Second opinion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. I

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

It has been almost impossible for anyone in Generation Y to avoid the pervasiveness of the Harry Potter franchise. It started with a modest fantasy story for young adults and has evolved into this mega money brand. I mean, I’ve totally referred to myself as a “muggle” in conversation before and after a few drinks I’ve probably tried to convince someone that I was a character in the series. So, why was I so surprised to arrive at the theatre for the midnight screening on Nov. 20 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I and be shocked to see fans actually dressed up as characters from the films?

Maybe it was because I had forgotten how powerful the Harry Potter stories are from having been exposed to knock-offs of the series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians?

As soon as the first scene ends, it is clear that director David Yates isn’t going to waste any of the audience’s time. He knew he had a lot of plot to cover and ensured that from the very opening of the film that the audience is aware of the impending doom that Lord Voldemort’s rise to power brings.

More so than any other in the franchise, the central characters Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are relied upon to carry the film. The film takes place entirely away from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the three actors are often the only ones on screen. Unlike in the earlier films, the actors can no longer rely on older established British thespians to supply the “serious” acting because of the turn the story has taken. As a result, the character development of Harry, Hermione, and Ron is big in the film.

Overall, the film is great. How can one really judge the Harry Potter films individually? They must be critiqued as a whole because of the overarching storyline. This can be difficult because of the multiple directors the films have gone through. There wouldn’t be so much work on the audience’s part to connect the storylines from film to film if there had only ever been one director. Based on quality of the past three films, I would have nominated David Yates for the job.

Even with the significant amount of genuine comedy it contained, The Deathly Hallows Part I is filled with a pervasive sense of melancholy. Perhaps it was because of the viewer’s awareness that there is only one film left until the franchise is complete. Or maybe it is just an unavoidable consequence of the cinematic coolness that dominates the film. As a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan, I would say that in order to fully appreciate the film, you would have to have grown along with the series or seen the previous films. It is not a film you can just step into uninitiated.

Roxana Woloshyn
Contributor

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