Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows -Part 1- Sets up nicely for the Big Finale

This weekend, Teen Wizard will conquer the global box office with latest film the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the first half of the big finale of this mega-blockbuster series.

It has been almost a decade since the first Harry Potter movie  aired. The first two Harry Potter movies released in India 5 months after its global release. It was April 2002 when we left our few months old son at home and saw the first Harry Potter film in the theaters. Today, our elder son (almost 9) accompanies us to the Harry Potter franchise’s latest edition, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.  In between we have had 7 mega succesful books read multiple times and 6 movies. We still cannot get enough of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter series of films, at least the last few parts, have becomes darker, grittier and more serious than say the first couple of films. As the kids in movies have grown and the story has taken serious turn, the films have become darker too. The Harry Potter books are full of such amazing details and plots and characters that it is impossible to showcase everything in 3 hour film medium. The directors have made great effort to put in as much as they could in those 3 hours but not everyone has succeeded.

I for one didn’t much like the idea of makers splitting up the 7th book into 2 different movies to be released 8 months apart. But I guess they had their own reasons to split up the book and money being one of the crucial factor amongst that. It is like reading a book half way and then waiting for 8 months to read the later half of the book and even pay extra for that !! I feel, they could have made a 4 hour epic and round it off all together.

Coming to the current film, the director David Yates who also directed the 5th and 6th part previously, continues with same tone. This part is the continuation of the story from the 6th installation when Harry’s guiding force Dumbledore dies and Harry is left with a task of finding out the remaining Horcruxes and capture the deathly hallows to defeat and destroy the evil lord once and for all. This film is different from others in a way that the familiar setting of Hogwarts are missing and 3 leads Harry, Hermione and Ron travel to all sorts of places in the quest for the horcruxes and the deathly hallows. The film is full of chases and comprises of long actions scenes and different settings. The film of course has amazing special effects, some real awe-inspiring scenes and is exciting to say the least. The snake sequences are quite scary and so are the chases thrilling. It has its emotional moments too with the dance between Harry and Hermione and Ron’s jealous dreams and wild imaginations. The animation to explain back story of the 3 brothers is beautiful. But attention to detailing is somewhat missing in this part. The film slows down a bit in some parts but that was expected as the book itself slows down in certain chapters. The film ends bit abruptly but of course it has set it up very nicely for the last part to deliver.

Apart from the 3 leads most other characters and minor plots get side-tracked including Dumbledore’s back story, Grindelwald’s back story and many other small incidents.Most characters make appearances in few scenes. It is mainly Harry, Hermione and Ron who shoulder the burden of this part. This film covers almost 2/3rd of the seventh book and thus leaving just 1/3rd and possibly some new things for the last movie.

The very minor problem I see with the film is that unless you have read the book it would be almost impossible to follow whats happening in the larger sense of the story and plot. It is indeed confusing for those who are not familiar with the plot. Plus the darker tone, the dialogue heavy scenes and slow pace later and unexplained ending would be slight deterrent for people who intend to watch this as just another Harry Potter film. We had to explain a few things to our son though, he hasn’t yet read the books but is familiar with the plot lines thanks to video games.  The movie is clearly not for Non-Potter fans and non-readers of the books are advised to stay away. But of course for those who have read the books it is a joyous ride only with a slight disappointment of waiting for the grand finale in next July. I personally enjoyed the whole movie and didn’t even feel bored in the not so exciting parts in the middle.

As characters Harry, Ron and Hermione played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson respectively have grown from tiny kids in the first movie to full fledged teenagers now. As actors the 3 have grown to become big stars in their own right. Danielle was born to be Harry Potter and Rupert Grint finally gets to do some serious acting apart from being funny all the time and Emma Watson is a superstar in the making, if only she continues to act in films. The interaction and understanding between the 3 leads is superbly captured. In other characters Helena Bonham Carter as evil Bellatrix Lestrange is haunting and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is evil enough but doesn’t have much to do in this part. Several other characters make small appearances in the film.

In conclusion, this film was a great ride for me and I intend to watch it once again to enjoy it more. and as I said before unless you have read the books and familiar with the plot, you might not appreciate the film fully. However I am highly biased when it comes to Harry Potter films.

My Ratings :  9/10 –  Must watch to watch the setup for the grand finale to follow. Unmissable for Potter fans, be prepared for the big one next July. Non-Potter fans might be disappointed.

P.S. Did anyone else noticed the sub-titles ?

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