The beginning of the end has arrived with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The second last installment in the famous franchise has built up a lot of hype, but will it satisfy Potter fans?
Harry, Ron and Hermione are all grown up. Long gone are the days of quidditch matches and herbology classes. The trio is on the run from Lord Voldemort’s Ministry of Magic while at the same time hunting down the dark lord’s horcruxes. It’s a complex story which will make no sense to those who are just joining the series now. The film introduces dozens of witches and wizards, some are old friends and others are brand new faces to the franchise.
For the must part the movie is quite loyal to the book. There is one scene where Harry and Hermione kiss passionately in a fantasy conjured by dark magic. This scene is quite random and is the only point in the plot which is far from the book. Also, the movie is quite toned down in terms of violence to maintain a PG-13 rating. The first few films were more like children stories which adults could enjoy. The seventh novel is quite grown up. I think that an adaptation of solely the last book could make a great film, but a true adaptation would most likely receive an R rating. The scene where Hermione is tortured as over in only a few seconds, and while in the ministry we see only a fraction of what the guards do to the mudbloods in the book.
The three lead actors are turning out to be quite good. The producers took a gamble signing eleven year olds onto an eight film franchise. Luckily, the actors are all relatively normal people, and they have turned into pretty good actors. Personally, I think Emma Watson (Hermione) is the best of the bunch. Rupert Grint (Ron) is good at getting angry with Harry, and he is still a decent actor. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) is probably the weakest of the lot, being chosen more on his looks than his talent. There are other good performances in the film, such as Helen Bonham Carter’s freighting take on Bellatrix Lestrange.
There are plenty of flaws to point out in this film. Harry’s scar seems to have moved a few inches to his right, and some of the characters and sub plots are not properly introduced or explained. I also think that they could have cast Voldemort to a creepier actor. Ralph Fiennes is fine, but I always imagined Voldemort as speaking in a more snake-like way, and Fiennes’ Voldemort doesn’t scare me at all. None the less, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is still a success. It captures the essence of the books and continues on a good film series based on a great series of books.