Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
2010-11-26 · By Editor
Movie Review Submitted by Rob Jefchak
It’s been a long time coming but the end is near, quite possibly the most profitable and one of the largest film series is finally coming to an end and, boy, is it going to be dark and dreary. Harry Potter has become a worldwide phenomenon capturing people of all ages around the world with its infamous world of magic and since 2001 when “The Sorcerer’s Stone” first splashed onto the silver screen, we have all wondered how it was going to go down (that is if you read the books beforehand which I have NOT mind you). The final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” has been split into two parts to fully flesh out Potter’s final tale, and for Warner Bros to squeeze out as much cash as they can before their cow runs dry.
In “Deathly Hallows – Part 1”, we learn that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has taken over Hogwarts and his Death Eaters are searching everywhere for the only person that can stop his plans, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). With Dumbledore gone, Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson respectively) are on the run destroying horcruxes—magical items used by Voldemort in order to remain immortal—and hoping to weaken the Dark Lord before it is too late.
Ever since the third film (Prisoner of Azkaban), it has been obvious that the Potter films have slowly been drifting towards a more mature and darker tone. This film is no exception. Dark dreary scenery, bleak colors, and the constant impending sense of death following Harry have turned the once kid-friendly world of magic and wizards into a gloomy world of fear. I have to really commend director David Yates approach into turning Potter’s world into a living nightmare. Unless you have watched the past Potter films back-to-back and seen the progression towards darkness, you might never know they were all part of the same series. The same goes for our young cast of actors. Potter—and Radcliffe—have come a long way from the cute, doe-eyed kid with glasses from 2001 and transformed into a remarkable character whose maturity is brought brilliantly to life on screen.
Scenery and music can only go so far in achieving the constant sense of dread in the films, it takes an actor with maturity and talent to roll with the dark punches and flesh the experience out through one’s emotions and features and Radcliffe does that amazingly. However, what good is buttering up Potter without mentioning his beloved peanut gallery of friends? Watson and Grint’s relationship as Hermione and Ron are brought to new levels with the actor’s performance, and I personally have felt the two have never been presented so passionately or as deeply as they have in this movie. The world has watched these children grow up on the big screen and what makes these actors so talented is that they have learned to break away from their cutesy child-like first impressions and dazzle us all with their growth as characters and as actors. Just because you toss a couple young faces on camera does not mean they will be good actors in the future, but these films have changed these fine young actors performances as much as the tones have shifted from light to dark.
Speaking of dark, Fiennes villainous portrayal as Voldemort will never cease to amaze me as his mere presence on screen gives off a sense of dark influence and all around creepiness. Most movie villains spew over the top fireworks to wow us like candy to children, Fiennes conveys so much more without even saying that much and it makes viewers want to see him play out his final battle with Potter all the more. Sadly, the notion of “reaching the end” at times feels like an iron press over the movie’s timeframe, and at times one wonders if the director was shouting “We need to get in as much as we can” during filming. A lot happens in a short amount of time and even with this film’s length, it still feels like too much information is being flashed before your eyes whether you can understand it or not. As I said before you need to be well versed with past Potter films because everything moves too fast to catch up part way through the series. This also plays into the completely darker tone I mentioned. Many characters die in this film and rather quickly, so fast it seems like there was much more happening off-screen than on screen and I’m left wondering if I maybe missed something really moving.
When it comes to two parters, one really cannot say how they feel about a film because the movie makes it clear the story is not done yet and the ending makes that even more obvious. In a way, I felt this part 1 aspect painted this film into a corner it could not crawl out of, this film felt more like it was setting the stage for something bigger and the information delivery suffers because of it. Still, I am by no means disappointed with Deathly Hallows and was very impressed with the film’s surprisingly strong embrace of venturing into the dark side and bumping off beloved faces to remind us the end is near.
Dark over tones and phenomenal performances from our young trio give this reviewer hope the next (and final) film delivers on every aspect and gives the Harry Potter movies a proper send off that hopefully will not leave us with another ending that seems more like a stepping stone rather than a conclusion.
I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 3 stars out of 4 stars.