holds more space than its outer dimensions suggest. Their mission: Seek and destroy magical objects called Horcruxes, all of which contain a small piece of Voldemort’s soul. Harry thought he had found one at the end of the previous film, but that item – a locket – turned out to be a fake. Finding the real locket will involve an interrogation of a cranky house elf named Kreacher (voiced by Simon McBurney), the kidnapping of a shady wizard named Mundungus Fletcher (Andy Linden), and a carefully planned break-in into the Ministry of Magic, where, in disguise, our three friends will run into their old nemesis, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton).
These and other events are carefully crafted, but they’re also expected. Not so expected is the ways in which Harry, Hermione, and Ron are developed. The world as they knew it is gone – no more Quiddich games, no more visits to Hogsmeade, no more classes at Hogwarts. They’ve abandoned their former lives. In short, they’ve grown up. Yes, but why did they have grow up in this particular way? Why are Hermione and Ron following Harry when it’s obvious he has nothing to go on apart from memories of vague conversations with Dumbledore? Was Dumbledore the great wizard Harry thought him to be, or were there chapters of his life he intentionally never revealed? Our three friends are lost, confused, and weary, stuck on a quest for objects that could literally be anywhere. These include the fabled Deathly Hallows, three magical items symbolized as a line within a circle within a triangle.
The Harry Potter films have gone from wonderfully whimsical to delightfully dark to terribly tragic. We’ve marveled at their heroes, shuddered at their villains, and mourned at the loss of beloved figures. They’ve ignited our imaginations and beckoned us to follow along with them. Before, I’ve taken the approach of the giddy fanboy, brimming with excitement and anticipation. In the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, I take an approach of resignation and elegy. It’s the beginning of the end. I always knew it was coming, but even after the passage of nine years – ten when Part 2 is released next summer – it still feels as if it’s coming too soon. This new movie is wonderful, but I will always remember with longing the first time I saw three fresh-faced eleven year olds going on their first magical adventure.

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November 21, 2010
If only I could write this well! What a precise review!!!
November 21, 2010
I was avoiding all reviews of this movie but now, that I've seen the movie, I think I'll give it a shot at a review. I wasn't too big about this franchise but I have seen all the movies on dvd. Thanks for sharing, Chris!
November 19, 2010
Great review, Chris! I agree on the splitting it into two parts thing. More movies based on books need to do that. Thanks for sharing! :)
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 . November 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


  • 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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