Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

21 Nov

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Year:
2010
Director:
David Yates
Writer:
Steve Kloves
Starring:
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frances de la Tour, Hazel Douglas, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, John Hurt, Bonnie Wright, Dave Legeno, Jason Isaacs, Andy Linden, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, George Harris, Natalie Tena, Mark Williams, Julie Walters, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Clémence Poésy, Miranda Richardson, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality
Runtime:
146 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
8.4
Rotten Tomatoes:
79%

 

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, I love the books and I think some of the movies have been pretty genius, especially the Alfonso Cuarón directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which also happens to be my favorite book of the series. So here I was, waiting in line to get into the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, the first half of the final book, which had been cut into two films because of the immense amount of stuff in it, the first one out now and the final one to be released in July of next year. I had re-read every single book in the two weeks leading up to this, and watched the six previous films in the weekend before it, I was as psyched as one could be, and then I finally got into the theater, and I saw it, over two hours of film that seemed to have gone by in five minutes.

That’s because this is a film that goes really fast, everything is intense and it wastes no time in nonsense, while at the same time not really sacrificing that much from the book, though I did hate it that the film didn’t include Dudley’s redemption moment. But still, this was a very very good film, not at the height of Azkaban in my opinion, but still a seriously solid entry to the franchise. Clearly it felt quite a lot like the prelude it was to the bigger and even-more-packed second part that will follow this one in eight months, but on its own right it will still stand strong, David Yates rocked at directing it, the cinematography was gorgeous and it was the first time we got to see our three leads pretty much carry the whole film by themselves, and they killed it, each one of the giving their best performance to date in this one, which including some very heavy and well done emotional scenes.

The real treat will surely be finally getting to watch Deathly Hallows complete, first this and then Part II in a really awesome five hour seating, in that way the result will be epic in every sense of the word. And I’m also guessing that then you’ll be able to appreciate Part I much more, this is a film that serves as the best kind of build-up for the climatic Part II, and that still has a lot of action to be one of the best films of the series on its own.

This obviously represents the culmination of a huge pop culture phenomenon, for people like the meaning of it is even more transcendental. I got to read the first book when I was eight or so, I grew up alongside Harry, when I cried over finishing the last book and knowing his scar hadn’t pained him in years I found comfort in knowing that at least we had more films to look forward to, but now even that’s coming to an end, over thirteen years since the first book’s release will have passed when the final film chapter is released next year, and for us who have literally grown up pretty much at the same rate as Harry, it will be a tough goodbye.

But now, appreciation for the series and emotional blabber set aside, let’s talk about the film. I won’t stop praising Mr. Yates’ direction, I think he has shown he has a lot of skill when handling the source material, always quickening things up without ever losing the essence of it, and even knowing how to skillfully introduce some new scenes that were not in the book to drive a point to the audiences, much like the one in which Harry and Hermione share a dance in this one. His imprint in this film, as well as the fifth and the sixth which he also directed, is truly invaluable.

You all probably know the story for this one, it’s the epic conclusion to the story of The Boy Who Lived, he has to leave with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, his two faithful companions, to destroy the horcruxes introduced in the sixth film to finally be able to fight Voldemort himself. As such, this is a very different film from the rest, if anything, the fact that’s it’s set in its entirety outside of Hogwarts gives this film a very different feel, augmented like crazy by the fact that the tonality is just really somber and just plain sadder. Not to mention that this time around Harry, Hermione and Ron will depend on each other even more so than before, literally having no one else to turn to at times.

As I mentioned before, this is the film in which our three leads all give their best performance in the series thus far, which is just as well, because this is a film in which the adult actors, which are all pretty much part of the upper crust of seriously awesome British thesps, appear in a scene or two and that’s it, and these three are set to carry most of the weight by themselves, and boy do they deliver. All of this is because this is a much more character-driven story, and we get a big glimpse into their feelings, especially thanks to Ron, who feels jealous at being the Robin to Harry’s Batman, and starts believing Hermione maybe always preferred Harry over him. Hermione, for her part, feels lonely, negated by Ron who at one point in the story leaves, and being forced to delete her parents memories in order to protect them, this is all very hard stuff, and Emma Watson does a tremendous job, giving the stand-out performance out of the three, in my opinion.

Everything in this film helps keep this a very dark and haunted film experience, the cinematography, the whole production design and the outstanding score by Alexandre Desplat. But the darkness is helped along with some typical funny lines and light moments, but yes, for the most part this is a much more somber experience than the ones that came before it. And be sure to pay attention to how Mr. Yates decided to tell the story of the Peverell Brothers in some beautiful animation, that was just seriously well done.

I don’t know how well some of the subplots will play for people who haven’t read the book, in which there a whole lot more information as for the causes and effects of some of the minor stuff in here, but for the most part I believe Mr. Yates covered every important thing really well, he obviously has to move fast because of the amount of story he has to tell, but he still manages to get everything through really nicely, which is obviously easier said than done. As for when the infamous “cut” happened, what point would be decided as the split between this and the next, and final, installment, I thought it was done marvelously. It gave us one of the most emotional moments in the books history, and one that never fails to make me cry, just before it happened, and concluded with a scene that paved the way perfectly for the epicness that’s to come in July.

This was a very satisfying film for me, and I went into it with supreme expectations, and you will leave the theater feeling something very strong, it may be because of what you just saw, which was seriously awesome and entertaining, or it may be, as I imagine it is, for what’s left for you to see. Which is the final part of the story, one that will give you action scene after action scene and will tie up all the loose ends and, in the end, will certainly leave you with a hugely bittersweet taste in your mouth as you say your goodbyes to a story you have grown to love, to characters you have grown up with, and to a seriously amazing cast and crew that have spent over a decade brining them to life.

Grade: A-

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