Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is superbly done. Directed by David Yates, this is the most anticipated first big screen installment of the last Harry Potter book and it definitely delivers both in terms of performance by its actors and cinematic elements.

My only objection–just like many other fans–is that the last Harry Potter book has been split into two films, with Part II coming in the middle of 2011. Also, viewers who have not read any of the Potter books may feel that the film is a petri dish or link up flick where characters are just being developed and therefore lack substance. Well, this film is not the perfect jumping on point for new Harry Potter fans.

A Quick Round Up

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, we see the once mighty company of Dumbledore supporters suffering heavy losses. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters have taken control of the Ministry and mayhem spreads across the magical world. Harry, Ron and Hermione sets out on a very dangerous mission—to find all the horcruxes that Lord Voldemort made and prevent the dark lord from obtaining the ultimate power that he always wanted. Harry and his friends play a risky cat and mouse game against Voldemort’s forces as they seek and destroy each horcrux.

Meeting Expectations

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I is dark and mature. If 3- or 5-year olds enjoyed the previous films, well then I think they won’t be able to grasp the story this time around. This is definitely not a movie for kids. Personally, I like the dark and gloomy scenes. But the best elements of the movie are the very impressive and fast-paced wizard duels–the effects are just awesome.

Characters to Watch

Let me make a confession–I like the movie right from the start, even if I have not seen the effects yet. And that’s because the first half minute of the film shows Bill Nighy (Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean) who plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic, giving speech. To me, Mr. Nighy is one of the greatest actors and comedians to come from England. You should see him dance in 2003’s Love Actually, co starring Hugh Grant, and you’ll see my point.

Lord Voldemort is another character that I really looked forward to see in the movie. True, he’s just another one of those archetypal villains who want to destroy things and rule the world. But the mere fact that the character is being portrayed by Ralph Fiennes makes the movie screen turn into something wickedly magical.

Moving forward, our boy wizard is no longer a boy. Sure, Harry Potter still wears those pair of spectacles, but now there’s a fully grown man inside that forehead with the lightning scar. After seven books, the character has become more sophisticated and wiser. As for Daniel Radcliffe, he dished out a more polished acting prowess in this movie, with more substance than form compared to the previous films.

Also, the brilliant performance by Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, is not to be missed (at the very least, she doesn’t mumble like the other girl in that vampire-werewolf movie series). Without Hermione, Harry and Ron would never have gotten past book one. And just like in the previous films, Hermione’s smarts is crucial in protecting Harry and Ron from Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, her hidden affection for Ron becomes more apparent. Then again, we all know what will happen to Hermione and Ron in the final pages of the book and we’ll talk about that in July 2011.

As for Ron Weasley, let me first tell you that he is my favorite character both in the books and the films. But alas, even Ron has to grow up and become corrupted by jealousy. The poor chap succumbs to the evil contained in the locket horcrux, which reminds me of what happened to Frodo in The Lord of The Rings. Actor Rupert Grint splendidly conveys Ron’s personal conflicts to the audience.

Overall, the innocence that we all saw in Harry, Ron and Hermione in the previous films is barely there now. They have become more human and the audience can better relate to them in this film than in all the other previous installments. Indeed, the characters we all come to love have gained full momentum.