A rather short, NON-SPOILER review
A couple weeks ago, I was VERY lucky to be one of the first people in the world to see HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1. My friend managed to get passes to a “secret” screening in Chicago. It was a test screening of the movie, in order, for the director, David Yates (who was also in attendance), to receive opinions on how to improve and find a suitable rating for the movie. (In my opinion, it looks like it’s going to be rated PG-13.)
Because it was a test screening, the movie was unfinished. At different parts, you see the green screen, ropes pulling Harry, animations during action scenes. Even the soundtrack was temporary. (I’m pretty sure they used the music from The Dark Knight). But for all of these “imperfections,” this film felt very perfect. I do not remember feeling this satisfied with a Harry Potter movie since Chamber of Secrets. By this, I mean that the experience of seeing this movie almost exactly mirrored my experience reading the book all those three years ago.
The decision to split the final book into two parts was a good one. Many more of the scenes and details of the first half of the book are seen. It must be taken into account that I have not read the book since its release in 2007, and I do not remember every single scene or detail. But from what I remember, this adaptation of the first half of Deathly Hallows is one of the best in the series.
The director, David Yates, has managed to capture both magic and reality. The cinematography is beautiful. The acting, as always, is great. Especially in this movie, I saw an amazing improvement in Emma Watson’s acting. (For the record, I always thought she was great, but in this one, she is amazing.) The emotions of the story are more magnified in the film than in the book. I found myself to be more emotional watching the sad scenes than reading them. The HARRY POTTER series has matured, and Yates handled that transition perfectly.
OKAY, I KNOW SOME OF YOU WANT THE DETAILS! This is VERY similar to the review that I sent to MuggleNet a couple weeks ago. If you don’t want spoilers, GET OUTTA HERE! :)
The opening scene starts out with us looking into the eyes of the new Minister of Magic. We segue into seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione in each of their homes. The Dursleys hastily pack up their possessions to leave 4 Privet Dr. Hermione erases herself from her parents’ memory. I found it very unsettling as we watch her disappear from all her family pictures.
The next scene is Voldemort’s meeting with his Death Eaters. I’m unsure if it’s just me, but I’ve never seen Voldemort talk so much. The movie progresses just like the book. The scene in which everyone drinks Polyjuice Potion and turns into Harry is very amusing. In contrast, the following scene is wrought with adventure and sadness as we realize which beloved characters that we lost.
Scrimgeour visited the trio before the wedding. He gave them what Dumbledore left them in his will. Bill Nighy does an awesome job.
As for Harry and Ginny’s kiss, I was annoyed how Harry’s head was blocking it most of the time. What led to the kiss? Ginny asked Harry to zip up her dress for her.
Also, it was nice to finally meet Bill Weasley! His and Fleur’s wedding was a lovely event, until it was attacked. At the wedding, Hermione dances with Krum, while Ron stares at them enviously. It seems like he’s trying to work up the nerve to ask her for a dance. All the while, Harry strikes up a conversation with Doge and realizes that he didn’t know much about Dumbledore’s life after all.
Now that Harry, Hermione, and Ron have gone on their own, you begin to understand just how dangerous it really is for them. The disguised visit to the Ministry of Magic was full of tension. I could not help but feel nervous for the trio. After successfully stealing the locket from Dolores Umbridge, the trio is left to camp in the wilderness. The evil power of locket and the stress of their mission weigh down on them. I never saw Ron look so burnt out. While reading the books, I was angry that he could just abandon them. However, seeing it visually made me sympathize with him.
There was a very cute scene added where Harry tries to cheer up a depressed Hermione by dancing with her. Although I don’t think it was in the book, it seemed like the audience found it endearing.
The visit to Godric’s Hollow was both sad and scary. It was very emotional to see Harry visit his parents’ graves. As well, seeing Batty turn into snake was horrifying. It will probably be even scarier in 3D. Another strange scene was when Ron had to destroy the locket horcrux. Once it was opened, the locket projected visually all his fears. One of these fears was a topless Harry and Hermione kissing passionately. But eventually, Ron destroys it.
A “Twilight” reference was made when Hermione begins to read “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” The scene sort of went like this (Not exact words):
Hermione: “One day long ago, three brothers decided to go out traveling the world together. At twilight…”
Ron: “It’s midnight. My mum always says midnight.”
Hermione gives Ron an angry look. Ron instantly backs off.
Ron: “Oh, no, you’re right. Twilight is good. Twilight is better.”
I know it’s not actually referring to the “Twilight” series. I think it’s just supposed to be ironic. You’ll understand when you see the movie. Anyway, I really loved the animation that depicted the tale, while Hermione was narrating. I liked the way it looked, and it helped show everything clearly.
When the trio is captured and taken hostage. You finally get some quality Death Eater scenes. You see Lucius Malfoy’s desperation, Draco’s struggles with indecision, and the nut case that is Bellatrix Lestrange. Hearing Hermione’s screams while Bellatrix tortures her was enough to make me cringe. It was a complete relief when Dobby appeared to save them. Dobby was definitely the audience favorite. When he first appeared on screen, the audience clapped. Actually, they clapped on all the scenes he appeared in. Hence, it was devastating when we realize that Bellatrix had managed to kill Dobby. It only made me cry more when Harry wanted to give him a proper burial. At this point, it’s the end, and we see Voldemort break into Dumbledore’s tomb and steal the Elder Wand. The last thing we see is Voldemort firing a lightning bolt into the sky with the Elder Wand.
I cannot wait to see this movie again. It’s going to be spectacular and even more perfect. To believe that this is just Part 1 is crazy. To just imagine Part 2 is too much because if it is like anything like this (which it probably is), it will be even more perfect.