Sunday, 21 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Year: 2010
Director: David Yates
Screenplay: Steve Kloves, based on the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson
Running Time: 146 minutes
Genre: Fantasy, adventure, action, epic

Summary: The evil Dark Lord Voldermort (Fiennes) and his army of Death Eaters have gained control of the Ministry of Magic and the whole wizarding world is in the grip of fear, especially those born of muggle (non-magical) parents and are particular targets of the Death Eaters. The only hope appears to lie with Harry Potter (Radcliffe) who knows that, in order to gain immortality, Voldermort has split his own soul and hidden it in several disguised and hidden objects known as "Horcruxes", and that only when they are all destroyed can he be defeated. Now the principal target of Voldermort and his Death Eaters, and with friends and safe places rapidly disappearing, Harry and his best friends Ron Weasley (Grint) and Hermione Granger (Watson) find themselves on the run and on a dangerous quest to find and destroy the Horcruxes.

Opinions: If you have never seen any of the Harry Potter films or read any of the books then this is not the best place to start. The first of a two part film adaptation of the seventh and final book in the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series, this makes no concessions to newcomers. As with the previous films, this is a very faithful adaptation of the book, and features spectacular special effects as well as appearances from numerous well-known British actors. However, as with the book, this is a major departure from the rest of the Harry Potter series. It's frequently commented on how each movie is darker than the one before, and this is certainly the darkest of the series so far. There are no Quidditch matches, or amusing hi-jinks at the Hogwarts School here. In fact the school, the prinicpal setting for the series, doesn't feature at all in this film and, for the first time, Harry and his friends are out in the wilderness, completely on their own. There is a surprisingly bleak atmosphere in this film, a tone set early on in a scene where Hermione erases herself from her parent's memories and also deletes herself from photographs and documents. All three of the lead chracters have their own demons to deal with: Harry has to deal with his status as the "Chosen One" and his guilt at the fact that anyone close to him is in danger, Ron has to deal with his jealousy of Harry and his attraction to Hermione, while Hermione struggles with what is effectively the loss of her parents. With each film the three leads, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have got better and better and in this one, where their roles are more complex than ever before, they really do great work.
This is a very good movie which still delivers plenty of action and spectacle, and there is still plenty of humour, if not as much as in previous installments. It also features a very impressive animated sequence. Certainly, Harry Potter fans should be more than happy. The second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is due for release in July 2011.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

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