Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
(M) Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
I have to admit to not having read the seventh book in the series, mainly because I had been reading them ahead of my 11 year old son so that I could discuss them with him, and he chose to stop reading them and come back to them at a later date.
You see, a year ago he stopped reading The Half Blood Prince because in his words it was “getting a bit dark for him”.
And this is an interesting point about the book series. The books are set every year since the characters were 10 and, as the characters have aged, the storylines have dealt with ever more complex and dark issues.
This isn’t a bad thing. Matters of light and dark are worthy of discussion, especially for young minds, but discernment is the key with the Harry Potter franchise.
Harry Potter as a character was bound to question his lot in life.
As conceived by J. K. Rowling, Harry was holed up in a cupboard under the stairs in his Aunt and Uncle’s house after the death of his parents, only to discover he had a gift for magic and an association with an evil wizard who he would eventually have to destroy to restore good in the world.
Tough issues for your standard teenager.
As the seventh adventure begins, he is dealing with the death of another close mentor — Albus Dumbledore at the hands of Severus Snape — and he is in a race to destroy the Horcruxes that are keeping alive Voldemort, who with his army of wizards seeks to kill Harry.
So things are in fact “getting a bit dark” for dear old Harry, Hermione and Ron as they must keep one step ahead, find the clues and the ways to destroy the enchanted Horcruxes.
This seemingly impossible mission has all three on the run, in the wilderness, to avoid detection. And our three intrepid wizards are barely 17.
With this bridging film, director David Yates has made an engaging and scary story (note the M rating) that will please fans but has the potential to bewilder those who haven’t read the books.
There is a lot that is assumed — but this has been the case with all of the films in my opinion.
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are now seasoned professional actors and their chemistry in this film is one of the best reasons to see it. Watson and Grint are particularly fun to watch and Radcliffe seems quite happy to send himself up in a few scenes, which offer some humour among the darker episodes.
Scenes shot in the bleak wilderness that could have become a bit dull and one-note are among some of the high points.
The film also comes complete with the story of The Deathly Hallows, a tale from The Tales of Beedle and the Bard, told by Hermione and presented playfully via computer animation, storybook-style.
Rowling has crafted a fascinating and ambitious universe that is both highly imaginative and doesn’t talk down to its fans, where love ultimately triumphs over evil.
Harry as a character has always embodied self sacrifice and loyalty above all else and this film highlights how important these traits are in the lead up to the epic finale.
The who’s who of British actors playing support parts are always a treat to watch but, more than any other film, the story rests squarely on the leads’ shoulders.