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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
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Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction – the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever…but Dark Forces in their midst threaten to tear them apart. Meanwhile the wizarding world has become a dangerous place. The long-feared war has begun and the Dark Lord has seized control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting all who might oppose him. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort…alive.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is a brooding, slower-paced film than its predecessors, the result of being just one half of the final story (the last book in the series was split into two movies, released in theaters eight months apart). Because the penultimate film is all buildup before the final showdown between the teen wizard and the evil Voldemort (which does not occur until The Deathly Hallows, Part II), Part I is a road-trip movie, a heist film, a lot of exposition, and more weight on its three young leads, who up until now were sufficiently supported by a revolving door of British thesps throughout the series. Now that all the action takes place outside Hogwarts--no more Potions classes, Gryffindor scarves, or Quidditch matches--Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron) shoulder the film almost entirely on their own. After a near-fatal ambush by Voldemort's Death Eaters, the three embark on a quest to find and destroy the remaining five horcruxes (objects that store pieces of Voldemort's soul). Fortunately, as the story gets more grave--and parents should be warned, there are some scenes too frightening or adult for young children--so does the intensity. David Yates, who directed the Harry Potter films Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, drags the second half a little, but right along with some of the slower moments are some touching surprises (Harry leading Hermione in a dance, the return of Dobby in a totally non-annoying way). Deathly Hallows, Part I will be the most confusing for those not familiar with the Potter lore, particularly in the shorthand way characters and terminology weave in and out. For the rest of us, though, watching these characters over the last decade and saying farewell to a few faces makes it all bittersweet that the end is near (indeed, an early scene in which Hermione casts a spell that makes her Muggle parents forget her existence, in case she doesn't return, is particularly emotional). Despite its challenges, Deathly Hallows, Part I succeeds in what it's most meant to do: whet your appetite for the grand conclusion to the Harry Potter series. --Ellen A. Kim
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What's up with all the icky green? In this movie, nice happy blues, reds, oranges and yellows are not allowed. Everything must be black, white, brown, gray, or this pale, slightly blue green that's just all over the place. Check out the cover of the box: those are the only colors you'll see in this movie. The only exception is in this scene involving the snake Nagini, which was very jarring. Color palettes do not exist in real life.
The movie does seem too long while watching it at home. In the theater, it didn't seem to drag so much. Normally, the second time watching a movie seems to go quicker. This felt longer. I'll probably have to fast forward the camping sequence next time I watch it.
It's a little sloppy since there are a few things which are left unexplained, for instance the broken piece of glass which seems to be showing (spoiler deleted) in it. I guess if I had the books memorized, I'd know what was going on there. Maybe they'll explain it in part II, but I don't have my hopes up.
Okay, those are my main nit-picks. It's PG-13, with a not-exactly-kinda-sorta nude scene, so it's not for little kids.
My single disc DVD has ONLY the 5 following deleted scenes:
- The Dursley House: Harry and Aunt Petunia As They Leave House
- The Dursley House: Harry and Dudley Shake Hands
- Ministry of Magic Lifts: Harry Tells Arthur He's Being Tracked
- Tent: Trio Discusses Destroying The Locket
- Montage: Ron and Hermione Skimming Stones
And personally I'm glad these weren't in the theatrical version, as they would have slowed the movie down even further, and the Dudley handshake scene doesn't fit the emotional tone they're setting up.
Bought this and Part 2 because of the upcoming "blackout" on Potter DVDs/broadcasts/streaming availability that is going to happen in 2012 and will last until Warner Bros. releases the new box set some time in 2012 or possibly even 2013. I do like to have Harry Potter "marathon weekends" on my own time, especially holed up during snowstorms and since I have all the other movies I didn't want to wait for the box set to watch the whole saga when I want to. And of course if the box set does not provide extended versions of these films with ample extra footage in all of them in my opinion it will be pointless to have since I'm not a collector but watch for "entertainment value".
The characters in this one are good and the long time spent on the run for the year was nicely paced. Having read the books I knew all the little bits about the details that made looking at the scene's a little better, but they were beautiful shots.
Now with the DVD being out for both parts it is a lot more fun since you don't have to wait for the conclusion.
I wouldn't start my HP movie watching with this one, for obvious reasons, but it does satisfy and provide lots for the HP fan. If you've never seen any of the previous movies or read the books, this is not for you. There is just too much missing to make it stand alone.