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21 July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Directed by: David Yates
Screenplay by: Steve Kloves
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Action & Adventure
Runtime: 146 Minutes
“These are dark times there are no denying” says the minister of magic at the very first moment of the film. Things have been toned up an extra notch and now the Death Eaters and Voldemort are trying to get to Harry. Deathly Hallows is one of the best films in the series because of it’s heroic heroin charm, and most of all it’s an adventure. It is also the most emotional, complex and even scariest of the series. Once more David Yates takes the director’s chair and even screenplay writer Steve Kloves is there. The first time I saw this in cinemas way back in 2010 November, I absolutely loved it, but didn’t get some parts. I was hooked on the Potter phenomenon once more so I watched Potter 1-6 at home for that week. What I then did was go to see the film again and it still remained brilliant. It’s an exciting journey full of action, drama, adventure and plenty of comic relief to keep you sane.

Harry and the gang cannot return to Hogwarts for their final year as dark things are afoot. Harry must defeat Voldemort there is no denying, and to do so he must find the 5 other Horcruxes. For those that don’t know, a Horcrux is an object that a wizard/witch can split their soul into so a part of them lives on forever (that is it at its simplest). So clearly this is no easy task for Harry to face alone and his faithful friends Hermione and Ron help him seek out the Horcruxes. Our action begins when Harry must be transported to the burrow, but to do so he needs protection from the Order of the Phoenix. So they all drank Poly-juice potion to look like Harry to fool the Deathly Hallows and with one of the most fascinating CGI effects of the past 10 years, we see 7 Harry's in one shot. It was definitely a remarkable technical achievement for the film. The music on the very first moments of the film (in fact before it even begins) was also thrilling. As I sat there in the cinema I recall the chilling and exciting sound of the calm and quiet Potter Tune play as the Warner Bros logo slowly came towards you.
Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange.
What is also great about this film is that it is coming towards the end, and things have been thrown in reminding you of all the previous films. First we have the Order of the Phoenix return alongside characters, Remus Lupin (the were-wolf teacher from Potter 3) Mad-eye Moody (The eccentric Defence against the dark arts teacher from Potter 4) and even previous objects that will be familiar to all Potter fans. In a will of a particular deceased person (no spoiler there) Harry, Ron and Hermione are left items. For harry, the snitch which he caught in his first year at Hogwarts, for Ron a deluminator which is actually seen in the first film for a few moments being used by Dumbledore, and for Hermione, a book called The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which seems useless at first, but soon helps them a great deal. Even Dobby is seen once more in his heroic and bright way.

Some may say the company is trying to just stretch the book out into 2 films for more money, although I don’t think so I am glad they did. A lot goes on in Deathly hallows and it’s good to get a little bit more of Potter. Director Yates is just brilliant. Each of the Potter films he has directed actually feels different from each other. Order of the Phoenix had a sharp and witty style to it similar to Prisoner of Azkaban, whereas Half-Blood Prince is moodier, darker and certainly a lot more emotional. Nothing in the franchise created the feeling Deathly Hallows does though. It is an emotional action packed journey and there is a sense of emotional intensity with this film, right from the exciting moody opening moment all the way up to the tragic heart-breaking finale. The visuals were astounding and were an improvement from Half-Blood Princes darker colour palette. They were at times ark yes, but they felt a great deal better.

Looking over the 7 films up to this point is unbelievable and creates a feeling very few film franchises do. Sure we have James Bond films and the six star wars films (excluding the new animated film) but they don’t do what Harry Potter does. It is an unbelievable story and the idea that you see the characters grow up along the decade the films are based is remarkable. Watch Deathly Hallow part 1 and go back to seeing Potter and the gang in the first or second film, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Thinking about everything they have been through and how they have always been good friends with each other and it’s an amazing relationship. There has been romance, arguments, time travel, death and several other things the gang has faced through the years and here they are now, out of Hogwarts together fighting.

Harry, Ron and Hermione have certainly bloomed now, and are pretty much young adults. Their relationship is strong within this film which is what makes it the emotional journey it is. During the quest to find a way to destroy the Horcrux they are carrying a lot happens with their relationship. The Horcrux is clearly an evil object and when wore it makes people nasty as we son learn. Ron in complete rage runs off after about 2 months of the quest. In this scene here is so many moods and it’s truly exciting. Ron soon returns to Hermione and Harry with once more with emotion. The good thing the film has done is added comedy moments. If there were not bits of comedy of the film, it would be insanely intense, and almost boring, so that shows the importance of laughter.

Voldemort makes a full on screen appearance once more and is more terrifying than ever. J.K Rowling’s Voldemort is one of the most sinister and evil characters ever created. He is evil, cruel, wicked and will never know what love and friendship is. The films share a budget of $250 million which for two films isn’t actually all that big. If you can do your maths it splits into $125 million per film, which isn’t much considering how great the visual and special effects are.

For Potter fans, this film is definitely going to be enjoyable as you recognise things from the previous films in the series and the immediate action happening with characters you are familiar with. For those new to the series I think there is plenty of action, adventure and emotion for you to understand the story, but I am also unsure if you’ll enjoy it that much. I am likely wrong, but that’s what I think. So we slowly approach the final confrontation now, only one can survive with Harry and Voldemort. Regardless of the fact you know that good will prevail evil, it won’t stop the rush of worry, excitement and most of all tension as we will finally get to see one of 21st century cinemas scariest on-screen villains face the chosen one, Harry Potter.

My Rating: 9/10


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