In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1, the popular movie franchise experiences its dark night of the soul.

In the opening minutes, the heroic trio of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) say goodbye to their innocence in a series of powerful vignettes. On the brink of war, forced into hiding, they dramatically leave behind their old lives—and for viewers, they leave behind the typical Harry Potter film.

From there, Deathly Hallows 1 (part 2, the final film in the series, releases July 11, 2011) is a tonal and structural departure from the six previous movies. We never see Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. There's no longer a school-year schedule to pace the film. No Quidditch. Few brooms. And for a series that has been defined by its frenzy of characters, busy plots, and wondrous visual imagery, this sparse film—focused on three people in the wilderness—feels like a full stop.

Some viewers will applaud the film for bringing a new degree of maturity and depth. Others will complain it's a drab and boring downer in which very little happens.

In fact, this first half of J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter book has all the makings of becoming the most divisive movie in the series. Rowling's epically long novel presented a difficult choice for the filmmakers: Either drastically hack the longest—and most detail rich—book of the series into one movie, or split it into two parts, knowing that the first half is largely internal conflict, back story, and exposition. Fans will argue both sides. Could this whole film have been condensed into one hour at the beginning of one epic Deathly Hallows movie? Yes. (In fact, I think this film would have been stronger ...

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Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (or some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality)
Genre
Directed By
David Yates
Run Time
2 hours 26 minutes
Cast
Bill Nighy, Emma Watson, Richard Griffiths, Harry Melling
Theatre Release
November 19, 2010 by Warner Bros. Pictures
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