146 minutes approx
Harry Potter -
Bellatrix LeStrange -
Helena Bonham Carter
Written by -
Directed by -
The Ministry of Magic is now in the hands of the servants of Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter's life is in perpetual danger. A flight from danger turns into a duel with Voldemort himself and a wedding celebration is trashed by the dark lord's Death Eater minions. Harry, Ron and Hermione go on the run in the wild spaces with only a magic tent to sustain them. They need to find the horcruxes that are the key to defeating Voldemort, but where do they start looking?
Anyone who read the final book in the Harry Potter series knows that the first half mainly deals with the three main protagonists sitting in a tent moaning at each other and not doing an awful lot, so when it was announced that the book would be adapted into two films there was every chance that the first part was going to be a bit dull with the three characters sitting in a tent and generally getting all grouchy. To some extent, that is exactly what happens. Even so the pretty long running time flies by thanks to a trio of excellent set pieces and three good central performances.
To start there is the flight of the multiple Harries from danger, then there is the attempt to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic to get the first horcrux and finally there is an assault on the hosue of the Malfoys to rescue Hermione and other prisoners. These are all stand out moments full of fun and excitement and, in the case of the latter, serious grown up danger. When Hermione is to be tortured and screams off camera it is a real moment of horror and there are times in the film where the 12A certificate is well earned.
No attempt is made to explain what is going on or to bring newcomers up to speed, so if you haven't seen the other films or have forgotten what happened in HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE then you will need to rewatch the last few movies at least in order to get yourself back in the saddle. There are also some things that aren't well explained for those that are up to speed, such as why the sword of Gryffindor suddenly happens to be at the bottom of a lake that the trio just happen to be camping by at just the moment that it is needed or just who the hell the people are who are getting married in the middle of this crisis.
Dobbie the house elf returns, but it's been so long since we last saw him that he fails to make that much impact, something that seriously hampers the later part of the movie since it relies on having an emotional connection to the character. And as for a conclusion, well there isn't one. This is the set up episode of the franchise, but it just stops midstream without any real climax or ending. The introduction of the deadly hallows rather overggs the plot since the horcruxes would seem to be enough to drive the plot.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART ONE was never going to be successful since it is really a holding pattern for the big finale. However, when the plot does get going in the big set pieces, it continues to entertain and the performances from the three leads remain strong enough to ensure that the time flies by.
Roll on Part 2 in 2011Top
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