Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I — Spoiler Free


**Spoiler Free**

For another year, I decided to go to the midnight showing of a Harry Potter film. A few years ago, I thought this would be my last, but then the filmmakers decided to do what they should have done since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and split one of the tomes into two film adaptations.

Just in case you weren’t sure, I love the books. Love ’em. I’ve read and re-read them numerous times, and I will continue to do so, and for the first few films, I had a hard time: they were incredibly different from the books. I understand that some changes need to be made for creative license, or for pacing, but come on. Sometimes it was wholly new! Why? When such a wealth of information lies in those novels, why add a completely new scene? Such was one of my problems with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the battle at the Burrow and the removal of the battle at Hogwarts).

Therefore, I have always forced myself to separate the books from the movies. Rather than adaptations, I generally think of them as films inspired by the books. Therefore, I can enjoy them on their own, and I do, but when I start comparing the books to the previous films, I get irritated.

This does not happen here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 does it right. It’s proof that they should have done this for awhile. The film is epic in every way: in scale, in stakes, in emotion.  The film’s style is distinct from the previous films. It’s gritty, at times frenetic, with intense close-ups which heighten the emotional turmoil that Harry and his friends suffer. The film is also bleak, though it is necessary, and it directly leads into the next film, so those expecting a perfect, happy ending will leave unfulfilled. That’s what you signed on for, however, when you saw “Part 1” in the title. Deal with it!

It’s also long, very long. But you know what: let it. It’s time that someone decided to do these books justice. I don’t know what was stopping the filmmakers. Did they think that the slightly crazy fans (among whose company I proudly count myself) would not sit through a long, nearly full-text film? Yes, they might alienate a few casual viewers who don’t really care, but why alienate your rabid fan-base with extraneous, at times offensive, alterations? Deathly Hallows, Part 1 had to resort to a few small retcons to make up for some of the former filmmakers’ failings. Overall, the changes that were made are extremely minor, and each one I felt served a purpose: to accentuate the emotional payoff somewhere else, or to condense long exposition into shorter, visual scenes. Acceptable.

I absolutely loved the film. It is hands down, without question, unequivocally the best of the Harry Potter films. I will see it again, as there is so much going on the first time that can’t fully digest it all. This is a road movie, in the end. It is a journey of introspection and camaraderie between three best friends. They seek out MacGuffins (the horcruxes) of such great importance that the fate of the world rests upon their shoulders. As they seek each one out, they learn more about who they are as young adults, coming into a broken world that they can only slightly mend. While there are some great fight sequences, I predict that the next film will pull out all the stops.

I need to re-watch the first ones again…

P.S. Here is a great article from Cinema Blend discussing the differences between the film and the book–I’m OK with each of the changes, as I’ve said, but here they are.

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2 thoughts on “Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I — Spoiler Free

  1. Pingback: Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II « Elementary, My Dear Reader

  2. Pingback: Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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