“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I”

Directed by: David Yates

Runtime: 146 minutes

Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and some sensuality

REVIEW BY ELLIOTT MILLER

Voldemort is growing stronger and stronger, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione are humanity’s only hope to defeat him. Thus begins the beginning of the end of the Harry Potter saga, one of the most consistently excellent series of films in cinema history. Suffice to say, this film is an event. By this point, you’re either on board with the series, and you’ll see it no matter what I say, or you aren’t, and nothing I can praise about it will convince you to go see it. However, I feel compelled to review it anyway because this is the absolute best of the Harry Potter films thus far.

This not only serves as an excellent setup for the finale, to be released next year, but it also serves as its own genuinely moving film. There’s humor in it, but not as much as the previous installments. Most of the film takes place as the trio that we are so familiar with is on the run, hunting down plot-related items that I will not disclose here for those who don’t know by now. The most affecting parts of the film are the obvious Holocaust parallels that are made in the propaganda spread against non-magical folk, and radio broadcasts listing those who had gone missing.

This film works on both adolescent and adult levels. There are some spectacular sequences of action, suspense, and full-out battle that are masterfully captured by director David Yates, who has been with the series since part five, and only continues to improve.

The film is also stunningly beautiful. Almost every scene has either wonderful special effects or a jaw-dropping landscapes for the viewer to gawk at, and there is one particular sequence showing a series of amazing environments playing over the aforementioned radio broadcasts. The film is never less than stunning.

The strongest aspects of this film, however, unlike many of the others, are the relationships portrayed between the three lead actors. They are much more comfortable with one another after all this time, and it shows, allowing for more complicated and nuanced performances from all of them. These are characters that we thoroughly know and care about by now, and since the majority of the movie is comprised of their interactions, it’s a huge relief that the actors all pulled their weight.

The only true flaws in the film are few and far-between. First, there is a plot-related item that was supposed to be introduced in part five that just appeared randomly in this one, and those who haven’t read the books will be understandably confused. Secondly, since this is only part one of an epic five-hour film, there fails to be much closure, and that goes for the brutal cliffhanger ending, but I suppose it can be forgiven in the wake of such an excellent installment in the series.

***1/2(out of four)

Elliott Miller reviews films for Digitale Stories and for Cardinal Newman High School’s Arts and Literary Magazine.

Click here for the Warner Bros. trailer site for the movie.