Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 26 December 2010



Dark theme grows progressively darker at each installment, and this is evident for this seventh and first-half of the final chapter of HARRY POTTER series, entitled HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1. Once again, director David Yates took the helm after impressed critics and viewers alike with his two critically-acclaimed HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007) and HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (2009) with his measured character-driven storytelling and astonishing visual flair. However, in this chapter, David Yates took the biggest challenge yet -- by helming two-parters that the producers insisted not to squeeze the heavy material of the book into one movie. Such bold move is certainly a huge risk especially for an epic movie that have to end with cliffhanger hanging somewhere in the middle, and Warner Bros could have opted to condense the book into one movie instead. After all, isn't what HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX have been successfully done in the first place?

The movie begins promisingly with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), who are now living with anxiety, dread and anxiety following the tragic death of their beloved headmaster, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) which is previously shown toward the end of HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. So instead of returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for their final year of studies, they opted to go out of their comfort zones and plan to avenge against their headmaster's death. With the help, among them, are Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody (Brendan Gleeson) and Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), they attempt to con Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his sinister gang of Death Eaters threatening to take over the Muggle world and at the same time, wanted to eliminate the chosen one, Harry Potter as well. In a following spectacular flying motorcycle chase from the dark sky and right down the busy traffic across the street of London, they manage to land safely somewhere in the remote area except that they are some of them who didn't make it alive. Now Harry, Ron and Hermione are on their own as they journey far away across the land in search of the remaining Horcruxes, which are actually shreds of Voldemort's soul, that give him the power of immortality all this while. The following scene where they use the magical potion to disguise as other people, they sneak their way inside the Ministry of Magic in an elaborate, yet quirky set-piece involving them confronting the pink lunatic Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). So far so good, and if Yates sustain the same level of confident pace throughout the movie, it could have been one of the best HARRY POTTER series yet since HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004). But once the movie progresses in the middle segment where Harry and his gang journey all alone trekking through a vast landscape of desolate cityscapes and eerily barren forests, it begins to lose momentum.

From here onward, the pacing of the movie is quite a challenge for viewers to sit through as we are treated to various scenarios of quiet affection and full of silent longing. Make no mistake, there are some genuine touch where Yates manage to present some emotionally-penetrating moments amongst Harry, Ron and Hermione. Scenes in which the increasingly paranoid Ron suspecting foul play against Harry and his girlfriend, Hermione has that distinctive aura of psychological vibe but Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have made a lot of mistakes by dragging the scenario involving their inner conflict until they almost suck the life out of the entire movie to near standstill. No doubt, for a movie which doesn't have a proper ending, the 146-minute length is simply overlong for its own good. Which is way, the producers should have opted to make this entire chapter as a one movie and still can prove beneficial.

Cast-wise, all the regular actors are progressively well-performed, particularly for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson who have grown extensively as fine young actors. Others, like Ralph Fiennes is featured more this time as the evil Lord Voldemort and his extensive role is certainly a blessing for fans and viewers alike.

As for now, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 is a hugely uneven movie that one can only hope that the next chapter, which is scheduled for July 2011, can redeem this largely unsatisfying outcome.

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