RELEASED 2010 RUNTIME 146 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION DAVID YATES SCREENPLAY STEVE KLOVES STARRING DANIEL RADCLIFFE, RUPERT GRINT, EMMA WATSON, HELENA BONHAM CARTER, ROBBIE COLTRANE, WARWICK DAVIS, RALPH FIENNES, MICHAEL GAMBON, BRENDAN GLEESON, RICHARD GRIFFITHS, JOHN HURT, JASON ISAACS, ALAN RICKMAN, FIONA SHAW, IMELDA STAUNTON, TIMOTHY SPALL, DAVID THEWLIS, JULIE WALTERS MUSIC ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the first half of the final book/chapter of the Harry Potter saga.
After the death of Dumbledore, Harry is more determined than ever to find and destroy all the remaining 4 Hocruxes, in order to weaken Voldemort, so he can be destroyed.
According to the trend in Hollywood right now, every last movie of a trilogy or saga has to be split into two movies. After this initial bummer I told myself, hey, maybe they do it right and actually deliver a good first half of a movie, since all the reviews are pretty good.
In case you didn’t know, I hate this trend of splitting a story into two with a passion. The result usually suffers because in order to do so, several parts have to be stretched artificially in order to make room for enough running time. Things need to be added that shouldn’t be there in the first place, and the plot has to be cut off in the middle to leave out enough story for the second film. What happens is that the first film feels unrewarding and unfinished because it leaves you with a cliffhanger, while the second film is only pay off without a real build-up. The dilemma is that you should watch both movies back to back, but with the added running time you end up with a 4+ hour movie that only the most determined people are able to sit through.
So how about The Deathly Hallows Part Uno? Were the producers able to avoid these traps and make a complete movie without sacrificing the 3rd act?
Yes and no.
First, I am surprised how well it works as a single piece. Yes, you can totally see that the end is cut off right when it becomes interesting. However, there is some sort of 3rd act. Only thing is, Voldemort is not in it. Surprisingly, he is almost not in the movie at all. Instead we spend a lot of time with Harry, Hermione and Ron. And by a lot I mean A LOT.
This movie is almost 2 and a half hours long.
Why?! Wasn’t it enough to split the story? They actually had to make each part over two hours in length?! Anyway…
Since we spend so much time with our main cast we have a highly character driven film. I like that! Never have we looked so deep into our trio’s inner souls. Never has it been more personal. There is some incredibly dramatic scenes, which are dialogue based. We see our trio struggle mentally and coming to odds with each other on occasion. It’s portrayed very engagingly and you will appreciate what the filmmakers are trying to do here.
That being said, the movie suffers from a huge slump in the middle, where not much is happening. Given the amazing character moments there is still too much open room left that should have been filled with content.
The movie starts out blazing from all cylinders. We have an incredible action scene basically involving most of our favorite side characters. Then we have an incredibly dark scene with Voldemort and his followers.
After that we focus on our main trio, basically to the very end. And somewhere in the middle of that the movie stops for almost an hour and deals with dark character moments.
Btw. Speaking of dark tone. This movie is freakin’ dark! The Voldemort scene from the beginning includes the most cruel and violent depiction of character interaction yet. I didn’t expect that. It’s very powerful stuff and let’s you know right from the get-go that you are in for a sinister ride.
The cinematography also reflects the darkness. The coloring of the movie is very dull and perfectly reflects the somber tone of the story. There is no hope left for Hogwarts because Voldemort is becoming stronger every minute. Dumbledore is gone with Harry being the only one left who knows about Dumbledore’s instructions of how to defeat Voldemort. It’s all in, or nothing.
Listen, this movie is great for what it is. It’s the first half of a story that should have been told in one sitting. Nevertheless, if you are a Harry Potter fan, this is a very good film. It’s just that you can’t really judge it against the other films because it’s obviously incomplete. But it’s still a good watch and obviously it sets up the last movie perfectly. It’s a very character-driven piece, which I love very much. If it just wasn’t for the pacing problems…