The holiday season started off with a bang at midnight with the nationwide release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010), starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The seventh installment of the franchise is split into two parts, with the second part set to release July 15th, 2011. I decided to attend this premiere at Rave Motion Pictures Colonel Glenn 18. Upon my arrival at 8:30pm, the line had already stretched around to the back of the movie theater. Luckily (and thankfully), the management decided to fill the theaters as they were cleaned, which started the seating process at around 8:45pm. The mood was exciting upon entering the theater, with posters, the smell of popcorn, and exciting conversation surrounding me. Each theater had a unique name such as “Platform 9 3/4,” “Godric’s Hollow,” and the “Shrieking Shack,” adding a nice touch to the already electric atmosphere. After hopping aboard the “Hogwarts Express” after an extremely smooth seating process, I waited for the movie to start. Applause filled the theater as the lights dimmed and the previews began. Overall, the theater experience was amazing. The staff of the Rave deserve kudos for running such a smooth operation.
Through the years we’ve seen our three stars grow into young adults before our eyes. Along with their physical growth, Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson have come into their own as actors. Our characters end up going on a journey for Horcruxes, a task in which the late Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) has left for Harry (Radcliffe) in order to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) accompany Harry through troubled wilderness, a Ministry of Magic adventure, and a dangerous situation in Godric’s Hollow. A plethora of obstacles stand in the way of our heroes along the way, some causing a rift in their bond. Radcliffe and Grint play their parts well, but it is Emma Watson who shines in this installment. Hermione’s emotionally charged role is played out beautifully by Watson, and brings together Harry and Ron to make a seamless on-screen team that delivers everything an audience can ask for.
The supporting cast plays a small role, (since the film is based so much on Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s travels) but, for the most part, adds the backbone needed to make this film as wholesome as it was. As always, Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove) plays Bellatrix Lestrange, a creepy, sinister Death Eater that serves as Voldemort’s best lieutenant. Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) returns as Dolores Umbridge, an evil Ministry employee whose sinister giggle, obscene love for cats, and disgusting pink attire compliment her evil demeanor. Staunton’s role is limited to only a couple of scenes, which are dominated by the actress and saturated with her performance from the fifth film. New to the cast is BAFTA Film Award nominee Rhys Ifans, (Notting Hill) who plays the eccentric Xenophilius Lovegood, father of Luna (Evanna Lynch).
This film was nearly flawlessly put together, and has very few setbacks. One of these is the choppy beginning. The first quarter of the film was roughly done and slightly rushed up until the time for our three heroes to set off on their journey. There were some random character introductions (a few key characters that were cut, or left out of previous movies) that took away from the overall quality of the film. This caused some minor holes in the plot for those who were strictly followers of the films, as there would be no understanding to the significance of people such as Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson), Mundungus Fletcher (Andy Linden), and Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy), who all play very important roles in the overall storyline.
As far as the loyalty to its literary counterpart, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 stays as honest and accurate as a film possibly can. Fans of the book series will not be disappointed by the seventh installment of the film franchise, directed brilliantly by David Yates, who also directed the fifth and sixth movies. It is definitely a must-see film this holiday season and is set to reign supreme at the box office for a lengthy amount of time. As a beginning to the end of a generation, we can only wait eight months in anticipation of the epic ending that the second part of this film will bring. Show times can be found at ravemotionpictures.com
Little Rock Movie Examiner’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Minimum Age Group: Middle School
Sexuality: Two kissing scenes; one may be inappropriate for young viewers.
Language: Very mild
Drugs/Alcohol: One short scene with wine-filled glasses; no drinking portrayed
Violence: Fight scenes with wand play, bloody scene shown
Themes/Issues: Wizardry, this film is very dark and evil
Other movies you may like: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) , Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) , Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)