Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One


Previously titled “And the hardest part was letting go,” after Coldplay’s “Hardest Part.”

So: back from the theatre after a 5-and-a-half hour wait and a two-and-a-half hour movie. The golden question: Was it worth it?


Stop reading here if you want to save yourself from spoilers.

I don’t think anyone expected me not to enjoy the film; it’s Harry Potter, it’s Dan, Rupert, and Emma, and it’s my favorite book of the series. There were a few complaints I had, yes, but those go with every HP film I’ve seen…except for perhaps the second. No, even that one excluded the singing valentine Harry receives from Ginny.

Shall I start with my complaints first or my likes? The complaints are shorter…let’s begin.

There was a lot of romantic/sexual inuendo. I know they’re growing up, and with Ron and Harry looking the way they do, it’s fine to have a little exposure now and then. However, in a particularly awkward moment, Harry quite strangely takes the locket from Hermione’s neck and begins dancing with her. I can’t tell you if Mr. Radcliffe is a fair dancer or not; I was too tied up with the fact this was never in the book. David Yates spent a whole three minutes of the movie on something that didn’t add to the plot but actually took away from Hermione’s grieving of Ron’s departure. On the other hand, I think Yates knew this film was going to be a downer; there is absolutely no hope in this movie. The dancing seen might have been used as comic relief, but I think it failed because it was never in the book. Ron’s one-liners were enough to keep the audience laughing a majority of the time. The horcrux was masterfully played out and extremely true to the book, however I think it would have been better played if Yates hadn’t directed it so literally. Upon watching it, I found myself thinking, “But Harry and Hermione never kissed so sexually.” Upon a check in the book (yes, that’s the first thing we did when we got back to the dorm), we found out that yes, it does happen. Did it need to be put so weirdly into the film? No.

Overall, there were very few complaints I had regarding what was omitted. I was disappointed right off the bat when Dudley and Harry never have their last conversation (however I was glad to see Harry open the cupboard under the stairs, since that was such a telling moment of the book). Lupin and Harry never have their fight, which is such a huge part of Lupin’s character and the Order’s realistic tones. Mundungus Fletcher was a Sopranos-esque character, completely different than how I saw him. Harry never took Madeye’s eye from Umbridge’s door. Hermione never had “Mudblood” bitten into her skin.

I bet you’re thinking, “Then what WAS good about this movie?”

Everything else. There was almost nothing left out that absolutely needed to be in there. Bathilda was done perfectly, and Harry’s diversion at the ministry of horns and stinkbombs was straight from the book. One particularly stellar moment was the first shot of the Deatheaters; when Charity Berbish is killed and falls right in front of Malfoy, the look on his face displayed every emotion JK Rowling wrote for him to have. Kudos to Tom Felton for that one, as well as David Yates and Steve Kloves. As the movies progress, I find myself finding Tom Felton to be a superb part of the team, and I can’t wait to see him really let loose in HP7P2.

My favorite part of the movie is a hard thing to pick. Even though it never was in the book, the way the film opened with all three characters in their homes was a wonderful way of showing how everything has changed. Because, really, everything has changed since that first film was released.

The series is not yet over; there’s still about eight months (okay, 127 days) until the second and final part of the finale is released into theatres. I can’t start closing the book yet, but knowing that there’s only one more midnight show and only one more movie with unexpected pop-outs and lines left is still a very tough thing to handle. So when I say I can’t wait until HP7P2, I might be half lying. I don’t know if I’m ready for it to end. I don’t know if I’m ready to let go.

A final word:

It’s 3:40 a.m. I have two papers due tomorrow in Newswriting. The reason I’m not working on the last one I have to finish is because Harry Potter was more important. More important than your career? At this moment in time, yes. JK Rowling must get hundreds of letters a day, describing how her books have touched and changed the lives of so many young readers. I don’t have as dramatic a tale as some of these kids, but the books have affected me. When I was nine, it became clear that the school I attended was no longer offering me the kind of education I needed. My parents sat me down and asked me if I felt like the school was “my Hogwarts.” From that conversation on, I have made sure that anywhere I end up in life is Hogwarts. It happened with the people I chose to become friends with and the college I selected.

Like when I closed The Deathly Hallows at the end of the epilogue, when the screen goes black after HP7P2 ends in July, I will feel the same door closing on my childhood. However, unlike many of the pop culture sensations that have swept the nation, Harry Potter will forever remain with me because I feel that the story, characters, and universe have become part of who I am and who I hope to become.


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