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Reviewed by Luke Walkley
Released: 18th November 2010
Directed By: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
The biggest combined opening day of any film, the biggest combined opening weekend and now, the largest takings of any film before its release day. These are just a few of the records that surround the Harry Potter series. So is this latest instalment worth the hype surrounding it?
Whilst I try to answer that, I will do my utmost to refrain from spoilers and also try to define any Potter-lingo I am required to use.
Split into two parts, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ is based around the seventh and final book in JK Rowling’s series. The movie follows Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) in their quest to find destroy the remaining Horcruxes (each ‘Horcrux’ contains a section of Voldemort’s soul, which when destroyed remove his immortality) and therefore have the ability to defeat arch enemy, Voldemort. The group are forced to risk life and limb in order to uncover the locations of the remaining Horcruxes.
The movie sets the dark tone of its predecessors almost instantly, a task which may seem easy considering the dark nature of the final book, however the opening few scenes capture the sinister atmosphere caused by previous events and the fear of those to come.
While the special effects used in the series to date have always been well created and shot, the first major use of the films considerable budget, a chase scene involving Hagrid’s ( Robbie Coltrane) enchanted motorcycle and a group of Death Eaters ( Followers of Voldemort) is stunning, a chase scene worthy of any high budget ‘Bond-esque’ action movie. This is the case throughout the film, the effects are crafted magically (excuse the pun).
The film moves along faster than its predecessors, not lingering on the unnecessary as the others seemed to. This along with some breathtaking cinematography and landscapes, encapsulates the audience to a greater degree than before. This isn’t to say there aren’t some scenes that would not have been missed had they made the final cut…the movie just moves quickly onwards so that they aren’t too noticeable.
The acting is also note-worthy, great appearances as usual from Helena Bonham-Carter, Ralph Fiennes and also Bill Nighy, while the main trio maintain the on-screen chemistry that has worked so well over the years. However, the major lack of screen time for Alan Rickman’s character, Severus Snape is disappointing and one of the few flaws of the film.
The film also possesses a weird quality that seems to appear to a more mature audience, while younger children may find its horror subtext too scary in places, it gives a more dynamic atmosphere to the climatic scenes. Even a slight ‘Nazi’ regime is undertaken at the Ministry of Magic, while under Death-Eater control a wizard version of ethnic cleansing is taking place.
Another section worth a mention is the animation used to depict the ‘Tale of the Three Brothers’ while explaining the story around the ‘Deathly Hallows’ clearly, the visuals used are mesmerizing, a fantastic inclusion to the film that can easily be viewed over and over purely for the beautiful animation used.
Along with the occasional flirtatious nature of the main group and supporting characters, the film again appears more mature in parts, showing the target audience of the film has grown along with the characters themselves, with some more ‘touchy feely’ scenes, being added. However they are surprisingly tasteful and allow a nice change of pace in parts.
Thrown in to the mix are some more emotional moments, as the saga nears its conclusion and the violence in Harry’s world rises, the death and whom it befalls was always the major talking point of the books and now the films. However for any major occurrences of this nature, some may be disappointed to learn that the majority will take place in Part Two released in June 2011. There is a cliff-hanger ending of course, with this being the first half there was nothing more to be expected (so this doesn’t count as a spoiler.)
I found this film to be the most entertaining, due to my love of the books and the fact that this film most closely represents my depiction of how I imagined ALL the films to be. It is a darker film yet again, emulating ‘The Half Blood Prince’. The film contains numerous well-shot scenes and the dialogue has its usual one-liners and witty back and forth between the characters. All in all, a dark but surprisingly beautiful, rendition of the last book.
With some magical scenes, the film is the perfect set up for a spellbinding finale.
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