The last book in the series was split into two films, the first being Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. This film was the weaker of the two because it involved more setup and less resolution. There were a couple moments of payoff, but nothing that could really be categorized as a climax.
Much of the film involves Harry, Hermione, and Ron running away from the Death Eaters. The polyjuice scene at the beginning was fun, with a bunch of people changing into Harry to try to trick the Dementors and Death Eaters. I bet Daniel Radcliffe had fun with that scene. The chase scene that follows was very well done.
I liked how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was able to include some instances of life moving along. Bill and Fleur’s wedding party was a bright note, showing that despite all the horrors that were happening, there were still moments of happiness to be found. Sadly, even the wedding ended on a discouraging note when the Death Eaters showed up.
Bill Nighy played (albeit briefly) the role of Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic. Despite only appearing in maybe 5-10 minutes of the film, Nighy brought a gravitas to the role. Nighy has been one of my favorite actors for a few years (he played a great Slartibartfast in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). I thought he did a great job in his two brief scenes.
The special effects were excellent in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The concealment spell was one of my favorites, and it was mostly invisible. The patronus in the forest, when Harry is wandering in the dark, was delicate and beautifully done. The scene when they are trying to destroy the locket horcrux and it shows Harry and Hermione kissing was dark and vividly executed.
There were a lot of scenes in the film which acted more as filler than anything else. Almost the entire camping part felt drawn out and paced too slowly. While a lot of useful information was shared during these scenes, I don’t think they were edited very well. I can understand the need to add restful times in the film, but the time spent on them was just a little too much.
Despite that, I enjoyed this film. It was a good beginning of the end, and set up the final film very well. It is unusual to have all the films in a series be as good as the Harry Potter films, but I think the screenwriter did an excellent job capturing the essence of the book here (at least the first half of the book). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a solid film despite its flaws, and I enjoy it every time I watch it.
Release Date: November 19, 2010 (UK/US)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: 1 (mild, mostly Ron)
Sexuality: 1 (brief illusion of Harry and Hermione)
Violence: 3 (frequent wizarding violence, some gore, torture, extreme peril, death)