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As an avid fan of the Harry Potter franchise I was very excited (along with most of the world!) about the release of this film. The deathly Hallows had been my favourite book and I was excited to hear it was being split into two instalments, double the enjoyment. However, I hate to say it, but I am not 100% sure that it needed splitting into two instalments. yes, one film would have been very lengthy, but I found deathly Hallows part 1 to be a bit of a dissapointment. Other than the events in Godrics Hollow, Not very much happens in this part of the film. It is a lot of camping and pondering about the Horcruxes. Don't get me wrong, I still loved it, but t wasn't as good as I had hoped. The second instalment of deathly Hallows gripped me far more. This isn't the films fault, because it obviously relies on the book, but the balance of action scenes between the two films I do not think is distributed evenly.
But Naturally, It cannot be missed!
Remember when you were a child and you read the Harry Potter books for the first time, they suddenly opened your mind to a whole other world, of magic and excitement! Then, you found out they were to be movies! I specifically remember being an excited, giddy eleven year old girl waiting patiently in what seemed like the longest line in the world dressed as Hermione, the minute I sat down and saw this bright happy magical world of witches, wizards, dragons, magical mirrors I was hooked. Then each year when the next movie came out, I'd be there opening night at the cinema, getting the same giddy goosebumps I got from the first movie. Yes, even at the age of 18 I was there, just as excited as I was when I was that little girl in costume. This movie was different though. I'd read all the books of course so knew what was going to happen, it didn't curb my excitement or the sadness I felt knowing that this film was to be the beginning of the end of my childhood!!
And what a film!!!! I've heard many complaints about this film, that it's too slow, it's boring, but to me, it's the closest to the books! It's proof that Harry Potter has grown with us! We started as children watching this bright happy film about magic and then we're adults watching a dark, serious film with death, pain and fear. It's incredible, the perfect set up to the next film! As soon as it starts, you know Harry Potters story is about to get serious whilst still having the ability to make you laugh! Absolutely perfect. I loved it, without a doubt the perfect set up to the end.
Harry Potter has been a fairly big thing for me over the past decade. When I first came across the books, book 4 had just been released and I read all 4 books in quick succession over a series of late nights, and that has been my way with the whole series. I've not seen many of the films at the cinema, instead having to wait till they are on film rental, and this is the latest one I have seen. As it was a film rental, I only watched the film, so could not comment on if there were any extras available with it.
The Deathly Hallows is the 7th and final story in a series of books about the Wizard, Harry Potter, written by the author JK Rowling. Because of the length of the book, it was divided into 2 parts for the purpose of being made into a film and maintaining the integrity of the story, and so this is film 7 of 8. All 8 are now available on DVD.
The tone of the DVD was set for me within the first few scenes, and before the theme had even played. It showed the Dursley's (Harry Potter's foster family) leaving their home, and Hermione Granger performing a memory charm on her parents so they forgot all knowledge of her existence. This immediately set a tone of sadness that was the theme to the whole film for me. Though there were moments that were lighter, this is definitely a dark film showing a build up towards a battle between good and evil. It is the sort of film where you might say not that much happens, as things are being put in place for the final film, but I still think this is worth watching, and a vital part of the series.
The story, for those not familiar, Harry Potter is a famous wizard because he was almost killed by a very dangerous wizard, Lord Voldemort, when he was a baby. His parents died trying to protect him, and he then spent the first 11 years of his life with no knowledge of his heritage in the wizarding world, and living with his mother's sister and her family, the Dursley's. In book one, he found out he was a wizard and started going to Hogwarts school of wizardry. Books 1 to 6 covered his education at Hogwarts, but have also looked at Lord Voldemort regaining power and seeking Harry. Book 7 is the culmination of all of these experiences, and we are getting set for the final battle. Lord Voldemort is trying to regain followers, but Harry must try and stop him through finding and destroying some artefacts, called Horcrux's which will stop him becoming powerful again.
I remember when I read book 7, it was rather lengthy, and the first half in particular seemed to mostly be Harry travelling around looking for these horcuxes, and camping in a tent. Yes, this seems to apply in some degree to this film too, but I found that emotionally, the journey was important in the film.
We start the film with a very dramatic rescue of Harry. He is about to turn 17 and his protective charms will disappear leaving him vulnerable to attack. His friends have devised a dangerous night time rescue of him. There are some great comedy moments as they prepare to leave the house in various disguises, and then the most stunning chase scene as they are pursued as they fly from the house. I said to my husband at the time how dramatic this must have been on the large cinema screen. Our TV is 32 inches, but I didn't feel it was done justice.
After being reunited with his friends, and being bequeathed some useful gifts from Dumbledore's will (Dumbledore was Harry's headmaster who died protecting Harry in book 6) they attend a wedding, which is interupted by Voldemort's supporters trying to find Harry. Harry, and his friends Hermione and Ron, transport away from the trouble by magic, and set off on a journey to track down the missing Horcrux's and to find out what the Deathly Hallowes are.
They really have no-where to turn, as even people who are their supporters betray them and put their lives in danger, but when things are really against them, true friends show their faces.
I found myself very emotionally involved in this film. Some people really do criticise the skills of the actors who play the child parts in the Harry Potter series, and I do admit, the earlier films you do find that they try hard but the talent is not quite there. This is not the case now. They are all rather serious in their respective roles, and they do so well at conveying the emotions that are needed. I particularly enjoyed the character of Draco Malfoy who is rather loathsome in earlier films. Here, he is being challenged to be part of the Dark side, but when he is called to make choices, he isn't quite willing to do it, and the doubt was really obvious to me, and I thought the actor did this very well.
This is definitely a film for older people. It has a rating of 12A. I would certainly not recommend anyone younger than this age watching it. A lot of the things on screen are implied, such as torture, and sex, but I wouldn't be happy letting my little ones watch it as I think it is too dark and would lead to nightmares. The atmosphere is dark and menacing, and it feels quite oppressive as you are watching.
I could see that this film really was a bit of a filler setting the scene for the finale, and it did mainly focus on the actions of the 3 main characters, Ron, Hermione and Harry. It did this well for me though, and has me firmly prepared for part 8.
I did find watching it, that I couldn't really remember things being shown on screen, so I do want to re-read the book before tackling part 8. I don't know if that is because it is a while since I read the book and my memory is not that good of it. I felt almost as though I hadn't read it at all, whereas earlier films I could recognise quite clearly the book, even down to actions like Ron gulping when scared. My husband said the same, though from him that is not unusual as his memory can be poor.
My overall impression is that this needs to be seen really with knowledge of the series through having read the books or watching the previous films. While a lot of this was very emotion based rather than action based, the action was good, and worthy of the big screen. I felt very tired and emotional after watching it as it required some concentration from me, and a lot of empathy towards a number of the characters.
It is definitely worth watching from my point of view, so I would recommend it to others.
Harry Potter. Well, what can I say about it really? Maybe that it's one of the most popular, well known book and movie series out there? As of June 2011, the book series has sold about 450 million copies, and has been translated into 67 different languages, and the last 4 books consecutively set records as the fastest selling books in history. If you'd have known J.K Rowling before the Harry Potter craze, you would have never thought that in 2008 she was the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom. She is equally famous for her rags-to-riches life story.
Now, the last book in the Harry Potter series had me laughing at one minute and reaching for tissues the next. And before the first part of the movie came out in November 2010, I actually did question whether the movie would be better than the book. And now, in September 2011, just under a year after watching the first part, and about two months after watching the second part, I can actually tell you that the movie was absolutely perfect. Perfect. There's no better word to describe it, really. It has been acted out and put together so carefully and flawlessly that it's like this actually really happened. All the special effects in the movie (especially in the battle) were incredible. I absolutely loved the Battle of Hogwarts; sad as it was, I enjoyed watching it so much that I just wished I could rewind my life to where I had never watched the movie, and just watch it all again.
As I said before, it was acted out so amazingly that I was on the verge of tears when watching it. I cried so much when Snape died, when Lupin and Tonks were about to die, when Fred was in the Great Hall, dead, like so many others. The part that made me cry the most was when Harry was in the pensieve, just after Snape died, looking into Snape's memories, and Dumbledore said to Snape, 'Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?'
Then says cries, 'For him?' Then casts the Patronus charm and it shows a silver doe Patronus bursting out the end of his wand, runs around the office and dissolves, then Dumbledore turns back to Snape and says, 'Lily.. After all this time?' And Severus says 'Always.' That made me cry so much.
The Battle of Hogwarts, the way it was acted out and put together, was breathtakingly beautiful. Honestly, no other movie has taken control of my emotions the way this one did. The way the camera just goes around and everyone's duelling someone else, looking very natural as though they actually are fighting, with real wands and jets of light, it's just amazing.
There were some differences between the book and both movie parts. I won't sit here and list them all, though. The way Voldemort dies is different. Harry and Voldemort's final battle in the book takes part in the Great Hall where everyone can see them, but in the film it takes part outside with no one else watching them. In the movie, Voldemort dies normally, and they take his body away, but in the movie it sorts of crumbles or flakes away and all the little particles fly away. Now, I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, but it is different, and I liked it.
In the movie, you don't see Fred die. I would have liked that to be included in the movie, even though that would have made me cry even more than I already was. But, in my opinion, it was a moment in the book that stood out for me and I was pretty disappointed that it wasn't included in the movie.
So just to sum everything up, I'm just going to say that the movie was incredible. It couldn't have been done better (though there is one part that I would have liked to see in it: Fred's death) and honestly I would pay good money to go and see it again, even though it's not in cinemas anymore. When the second part of The Deathly Hallows comes out I will be buying the full set of Harry Potter DVDs, and I will never regret spending money on them.
Harry Potter and The Deathy Hallows part 1 is a great film. It isn't as good as part 2 however, though the second one always has to be better. It doesn't have a lot of action, but is has enough to keep you entertained. Harry,Ron and Hermoine are off again to destroy the remaining horcruxes. People who havn't watched all the Harry Potter's before this one will not understand what is going on. The location is good and the acting is brilliant. The wand effects are great too, and the film is very like the book at parts, which is good as the book was great. It doesn't go off subject, like a lot of films do when they reach 7 films in. The background music is the same as always, the famous Harry Potter tune. At some parts, it is creepy, but not scary. There is lot's of suspense which add's to the atmosphere in tense moments. It's a dark film. I noticed that the Harry Potter's got darker and darker and more sinister as the series progressed, this one is the darkest yet. The CGI for the elf Dobby is excellent.
More secrets will be revealed in this film and some favourite characters killed. It's a great film, building up to the climax of Part 2. It may be too scary at some parts for some young Harry Potter fans though. It's a great film and I recommend you buy it.
Harry Potter, a phenomenon that countless children (and adults) have grown up reading is finally coming to a close. The final book was released in 2007 and it was a sad day for all but many took heart in the fact that we would still be seeing Harry on our screens; however, by July 2011, we really will be saying goodbye to Harry Potter. Of course people will still read and watch Harry Potter, but no longer shall we feel the anticipation of waiting for Harry's story to unfold. The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 marks the beginning of the end. There have been some mixed reviews of this movie, but they are mostly positive. Obviously this movie is different from the other six as it is not set in Hogwarts, and Harry begins his darkest adventure yet to seek out and destroy the seven horcruxes.
I felt like there was more emphasis in romance in the movie than there was in the book as the scenes including Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione/Harry affect a lot of the screenplay. I have to say that the thing I didn't like about this movie was the ending. Yes, it left you with baited breath waiting for the next movie, but I felt that it was slightly cold given that something tragic (I won't mention what in case you haven't seen it yet!) had just happened. Well, it was tragic in my opinion. The combination of touching scenes, mournful deaths, and the knowledge that one of my favourite things in the whole wide world was coming to a close resulted in me blubbering my way through the majority of this movie. Literally right from the onset when i saw the 'WB' sign appear and the eerie music begin.
This movie is action packed, as obviously there is quite a lot of content to get through, despite the fact that the book has already been split into two movies. A lot of the minor characters who we love don't feature very much in Part 1, but hopefully they'll play a bigger role in Part 2, especially near the end as the finale approaches. Part 1 is focussed on Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, and the trio does not disappoint! This movie has moments of comedy, tragedy, suspense and action. If you haven't already seen this then you definitely need to buy it and watch it, even if you're not a fan, it's one of those things you've got to watch. Look out for Part 2 released in cinemas (in 3D!) on the 15th July 2011.
Available on DVD from amazon.co.uk for £10.99
(2 disc edition has great special features)
The first of the two part Deathly Hallows film is probably one of the slowest of the Harry Potter films as there is a lack of action and it could hardly be called an exciting film. However I feel this was necessary in order to make sure that details weren't left out and to make sure that part 2 left the series going out on a bang.
While some may find it dull to watch the directors have added some beautiful aspects to it, for one the story of the three brothers was told with complete elegance and it really was a lovely portrayal that matched the one that JK Rowling wrote in the book.
After first seeing this film I was disappointed as the film is mostly talk and not much action, and I felt to even out the two parts this film could have ended with the dragon scene at gringotts, however after seeing part 2 I realise why they did this, as part 2 was truly spectacular and definitely made up for the lack of action in this film!
If you haven't read the potter books, which you should do if you haven't already, the film does make the storyline quite simple so you should be able to follow it. If you don't though, you've no excuse for picking up a paper copy! While some people have complained that splitting the last book into 2 films was just to make money, I disagree since so much happens in the last book and to leave anything out would have ruined the whole thing. Of course some aspects are still left out but all the important bits are covered.
There are heart warming moments to the film, for example when Harry and Hermione throw away their worries and dance which was a nice addition to the books, but there are also sadder moments to balance out the film such as the ending with Dobby! The film will even make you laugh, with one of the funniest moments in the entire series being at the beginning with the seven Potters! I personally felt that Hedwig's death was a bit downplayed but I understand that they only had a limited amount of time, and of course wouldn't have wanted to slow down the film even more!
If you haven't seen the film, it is definitely worth a watch but don't expect it to be action packed as part 2 is for that side of it whereas part 1 is more about setting up for the final battle. You may not want to watch this one on its own but when put together with part 2 it makes for an excellent cinema experience!
OK. My headline might be a tiny bit harsh however i stand by it, im gonna do a review really quickly without spoilers first here and then after a more in depth one.
Basically Harry Potter is all about a boy (Harry Potter) who's parents were killed as a child by lord Voldemort. Harry potter follows the journey of this boy throughout his school years.
I found the film to be a poor representation of the books leaving stuff from the film out and adding stuff in that wasn't in the book. I'm not quite sure why they did it because in my opinion far from making it more action packed or tense it does the opposite. Taking what i think are some of the best bits out (As i said earlier im not going to mention which bits these are for fear of spoilers) Maybe they did it to get a more lienient film rating.
The film would probably be classed as an action film, but it could also fall under adventure, magic and romance.
Deathly Hallows (Part One) is the penultimate Harry Potter film based on the last book in the series; split over two films allegedly so that nothing gets missed. This is something of a sore point with fans who claim that much from the books has already been left out of the previous installments, suggesting instead that this latest move is just a means of extorting more money out of the dedicated fans who have stuck with the series over the last seven or eight years! I would like to say I disagree with this point but, having recently re-watched this latest entry, find myself pretty much in accordance! Deathly Hallows is a good film in places but ends up, as a whole, being nothing much more than a mere prelude to the main event and, as such, can easily be accused of being a bit of a non-event and something of a waste of 2 1/2 hours of your time!
Voldemort has exerted his power and finally taken over control of The Ministry Of Magic; meaning that ordinary, good-hearted witches and wizards are being rounded up and imprisoned or are just disappearing. Harry and his two best friends, having discovered that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has split his soul between several mystical artifacts, known as Horcrux, now set off in search of the remaining artifacts having already located and destroyed two. But first, they have to escape the clutches of you-know-who......which leads to an initially very funny scene that quickly turns nasty in which several of the cast transform themselves into duplicates of Harry!
When it becomes apparent that all whom Harry holds dear are in very real danger of being killed, Harry sets off, reluctantly with Ron and Hermionie in tow, to track down the last of the Horcrux. But with Voldemort's forces seeking them at every turn, the whole film pretty much degenerates into 2 hours plus of Harry and his chums simply running and hiding. There are a few moments of consequence but often these come so far and few between that viewers find themselves drifting off waiting for something to happen....
I have loved all the other films in the series to date but fail to see how this is anything other than just an excuse to wring more cash out of the public! It doesn't have enough going on to warrant being a film on its own and a couple of events in the film are offered little explanation! Example One: when Harry is lead to the Sword Of Griffendore, there is not even a hint of who sent the Petronus that leads him to its location. Example Two: Harry is seen cradling a shard of mirror with no indication of where it has come from, leaving the audience wondering if they have perhaps missed something!
I have learnt the truth behind both these events but only by googling them to see if I had in fact missed part of the film. Both these events ARE explained in the book and are due to be explained in DH (Part Two) but in the meantime just serve to leave non-fans of the books out of the loop!
I really wanted to enjoy this and did but found it very unsatisfactory and at times disappointing! It is not what I expected from the second-to-last film in the series and can only hope that the final Harry Potter film better lives up to the hype and expectation.
Because if it doesn't, the Harry Potter film series could well end up a bit of a damp squib; not without the bang it so rightly deserves but with a whimper!!!
I will say at the outset that I am only going to review the film, not the extras on the DVD, because I only ever really watch the films.
This film was excellent. I was dissapointed with films 5 and 6 as I felt that too much had been changed from the books and that many key scenes had been axed which made the films feel very bitty and difficult for people who had not read the books to keep up with. My husband had thought that he had missed some scenes in the 6th film as he could not understand how the plot jumped arround. So I was not expecting to be happy with this film. I could not have been more wrong. Yes that did have to axe a few bits and make a few minor changes, but this time they did it and kept the whole gist of the book. It was so exciting to watch and when I came out at the end of the film I could not wait till the DVD came out. I bought the DVD as soon as it was released and watched it the same day and again was just as enthralled.
It really captured the essence of the book. The first half of the book is a road movie and the characters really do go on a journey both literally and figuratively. Many reviews that I read said that the road trip seemed aimless and pointless, but they are missing the point as it was supposed to be or at least it is supposed to be disorganised and seem that they are getting no where. I feel that it is supposed to emphasise the true scale of the task that they are supposed to undertake and how unprepared they really are for it. It is supposed to show that although Harry thinks he can go off with just Hermione and Ron and solve the problem, he is wrong and really does need to take all the help he can get. Figuartivly Harry is seen as this superhero that will single handedly take on Voldey when really the oposite is true. Dear old Dumbledore has always said that Harrys strongest point is that he knows and understands love and that Voldemort can't and doesn't and in fact his soul is so damaged that Love is an anathema to him. Harry has to find out that he cannot do things alone and he must not try to be to much the hero and needs to take help from those around him.
The movie really creates the dark and frightening atmosphere that the book had. Those people who say it is boring and long winded disorganised chase just don't really love the HP series and are only watching it because they want to be seen to be HP fans. This is the first film since Goblet of fire that I have really enjoyed. Even so there were still a couple of instances where those who had not read the book would have been lost. When Ron gets splinched it did not explain what had happened and so my husband was a bit lost.
Once the serious action begins then the pace seems to take off at light speed and the last half of the movie just rushes by and suddenly the credits are rolling and you do not want it to finish. My husband had said that it must be nearly over at one point and I said no we had not been in the cinema long enough and the next minute the closing credits rolled and I realised that I had just lost track of the time. For once I can say this is a film that very nearly matched the book, rather than missing by a mile.
Roll on July 2011 I am raring to go for the final installment.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART ONE is the seventh instalment in the Harry Potter film series starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. It is rated 12A as it contains moderate fantasy violence and threat.
Following the previous, endlessly confusing instalment of Harry Potter, Voldemort's (the 'Dark Lord' of the wizarding world's) power is growing stronger and he now holds power over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts (the wizard government and the wizard school that Harry Potter attended, respectively). Harry, Hermione and Ron then agree to continue Harry and Dumbledor's work from the previous film, destroying the horrocruxes to help weaken Voldemort. At least that was what I had gathered, seen as the previous film really wasn't that clear.
This film however, is more clear and by far less confusing than the previous film, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which left me going '_what?_' at the very end. It could be noted that Harry Potter films are taking on an increasingly dark tone in regard to their story and the films progress. The story was, however, very well delivered and well explained, especially compared to its immediate predecessor.
==Characters and Performances==
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One features all of the characters that fans of the series will be familiar with, played by their fast growing respective actors. As is generally expected from Harry Potter films, the characters are well scripted and the acting is at least believable.
The characters have at least some depth to them and this is assisted by the actors, and their brilliant acting.
It is noticeable, however, that the actors are growing up far faster than their in-film counterparts, and this is leading to the characters actually looking a little older than you would expect them to, but after a little thinking, they do look the right age, despite the fact that in the real world, the seventh year would be about fourteen years of age (Harry Potter attended the first year of Hogwarts when he was of ten years of age, meaning that he should now be seventeen, which is reflected, at least partially, by the actor).
However, all in all, the acting is pretty good for the most part, and the characters have a newly found sense of depth to them, something that wasn't really seen in the previous films.
The Harry Potter series has always been heavily reliant on special effects, especially since it is extraordinarily hard to create 'magic' in real life. Therefore, it is important that their magic looks believable, and I assure you, it is. The animation throughout this movie is really top-notch, and the various creatures that inhabit the wizard world are astounding realized. Scenes with broom-flying are also fairly intriguing, however, working out how it was done behind the scenes really takes away from the 'magic' (pun!) of it all.
The animated creatures, house elves, appear to be more fluently animated and better looking than ever, and Voldemort still retains that no-nose-feel (created using an array of increasingly complex special effects).
In conclusion, the CGI that you get from the Harry Potter series is about as much CGI as you're going to get, and the it's some of the best CGI you are going to get also.
==Length and Value for Money==
At just over two hours, it is longer than most films, and even then the DVD does contain a variety of interesting extra features. These include mini commentaries of certain scenes with the actors, features showing how the special effects were created, including the scene in Privet Drive, where there are multiple duplicates of Harry Potter.
There is also a feature where the actors playing Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Fred Weasley and George Wealsey join each other for a game of golf (!) to celebrate their ten year friendship.
There is also a scene that details the chase scene in the forest, and how the actors were all competing against each other to be the fastest, and how the scene was actually done and made.
There are also additional scenes that were not included in the movie, although they do not contain interesting plot points that were missing from the film, and there is an insight into the creation of the soundtrack.
I'd say that was a rather good value for money, my sister has watched the film over seven times now and can match up the characters to their actors and all the points at which they appear by now, and she is constantly raving about how good the film is. I, however, didn't think it was _that_ amazing, but it was still definitely pretty good, and therefore I suspect that anyone would get their money out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
===Some of these features are only available in the two disk special addition===
This instalment of the Harry Potter series certainly takes a more dark approach to the story, and it is very noticeable throughout the movie. Here are the details.
* We see two characters kiss, we see their shoulders, but they are presumed to be nude.
* Characters hug and kiss throughout the film, nothing too bad though.
*There is 'magic' fights throughout, they are bloodless and never feature any dismemberment
*There is a scene where a characters ear is blown off, we see blood, there isn't a large dwelling on it however.
*A character has the word 'mudblood' carved into her arm with a knife, you don't hear anything, but you hear screaming.
*A character is stabbed, you see a knife covered in blood. There is blood on their vest, the character dies on screen.
*A character is in danger of drowning at one point
*A character is seen disfigured following a travel, a potion is used to heal them.
*We see blood splatter on multiple occasions, we never see the source.
*A character hangs their self, it is in a cartoony silhouette.
* Several uses of 'git'
* One use of hell
* One use of damn
*Some may find the snakes that are in the film frightening
*Some may find the scenes involving Voldemort frightening.
*The film is quite tense throughout
*There are multiple 'jump' scenes throughout, although they are reasonably weak compared to horror movies.
*There are scenes of threat, menace, horror.
*Visions are accompanied with loud noises that some may find frightening
While there is a lot of content, none of it is particularly strong or prolonged, so I could imagine that a twelve year old would be definitely be fine with this film, although any younger could be questionable.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) is probably my favourite addition to the series as of yet, and I am looking forward to seeing the next part of the final chapter of the film. However, fans of the previous films should take note that it has a fairly dark storyline, especially when compared to the previous films.
I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows four out of five.
--Copied from my Ciao Account of the same name--
This review refers just to the movie which I saw at the cinema recently.
Okay, unless you've been living under a rock for the past ten years, you'll know something about Harry Potter, so you probably know what to expect. The characters are a little older than last time, and a lot more stressed out! The Harry Potter movies have been getting darker over the years and this is by far the bleakest of the lot, with only the occasional touch of light humour.
The basic story is this - Harry gets spirited out of his safe house but things go wrong and he ends up on the run from the Death Eaters along with Ron and Hermione as they attempt to find the lost horcruxes and destroy them.
==Differences to previous films==
- This film focuses on the three central characters and Voldemort more than any of the other films. There are appearances by most of the other regular cast but they are very much in the background in this one.
- Hogwarts is rarely involved. Instead we have the three main characters zipping around England using one of Hermione's re-locate spells to avoid the bad guys. Instead of a CGI castle we get lots of stunning footage of English countryside, which is no bad thing. Watching this from a cinema in Japan, I really felt that homesickness.
- Most of the inside action happens at the Ministry of Magic, including a great sequence where Harry, Ron, and Hermione take on the physical characteristics of three employees.
- The acting really is superb. Daniel Radcliffe comes across as a bit of a Luke Skywalker - a good actor playing the star amidst a stellar cast, but Emma Watson and especially Rupert Grint are excellent. You can really feel the tension between the three of them, and the supporting cast show their pedigree too. No one disappoints. And finally Voldermort - he's really, really scary in this one.
- The locations. England ought to expect a lot more tourists (particularly campers) after this one.
- It's really, really dark. While that might not please everyone - all those boyfriends who've been dragged to Potter movies over the years can finally enjoy this one. It isn't quite Terminator but I was surprised just how bleak it was at times. Some of the stuff the bad guys do reminded me of the Nazis. The kiddie fun of the early movies is long gone - there's even a nude scene (sort of).
- There's an excellent animation section about halfway through which came as a real surprise.
- Helena Bonham Carter is just a goddess. I swear she gets more attractive with age and she can never be on screen enough for me. In this she's at her Gothic Witch best.
- Okay, I've read the first book, that's it. I have no plans to read the others, but after this one I might just have to read the last one to work out what's going on. A LOT of stuff is not explained. Certain things happen with no reason attached, and I often got the impression that these were things that fans should know, but of course, the casual viewer (like myself) has no idea. For example, why is Harry safe inside certain houses, but not on the street?
- A lot of major action happens off screen. For example, Harry to Random Weasley - "Where's ---- (trying to avoid spoilers!)?" Random Weasley - "He's dead." Um, excuse me? Wasn't he a major character for like five movies? Can we not at least see him die?
I'd definitely see it again (I probably need to) because its a great movie, but it was very confusing at times, with few explanations and the characters jumping all over the place seemingly at random. However, it's just Part 1, and while it does have an ending of sorts, it's likely that a lot more will happen in Part 2, with a few of my queries hopefully tied up. I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt, because it really is an excellent movie otherwise.
The film runs to 146 minutes and is available on DVD in the UK from April 11th. Amazon currently has it priced at 9.97 (down from 24.99 already and it hasn't even come out yet!) but if you wait a couple of months it'll be even cheaper or available secondhand.
A version of this review appears under my headofwords name on Ciao.
In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, things are drawing to a close. The last book of J K Rowling's seven part series following the wizard boy's journey through school has been split into two parts for the purpose of a) being able to tell the story properly and b) making some more money out of the franchise! Those who haven't seen or read them yet be warned this review may spoil the first 6 for you somewhat.
Hogwarts is in disarray. Dumbledore is dead. Voldemort is coming back and his power is increasing every day. Following directly on from the sixth installment, Harry and the members of the Order of the Phoenix (a group of wizards and witches actively fighting Voldemort's rise to power) must continue their quest to protect Harry so he can seek out a number of horcruxes containing the Dark Lord's soul and destroy them. However, this isn't a simple quest, and danger is around every corner as Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, continue the search.
Director David Yates has very much gone down the same route as Alfonso Cuaron did with the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban. I thought it was too dark for its purpose at the time, but Yates using darkness here is very apt. The wizarding world has descended into darkness and despair at the return of the Dark Lord, and things are just that more dangerous and frightening. The fights are grittier, the general feel is more adult, and while I'd be prepared to let my son watch the first couple of films, it gets less and less suitable as the films go on. This one is by far and away the darkest and most explicit of the rest.
I don't think overdoes it, indeed he embraces it and makes sure that everything falls into line, mirroring the mood his camera is creating. The acting is gutsier, the music drops to lower notes and the suspense is increased immensely from that of the sixth film, The Half-Blood Prince. The film spends the majority of the time with Harry, Ron and Hermione on screen, and although this is usually the case throughout the series, it just seems enhanced a bit more here, as they're on their own searching for the horcruxes for a lot of the film. The three actors do a tremendous job, and I imagine the pressure must have been on. The characters are more desperate and more despairing, and niggles between the three of them start to show, not helped by the power of a locket not unlike that of Tolkien's One Ring in his own epic tale of hobbits on a quest to destroy the Ring. Correlation between the Ring and Voldemort's horcruxes are going to be made, and with reason. No doubt there are influences throughout with good vs evil tales.
Daniel Radcliffe has had the weight of expectation on his shoulders, but he's very good as Harry. Somewhat eclipsed in terms of natural acting ability by Emma Watson as Hermione and Rupert Grint as Ron, he still manages to provide the angst and carry the weight of personal expectation that his character holds. There are some impressive dialogue scenes between the three of them, but this film isn't really about the acting as much as the atmosphere. Indeed, in terms of acting, there are small scenes where everyone gets a go at the limelight, and the majority of them grab it and give it an excellent go. Brief but effective additions from the likes of Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, and Bill Nighy are somewhat eclipsed by the scene stealing talents of Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the Dark Lord's lieutenants, while Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort himself is fantastic. I can't wait to see him in the final installment - one of the best screen villain performances in my opinion.
At just over two hours long, and covering only half of the book, there is plenty of time to add the finer details in as well. Snippets of Harry's vision, a few extra glimpsed moments of characters and the all important timing on screen all come into play, while the special effects are expertly executed. Some of the quirkier moments that Rowling creates on page are easier identified wit our own imaginations, and it must be immensely hard to actually get them on screen, but the special effects department (wizardry in its own right!) have certainly upped their own standards here. There's even a cleverly interwoven cartoon tale reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's preferred art style in one of the wizarding world's fables that has relevance to the story, Emma Watson's voice telling the story is perfect pitch and providing the all important mental stimulation that such a visual film often needs to provide a balance.
Yates' use of light, or should I say darkness, provides us with something I believe to be a bit darker than the book actually was, and although it's certainly giving us the intended mood, I did think that it was a bit TOO dark in all honesty. It increases uncertainty, and makes us question every innocent moment just as we do the more sinister ones, and the book is not like that. It may not be the usual return to a Hogwarts school year that we're used to, but Rowling taking the story out of this context and placing it in a darker and more depairing place still left room for happiness and fun. Yates' portrayal of the first part of the final act leaves no room for happiness, even at the times when it should be there. There's a wedding, and some reuniting, and the mood is grumpy throughout. I felt it could have done with some more light heartedness. There are some humourous moments, but these are definitely more for us as the viewer as opposed to deliberately funny as the characters would see and feel it. Even the interventions of the usually hilariously kooky Luna Lovegood are morose and saddeningly serious.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Sure, the darkness was too much, and it could easily make cynics of all of us and have us questioning the genuine nature of even the most innocuous scenes and characters; but it was a highly enjoyable and gripping seventh film in the series. In fact, I have seen it twice, and each time I was gripped. There's so much packed into it, and Yates and his team must take credit for coping with all of this without confusion setting in. There's action, adventure, a bit of romance, and only the very occasional cringeworthy moment (Harry trying to cheer Hermione up by dancing with her - please not again!). The special effects and music are put to excellent use, and I am thoroughly looking forward to the final part. It should be fantastic - I hope justice is done.
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
Running length: 146 mins (Approx 2 and a half hours)
Director: David Yates
Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows (part 1) is the first part of the film adaptation of the final book in the Harry Potter series. I've been a fan of the Potter franchise since about 11 years of age and so can be overly critical of these films if they do not remain faithful to the books. Please bare that in mind whilst reading this!
Harry is on a seemingly impossible mission to destroy Horcruxes made by evil Lord Voldermort. Voldermort has split his soul and placed it into several Horcruxes (objects which then posess a part of this living, breathing soul). As a result, it is almost impossible to kill without first destroying all of these Horcruxes, which could be any object hidden anywhere.
The seeming impossibility of Harry's mission is made all the more desperate by the fact that he must face it without his friend and Wizarding hero, Albus Dumbledore, the only wizard whom Voldermort has ever really feared and who died in the previous book/film.
Best friends Ron and Hermione agree to accompany on him on his quest but how will the three young Wizards fare outside of the protection of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
With Harry being hunted by the Ministry of magic (now overrun with followers of Voldermort), he has no choice but to go into hiding whilst simultaneously searching for the hidden horcruxes.
Novel vs film
This, of all the Harry Potter films, is the most faithful adaptation of the book. I like this because if not, I sit through the film going "well that didn't happen in the book" which can become distracting and dampen my enjoyment of the film. Any die hard Potter fans will not have much cause to complain. It's about as true to the novel as it could be, minus a few scenes but that's to be expected given the length of the book in my opinion.
Unfortunately, The Deathly Hallows novel is split into about half Harry and co camping in the woods and half action/danger. This inevitably means that one film has to carry the weight of the camping scenes and this is what happens in this film. The Second instalment promises to be much more exciting and will contain all the key battles, including of course 'the final battle'. This makes the first film seem like a filler in anticipation for the main event, therefore 'half a film' essentially. However, the chosen ending point for Part 1, is brilliant. As dramatic a cliffhanger as they come and the perfect way to leave fans eagerly anticipating Part 2.
The animation depicting the story of the 3 brothers and The Deathly Hallows is a very clever and effective way to tell the story. I did wonder if they would have to cut the story out, rather than have one long boring scene showing one of the trio telling the story. The animation however, ensures that the story does not get boring, effectively demonstrates the message of the story and offers a welcome break from camping scenes! Most of the audience came away saying it was one of their favourite scenes and the kind of scene that you wouldnt expect to see in a HP film but one that undoubtedly worked well.
The ending was very effective as already mentioned. A very clever place to splice the book and create suspense to build up to the next installment. Splitting the film in two allows the whole of the very long book to be shown, without having to miss out important scenes and moments. On the whole, I was impressed with how true to the novel it was and how many scenes from the book had made the final edit. With the exception of one noteable missing scene (which I'll discuss in the 'bad stuff' section), everything else was there.
Very dark and depressing but with an undertone of dark humour the entire time. This reflects the books perfectly and the humour is really needed amongst all the death and destruction. It is well acted too in my opinion. I know the trio are often criticised for not being the best, acting wise, However to me, they have really grown into the roles and made them believable. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Ron, Harry and Hermione now so I cannot fault them.
The persecution of the none pureblood witches and wizards has undeniable parallels to the treatment of the jews by the Nazis. Powerful stuff and brilliantly portrayed, albeit depressing.
The romance. I personally, have never liked the Ginny/Harry pairing. I hated it in the book and hate it even more on screen. That said, she isnt in many scenes with him in this film, thank god. But instead were left to deal with the Hermione/Harry dynamic. In this film it was expressed in a cringeworthy 'dance' scene. As far as I noticed, this was the only added scene which didn't actually happen in the book. It showed Harry asking Hermione to dance with him around the tent and half the audience who hadn't read the book (and therefore didnt know that Harry and Hermione have a brother/sister kind of relationship) were shouting 'snog' or 'kiss!' at this point. Then came the equally horrendous, Harry and Hermione topless kiss, which takes place in Ron's imagination. To be fair this scene did actually happen in the book and so it is faithful to the original plot. But it still made me cringe and a few of the younger members of the audience were left giggling by it.
Another problem, as mentioned previously, is the fact that 'Harry Potter and the long camping trip' doesn't translate the most effectively into film format. I think those who hadnt read the book would just find these scenes, dull, long and pointless. I also think they would struggle to understand the plot as it is, at times, badly explained. The concept of 'Horcruxes' for example, would make little sense to somebody who hasn't watched or read 'Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince'. My advice is, if you want to be able to enjoy this film then definitely refresh your memory of the previous films beforehand.
My biggest disappointment is a possible spoilers so look away now if you don't want to know.
The epitaph at Dobby's Grave is one of the most memorable quotes from the entire book, I couldn't understand why, having shown Dobby's death and him being buried, they didn't show the famous and touching 'Here lies Dobby, a free Elf' inscription. Maybe that's me being precious and a bit of a fangirl about the books but it was a moment I was waiting for that never came!
I think the advertising poster says it all for this film... it features a screenshot of Harry, Ron and Hermione running through the woods!
But seriously, it's a long film and hard going at times but the drama is lessened by the black humour. The camping scenes may be boring but they are faithful to the book and in my opinion, fully demonstrate the isolation of the central characters on this impossible quest.
Leaves you wanting to see Part 2 straight away!
You know the drill: every Harry Potter sequels are "darker" than their predecessors. Now that we're at the penultimate chapter, things must be getting very gloomy. "These are dark times. There is no denying," says Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy with alarmingly long hair). This cannot be good news for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) who have all survived many years of challenging tasks at Hogwarts. But now Dumbledore is dead, Snape has betrayed Hogwarts, dark forces are gathering, Lord Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) power is growing, the crazy b/witch Bellatrix Lestrange(Helena Bonham Carter) is craving for more blood as usual, and the Ministry of Magic has been severely compromised by those controlled explicitly by Voldemort and his merry band of wizards and witches. With nowhere and no one to turn to, the ambitious trio must work together to fight evil and protect their world of magic from being taken over.
That's the general gist: but don't let the rather simple summary fool you from just how complicated some of the sub-plots can be. There are so many names, places, prophecies and spells that unless you've brushed up on your knowledge of the Harry Potter universe, chances are you will struggle to understand absolutely everything. Thank god for Hermione then, for she is the one having to explain and show off her fountain of knowledge to her fellow companions. Harry and Ron are both amazed and grateful, as are we. The trio must track down items called Horcruxes - which apparently contain the many fragments of Voldemort's soul that he has carelessly left behind. Destroying these will mean the end for Voldemort's big bad evil reign. These items are often protected and only solving ambiguous puzzles will get you anywhere near these artifacts. Somehow along the way the team also stumbles upon the legend of the "Deathly Hallows." Three magical items that will make a wizard/witch more powerful than anyone, even Death itself. Guess who's searching for these treasures?
Attempting to hide from the dark forces that are constantly trying to track them down, Harry, Ron and Hermione have dropped out of school to go about their seemingly impossible quest. Quidditch games are history, and the days these youngsters are not allowed to perform magic outside school are long gone. With no tight structure of the school system, the trio is left to do whatever they want, and this is strangely mirrored in how little logical structure the film has. "Harry Potter" films have always been criticised for stripping down its original material and keeping the plot too simple. Perhaps the split of the final book was to include as much information as possible, to quieten down the endless complaints voiced by fans of the original novels. It sounds like a great idea, adding more depth to the otherwise one-dimensional characters, but in fact director David Yates spends most of the time stalling, adding unnecessary gibberish to somehow build tension. So much of its time is spent meandering, plodding through the muddled plot trying to squeeze in all the most insignificant details. There's the main plot, but a range of tiny sub-plots don't help, that also include a handful of characters along the way. Without the split, the 150 minutes running time would have been spent much more efficiently with much excitement, and would have worked as a fast-paced road movie but because Yates has around five hours to play with, he seems to have saved the best for the very last.
Take the trio's challenging journey for example: a lot of fun to be had, with no school, no professors, no tedious lessons, but the film jumps from place to place being more interested in Hermione's amazing bag, the trio's tent, and the views from the harsh wilderness in which the protagonists are hiding. Of course, there is conflict between the three of them, mostly involving Ron's jealousy towards Harry and Hermione's close friendship. Oh dear, does this mean the fellowship is breaking up? Hardly, since these three have been bound so tight in the previous films that whatever comes their way doesn't really convince the audience of anything drastic happening. Therefore the more emotional tone Yates was aiming for doesn't quite work out and whatever tense atmosphere he was trying to generate by emphasising the more soapy side of the franchise ends up being a colossal waste of time. Radcliffe, Grint and Watson have been in these roles for such a long time that they have become engraved in them. But even they cannot handle rapid development. Grint is probably the best out of the bunch here, proving that he can do slightly more than being the comic-relief side-kick. The film's most cringing, cheesy scenes involve Radcliffe and Watson who clearly cannot handle their deep connection well. Watson has always been good at the cold, bossy, know-it-all, bitchy type and Radcliffe has always been suitably blank. Put the two together and you get one awkward, unwatchable pair.
Convoluted plot and unimpressive leading actors aside, there is much fun to be had in the longest set-up of the franchise. Starring in at least one "Harry Potter" film seems to be a rite of passage for any British acting legend and once again we get far-too-brief glimpses of outstanding actors and actresses making the most of their five-minute screen times. Alan Rickman is steady as ever as Severus Snape, Fiennes may be nose-less but makes a fantastic villain, Carter has never had a problem portraying a lunatic and here she gets to show off some wand-wielding skills too, Imelda Staunton makes a welcome return as Dolores Umbridge, Jason Isaacs, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Brendan Gleeson, Robbie Coltrane, Timothy Spall, Julie Walters, David Thewlis and Rhys Ifans all have annoyingly brief roles but hopefully by the second part of the final chapter, a lot of the waffly talking scenes will be put aside for some exhilarating action in which all the actors will most definitely take part.
As always there is nothing to fault when it comes to the technical department. The CGI is impeccable and there is a couple of scenes that will blow you away. The broomstick chase in particular is outstanding that immediately tries to draw you in at an early stage of the film. Shame the rest of the film doesn't quite live up to that standard. The time that millions of people will no doubt spend in cinemas worldwide should pay off by next July, when the real final part is expected to arrive.