Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1–Movie Review

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3.5 Stars
The penultimate movie in the Harry Potter series is, like it’s immediate predecessors, primarily aimed at those who have already read the books. I have not read the books but I have seen the earlier movies, which was sufficient for me to follow the plot, though I occasionally had trouble keeping the lesser characters straight and I undoubtedly missed many of the subtle points. If you have neither read the books nor seen the earlier movies, don’t waste your time here.

The movie is fairly dark, but it didn’t feel as dark as the last three movies in the series. For one thing Harry, Hermione and Ron are no longer kids; they have left school behind them and taken responsibility for their fate. The result feels more like an adventure movie, without the disturbing undertones of children being tormented.

Nevertheless this movie is not recommended for young children. It’s pretty violent. (It could be worse. I’m told that some of the more gruesome scenes from the book were left out.)

There’s some good stuff here. The story has some powerful mythic elements. But that also leaves me frustrated, feeling that if the movie had been made differently it might have been much more powerful. There is far too much reliance on computer-generated special effects. I’ve reached the point where CGI makes me yawn. It’s definitely no substitute for great writing and great acting.

I’ve held out this far, so I’m going to wait to watch the final movie this summer in order to judge how the movie series stands on its own. Then I may just try reading the books to see if the story is told better in its original form.