Posts in this series:Harry Potter Movies
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two
Director: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Slow in places but there’s promise of greatness ahead
When it was announced that final film in the Harry Potter series would be split into two parts I was initially in two minds. The first thought was “Oh, they’ll be able to get more of the story in”, then immediately after that “Oh, won’t Warner Bros make a whole lot more money this way?”. Both are, of course, perfectly true and there’s nothing wrong with either motive.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 starts with a warning from the Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, played by a curiously accented Bill Nighy “These are dark times” he ominously intones. And indeed they are. Before the opening title has even appeared we see Harry’s final parting from the Dursleys, Ron brooding and in a particularly upsetting scene Hermione erase all traces of herself from her parents’ memories. In one almost wordless moment we can see how much Emma Watson has grown as an actress. Daniel Radcliffe is now a handsome young man, not that same cute little boy from Philosopher’s Stone.
The first action sequence is Harry’s escape from Little Whinging and the ensuing battle over London. The “seven Potters” moment where characters transform magically into Harry is great fun and the chase is an exhilarating opening with two shocking deaths that let us know straight away that this isn’t going to be an easy ride.
Harry, Ron and Hermione embark on a desperate quest to uncover the remaining Horcruxes, the hidden parts of Voldemort’s soul which make him impervious to harm. The scene where the trio infiltrates the Ministry of Magic is brilliant and real credit must go to David O’Hare, Steffan Rhodri and Sophie Thompson as the three Ministry workers impersonated in the ruse. The Ministry has become a dystopian nightmare – Stalinesque statues of muggles being subjugated have appeared and Nazi-like propaganda sheets denouncing mudbloods are being produced by the thousand. The new regime is portrayed fantastically with the favourite warning of the authoritarian “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” being trotted out as staff members are dragged away by uniformed guards.
The main body of the film is the forest based search and if I’m totally honest it does drag on a bit. It’s all from the book but I do wonder if there could have been more judicious editing of this part of the novel, although the moment where Harry and Hermione have a dance to lighten the mood is sweet and a welcome addition to the narrative as is the animated sequence telling the story of the Three Brothers and the legend of the Deathly Hallows.
The film ends as it begins, a heroic death and Voldemort more powerful than ever. The death is particularly sad, I’ve not cried at the death of a CG character before – the moment is more moving than I would have thought possible.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a prelude rather than the main action itself. This doesn’t matter though – we’re waiting for the main feature, that’s for Part 2 and the final battle.