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"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I"
Movie review by: Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I" by Mike Smith
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I’m sure I’ve mentioned in past “Harry Potter” film reviews that I’ve only read the first book in the series. However, I do have a friend at work who loves the books that sees the films with me, so I do get the perspective of a literary “Potter” fan. Each time I’ve gotten a “thumbs up” (my apologies to Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel), signifying that the filmmakers did a great job. I’m happy to report the same with “Deathly Hallows.”
Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) is the new Minister of Magic. He has taken over at a perilous time. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has taken over Hogwarts with his evil eyes set on the Ministry of Magic. His minions have declared war on the Muggles (for those of you unfamiliar with the “Potter” stories, a Muggle is a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born into the magical world. Yes, I am a Muggle). To protect their families, Harry (Radcliffe) and Hermione (Watson) leave their homes, ensuring that they erase every trace of their connection to the ones they love. Reuniting with their friend, Ron (Grint), the friends learn that Voldemort seeks a trio of items collectively known as the Deathly Hallows, which he believes will make him invincible and allow him to destroy Harry. And, as they used to say in the funny papers, the adventure begins!
Easily the darkest chapter in the film series so far, “Deathly Hallows Part I” finds our triumvirate of wizards swiftly approaching adulthood, with all of the problems that come along with it. Away from the comfort and safety of Hogwarts, and many of the teachers and friends that they counted on in the past to help protect them, Harry, Hermione and Ron are now on their own, with only fellow members of the Order of the Phoenix to assist them. The story, as in previous films, is a first rate adventure. While a majority of the credit must go to author J.K. Rowling, it must be shared with screenwriter Steve Kloves, who has spent the past decade adapting all but one of the original novels for the screen (it should be noted that he passed on adapting “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” so he could begin work on “Deathly Hallows Parts I and II). Kloves brings Rowling’s world to life, engrossing you in the story and making your truly care about these characters. Even Dobby, the house elf that has constantly annoyed me each time he was on screen, is to be admired here. The story does slow down towards the middle but, when your source material is 759 pages long, that’s almost to be expected.
Visually, the film is outstanding. Shockingly, out of six previous “Potter” films, only one – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – has been nominated for the Visual Effects Academy Award. Since this is the same group that gave 1976’s “King Kong” the award – even though 95% of the “visual effects” were makeup artist Rick Baker in a monkey suit – I’m not surprised. Here’s hoping that the Academy makes up for their slight this year! With not enough time to do the process justice, Warner Brothers decided not to convert “Deathly Hallows Part I” to 3D, though the studio has assured all that “Part II” certainly will be. There are many shots in the film that are perfect for 3D presentation and I’m sure there will be many more in “Part II,” which is scheduled to open on July 15, 2011.
As with all of the “Potter” films, the cast is excellent. Of course, when the majority of your cast contains some of the best actors Britain has to offer…Nighy, Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Timothy Spall…it darn well better be! The three young stars also do well. I have had quite an enjoyable time watching them grow, both literally and talent wise, before my eyes. Each one of them have become strong and confident actors, hopefully ensuring a long career going forward now that their time in the world of Harry Potter has ended.
I have to admit that when I first learned Warner Brothers had decided to split the last book into two films my immediate thought was greed. But if “Part I” is any indication of what to expect in “Part II,” I can only end with the same words I said to my friend as the credits began to roll: “See you in July!”
On a scale of zero to four stars I give “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I”
To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. This week's movie review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith. All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.