Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part I
Well folks, it’s finally out. One of the most anticipated movies of the year, the penultimate film in one of the most beloved movie franchises ever. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I has a lot of hype to live up to, both from fans as well as studio execs. I really love the Harry Potter books; I have listened to all seven audiobooks twice. I also have enjoyed the film franchise, though at times have felt that it just didn’t live up it’s potential. As the series sits on the eve of ending, I really hoped that this film would work. It did. Warning: minor spoilers ahead.
As I watched the film, the main thought that came into my head over and over again was “Why did they not break more of the films into two parts?” Sure, when the credits began it was difficult to accept the six month wait until Part II, but the benefits of breaking the film into two parts far outweigh the unresolved anticipation. A major problem that has plagued past Harry Potter movies (Order of the Phoenix, etc.) was a fragmented story line. Seeing as many movie-goers have read the books, obvious comparisons between the two often have created disappointment due to the large amount of information omitted from the film; watching Deathly Hallows was the first time that I really did not experience that feeling. Sure, there are always scenes and details left out, as that is the nature of adapting a book into a movie. But the film felt extremely loyal to the book and very complete, which created a satisfying viewing experience.
An exceptionally well done scene was at the beginning of the movie, during which six of Harry’s friends transformed into Harry in order to safely transport him to the Weasley home. Much of the comedy and intensity in this chapter of the book prevailed on the screen, which was then juxtaposed directly with the looming tragedy. Another fantastic scene is one in which Harry dives into a frozen pond and is strangled by a locket around his neck; the special effects were phenomenal and abstained from becoming silly or comical. The effects wew so well crafted that the scene is one of the most intense in the film, which once again was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps more successful than any specific scene is the ever present feeling of isolation and hopelessness, which, any reader of the book can attest, is a predominant theme throughout The Deathly Hallows.
The film wasn’t without it’s problems. Overly shaky camera work in a chase scene served not to increase intensity as much as create headaches, and some stale dialogue was prevalent at times (mostly from Radcliffe during scenes lacking a secondary action). But be that as it may, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is one of the best harry Potter films to date. If only this movie was the third or fourth in the series instead of the second to last; however, perhaps the evolution of the franchise is what enabled this film to be what it is.
When the credits began, the entire theater erupted in exasperated sighs of disgust; Part I is a gem of a film, and proves faithful to the book in a way not seen since The Sorcerer’s Stone.