Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,
Reviewed by Anne, age 20, Florida
*WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS WHAT SOME MAY CONSIDER SPOILERS*
Bone-chilling excitement. Everyone has their own way of describing their "Pre-Potter Jitters," and my theatre of Lupins, Bellatrixes, Mrs. Weasleys, and countless fully robed Hogwarts students collectively decided to focus on the odd chill that seemed to fall on us as the minutes slipped by. Everyone arrived there well before nine o'clock so we all had plenty of time to strengthen the bond that had drawn us there.
Forty-five minutes until the start found everyone smiling and cheering as I ran up to the front to take a group picture. Thirty-three minutes left had everyone organizing each row into groups and banding together to sing Potter Puppet Pals' "The Mysterious Ticking Noise". Twenty-four minutes left had various individuals bursting into songs like Shakira's "Waka Waka" and the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," prompting the rest of the audience to join in. Fifteen minutes left marked the beginning of the shouted updates: "(INSERT NUMBER HERE) MINUTES, EVERYBODY!". Then, with one final "ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?!" we were back in the world we had come be a part of once again.
Now, as a Harry Potter purist, I have been greatly disappointed by various things in previous Potter films, particularly the sixth movie in its entirety, but disappointment was almost completely lacking in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The sets and overall look of the film were both set up in such a way to really give the audience the feeling of isolation that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were experiencing, and succeeded in making you feel utterly alone as you sat in the middle of a theater full of people. The cold, snowy, and/or rocky landscape around them emphasizing the lonely and unfriendly journey they are undertaking; you understand why frustrations and tempers run wild.
Connecting you with the characters is not all this movie does; many of the shots were set up to give the hardcore fans a look into the Potter universe in a way many of us never realized we were dying to see, such as the entirely empty Dursley home, putting into perspective the quite horribly papered walls that had always been there but had gone unnoticed by me for years. Another scene that stood out was the Forrest of Dean that was not only beautiful; it also tapped into my imagination. It was not quite how I had always pictured it, but it fit in nicely with the one I had dreamed up three years ago. The subtle nods to the fans of the books didn't stop there. Some may recognize the letter from a teenage Dumbledore in Rita Skeeter's book addressed to Grindelwald which, in Deathly Hallow's ink and paper twin, highlighted Harry's extreme frustration with Dumbledore and how little he had really explained before his death. Or, Xenophilius Lovegood summoning Death Eaters by saying Voldemort's name and reminding us that, although the movie does not explain it, there is a Taboo on the name. And we must not forget Bellatrix's massive panic attack upon seeing the sword of Godric Gryffindor and torturing Hermione to find out what else the trio had taken from her Gringotts vault, alluding to the finding of yet another Horcrux which movie goers shall not see for another eight months.
Much effort and love was clearly put into this film, but nothing is perfect and there were a few things that didn't quite meet the bar set by most of the movie. First, there's the lack of Kreacher involvement at the beginning. Where was the Harry/Kreacher bonding? The explanation of how Regulus Black changed his mind with regard to Voldemort? Would it have killed them to give a little more backstory on the Voldemort/Regulus/Kreacher relationship that was pivotal in explaining all of that? I would have been willing to be there another fifteen or so minutes to see it.
Second was Ron's "How I Got Back" speech which I have many descriptions for, the politest of which being that it was absolutely terrible. However I don't really blame Rupert Grint; it's not exactly easy to explain what happened to Ron without sounding horribly cheesy.
My third, and last, problem didn't really pop up until I watched Deathly Hallows a second time the next day in IMAX when the "WB" symbol appeared on the screen. As absolutely charming the sound of screeching may be (note the sarcasm), it's not exactly one you want blasted into your ears by IMAX speakers. I found myself wincing in pain and plugging my ears for all ten awfully shrill seconds. If you have still not seen the movie then take this into account when deciding whether to shell out the extra cash for the giant screens. If you aren't a huge fan of loud bangs, breaking glass, screaming, and explosions at their usual volume then I would recommend keeping that four or five dollars for a nice (although small) popcorn to take with you to your movie instead. However you decide (or decided) to see it, I definitely recommend multiple viewings to really soak up all the information they somehow stuffed into two hours and twenty-seven minutes of film. All I have to say is that as lucky as it may be to have until July 15th to prepare for Part 2, it still seems so unnecessarily far away.
Overall, I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 four stars (of a possible five) for managing to stay the most truthful to the book out of all its predecessors while still having it make sense to the movie-only fans. Bravo, David Yates, bravo.