Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1: Real. Raw. Review.

I’ve done it; I’ve seen it; I’ve marveled in the darkness that is Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1. Deeper, darker, and detailed, The Deathly Hallows did not disappoint. After the movie, I stayed around for a bit to hear some mixed reviews from fans, but the way I see it, we had two separate groups of movie-goers last night at the midnight showing. The film people and the story people: two very different but very opinionated crowds.

The general consensus from “the film people” was that The Deathly Hallows just moved too slow for their taste. The “story people” would argue that because the film is split into two separate segments, it was necessary for “Part 1” to set the stage for the action-packed “Part 2” that we are sure to see. Nevertheless, any person who has loved the films from the beginning can agree the cast has vastly improved, and Hallows brought some big players to the screen for the final installment. Opening with a close-up shot of the Minister of Magic, the incredible Bill Nighy, audience members are thrust into the defeated and ominous atmosphere of the post-Voldemort’s return to power Wizarding World. That feeling is only more intensified as we watch an emotional Hermoine and a reflective Harry face ending their lives in the muggle world as they know it. Top it off with a chilling scene of Death-Eater plotting, and you have a spell-binding opener.

“Nowhere is Safe”
Throughout the film the lines between the muggle and wizard world are blurred. So much to a point where the Order itself questions each other for feeling of betrayal. With the trio (Harry, Hermoine, Ron) consistently using apparition as a form of transportation, we are taken on a journey that seemed “slow” for the only-film watching crowd of Potter fans. However, those who read the novel would (hopefully) all agree that the first installment built the original anticipation and storyline for the final days of Harry Potter. “Nowhere was safe” for our characters. After learning in an exceptional animation the story of The Deathly Hallows, things start to get good when Lovegood uses the dreaded He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or Death Eaters will appear in an instant’s name in hopes of having Luna returned to him. Questioning who we can trust, audience members are taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotional stress with our leading trio.

The Beloved Trio
I felt like I was watching my friends on the screen–not just people I knew, but people who I shared memories, laughter and tears with throughout the years. Corny? Maybe, but this film continued the transition of The Half Blood Prince in that it explored human relationships. The relationship between our three young heroes was incredible in this picture. Constantly reaching for each other, sacrificing things for one another, fighting yet forgiving one another made such a statement to the acting of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. The dynamics of young adult relationships between Ginny and Harry, and Ron and Hermoine were fascinating. They have truly come a long way over the years, and blossomed into mature, believable characters. Originally thinking that I was going to be upset with Yates’ choice to include some partial nudity and romance between Harry and Hermoine, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the approach he took to making it still age-appropriate for younger viewers. Sad that I did not get to see more of the wedding (i.e. Krum, Hermoine and Ron), but intrigued by the awkwardly sweet dancing of Harry and Hermoine, Yates’ choices of important scenes were spot on in developing layers of meaning that will (hopefully) play out in part 2 of The Deathly Hallows.

One of the main things I enjoyed watching on the screen was the unapologetically overt ideology that Yates played up in the creation of the post-Voldemort take over of the Wizarding World. The robotic Ministry of Magic operating strictly under the rule of Tom Riddle himself, the minions of the great puppeteer ridding the world of muggles and mudbloods, and the propaganda of literature that is placed all through the film, added to the fascist and dangerous world that is developing right in front of our eyes. We want a hero; we want Harry to win; we need him to, no matter what the costs (Part 2 will show us just how much we need this to happen).

Overall, the film set the stage for an epic finale. The argument still remains, did the story warrant two films? Absolutely. Emotionally-charged, The Deathly Hallows Part 1 did a fantastic job showing layers of meaning in the relationships of our characters. The complexity of Severus, the possible good in Draco, the menacing fascism of Voldemort, the hero in Ron, the heart of Hermoine and the deepening desires of Harry, intertwining and playing off one another, all contributed to a wonderful night of film. A little upset with the short death scenes of some of my favorite characters, I feel that Yates has an opportunity to improve in the next segment. And considering that I already know what will happen, I truly hope he gives me the end I am in need of seeing.

Cheers to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1. It’s a must-see; you will be entertained.