As the first part to the finale in a saga that has stretched for more than a decade, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a journey of epic proportions. Paving the way for the final standoff (due for release in July), the film begins just days after the conclusion of the previous installment.
It would be prudent to mention at this point that the Deathly Hallows is not the type of film that can be entered into without having followed the saga. With plotlines that have been years in the making, it is a joy for fans of the series because there’s no backtracking.
The film plunges down a dark and mysterious path as the wizarding world reaches a bleak turning point.
Heavyhearted after the death of one of the most loved characters in the series, Professor Dumbledore, the film opens with a gloomy montage. Hermione erases her parents’ memories and sets out alone to join Ron at The Burrow, the Dursleys have emptied their house at 4 Privet Drive to be taken into wizarding protection and Ron is waiting anxiously in his front yard. Harry meanwhile, sits alone in his bedroom going over his final moments with Professor Dumbledore. At this stage it is understandable if you feel your throat getting a little constricted. The series has lost its innocence and magical wonder – there is nothing but darkness ahead now.
Harry is soon joined by no fewer than 13 of his friends from Hogwarts and the Order of the Phoenix to ship him to safety. Thankfully there are a few light-hearted moments while they prepare for the journey, where we can appreciate the more comical characters we’ve met in the previous films. It is probably the reignited affection for these characters that make it all the more difficult to digest when death and danger surround them once more.
Harry, Ron and Hermione are about to set out on their mission to destroy the horcruxes tying Lord Voldemort to life. The problem is they don’t know what or where they are, or how to destroy them. Their path is riddled with the unknown, leaving you feeling nervous and sympathetic toward the three teenagers. Naturally as fatigue, frustration and desperation sets in during their travels to more far flung and barren destinations (not to mention a locket that aids in the despair), the ties between Harry, Ron and Hermione are tested. They are alone and constantly in danger – and you can feel it.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – while a little lacking in action and magic – is the first film in the saga, I feel, that has accurately captured the words JK Rowling penned so many years ago. It’s dark, it’s epic, it’s heart-felt and our three stars have completely emerged from their young and awkward adolescence into genuinely good actors.
The cinematography perfectly captures everything from the knobbled and quirky figure of Dobby the house elf, through to the depressing sense of isolation when the three take refuge in the abandoned Order of the Phoenix headquarters at 12 Grimmauld Place.
As the first of the final installment, it’s natural that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 feels a little incomplete. With a lot more to cover in the final film and the battle with Voldemort yet to come, the anticipation for the next film is paramount.
I give the film four unforgiveable curses out of five.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is currently showing On Demand on fetchtv.
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