Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 ****

harrypotterdeathlyhallows

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” marks the beginning of the end for Harry Potter and his friends.  It has been a long and amazing journey.  No film franchise in history has achieved and sustained the kind of success that Harry Potter has.  Each book has been adapted in to a film by a variety of amazing filmmakers.  The final book though was so long and contained so much crucial information that one film just would not suffice so they split all five hours in to two halves. 

“Part 1” differentiates itself from all the previous instalments right from the start.  The film opens with a meeting of Voldomort and his Death Eaters.  Before now Voldomort has been in two scenes during the whole series so far.  He was brought back to life at the very end of the fourth film where he duelled Harry after commanding one of his minions to murder his school mate.  Then he made an appearance at the end of the fifth film where he engaged in an epic battle with Albus Dumbledore, Harry’s Hogwarts Headmaster.

Up until now we had only really heard stories about Voldomort’s  treachery.  During the opening meeting he discuss’ some of the tasks ahead then feeds one of the teachers from Hogwarts to his snake Nagini.  It is an alarming moment that fills us with dread when we think about what might be in store for Harry. 

harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-i-20100903115255859_640wWhen Harry finally comes on screen he is packing his things to leave his Aunt and Uncles home one last time.  He has decided that he is not going back to Hogwarts and is instead going to seek out a series of magical objects that hold the key to destroying Voldomort.  As Harry is escorted from his home by broom stick by a massive convoy, they are attacked almost immediately by the Death Eaters resulting in blood loss and casualties.

From there Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to break away from their family and head in to the world on their own, fearing that anyone around them is in danger. 

It was at this point that the story sort of freed itself.  I was amazed, thinking about it now, at how having the story leave Hogwarts has truly freed these characters to engage in a new kind of story.  It also puts these characters in a kind of danger they had not known before.  Even after fighting all manner of magical beasts and solving many mysteries of Hogwart’s Castle, we never felt that these characters lives were really at risk.  Here real terror is waiting around every corner. 

Now besides the danger, the story manages to delve deeper in to the pasts of both Voldomort and Harry as well as the recently deceased Dumbledore.  Harry ventures to many places that we had only heard about so far.  My favourite moment in this film is when Harry and Hermione visit Godric’s Hollow. 

Godric’s Hollow is a small town in the Country where Harry’s parents moved to in secret.   It is where Voldomort found them and murdered them.  The town itself is small, made of stone and blanketed in a smooth blanket of snow.  How the scene plays out is one of the most tense and terrifying moments in the whole series so far. 

Almost every major character from all the films makes an appearance here.  Those who did not make it will most likely appear in the second half.  I will not list off everybody involved the the role call is one of the greatest in the history of film. 

When the film ends it leaves us feeling unsatisfied and that is because it is only half over.  The story stops abruptly and will restart again in July 2011.  I will say that this first half was just awesome.  I cannot believe how good this series is.  To think that I was worried about the director, David Yates, when he came aboard the fifth film with almost no major film credentials.  This is his third time around and I cannot picture anybody else taking over from here.  I can’t wait to see what kind of projects he tackles after the Potter series is over.

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