© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes: Teil 1 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1)
U.K./U.S.A. 2010

Opening 18 Nov 2010

Directed by: David Yates
Writing credits: Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling
Principal actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman

The long awaited conclusion to the famous Harry Potter series based on the books by J.K. Rowling has finally arrived. The opening scenes, of such severity and grimness, are of the Minister of Magic making a speech at a press conference about the dangerous times. Not long after, we see Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) with his evil lieutenants, including Snape, plotting to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic.

The first action scene involves the transportation of Harry to the Weasley residence. Several members of the Order of the Phoenix as well as Harry’s loyal friends devise a plan to disguise themselves by transforming half of the group to copycat Harry. As the group splits into pairs consisting of one protector and one ‘Harry’, they find themselves attacked by Voldemort and his followers, on their path to safety. One of the characters even loses an ear! However, most of the group get to the Weasley house safely and there Harry, Hermoine and Ron (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, respectively) begin preparations for their inherited mission from Dumbledore to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.

At one point, there is an attack and Harry, Hermoine and Ron are left to fend for themselves, as they are the quest. Being hunted, they are constantly on the run. Everyone around them is in danger and there is very little help from allies. Eventually they find some clues from an unexpected source which leads Harry and his friends to sneak into the undergrounds of the Ministry. Tensions start to build as the enormity of the quest to destroy Voldemort and the Horcruxes takes it toll. We see this especially through the perceived love triangle from Ron’s perspective between himself, Hermione and Harry.

The dangers continue and though there are some victories for Harry’s side, it seems that the Death Eaters have the upper hand throughout most of the film. We eventually learn of the existence of the Deathly Hallows and what they actually are. Now Harry and his companions have even more items to search for.

Naturally, the films ends as a cliff hanger, leaving the viewer wanting more and looking forward to the second part of the movie. It was a wise decision to split the last movie into two films. The film is very fast-paced, and there is a lot that happens in the 146 minutes. The Death Eaters, played by Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton and many more, come and go quite quickly in this first part; we are left wondering if we will see more of them in the second part of the movie. The story is very powerful and the suspense has been skillfully built up. The movie is well-worth seeing even if, for nothing else, to see how the end of the series begins. (Kate Griffin)

Second Opinion

Director David Yates picks up the reins of a Harry Potter movie for the third time, dividing the seventh and final book in the series into two films. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson lead the extensive cast once more, while Steve Kloves – who wrote five scripts of the previous six movies – adapted the story for film.

The stage is being set for the final showdown between Harry Potter (Radcliffe) and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), and the young wizard's best hope for success in overcoming his nemesis is to find and destroy the remaining of the seven horcruxes containing pieces of Voldemort's soul. Harry sets out with his friends Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) to do just that. They discover that Salazar Slytherin's locket is a horcrux and is kept by the despicable Dolores Umbridge, who works at the Ministry for Magic. Using pollyjuice potion to disguise themselves, the trio steal the locket, but it is not till they find the Sword of Gryffindor that they are able to destroy it. Inching their way closer to their final goal, the youngsters are in mortal danger every step of the way, with Voldemort and his Death Eaters never far behind... no place is safe, no one can be trusted...

Yates considered that the complex detail in book seven of the Harry Potter series made it impossible to make just one film. For a film, however, the number of details and names just gets confusing – unless you've read the books so many times you have every line memorized. In addition, there seem to be quite a number of space fillers – I mean, how often can one creep around a derelict house, be freaked by unexplained sounds, or ponder on where the horcruxes might be? In conclusion, one has to wonder if one extra long movie would not have better done the trick.

On the other hand, the relationships between the three main protagonists (most of the other characters only appear fleetingly from time to time) are well developed and well performed. Despite the movie's overall bleakness, the main thrust of the story is clear, and there are some good cinematic moments – I especially enjoyed the animation sequence that tells the legend behind the three Deathly Hallows. (Osanna Vaughn)

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