Dark Times Are Ahead in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsPart one of the seventh story in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, opened Friday worldwide. The craze for the young boy wizard first started over thirteen years ago when Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published in London and continued to grow when the first movie was released in 2001. Nine years later, the fanbase still continues to expand as theaters around the world were sold out for opening night. The movie brought in $125.1 million domestically for the opening weekend, with the worldwide total coming in at $330.1 million.

Joe McMahon, Sam Russell, and Laura Brillman
Around the world fans attended midnight openings on Thursday night dressed as their favorite Potter characters, including that of Lowes Waterfront in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where I went to see the film. The building was full of wizards, witches, and muggles waiting to see the film. Everyone was excited to see the film, but for different reasons. Quite a few fans said that they were most looking forward to Bill and Fleur's wedding. Katie Dickson wanted to know how they would decide to split the book into two different movies. Some of the fans, such as Laura Brillman and Stephanie Guerdan, wanted to know how true they would stay to the book and how things would play out. Joe McMahon specifically was curious to see how they would deal with fact that quite a bit of the book is of the three main characters camping.

Shane Conrad and Robert Hockenberry
I myself was also looking to see how the movie would match up to the book - what things would be different and what would stay the same. I'm always curious to see what creative choices are made to keep a balance between making artistic changes and staying faithful to the book. I was happy that there was an opportunity for more to be left in, given that for the first time one of J.K. Rowling's books is being split into two films. The other thing I was looking forward to was seeing the character of Lucius Malfoy, played by Jason Isaacs, again on screen.

Kelsey M. Regan, Ben Wilson, Will Acer, and Dayna Scott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows follows the golden trio: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) as they leave Hogwarts and start their search for the rest of the seven Horcruxes (a dark object containing a piece of Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) soul) in order to find a way to defeat the Dark Lord.

Emily Wilson, Ella Regan, and Peter Regan
There are quite a few differences in the movie compared to the book. Of course many things are left out for time sake. Some are insignificant in the full scheme of things, such as Mad-Eye Moody's (Brendan Gleeson) body isn't missing in the movie, they simply announces that he was killed. Towards the beginning when Harry is fighting Death Eaters, he doesn't come across Stan Shunpike, and he says that he was found out because Hedwig tried to save him and they recognized the owl. The scene about the Dursley's leaving Harry is very short and he never finds what Dudley left him. Those scenes to me weren't as important, but there were some I would have really like to see. For instance, in the book when Voldemort takes Lucius Malfoy's wand, there is the short conversation where the elder Malfoy seems to expect the Dark Lord's wand in return. When Bathilda Bagshot transforms into a snake, she doesn't bite Harry in the film, and neither does Hermione have to remove the Horcrux from Harry's chest. One of the most disappointing things that were left out, in my opinion, were the scenes with Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) becoming headmaster. The only way viewers knew was because it was mentioned on the Wizarding Wireless Network. Another thing I thought was important, but probably was cut for the time that would be needed for explanations, was the information we learned about Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) in the book. We didn't even learn about Dumbledore's sister in the movie (some of that though may be revealed in part two). Another thing we missed was when Harry and his friends were being held captive by the Malfoy family and Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter). Peter Pettigrew ("Wormtail"), played by Timothy Spall, never went down to see the prisoners and subsequently kill himself in the film, which seems like a big point of the plot to skip in my opinion. Also, when Bellatrix brought Griphook (Warwick Davis) upstairs, the scene with him authenticating the sword was not there. There were also quite a few things skipped towards the end of the movie, after they bury Dobby and before Voldemort reaches Dumbledore's grave. I think, however, that it is likely the next movie will reveal more of those things and they simply wanted to end the movie with the scene they chose and didn't have time to show everything else in between.

Stephanie Guerdan and Katie Dickson
Other things were of course changed for the movie. One of them being that Dobby apparated the group from the Malfoy residence to the beach rather than Bill and Fleur's cottage, though I think that having less people there during Dobby's (voiced by Toby Jones) scene probably made it more powerful.

Even with the obviously (and for the most part probably unavoidable) differences, the script was well written. Some things though, I think for anyone who is not a fan, may have benefitted from more explanation. For example, for some reason, it really annoys me that the mirror shard that Harry has is never explained in the movie. Also, as mentioned previously, there was no talk of why Griphook was taken. Other parts, however, flowed well. I especially like the animation as Hermione reads aloud The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The overall feel to this movie, however, was much different than the previous films as it was much darker and more melancholy, as with the books. Most of the movie was very somber, though there were lighter moments in the movie, mostly being lines delivered by Rupert Grint. He added the much needed comic relief during the film, which without, I think the movie would not have been nearly as enjoyable.

Fans dressed as Death Eaters
Grint's is not the only performance to stand out in the film; the young actors all continue to improve with age. Jason Isaacs performance to me stood out as well. He played a much more bereft and dejected Lucius in this film, and you could easily tell he has changed drastically since his time in Azkaban. The makeup and costume department did a great job with his haggard appearance.

As the movie mostly revolved around the trio and their friends and did not take place at Hogwarts like with the previous films, some of the other characters fell more into the background, some not appearing at all. I would have liked to see more of some of the adults in the film, including, as mentioned above, Alan Rickman, and also Helena Bonham Carter, whose unique performance was as with in the last two films very enjoyable.

The effects as always were fantastic. The battle towards the beginning of the movie was well executed.

The sets as usual were well chosen, and especially the Forrest of Dean was beautiful, but I did miss the magic of Hogwarts, though obviously it's not in the book either.

I think fans will love Deathly Hallows, and those new to the series will still enjoy it, though I do suggest if you haven't seen the last movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it might help to watch it beforehand. All in all though, the movie was a fantastic part one to Deathly Hallows, and I can't wait until next summer for the next installment, even if I am sad it will be the end of the franchise.

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