Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Note: Mild spoilers ahead

If you’re expecting to see Hogwarts, classes, Professor McGonagall and the safety within the familiar grounds… you’re going to be disappointed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a road-movie on a wizarding level. The movie stays more or less true to the literary version; but beware! If you’re one of those purists who complain about one toe being stepped out of line, this movie like all the others before it will have you shaking your fist at the screen. To accomodate the mammoth-sized book into a 2 hour 26 minute movie is no mean feat – especially since the last book has so much happening in it. In fact, I’m impressed with the movie being almost coherent without utterly blaspheming the book.

If you’re one of the 10 people in the world to not have read the books, the movie takes Harry, Ron and Hermione through uncharted territory unaided by adults in a quest to destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes. It takes off from the last one, where Dumbledore has died and Death Eaters are rampant. Fudge’s inefficiency has led to a new Minister of Magic (played by Bill Nighy) who I lamented did not have enough screen time. Events take place quickly in this movie, which doesn’t allow for viewers to realize the movie spans many months, not 2-3 days.

The soundtrack of the movie was aptly described by my friend as “spooky”, which certainly lended itself to setting up the right atmosphere. Liberties taken with certain scenes, such as Hermione’s pain at having to erase her family’s memory and the impromptu awkward dance in the tent between Harry and Hermione, were genius.

Rupert Grint again shows (at least in my opinion) that he is a fantastic actor with superb comic timing. Daniel Radcliffe plays his role with usual aplomb. I was pleasantly surprised with Emma Watson; I’ve often complained she heaves her chest too much and wiggles her eyebrows by way of showing emotion, but this time…she was magnificent!

The movie is rated PG-13, which is quite appropriate given the sensual scenes which I, quite frankly, was not expecting. The locket-Horcrux-in-the-forest scene was quite weird and uncomfortable to watch (which I must say, is a good thing as that’s probably what the director was aiming for!), Ginny and Harry before Bill and Fleur’s wedding was more than I thought it might be (with one of the Weasley twins adding so much humour!) and Nagini erupting from Batilda Bagshot was a scene where I actually let out a tiny scream.

I’m quite happy to admit I sniffled my way through this movie, starting from 10 minutes in! Deaths are aplenty in this movie so you better take your hankies out!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a fast-paced, well-made and exciting movie. I do think though that one would have had to read the book before watching, as there were some parts that may not be understood by everyone. For example, how do the Death-Eaters find the trio at every step? Why does Kreacher listen to Harry? Why are Death-Eaters on the Hogwarts Express? Why is Bellatrix upset about the sword? Who or what are Snatchers? These are answered in the book, but not terribly clear in the movie.

However, I must say this: I was initially sceptical of the point chosen to separate Part 1 from Part 2. But after seeing the scene that came right after what’s been talked about as the point of separation, I was never more satisfied.

I’m waiting for July 2011 like never before.

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