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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part One – Worth The Price Of Admission?

There I sat in the darkened theater, with perhaps half the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One yet to play and from behind me, some joker says, This was a waste of money. A waste of money? […]
| Nov 29, 2010 | No comments |

There I sat in the darkened theater, with perhaps half the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One yet to play and from behind me, some joker says, This was a waste of money.

A waste of money? I wanted to turn around and scold him for such an ignorant statement. What had he expected?

The movie followed the book into the Dark Lord’s rising. Certainly it is serious and colored by evil, more so than any of the others, but so was the book. Perhaps no other scene epitomizes the evil more than the meeting of Voldemort’s council.

Granted, there is also less of the fun stuff—the magic of Hogwarts, the youthful shenanigan of school boys and girls. But the movie makers managed a few of the traditional action/adventure devices—”car” chase scenes and things blowing up—to keep viewers riveted.

The scenery wasn’t anything so grandiose as Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, but there was appropriate bleakness that played into the feeling of hopelessness and desolation that reigned during the first half of this final chapter of the Harry Potter saga.

I also thought the movie version did a very good job explaining Harry’s quest and showing why he felt he needed to go it alone, or nearly so.

And there still were lighter moments, such as Hermione’s bottomless bag (or whatever it was called) and the break-in into the Ministry of Magic in the guise of adults. There were some clever lines and excellent acting. As always the special effects were superb.

The cast was huge in this one, and I suppose someone who hasn’t read the books might struggle to remember some of the players. There were occasional flashbacks which brought in characters from the past too—all enjoyable, from my point of view. I liked seeing some of my favorites, even though they had small roles.

I especially liked the way the movie handled Harry’s “visions”—when he and Voldemort are connected mentally and Harry sees what the Dark Lord is up to. Again, it might not have been so clear to a viewer who had not read the books, but I thought it was handled well.

Of course there was a moment of sadness, greatly reduced from what the book generated, I think. The fact is, the movies de-emphasized the house elves throughout, so it was hard for Deathly Hollows to give them their proper place of importance and emotional value.

But what a small thing when considered with the far-reaching scope of the movie.

Above all, I applaud the decision to make the final book into two movies. Some might remain skeptical and think this was a pure financial decision. Undoubtedly the potential for another blockbuster must have played some part in splitting the book in two. But I shudder to think what kind of movie we would have had if the powers that be had tried to cram the whole of book 7 into one.

I also applaud their decision to break the story when they did. I thought there was sufficient resolution to make me feel like I’d seen a complete picture while leaving me with intrigue about the unfinished parts, and hope for Harry in the clear tasks yet ahead.

As far as I’m concerned, the movie-goer behind me must only think his money should be spent on happy-go-lucky romps or silly vulgarities or non-stop action flicks with no substance. Really, if that’s what someone is looking for, then Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One isn’t for him.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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Morgan Busse

My husband and I went to see it a couple days ago and agree with you: the movie stayed fairly close with the book and there is a certain darkness to this movie (considering Voldemort’s at the height of his power and there is a slim chance to none Harry will succeed, this is the appropriate atmosphere). Definitely worth the price of admission in our opinion.


We stopped going to see Harry Potter movies several installments ago because the movies just kept getting darker and grimmer, and we didn’t feel we needed any more bleakness or grimness in our lives. Real life was outdoing anything Harry Potter could dish out in that department!

That said, if the movie-goer behind you stuck with the series until this installment, he surely had to know what to expect! If he didn’t, why was he there watching it?

But I did like the book. I thought it contained several very worthwhile messages. I wonder how they come through on the silver screen?

E. Stephen Burnett

Great review, Rebecca. My wife and I saw the film the Friday it released — I even played the stereotypical “fanboy” by being in quasi-costume, which for me is only uncombed hair, glasses, Harry-esque clothing and a drawn-on lightning-bolt scar. We loved the film, especially having already finished together more than half the book in advance (my second read of the series, and her first).

Like you, I thought the film did very well finding a natural break — which I had guessed in advance, based partly on what was and was not shown in the film trailers and clips. The rest of it was fantastic: faithful to the book, catching up previous films’ condensations, etc.

And then World magazine came along and — well, their review didn’t ruin my view of the film, but did gain a little perspective. Unfortunately one thing the film did was remove Harry’s agonizing at the end (yes, here be spoilers) about whether to drop the Horcrux-hunting, because perhaps Dumbledore could not be trusted after all, and instead search for the fabled Hallows. And it was while Harry was doing a certain thing, after a fallen friend, that he courageously decided to trust Dumbledore anyway, forsaking the Hallow pursuit, and finish the quest he’d been given to do. That crucial element, the reviewer said, was missing from the film.

My hope is that they’ll somehow include it in the second film. But perhaps it’s too late for that. Now, having just finished reading the Deathly Hallows book — and the series — with my wife last night (and I hope not scaring the neighbors, especially with my Malcolm-McDowell-like voice for Voldemort), I know there is already so much to pack into Part 2, and surely not a thing can be edited out.

Nikole Hahn

I got into the Harry Potter thing late. Haven’t read the books yet. I definitly wish to see this movie (and read the books).

Tamara Hart Heiner

Hubby and I loved the movie. Best so far.


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Christian Miles

I have to say, this was by far my favorite of the books and my favorite of the movies. They did such a great job, all around. I couldn’t believe it was a Potter movie by David Yates, who created the Order of the Phoenix fiasco (but I won’t go there…).

They did miss out on the Horcrux vs. Hallows thing, and I don’t see how they could fix that now, seeing as how Volemort got the Elder Wand in the end. Somehow, I believe, they’ll bring that into the beginning of Part Two. Maybe something with the Resurrection Stone. In the book, Harry hypothesized about it being Marvolo Gaunt’s ring, but they left that out of the movie. Maybe they’ll have a bunch of Dumbledore stuff, and for some reason think they need to bring him back…?

Hopefully they don’t just abandon the whole concept altogether… it’s a big event in Harry’s character arc. It’s the first time he chose NOT to act. IMO, it’s his big moment, where we realize he’s finally grown up.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they do.

Michelle Minniss
Michelle Minniss

We are just back from seeing the movie tonight. It has to be one of the best HP films that runs closest to the book. It was very dark, almost gothic in places. I was gripped throughout and impressed with the madness of Queen Bellatrix.
Hubby and I were chatting on the way home about how many parallels you could draw between Voldermort’s rise to power and a fascist regime of the 30’s and 40’s. The war councils, the filtering of races (pure bloods aka Ayran?), the control of the seat of power and the determination to eradicate opposition by using force, manipulation and terror. It also demonstrated the heart of courage in those who stand against such tyrany and often the price they must pay. I am sure JK was not thinking of a Nazi rise to power when she wrote the book but it reminds me that there is, ‘nothing new under the sun,’ when it comes to the battle of good and evil.
I often conflict with Christian friends who cannot understand why I would read Harry Potter, but I think this film in particular shows that the themes in Harry are potentially far more interesting than a story about a wizard world. Even in Harry, the theme of the sacrifice and ultimate victory of good over evil can be viewed as a biblical theme that has been, albeit nknowingly,replicated in an extremely popular fantasy series.