The final Harry Potter book, “The Deathly Hallows”, ended up being broken up into two films, and after seeing both films for a second time, this definitely has ended up seeming to be a cash grab by Warner Bros., one that they have become quite familiar with over the years.
I need to be honest here, as ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One’ was the first Harry Potter film that I ever saw. I know that this seems weird, and it probably is, but I saw this film in theaters as a way to get a free ride home from a visit at a friend’s place over an hour away from my home. The fact that I saw this with the woman that would become my girlfriend just a couple of weeks later has never been lost on me, and I know it carries a special place in her heart five years later.
That being said, upon an in timeline viewing of ‘Deathly Hallows 1’ is the most bloated, over-blown film of the series since ‘Chamber of Secrets’ was filmed as a book-to-screen literal translation. The weakest of the four films directed by David Yates, ‘Deathly Hallows 1’ suffers as a result of far too much exposition, too many scenes of sitting around and waiting, and an overall dullness that does a disservice to the start of the film.
Opening up with a scene which shows the great lengths that the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix will go to keep Harry alive, we see an interesting battle between Harry and Voldemort, a prelude to the series finale we will see in the final film. After this, we get to see a wedding, an attempt to return to the normalcy of life, one that does not end well and finally puts our main three characters, Harry, Hermione and Ron, on the run from Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and the Ministry of Magic.
As the film progress, it slows down to a snail’s pace, in what can only be considered a full on attempt to justify splitting the final book into two films. Eventually, ‘Deathly Hallows 1’ finds its footing again as it builds to its “climax”, the splitting of the story, in a pair of scenes that will not reveal their full truths until the bitter end.
In between, we see the effects of the recently acquired Horcrux on all the main characters, but mainly on Ron, where he sets of on his own from Harry and Hermione, and in the end, with his destruction of this Horcrux, literally comes face-to-face with his worst fear and overcomes it.
With the destruction of a third Horcrux, Voldemort feels he is becoming ever more vulnerable and heads off to find the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in existence and one of the fabled Deathly Hallows. This is how ‘Deathly Hallows 1’ ends, with Voldemort in possession of the one wand that he believes will allow him to kill Harry Potter and live forever.
The beginning and end of ‘Deathly Hallows 1’ are strong, essentially rivaling any other film of the series, but the middle part, which drags like only the first two films do, hurts the overall caliber of the film. I wonder what a full single ‘Deathly Hallows’ would have looked like and if the splitting of the story was truly needed.