It’s hard to believe, but nine years ago the first Harry Potter film, The Sorcerer’s Stone, arrived to the big screen. Unlike some folks who grew up reading the books, I was among the other half who had never read the books and was completely new to the Harry Potter phenomenon; therefore at the time of its release, I remember writing it off as just another “kiddie flick”(I was fifteen at the time). However, the following summer, I remember rediscovering it on video one faithful rainy day, after my mom had brought it home. Upon watching the film, I slowly found myself getting engulfed in the story as well as the characters, and as they say, the rest was history….
Now, nine years later, being in the minority as someone who still hasn’t read the books, I have enjoyed the franchise thus far. While many could argue over which film is the best or which is their favorite, no one would disagree with how the story has matured, steadily getting darker and more intriguing with each installment. The current film and also franchise finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, picks up where the previous film left off, as Potter & Company prepare to make their last stand against Voldemort.
Directed by David Yates, the director of the last Potter outing, the film opens like the latest trailer, as Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy), speaks to the media of the wizardry world about how their community is living in “dark times.” Meanwhile, the forces of good and evil convene at their respective camps to discuss their strategies to defeat one another: as Voldemort and his Deatheaters discuss infiltrating every facet of the wizarding world and their intentions against Harry; the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix carry out their plans to support and defend Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) from Voldemort. This plan, however, falters, inciting Harry and his trusted sidekicks, Hermoine and Ron (Emma Watson & Rupert Grint), to venture out on their own to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, objects pivotal in Voldemort‘s defeat. Along the journey, they also uncover the secrets behind the Deathly Hollows, objects of legend that imbue the possessor with mastery over death. However, as allies begin to kick the bucket, Harry, Hermoine, and Ron’s resolve and friendship is severely tested.
This first half of the Harry Potter finale is definitely not the Potter of old; gone is the charm, youthful inquisitiveness, and wonder of the first two films. Instead, this film is perhaps the most grim and sinister in the series thus far, with the tone set towards the beginning of the film with Voldemort not only murdering a Hogwarts professor but also directing his pet snake to devour the victim’s remains. In fact, there are moments, which I won’t ruin for you here that are so mature and visually graphic, it almost borders on an “R” rating. However, this change is welcomed because the audience, who were likely kids when they saw the very first film, are more sophisticated now as teenagers or adults; therefore the story should parallel this transition. The only problem with the film is the vast amount of characters, which sometimes can become daunting when you‘re simultaneously trying remember each of the characters and also follow the plot. Otherwise, whether you are a fan of the books or the films, this is a Harry Potter film worth seeing. Hopefully, Part 2 doesn’t drop the ball.
FINAL GRADE: B+
TRR Movie Revue by Brandon Troy