Editor in Chief
On Nov. 19, the beginning of the end of many audience members’ childhood was released in film. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” the final chapter of author J.K. Rowling’s wizarding empire, brought in more than $330 million in its first weekend.
The night before I attended I read half of the book, ending where I felt the movie should end without giving away too much of the second half.
I, as well as many others, grew up with the Harry Potter series so going into the theater I had my bar set high. Considering the fourth director of the franchise, David Yates’, history with the fifth and sixth movies’ accuracy, I was certain he would include everything Rowling had created in readers’ minds.
However after a friend, who attended a midnight release, was disappointed, I only feared the worst.
The movie opens with the Minister of Magic addressing the magical world of Voldemort’s new ascension to power. It then had minor scenes of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger preparing themselves to meet with Harry. These scenes were not in the book and I was quite confused when the film began.
But then the movie skipped to Harry in his room in his uncle and aunt’s home at No. 4, Privet Drive quickly scanning the Daily Prophet, the British wizard newspaper. Then his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Cousin Dudley pack up their car and leave him.
I was slightly irked that the creators of the film cut his family’s leaving short. Rowling had described the departure of his family as one of absolution, even resulting in his cousin tearing up. The movie made his family out to be the group of jerks they have always been throughout the series, when in fact they come to terms with each other.
Then the Death Eaters gathered at Malfoy Manor where Lord Voldemort and his followers are plotting to figure out when the Order of the Phoenix plans on moving Harry Potter to a safe place before he comes of age, 17 years old.
Using almost exact wording from the novel, I was very much pleased with this scene so I settled back into my chair and forgave Yates for his opening mishaps.
The lengthy scene of smuggling Harry from Privet Drive to the Burrow, the Weasley family home, consisted of the comedy of the Weasley twins and action that was only enhanced by Rowling’s original visual concepts brought to life by Hollywood magic. The injuries and deaths that occurred were done with such care and detail that I even had momentarily forgotten and was shocked to learn of the happenings.
During Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Harry attended as himself and not as Barny Weasley as depicted in the novel. Also, Victor Krum never made an appearance in this scene to point out the symbol around Xenophilius Lovegood’s neck, but rather there was a split second camera zooming on the object.
The moments after were accurate especially the Patronus that interrupts the festivities to tell everyone the Ministry has been taken over and the Death Eaters are coming for Harry.
From the moment of Disapparition of Ron, Hermione and Harry to the end of the film, the plot kept its consistency for accuracy, which let my “Harry Potter freak” senses relax. Although a scene or two were cut short from the original plot of the novel, the pieces that were missing were not missed or even necessary to keep the film moving.
Except for, however, the “Potterwatch” radio cast. In my opinion, the specified “Potterwatch” scene in the novel was an interesting piece to the story that was unfortunately cut. I did not remember it existed until Ron brought out his radio to listen to the list of missing wizards and witches and realized Lee Jordan’s and Kingsley’s conversations were nonexistent.
The special effects for the fighting and flying were brilliantly depicted and almost exactly what I had imagined, if not more, as I read Rowling’s masterpiece. Once again, Yates put his brilliant directing to the test and created beautiful scenes.
One of the most important scenes of the first half, in my opinion, is the one in the Malfoy Manor after the trio has been captured by the Snatchers. When Bellatrix Lestrange tortured Hermione for being a Mudblood, a magical person raised by Muggles or non-magical people, tears came to my eyes.
Emma Roberts and Helena Bonham Carter stole this scene. I was well-aware of the ending, but I was more interested in the fate of Hermione than I was in how Harry would survive as I watched in horror.
The ending of the movie was done extremely well and ended where I had predicted when reading the night before. (This goes to prove I read the novel too often.) I did not even realize chapter 24 was altered until I went home.
Going in with extreme doubts and my standards set too high, this Harry Potter fanatic was extremely pleased with the first of two installments of the seventh book.
I can only count down the days until the end of the Harry Potter franchise is released in the second part of the movie on July 15, 2011, 224 days from now.
Kristen Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.