I originally got in to Harry Potter because I went to see Lord of the Rings and it was sold out, so I went to see Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone instead. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t really a huge fan. After that I took my nieces to see each new one, till one year I bought them the first 5 books and ended up reading one of them for myself and that’s when I actually really began to enjoy the series and noticed just how much was missing from the films. Then it comes to the final book and they decide to split it in to 2 films. Considering it’s not the longest book, it’s not exactly heavy on the action and some of the earlier books could have easily been split it just seemed to me this was a cheap cash in because they knew there’d be no more to come after that.
After seeing it though I have to say it seems like a good choice to me. It may be a whole lot of set up, but it is really well done set up. 2 films have allowed them to slow down and include more of the book in to the film. The film begins with the Minister of Magic proclaiming that these are dark times and the ministry will do everything to keep the wizarding world safe. Then we get in to the story, with Hermione erasing all traces of herself from her Muggle families life and leaving home for the last time. We see Snape arriving at a meeting with Voldemort and the death-eaters and they’re discussing how and when Harry will be taken from his home and they can get access to him, while off screen someone is tortured and on screen a teacher from Hogwarts pleads with Snape for help as they kill her for believing Muggles and Wizards aren’t so different.
Then when it comes to Harry leaving the Dursley’s for the last time a lot of the supporting cast from the previous films show up to help protect him as he leaves by disguising themselves as Harry hoping to throw Voldemort off his trail. In doing so Harry’s owl Hedwig and Mad eye are killed trying to protect him and George Weasley has his ear blown off.
These scenes pretty much set the tone for the film. It’s dark and tense for the most part. As the film goes on it settles in to an adventure/quest movie where the main of the film is focused on Harry, Ron and Hermione as they try to stay hidden and try to discover what they should do next.
What could have been boring scenes as they travel around, hiding in the tent have actually turned out brilliantly. The 3 leads have really grown as actors and this time alone with them really lets them shine and inhabit their characters. Rupert Grint in particular seems to have matured as an actor and is less the comic relief he was in earlier films. The atmosphere builds really well and you really feel the tension build as the journey continues. And overall it is paced right with very little to drag it down.
I know some people were worried about the score, all I can say about that is there never seemed anything wrong with it to me, though I have to admit very little stood out as excellent either. I think Deathly Hallows Part 1 may just be the best Harry Potter film to date and is well worth seeing if you have the chance.