Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davies, Tome Felton, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Julie Waters, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright.
Synopsis: In order to truly defeat the Dark Lord, Harry must destroy all the pieces of the Dark Lord’s shattered soul.
Review by Urbanfantasist.
The latest instalment of the Harry Potter franchise (let’s call it HP7.1) is, in one word, awesome. It is the perfect setup for the action that will follow in HP7.2.
On the face of it, not a lot happens with this film. Our heroes leave their respective families. You see how nasty/evil/twisted Voldemort really is. Our heroes are looking for something they have no idea how to find with added angst. You see how nasty/evil/twisted Voldemort really is. Our heroes manage to flee from mortal danger just in the nick of time. You see how nasty/evil/twisted Voldemort really is. Then there’s a cliffhanger.
For all that, however, it really is all about the journey for Harry, Ron and Hermione. About how they manage to grow up, that you get a glimpse into what they’ll be like in the final movie and, ultimately, the kind of adults they will make. As much as I hate to use the term and sound like a total wanker, it is a character-driven movie. With added explosions.
The three main actors really got to stretch their acting chops as well. Radcliffe wasn’t all that much different than he has been in the previous movies except he is a lot less awkward. Watson and Grint have certainly come a long way, making their characters seem truly believable while being subtle with it. It broke my heart to see the look on Hermione’s face when she was about to leave her parents and the adoration Ron has for Hermione is so sweet it makes my teeth hurt.
This is certainly not a movie I would take a child to see. There is implied torture. People get maimed or die. There is no doubt this is a war and it’s all or nothing. The parallels between Voldemort and Hitler are strongest in this book and you get a whisper of it in the movie.
It’s not all dark and dreary. There are some moments of much needed levity in just the right spots, provided mostly by Grint’s character Ron. Otherwise, the weight of this movie would be great indeed and you wouldn’t want to wait for the next movie, you’d lose hope and expect all of the good guys are going to die.
The scene preceding the final one is a bit of a tear-jerker – I cried at the same point in the book, so there were no surprises with that one. It got me nonetheless and while the ending does leave you hanging a little, it was a good place to stop. When you watch it, you’ll see what I mean. It really is a good set-up for the final showdown between Harry and his arch-nemesis and the movie as a whole provides a good background for what will come.
Be warned though – if you’ve not read the books, there will be too much unintelligible exposition and characters come and go so fast you wondered if you really saw them at all. Without the benefit of having read the book, you will be as lost with the plot as the heroes are when trying to find the Horcruxes.
Overall, it was a fantastically good movie for the penultimate installment of the series. I can’t wait for July next year.
Full disclaimer: I am a Harry Potter nut. I loved all of the books, loved most of the movies (Goblet of Fire being the exception) and I’ve read philosophical dissertations on various social commentaries within the Harry Potter books. I’ve even been known to read a fanfic or two and write one on occasion. Take this review as you will!