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Does Potter Live Up to the Hype? (Spoilers (if you didn’t read the book))

by on December 1, 2010

To the delight of many an inner-child, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was released last week. I was there bright and early on Sunday to add my $5 to the $124,999,994 shelled out to see this movie over the weekend. After the twenty minutes of previews, I’m pretty sure I heard someone squeal with glee (It may have been me, but there is no irrefutable evidence) as the Warner Brothers logo appeared on the screen to the sounds of the music familiar to fans of the cinematic adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s tales of wizardry.

The film opens on a close-up on the eyes of the much loved Bill Nighy who plays Rufus Scrimgeour, the new minister of magic who tells the world within the film what we already know, Voldemort is not only back, but is regaining some of his former power. We then cut to Harry and Hermione saying goodbye to their respective families (try not to shed a tear during some of the Hermione scenes) as Ron prepares for the upcoming events. The three main characters have really grown-up, especially in comparison to the first Harry Potter film. They have also become better actors over the years as well.

While this is happening, Snape goes to Voldemort to inform him of the date that Harry is to be moved, their best chance to kill Potter and as a bonus, some of the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort makes it very clear that he needs to be the one to kill Harry, but anyone else around is fair game.

The plan to move Harry includes poly-juice potion, several other people and the members of The Order. Thanks to the treachery of Snape’s actions, The Order is attacked almost immediately. If you’re familiar with the book, you know what happens at this point. Suffice to say that the film deals with the major plot points of the next scene with little fanfare, almost treating them as an afterthought.

Some of the action scenes in Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows are intense and I think they were spaced well. I wished for a bit more action, but I think they are saving quite a bit of action for Part 2. I have a feeling that most that read this will have seen the prior films. Of those that have seen the prior films, most either love them or feel that too much was cut from the books for their adaptation. If you’ve enjoyed the films thus far, I am confident that you will enjoy this one. This one is darker and seems grittier than prior installments.

I like how this film focuses on the character of Harry, not just what happens to him and it makes him more complex than prior films. The film is pretty long at 146 minutes, so some younger viewers may not be able to hold out. It is rated PG-13 and earns its rating in violence and an image of hot evil Hermione and Harry. You’ll know it when you see it.

The franchise has done well in keeping David Yates as the director. I think he has grown with each installment he has directed. It is hard not to look at this film as a two-hour and twenty one minute ad for the final film, but each one leads toward the end of the Potter saga.

Harry, Hermione and Ron spend most of the film looking for the remaining horcruxes and trying to figure out a way to destroy them. They also learn what The Deathly Hallows are in a wonderfully animated sequence. The end of the film doesn’t feel like a cliff-hanger, although my first thought when the credits began to roll was to count the number of months until we get to see the end of this series (currently scheduled for mid July, 2011). The final shot has great effects and hints at the probability of a high action finale.

My final note on this film is a single word – Dobby. There’s a reason he was trending on Twitter for several days. Once referred to as the Jar-Jar of Harry Potter, I liked his role in this film for more than just some light comic relief.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a film that delivers what it promises. It is not pretending to be something it is not and for fans of the past Potters, you will enjoy this, I’ll bet my invisibility cloak on it.

How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I’d easily pay $9, although, I would prefer to see it again right before I watch Part 2.

Jay Fralick is the co-host of The Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast

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