Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: The End Begins
producers announced that the last instalment of the Harry Potter series was to be split into two halves, the news was met
with mixed reactions. On one hand, fans believed that this would allow enough time
to capture the scope of the book more thoroughly, giving fans the literal
adaptation that they have longed for. On the other hand, this meant that the
first half had to turn the drudgery of the first exposition-heavy half into
something more interesting.
As a stand-alone
film, the first part of The Deathly
Hallows is a confusing film that never comes to fruition: it’s a
two-and-a-half hour-long set-up to a forthcoming conclusion. Harry (Radcliffe),
Ron (Grint), and Hermione (Watson) spend most of their time wandering through the
woods, trying to unlock clues left for them by the late Dumbledore, while carrying
on convoluted exchanges peppered with complicated names and references to
events in the previous five instalments. Even fans will be challenged and
slightly confused about the film, unless– of course– they have an encyclopaedic
knowledge of the Harry Potter universe.
again, The Deathly Hallows was never
intended as a stand-alone film; not even as a sequel. It’s part of an ongoing
story that serves a bigger picture. Reportedly, once the film is viewed back-to-back
with Part Two, it will offer a more complete experience. And to the film’s credit, it economically
jams in five riveting action sequences to create an enjoyable film of its own.
Yates deviates slightly from the source material when he deals with the
romantic subplot. He alludes to a love triangle between Harry, Ron and
Hermione, which uncomfortably borders on Twilight
territory, and is even set against the same backdrop of cascading snow. The director doesn’t completely succeed in
making this weakest link of the Harry
Potter universe more interesting, but it helps ground the characters in a
more recognisable reality. Say what you want about the Nick Cave
dance scene between Harry and Hermione; at least they took bold chances.
The Deathly Hallows is a serviceable adaptation that will please
all fans of the series. And as it’s always the case with the franchise, the rich
and highly detailed visuals bring the magical world to life imaginatively. It’s
going to be a long wait until we get the ultimate instalment next July, but
after watching The Deathly Hallows, it’s going to feel even longer.