Critics Pick: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Though it retains the darkness (and the director) of the previous two, Deathly Hallows blends uproarious comedy with necessary gravity to create a seamless, fast-moving film that stands confidently on its own two feet.
Diehards and casual appreciators alike know what’s going to happen: Harry, Hermione and Ron turn their backs on Hogwarts to hunt down and destroy the horcruxes that Voldemort has created to make himself immortal.
But somehow, director David Yates manages to pull off a few surprises and improve upon J.K. Rowling’s utterly excellent story.
The best addition? The push to flesh out Ron’s character. Harry’s sidekick, played by Rupert Grint, emerges as an intensely loyal friend, a sweet would-be BF and a top-notch strategist with a ruthless edge.
There’s a lot to look forward to: The awkward dance scene between Harry and Hermione. More screen time for our two favorite house elves. The return of Imelda Staunton as the deliciously evil Dolores Umbridge with her pink suits and insufferably girly giggle. And that’s just the tip of the wand.
One more thing I loved? Seeing the wizarding world beyond Hogwarts. A brief glimpse of the Burrow has never been enough to satisfy this Potterhead. Malfoy Manor, the Weasley’s humble abode, Godric’s Hollow—we’re treated to all that and more this time around.
I’ve got only one complaint: Rabid fans might be at a bit of a loss when it comes to putting names with faces, particularly when it comes to the inner circle of Death Eaters. While the problem is insignificant to the plot, I was left puzzling over which black-swathed figure was which bloodthirsty fiend.
The sacrifices made, however, fade quickly into the background. While devoted readers might note that scenes they loved in the book are absent from the movie—such as Dudley’s farewell to Harry—they will not miss them. The film is complete as it is, and deftly tells the story I’ve come to know by heart. And what a story!
Be sure to catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 when it releases in theaters midnight, Nov. 19.
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