So we come to it at last, the end of a great series with part 1 of a 2 part epic. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the darkest, saddest, most intense and adult of all the films. It’s also the most different because the book its based on is so different from the rest of the series. Gone are the child-like wonderment and innocence that permeated through most of the potter films. The characters, Harry, Ron and Hermione are all 17 now which is akin to adulthood in the wizardly world and that world they once knew as children has vanished. These are dark times for Harry and his friends as Voldemort has essentially taken over every facet of the wizarding world where no one, or nowhere is safe. Where the parallels between Voldemort and his new world order and that of Hitler and Nazi Germany is blatant.
The movie stays pretty true to the source material, omitting a few key points and scenes from the book, but weren’t really needed for the overall story that the movies have presented its viewers up to this point. Though there is one plot device the writers are going to HAVE to address in the second part, otherwise it simply makes no sense how this key element has come into play when there’s been no mention or reference to it before. (The people who have read the books know what the object is and how Harry received it, but for those who haven’t they’ll be confused) Visually it stands apart from the other films because for the first time the characters are taken out their element and placed in unfamiliar territory (most of the film takes place in the wilderness as our heroes seek to evade those who wish to capture them) and the feel and scope of what’s happening is felt more than ever before. The isolation and barren landscapes serve as a perfect visual representation of what Harry and his friends are facing in part one. They’re cut off, alone and unsure of what to do aside from the mission that was issued to Harry from Dumbledore in the last movie to destroy the Horcruxes of Voldemort in order to destroy him.
Deathly Hallows part 1 acts as a perfect setup to part 2 where characters and events are falling into place that will lead our hero and his nemesis to their ultimate destiny. It is good, and I was rather surprised how much of the book they managed to pack into part 1, roughly three-fourths or close to it. It is far better than Half Blood Prince, though like that movie, aside from a few action pieces, nothing truly happens. But unlike HPB there’s far more emotion in this movie. Where there was no real sense of emotional investment in the previous film, Deathly Hallows part 1 manages to pack quite a few moments that make you feel for Harry and his friends, from the opening minutes to the closing ones. Between making heart breaking decisions for the sake of their loved ones, the death of beloved characters who have been around since the beginning and watching helplessly as other characters are tortured, what the movie lacks in its pacing it more than makes up for with its emotional punch. One thing to take note of is that this is jus one half of a whole (obviously) and should be taken as such. Part 1 is good, but I believe when placed with its second half, where it can be seen seamlessly, is where I think this film will truly excel.