Star cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes.
Plot: Harry Potter faces the prospect of a stronger Voldemort, who has taken over Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic. Meanwhile, in a bid to find the Horcruxes, Harry, Ron and Hermione stumble upon the secret of the Deathly Hallows that has the power to decide the victor in the ultimate clash.
What’s Good: The actors’ performances; the script; and the superlative visual effects.
What’s Bad: The film’s first half progresses a bit slowly.
Verdict: For fans, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I is a must watch; although better things are yet to come in Part II of the last in the series.
Loo break: None at all!
Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I is the first instalment of the final film in the famed Harry Potter franchise. The film takes the saga of Harry Potter — the young wizard who is the only one who can take on the Dark Lord, Voldemort – ahead in the most interesting and intriguing manner, making a superlative watch for die-hard fans who have been waiting for the film with bated breath.
After Harry’s mentor, Dumbledore’s death, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger swear to seek out the remaining of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, which are parts of Voldemort’s soul. The film opens with Hermione and Harry preparing to begin their search for the Horcruxes. Harry takes refuge in Ron’s house but his stay is short lived as the Death Eaters attack Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Harry, Ron and Hermione escape to a cave and begin plotting to retrieve the Horcruxes.
As they scour the countryside, Ron becomes increasingly suspicious that Harry and Hermione are becoming more than friends. Angry and hurt, he leaves the duo to its fate. Harry and Hermione spend time wondering what to do next and they discover a secret symbol that they later learn is the Deathly Hallows. Ron returns to save Harry’s life when he almost drowns in a pond trying to retrieve the Sword of Gryffindor. The three then meet Harry’s acquaintance, Xenophilius Lovegood, who tells them the story of the Deathly Hallows, the ultimate triumph on Death. Lovegood, however, gives them up to the Death Eaters, and they have to run for their lives. The trio then gets captured by the Malfoys, where Bellatrix tortures Hermione to try to find out how they stole the sword. Harry summons Dobby the goblin, who helps them escape. Is Harry able to destroy the third Horcrux? Does Voldemort take possession of the Elder Wand?
Steve Kloves’ screenplay, based on the JK Rowling’s novel, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, faithfully reflects the dark mood of the novel. Of course, it would be unfair to expect the film to do full justice to JK Rowling’s story. Nevertheless, the screenplay neatly includes the high points of the story, at the same time, taking a few cinematic liberties: a cute dance sequence and a kiss between Harry and Hermione have been added to the film. The audience will also enjoy the sequence where the three magically transforms into employees of the Ministry of Magic and make fools of themselves. Although the story progresses slowly in the first half of the film, as the trio run from the Death Eaters and hide in various places, it takes an interesting turn when Harry visits Godric’s Hollow, the place where Voldemort had killed his parents. From here on, the film is an absolute joy ride, scary at times and funny at others.
Daniel Radcliffe acts very well as the older, brooding Harry Potter. His female fans might miss his trademark smile, though. Emma Watson delivers a superlative performance. She is cute as ever, and lives the character of the studious and esoteric Hermione. Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, will endear himself to the audiences; he does well in both, the comic as well as the dark, scenes. Ralph Fiennes, as the Dark Lord, Voldemort, is scary as ever. Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, leaves a mark in his cameo appearance. James Phelps and Oliver Phelps are an absolute delight to watch as the Weasley brothers.
Director David Yates, who had also helmed the two Harry Potter films before this one, delivers another masterstroke. He extracts good performances from his cast and keeps the film on an even keel, with a very potent mixture of just the right amount of fear, humour and magical sophistry.
Technically, the film is as good as it gets. The visual effects are superb and keep the audience wanting more. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra is very good; he has captured the beauty of the British countryside very well. The background score by Alexandre Desplat goes with the mood of the film. Editing by Mark Day is good, although he could have done with a few more cuts in the film’s first few reels.
On the whole, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part I is a worthy first half of the last film in the Harry Potter series. It whets one’s appetite for the last part, which should release early next year. Of course, all Harry Potter fans already know the film’s ending. It is the prospect of watching all the action on the big screen that brings them to the theatres in large numbers, as it will now.