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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

November 23, 2010

Throughout the years, I have sadly fallen out of the loop with the Harry Potter franchise. Ten years ago, the controversial series was in its 3rd installment and close to being banned in Georgia. However my eccentric 8th grade science teacher refused to buy into the moral panic over witchcraft being introduced to the Bible Belt, and ordered the books and audio tapes for us to read every day after class. I was obsessed until I finished The Prisoner of Azkaban and 8th grade ended. I’ve caught a few films here and there, know the big secrets and remember the details through Wikipedia. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince slipped my grasp to watch, but I instead ventured onward to see the 7th film which left my jaw on the ground and urged my desire to reread the series.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is by far the most terrifying, engaging and powerful of all the films yet, and demonstrates the skill of director David Yates. The direction of the film is incredible as Yates captures stunning and eye pleasing moments through crane shots, long takes, revolving shots and fluid slow motion. The intimate and tranquil movements of the camera perfectly pace the action and developments that takes place throughout the film. Deathly Hallows is the most impressive of the series and exemplifies the evolution of not just the story’s direction to darker themes, but the actor’s range, use of special affects, and filming methods.

Harry (Daniel Radcliff), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are on the run from Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his fellow Death Eaters who are determined to kill Harry. The Order of the Phoenix must help keep Harry safe from the hands of Voldermort and realize that the only way to weaken his defense is to destroy the Horcruxes, pieces of Voldmort’s soul. The trio must venture on to find and destroy the Horcruxes while coming to terms with their own fears and emotions such as Ron and Hermione’s budding relationship in which Ron’s insecurities and jealousy put a strain the trio’s friendship. The film’s action isn’t constant, the wizard world isn’t brightly beautiful, and Hogwarts is basically non-existent, yet it’s the film’s direction that makes this set-up to Part 2 in July worth it.

Each actor excels in portraying their respective character’s, proving themselves as growing performers who fully grasp the emotions and experiences of their characters. Gone are the days of Emma Watson’s overly dramatic eyebrow acting or cheesy line deliveries; Watson now seems connected to the inner turmoil of the character Hermione and believably expresses it on screen. Rupert Grint’s comedic delivery is now tactful and works well to compliment the serious and emotional scenes while Daniel Radcliff, as always, captures the heartening emotion of Harry.

While everything from the acting, scenery and effects are impressive, it’s Yate’s direction that’s just astounding to watch unfold. He treats scenes in Deathly Hallow delicately by focusing on certain character’s faces during emotional moments and he effectively incorporates scenes of humor and raw emotion which injects itself on the audience. Even his vision of magical moments such as disapparation is astounding. Yates’ foresight is simply beautiful and takes on the same dark tone that Alfonso Cuaron’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban had however the delivery is much more polished and in-depth. Hardcore fans of the novels may find fault with Deathly Hallows and cynics may find its two and half hour running time to be unnecessary. However as a semi-fan of the series, I found Deathly Hallows to be a great piece of work that only wet my lips in anticipation for Part 2.

SEE IT. Then be the first in line come July for Part 2’s midnight showing!

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