It is after a very long time I saw a movie in first day-first show. As the bulk of the last book of Harry Potter series is in this movie, I was particularly looking forward to it. More than anything else, I was interested in how the movie would work in a non-Hogwarts environment. We have seen the past six movies take place in confines of Hogwarts for the most part where everything was still under control. It is all mayhem now and the tone gets even darker. I was looking forward for the beginning of this end.
The movie is a worthy successor to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The direction of the movie is enjoyable but nothing spectacular. This movie is a lot darker than all of the previous parts put together and given the situation a lot more action. The gloom and the dark tone of the movie do some justice. The lighter moments are also shown well and they do get the audience laughing. The movie feels lacking of any real emotion of grief and loss for most of its part.
The performance of the cast is average to above average at best. There are scenes where Rupert Grint and Tom Felton deliver impressive performance but that are an exception rather than the rule. Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson also deliver decent performance for most of the movie. It seems that the different environment has thrown them off their usual styles and expressions. Ralph Fiennes just managed to show a small dark lord but not a Voldemort. Either due to the CGI or the actor, the power and the menace of Lord Voldemort never hit us on the screens. There were some jumpy moments in the limited screen time that Ralph Fiennes enjoys in this part but none menacing or strong.
Warning: This review contains a fair amount of spoilers both from the story from book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the first part of its movie adaptation. In fact, a section of the review discusses changes from the book.
The movie is an adaption of the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from beginning to roughly chapter 23. The movie ends with the fight at the Malfoy Manor and a scene showing Voldemort acquiring the elder wand. Rest of the book will be covered in part 2 due to release in November 2011.
The movie starts with Snape arriving at Malfoy Manor to give the news about Harry Potter’s departure from Privet Drive. Voldemort has his maximum screen time in this scene but with none of his reputable menace. This is followed by scenes showing the gloom that the muggle and wizarding worlds are in. Hermione modifies her parents’ memories and Dursleys leave Privet Drive leaving Harry behind. The order joins him shortly to arrange for his escape to The Burrow. They are ambushed during this escape by The Death Eaters. This is one of my favourite scenes when Harry’s wand fights Voldemort. The order reaches The Burrow and Harry wants to leave immediately but is stopped by Ron to wait till the wedding. At the wedding he meets Elphias Doge and Aunt Muriel and talks about Dumbledore.
When the ministry falls and the death eaters arrive at the wedding, Harry, Ron and Hermione and go to a café where there is a short fight sequence. Then they go to Grimmauld Place and talk to Kreacher who fetches Mundungus Fletcher. Based on his information, they plan their mission to ministry.
The ministry is quite well shown; however, the sense of urgency and emergency is not shown well. We never feel the edge of the seat as they try to escape the ministry and end up in the woods.
They are shown coming in various locations when eventually, Ron leaves them. Harry and Hermione go to Godric’s Hollow and visit Bathilda Bagshot. This is one of the scarier scenes in the movie. The fight scene between Harry and Nagini is also well done.
Ron eventually finds them when Harry dives under ice to retrieve the sword. Rob then uses the sword to destroy the horcrux and this is also quite well made. The earlier fight and this scene are some of the best performances of Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe.
They visit Xenophilius Lovegood who explains the Deathly Hallows. The portrayal of the story is quite interesting and possibly my most favourite part. The story is portrayed in a duo-tone anime style which adds a unique angle to the story. The fight at Lovegood’s house is not nearly as impressive.
They disapparate and run into snatchers. They are taken to the Malfoy Manor where the last fight of the movie takes place. This part also leaves much to be desired. The movie ends with the burial of Dobby, which too was not as emotionally portrayed as I hoped and Voldemort taking wand from Dumbledore’s grave.
Changes from Book
The movie sticks to the book closer than any other movies from the series. Even so, there are certain things I wish they had shown. I have listed some of my top ones.
- Luna’s Room – This is not at all shown in the movie; yet, this was one of the scenes I was looking forward to the most. Luna’s thoughts for her friends are simply very touching.
- Voldemort does not arrive to fight at Godric’s Hollow. I would have loved to see this.
- Dudley does not wish Harry. Dursleys are just shown to leave.
- Voldemort’s name is not tabooed. In the book, this is the reason snatchers catch the trio. In the movie, they just run into the snatchers.
- Gryffindor’s sword is known to be missing from the beginning. In the book, only the goblins know about this.
- The trio has the radio from the beginning. In the book, they start listening to the radio only after Ron returns.
- Hermione does not take the portrait from Grimmauld Place. Presumably, the silver doe was sent on the basis of information from the broken mirror. At least, I think this is how they will build it in the movie.
- Voldemort is not called to Malfoy Manor in the movie during the last fight. This is not a biggie but I wanted to see this to build up Malfoy’s hatred of Voldemort.
I imagine there are others I missed or not listed. These are the ones I was just bothered with most.
Overall, the movie seemed like a good watch. Even those who have not read the book could follow it without any problem. I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. I am looking for ward to part 2 of the finale next November. I hope it lives to the expectations in the depths of Gringotts and the grand battle of Hogwarts.