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on November 19, 2010
I'm so very happy that I can recommend this one without any hesitation at all!

The last couple Harry Potter films disappointed me in a myriad of ways. My disappointment didn't cause me to hate them, but I did feel let down and I have to admit that I found Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pretty forgettable. But, being a Potter fan, I still found myself rushing out to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I today. And to my great relief and happiness, I loved it - really loved it! Yeah!

The chase of the Seven Potters by the Death Eaters and the trip to the Ministry of Magic are tense and exciting, the endless camping trip is just as effective at portraying the helplessness and frustration the characters are experiencing as it was in the book and the scene that gives us Hermione reading Beedle the Bard's "Tale of the Three Brothers" is riveting and wonderfully creative - much, much better than I would have thought it could be. We finally get to meet Bill (and Fleur's briefly-glimpsed wedding dress is gorgeous!) and the whipped cream on top of all this goodness is that the film is much more humorous than I expected. While not everything is included, of course, I didn't come out of this film grumbling things along the lines of "How could they leave out _____?" or "Why did they add ________when it wasn't even in the danged book?" - both comments I have been known to make after viewing some of the other films. Instead, I left the theater feeling like I'd seen a relatively faithful rendering of the "real" story. And there were even one or two things that I thought the film did better than the book, most notably the interruption of Harry & Ginny's kiss. The not-in-the-book added scene of Harry and Hermione dancing was both amusing and incredibly poignant - a true highlight of the film for me.

For some reason, the enjoyment this film gave me seemed to lift some sort of weight off me - which seems a very odd thing to say, I know. I think it returned a good deal of the joy I found in the earlier films - when seeing the characters and the places come to life on the screen was so magical. (That first glimpse of Hogwarts!) In a way, I feel like I'm back *in* - that I'm once again immersed in the film version of the story in a way that more closely echoes the effect the books had on me. While the films, IMHO, can never hope to match the books, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part I, let me feel the magic again. For that I thank everyone involved with it.

I thought the acting by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson was better than it's been in any of the Potter films - they really seem to have come into their own here. Helena Bonham Carter was freakishly perfect as usual, Jason Isaacs very good and Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood a welcome newcomer. The film sounds good - the score is a mood-setting addition to the film (especially effective, I thought, were the screeching radio sounds during many of the camping scenes) - and it looks even better. The shots of the English countryside are beautiful but often seem almost overwhelmingly empty and lonely - perfect for the story.

When it was announced that Deathly Hallows would be split into two films, I was glad because I hoped that by doing so the filmmakers would be able to do justice to the complexities of Rowling's plot. And now, having seen Part I, I feel that they've succeeded in doing just that. After this, I can look forward to the last film, not with dread, but with pleasure. And I am incredibly thrilled to be able to say that.

Very highly recommended!

Some info and cautions on the products:

PLEASE NOTE: Because there are reports of various versions of the DVD available from different sellers, I strongly suggest buyers check the packaging carefully to ensure the version they are considering contains everything they're looking for.

I purchased the 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack offered here on Amazon. The DVD included in this pack contains ONLY the film - no extras at all. This means that, in this pack, NONE of the extras are watchable without a Blu-ray player. For Blu-ray owners, however, the other two discs in this 3-pack contain the following extras:

Additional Scenes
- The Burrow's Shed: Ron Discusses Radios with Mr. Weasley
- The Dursley House: Harry and Aunt Petunia As They Leave House
- The Dursley House: Harry and Dudley Shake Hands
- The Granger House: Death Eaters Search Deserted Home
- Ministry of Magic Lifts: Harry Tells Arthur He's Being Tracked
- Tent: Trio Discusses Destroying The Locket
- Rabbit Chase in the Forest
- Montage: Ron and Hermione Skimming Stones

Other Extras:

- Exclusive Sneak Peek of an opening scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
- Maximum Movie Mode: Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and other members of the cast and crew take viewers on an interactive journey through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1. Plus, revisit important moments from the previous films to prepare for the final battle that takes place in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.
- Dan, Rupert and Emma's Running Competition - While filming the escape scene from the Snatchers in Swinley Forest, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson engage in a little competition of their own. With commentary by director David Yates.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack
- The Seven Harrys - See how Daniel Radcliffe recreated the personalities of the different characters that transform into Harrys during the escape from Privet Drive.
- On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver and James - Accompany Rupert Grint, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) and James Phelps (Fred Weasley) for a round of golf and get a glimpse into their 10-year friendship that developed while making the Harry Potter films.
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Promotional Trailer - Join Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and other cast members from the Harry Potter films on their first visit to the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. (I was fortunate enough to visit the Wizarding World recently and enjoyed it immensely. Those responsible for its creation have done a terrific job in creating an atmosphere true to the books and films. I particularly enjoyed the many small and delightful details they took care to include. Harry's youngest fans, though, may be disappointed that the rides are geared to older fans.)
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on April 29, 2011
Great road trip movie. A bit slow at times, but excellent character building, and even some decent acting by the main three. They really have come a long ways. Especially Harry / Daniel who over the past few films has grown immensely as an actor.

However, I am SO, SO sick of the studios PURPOSEFULLY doing a bad job on their DVD transfers only to promote Blu-Rays. The explosion of combo packs has driven this further, because many folks with a 32" or smaller 720p set can't see the difference between a Blu-Ray and upcoverted DVD...UNLESS the DVD is a *terrible* quality source. The studios are now MALICIOUSLY doing horrible transfer jobs in order to make the Blu-Ray look better. This is not conspiracy theory. Watch for yourself by comparing HP7 with HP4 or 5 on DVD!

There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that the HP7 DVD should look this bad. First off, it is only using a fraction of the available DVD dual-layer space available, and as such is *riddled* with compression artifacts. You need no more proof than that, but the real proof is in the pudding! Compare the HP4 and HP5 dark scenes with those in HP7 pt 1 and you will see NIGHT AND DAY difference in quality. Things should be better today, not worse. You can't tell me it was on accident. This was almost certainly found and raised during quality control, and quietly snuffed by the marketing folks. It was engineered this way on purpose.

While we are a Blu-Ray household with 4 total BD players (living room, MBR, newest desktop, newest laptop), we have nearly a dozen DVD Players counting older laptops, desktops, portable DVD players, and cars. Overall, this movie undoubtedly will be watched more on DVD than on BD. We shouldn't be subjecdted to inferior quality just because some bozo in Marketing things it will impact BD sales 1% to 2%. I don't care if he's right. It's not fair. We pay a good price for the DVD, and we should get a product that is the best possible for the money. Not one that is artifcially neutered for marketing reasons!!!

I blame Warner Brothers. There is no excuse for this. I do not feel this was an accident, and this needs to stop!

Rhino
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on November 19, 2010
Walking out of the screeing, one of my friends remarked that he hated this Harry Potter film, stating it is the "worst" in the series. I disagree, but understand exactly why he thinks this way. As anyone who has read the book knows, a large part of the seventh book is buildup towards the definite battle that awaits. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt. 1 is just buildup.

If you have read the book, you will enjoy this film as it is faithful to the spirit of the book; if you know Harry simply through the films, you might be disappointed. For it is filmed with camping in deserted locations, forests, and other odd locations to escape from Voldermort's grasp. This is really why some critics absolutely hate this film as they can not fathom the amount of buildup this film does. However, if they want to criticize anyone, they should critique Rowling as this is a faithful adaption of her book.

Radcliffe and Grint are great as always, but the welcome surprise is Emma Watson whose acting has gotten better and better, and she reaches a new peak. She balances each relationship very decisively , putting different emotional layers in treating Harry and Ron. In addition, the landscapes are as gorgeous as ever, and the special effects have become surprisingly better-especially Voldermort's snake which sent chills through my spine.
The emotion the film induces does something that the book never did for me. It takes it out of this magical world, and into the real world, and makes the evil present in Harry's World seem like the fear many people battling evil might have felt in Germany, during the 1930's and forties. Hermione's attempt to save her parents from the hands of evil give us another view in this world which almost mirrors us in terms of what these people go through to wipe this evil horror.

The deathly Hollows may be a boring film for those unfamiliar with the book, but for the readers of this tale it is the most faithfully done adaptation. Sure, the film does not succeed on a film lover's point of view, but one must remember any disappointment felt with this film will evaporate with the menacing, blood spilling second part.
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on November 7, 2011
Update 12/26/2011: Woo hoo! Thanks to the reply by Gundamfan0079, I successfully downloaded the digital copy. Evidently the codes for this release have been reactivated. Thank you for listening to our complaints, WB! I changed the rating to 4 stars.
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Ridiculous! I purchased this combo pack yesterday because I also wanted a digital copy for my iPad. I was shocked to discover that the digital copy expired on September 13th. I contacted WB's customer service and this was their reply:

--------------------------
Hello,

We have researched your issue and this Digital Copy offer has expired. The Digital Copy offer is intended to be available only for a limited time following the initial release of the DVD and/or Blu-ray Disc. The expiration date is specifically stated on (a) the outside packaging of your DVD or Blu-ray disc, (b) the insert, (c) the Digital Copy disc, and/or (d) the redemption site.
--------------------------

I'm fairly incensed by this lack of "caring" by WB. In essence, this is gross misrepresentation by WB and its retailers to continue to sell the combo pack when part of the "combo" no longer works. It should have been re-labeled or pulled from the shelves on September 13th. Expecting customers to notice the fine print is absolutely asinine...especially for people who have purchased theirs online. Amazon.com customers are none the wiser unless they scour the reviews. Restrictions and policies such as this serve no other purpose than to encourage illegal copies.

Not that it matters in the scheme of things, but my opinion of Warner Bros. has dimmed today. I will vote with my wallet whenever WB is concerned.
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on November 21, 2010
Part I of the Deathly Hallows is faithful to the book for the most part. Although a few things were cut out (such as the evil werewolf Greyback with the Snatchers or cutting out the Harry/Lupin fight in favor of a cute tent dancing scene with Hermione) the overall spirit of the film was faithful to the book.

Director David Yates I feel did not make a great film with Order of the Phoenix but clearly redeemed himself in my eyes with this film.

The film felt rushed at first. In the book there was more build-up with Uncle Vernon. On the other hand, Harry's contemplation of the little stairway closet he used to live in, you can almost hear him say "Wow, I've come a long way."

And indeed he has. He wants no one to be hurt or injured and would rather go off on his trek on his own. But Ron and Hermione will have none of it. and go Disapparating all over the English countryside with the Death Eaters hot on his tail.

Several scenes they got right: Ron's anger and jealousy with Harry and Hermione. The Patronus doe to the lake where the sword of Gryffindor is laid. The snake attack at Bagshot's place.

And most amazingly, the great animation of the Three Brothers tale, as told by Hermione (and interrupted by Ron a couple times)!

Nitpicking Follows!

Several things I would have liked to have seen: More of the elf Kreecher and his explanation of Regulus Black's switching of the Horcrux at the lake introduced in the previous film. And in the book, Harry's disguised self at the Ministry of Magic enabled him to free many people from the dungeons of the Ministry but that didn't happen here. And more of the radio -- there was a lot more going on with the radio broadcasts {Potter Watch}, like a Radio Free Wizard or something!

Final Thoughts:

I can see a person not having read the book might have some trouble with parts of the screenplay. Reading the book clearly helps in filling in the gaps. The snappy dialogue and the deep emotional investment by the audience is wrenching. But the occasional humor (the tent scene) was cute. And the soundtrack by the London Symphony Orchestra was superb.

It's going to be a long wait to this summer!
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on November 4, 2011
I purchased this in October 2011 expecting the Blu-Ray, DVD, & Digital Copy (as advertised), but when the movie arrived, I found that the digital copy expired on 9/13/2011! Sure enough, there is nothing on the site indicating that the digital copy has expired, so I call shenanigans. Amazon needs to update the site and give everyone who bought it under false pretenses their digital copy.
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on April 15, 2011
The movie is great, but the DVD is lacking. Warner brothers promised that the dvd release would include in it the opening of deathly hallows part 2. It doesnt. it contains only four of the promised deleted scenes, and is missing all the other promised material.

luckily, the price was low, but WB needs to make the opening sequence avalible for DVD people, because they promised us that feature, and not everyone can afford to keep dropping hundreds of bucks to buy blu ray players, and whatever format will replace it.

it may be a small promise, but the opening of part two was a promise, nonetheless.
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on April 21, 2011
Disappointed that there are no extras for the regular DVD version in this combo pack (the single disk DVD version that you can buy apparently has no extras either). That means that folks without a Blu-Ray player don't get any extras. That really wasn't clear in the product details and I would probably have just bought the single disk version if I had known.
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on April 30, 2011
I've just finished watching the DVD version of this movie and have to agree with earlier commenters.

It is a TERRIBLE transfer -- the worst I've ever seen in a major release -- especially during the darker scenes, and scenes with static backgrounds. The quality is so bad I was actually wondering if I might have somehow received a bootleg DVD -- until I remembered that I had ordered straight from Amazon. Even the legalistic warnings at the beginning and end are fuzzy and grainy.

I too have to conclude this was intentional, and feel cheated and disrespected by the studio. I suppose I am playing right into their hands in writing this, for my review will probably cause some people to now skip the DVD and buy the more expensive Blu-ray.

This release is really inexcusable.

This is a shame, as the movie itself is very, very good.
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on April 17, 2011
I have watched all the Potter films and I just finished watching Hallows Part 1. I know the plot was darker in tone than the others but why make the film so hard to see. Maybe its my eyesight - but frankly I could not see much for most of the film. Either nighttime or in the dark. Oh well - I listened. Very disappointed.
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