Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
● By Wendy Sipple
Seeing that we are at movie seven I can safely tell you that if you have not been a fan of the series this movie will not change your opinion. If you are thinking about watching your first Harry Potter movie I would recommend not starting with the Deathly Hallows as it wastes no time for back story and jumps right into its plot. In fact it would be wise to rewatch the previous movie to refresh your memory as it picks up right where the last movie ended.
To establish my tastes upfront, I am a huge fan of both the movies and the book series. So in this case I can compare the movie to the book. What I have found in the Harry Potter series my least favorite books of the series have made the best movies, where as my favorite books have made the worst movies. The Deathly Hallows followed suit.
The Deathly Hallows in book form was drawn out over too long of a time period which lessened the danger and actually bored me quite a bit. This was not the case in the movie. The filmmakers condensed the timeframe which ratcheted up the tension. In the film there was a constant sense of doom and danger. Harry, Hermione and Ron didn't have the time to formulate a clear plan. It made the risky decisions they made more plausible to me. It also made the absence of communication or action by all the other "good" wizards of the order of the Pheonix more understandable than what was presented in the book. I understand that the people who read the books want every detail in the films, but a lot of what was cut would make a very rocky translation to movie form.
I know Harry Potter is often seen as a children’s series, but nothing could be further than the truth. With each installment the series both in written and in film form get darker and more intense. It is very misleading that the Deathly Hallows received a PG-13 rating. This movie contains very serious material including deaths and is in no way a children’s film. I applaud the film makers for not shying away from the darker tones and in fact embracing it. It really adds to quality of the Harry Potter series that everyone is treating the material seriously instead of trying to keep it “child” safe.
After the first two movies of this series I really felt the screenwriter really got in a groove of how to translate this series. With the sheer number of characters, creatures, objects, and locations in this series they really did a great job of streamlining it and giving all these elements meaningful screentime. The Harry Potter film series is a marvel in how they were able to fill the roles with quality actors and retain those actors for a decade (the only exception was the original actor who played Dumbledore who died after the second film). How lucky were they that they cast three children that grew into very capable actors. Warner Brothers really did the Harry Potter film series right, a rarity in Hollywood really. Look what Lucas did to the Star War movies with the prequels, yikes! Imagine if Steven Spielberg had got his way and combined the first two Harry Potter books into one movie (Thank goodness Spielberg never touched these movies!). All of the filmmakers they hired to direct parts 3 through 8 were perfect matches for the entry they made. Keeping the same screenwriter had a lot to do with the quality and continuity of this series (and the fact they kept Rowling involved through the whole adaptation too!). So bravo to Warner Brothers for getting something right!
The fact of the matter is this film sets up the last film, and if part one is any indication I think they are going to knock part 2 out of the park. For all those claiming this movie did not have enough action, just wait. Knowing what's ahead, I think almost the entire second film will be high stakes action and based on what I've seen I bet the last film will be better than the second half of the last book too!
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.