David Yates returns to direct the epic conclusion pieces to the Harry Potter series. His previous efforts included The Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince, both which were very well recieved by the fans.
There is no deying the direction and beautiful cinematography carry this installment to the next level. Yates takes the source material seriously and brings an amazing level of foreboding and atmospheric depth. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is beautifully shot, probably the best of the series so far.
Following Dumbledore’s death, Voldemort has completed his ascension to power and gains control of the Ministry of Magic. Harry, Ron, and Hermione drop out of school to find and destroy Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. They isolate themselves to ensure the safety of their family and friends. They do not have much knowledge about the remaining Horcruxes except the possibility that two of them are objects that belonged to Hogwarts founders Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff, and that the third is Nagini, Voldemort’s snake familiar. The locations of the two founders’ objects are unknown, and Nagini is presumed to be with Voldemort himself. As they search for the Horcruxes, the trio learn details about Dumbledore’s past, as well as Snape’s true motives.
Performances were consistant across the board. Watson, Radcliffe, and Grint are all fairly seasoned actors after almost a decade of Potter films, and it shows. Deathly Hallows Part One is a character piece… a strong character piece. Two thirds of the film is held together less by effects and more by dramatic performances. True Potter fans will revel in this and be thrilled at the amount of content retained from the book, which easily excuses the need for two parts.
That being said, and coming from someone who hasn’t thoroughly read the books, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has some problems that definately keep it from perfection. Pacing is a huge issue. The film starts with a dramatic escape and pushes the film into overdrive for the first 20 – 30 minutes. Once the dust settles, and were knee deep in the camping scenes, the story almost comes to a crawl. As I stated before though, if you’re a huge Potter fan and love the characters, you’ll probably enjoy this far more than I did. Yes, most of it was relevant, but I swear to god I almost nodded off on more than one occasion. I also found the whole Horcrux thing very reminiscent of a certain “one ring”. Yes the first Horcrux is a pendant that when worn it effects you emotionally and frankly turns you into an ass. Taking turns wearing it, each of the characters gets to belt out some emotional performances. The story also jumps around a lot and its very easy to loose track of what the hell was going on… maybe I fell asleep… possible, although unlikely. This is definately the darkest of the films and there’s very few comedic breaks from the dreary setting… and as was expected, it ends on a cliff hanger.
So after all that, was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One a good start to the epic finale. It all depends on how much you like the series and the books. The bigger the fan, the more you’re gonna enjoy it. The cinematography is definately a high point, but long dramatic pauses keep it from being anywhere near as fun as the previous entries. This Potter is not for kids! I’ll give it another watch when it hits Blu Ray, hopefully just prior to the next film’s release in July next year.