Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Movie Review

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Charlize Tungol

As the almighty ending to the legendary Harry Potter franchise, the last book of the series, the Deathly Hallows, has been split into two separate movies for the sake of running time and thorough coverage of detail. David Yates, the director of the last four movies of the series, has made this decision to lessen the probability of leaving out important details from the book. Yates was called out for doing so in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, and therefore treated the seventh movie as his chance at redemption.

The film opens with a scene of Hermione, Ron, and Harry dramatically leaving their homes in preparation for the war ahead. The golden trio along with other allies of Harry gathered together, meanwhile Severus Snape arrives at Voldemort’s army’s meeting to discuss the prophecy of Sybille Trelawney, stating that “either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…” 

The main plot that the golden trio fulfill in part one is to destroy the remaining Horcruxes, objects that hold parts of Voldemort’s divided soul, in hopes of eventually weakening the Dark Lord himself, making him easier to defeat in battle. After escaping the Death Eater attack at Fleur and Bill’s wedding, the trio find Kreacher at the Order of the Phoenix headquarters, and discover that the next known Horcrux was actually the real Slytherin locket (not the one found in the cave in Half-Blood Prince) worn by Dolores Umbridge. How convenient. The trio then disguise themselves as members of the Ministry of Magic, before getting caught and chased out; Ron unfortunately didn’t get out totally unharmed. Once acquired, the trio have difficulty destroying the Horcrux, thus prompting the burning question: Why did Dumbledore leave Harry without telling him how to destroy the very objects he sent him on a mission to track down?

Although Ron had separated from the trio due to a temporary disagreement, it had segwayed to my favorite scene of the whole movie: the “O Children” dance scene between Harry and Hermione. Despite the poor circumstances, the two find themselves dancing together, in a midst of a war where they were forced to grow up ahead of their time. It aligns them with their dark, twisted reality of teenagers with the weight of the world on their shoulders in the fight of their lives. Overall, it may just seem like a simple, or some may perceive it as a “romantic,” dance scene, however it is representative of much more than that. The scene itself truly gets in touch with the raw emotions of the audience and gives them a deeper feeling of compassion for the characters. 

If Deathly Hallows: Part One has taught me anything about the characters and their true colors, if deathly hallows taught me anything it’s that one: harry ron and hermione have clearly defined significant roles, and two: this trio may not always be as golden. Harry persistently tries to take ownership of everything, making him seem more selfish than selfless in some cases. Ron always feels inferior of the three, not being “the chosen one,” or “the most brilliant witch of her age.” And of course, Hermione always tries to play the mediator between the two boys, displaying her ferocity and her tendency to be the most emotional but sensible at the same time? I love them all, but honestly they all get on my nerves at times like this. But then again, Ron proves to come to Harry’s rescue yet another time in this series, and destroys the Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor.

Director David Yates mentioned something along the lines of wanting to display the true, darker realities of the plot and diving deeper into the characters themselves. Anyone who has seen the movies can automatically detect the significant atmosphere change from the first four movies to the last four.  Also, Yates had included many other notable creative aspects to the film, my favorite being the shadow play during the storytime of The Tale of the Three Brothers (the Deathly Hallows). After the trio’s encounter with Xenophilius Lovegood, they discover the true meaning of the Deathly Hallows tale and why all three items (the Elder wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility) brought together would bring Voldemort to his greatest strength.

The first part of the Deathly Hallows presents numerous character breakthroughs, including characters of less importance, like Dobby. Dobby was in fact the hero of the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor, but he died at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange. The seventh film also captures the vulnerability of the Malfoy family. After being brought to the Malfoy Manor by Snatchers, Draco was faced with the test of identifying Harry’s face after being disfigured by Hermione’s spell. Draco was initially “unsure” of the boy’s true identity, however, it is believed that he did, in fact, know it was Harry all along. This scene gives Draco that subtle redemption most fans wanted, and after all, he was never declared a villain and wouldn’t want others to die because of him. 

It’s not a surprise that Part One’s ending seemed super abrupt. The trio had just buried Dobby, meanwhile Voldemort dug up Dumbledore’s grave to retrieve the Elder wand. It definitely foreshadows an even more dark and gruesome ending to come in Part Two. Many would place this film at the bottom of their rankings, seeing that it’s very chaotic and it leaves the audience without any type of closure (having not read the books). It’s still safe to say that this film created a memorable cinematic experience–one that I still remember til this day. From the melancholy green tints of the cinematic palette to the many shaken up bodies from near-death experiences, Deathly Hallows: Part One follows the hopeless ending of Half-Blood Prince.