Movie review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Zachary Brenner

Staff Writer

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, released November 19, 2010, was the most recent addition of the worldwide phenomenon, and the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s 7th and final book to her popular fantasy series. It was the all-time sixth biggest opening weekend, and a new franchise record.

There was no question that this film would be successful in the box office from the time the clock struck midnight on that fateful Thursday night. However, many felt that the quality of this film was in the air, as it was the first of the movie franchise to not chronicle an entire novel.

Fortunately, the makers of the Deathly Hallows did not let the excitement for the film to inhibit the quality of Part 1.  This installment of the franchise received positive critical reviews and was generally held in higher esteem than the prior movie, The Half Blood Prince.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are now on the run, no longer protected on the grounds of Hogwarts.  The movie chronicles the wavering friendship of the three protagonists, as they attempt to destroy Voldemort for good.  The three must face two separate mysteries.  The mystery of the three deathly hallows and the unknown location of Voldemort’s remaining horcruxes.

For the die-hard fans of both the book and the movies, this addition to the series holds no surprises.  Of course, there will be some disappointment because the movie will not include many important scenes.  For instance, the meeting of Harry and Voldemort’s wand at the beginning of the film played a significant role in J.K. Rowling’s 7th book, but was barely mentioned by the Warner Brother’s film.

Another disappointment in this movie was the scene at Sirius Black’s house.  The scene skimmed over the side story of Regulas Black, Sirius’s brother.  The filmmakers could have easily substituted the Regulas Black scene for the scene with Kreacher and Dobby.

One scene that was not in the book took place in Hermione’s tent in which Harry invited Hermione to dance. The scene was likely meant to portray how the two young characters were still youth and enjoyed having fun, despite the horrors surrounding them. However, most agree that the scene seemed awkward and out of place. In addition, the Hermione torture scene was also somewhat surprising. It was probably the darkest and most serious shown in the Harry Potter franchise.

However, some changes were for the better.  Hedwig’s death scene reveals heroic character traits of the owl, and a better exit for her.  Instead of dying by taking a killing curse by accident, Hedwig risks her life for Harry Potter, her owner and friend.

At the beginning of the movie, they show Hermione at her house, and she sadly erases her parents’ minds.  In the book, there is a brief description by Hermione about her use of the Obliviate spell on her parents.  However, in the movie, this addition added to the trauma and sadness that the film is trying to display.

Most importantly, the decision to split Deathly Hollows into two separate parts created a pace more fitting for the film version.  Although it was necessary for them to leave out the long conversations between the friends to plan their next moves, the movie flowed at an accurate and timely place.  It is hard to include every part of half of a 759-page book, but Steve Kloves, the ‘Potter’ screenwriter, adapted his best Harry Potter film yet.

From seeing this movie, the advancement in visual and special effects are noticeable in the 10 years since the release of the first movie in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The opening flight scenes as well as the scene at the ministry of magic were especially stunning.

As for the fans of Harry Potter who had only watched the movies, the addition of characters that had not taken place in the previous films might cause confusion for them. Still, most exited the theater with an enjoyable movie going experience.

There is still the customary Potter sadness associated with the death of loved characters in this film. Nevertheless, the movie is truly well made, and every ‘Potter’ fan in the world will be awaiting the second installment anxiously.