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The Magic Is Back!
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:
- 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
- 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.)