Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
|Fantasy Adventure Mystery Kids Family Adaptation Sequel
|2 hr. 27 min.
|Year of Release:
November 19, 2010 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
DVD: April 15, 2011
Eternal death in the Bible
tombs and burial in the Bible
What are the consequences of racial prejudice and false beliefs about the origin of races? Answer
sorcery in the bible
What is the Occult? Answer
THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer
Is Harry Potter Harmless?
Ever since the popularity of JK Rowling’s first book took hold, the debate rages. What is a Christian to think of the Harry Potter worldview and philosophies? What’s wrong with Potter?
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer
What is goodness?
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
|Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Rhys Ifans (Xenophilius Lovegood), Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour), John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander), Ciarán Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore), See all »
|Heyday Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, David Barron, David Heyman, Tim Lewis, Lionel Wigram
|Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
“Part 1 one of the epic finale”
As you read these words, the Harry Potter film series has surpassed “Star Wars” as the highest grossing series in movie history. The seven books by British author J.K. Rowling took the world by storm in 1997, and they have lived on in film. The Potter series is not only a worldwide phenomenon, but, also, a lightning rod for conversation in the Christian community about what is and is not appropriate in entertainment. Billed as the beginning of the end, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is an expertly made film that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats before ending abruptly.
There should be several disclaimers within this review, but I guess I can narrow it down to one: this is a review of the film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”. It is not a review of how well the book by J.K. Rowling is translated to film. Many times, fans of the Potter book series complain about how the movies leave out important elements and characters. Rowling has recognized what many avid readers of her books have not: the Potter films have not been made to identically represent the novels, but to be the director’s representation of the overarching story. This is why Rowling herself has served as executive producer in the Potter film series, and has personally signed off on each director and script of the series.
In the seventh chapter of this series, we find our hero Harry and his two best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley reeling over the death of Professor Dumbledore. The dark Lord Voldemort has taken over the ministry of magic and is now on the hunt for Harry. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to find and destroy seven horcruxes that give Voldemort his power. Then and only then will Harry be able to defeat the powerful dark Lord. From start to finish, Harry and the gang uncover one mystery after another, while constantly on the run from all sorts of trouble, including Voldemort, dementors, and the menacing Dolores Umbridge. All of this running leads to a stunning conclusion that the viewer will not get to experience until this summer when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” is released.
The quality of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is on par with the previous two films in the series. Returning director David Yates is excellent behind the camera, and it seems that the lead actors get better with every film. The supporting cast is second to none, led by the wonderful Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. Voldemort is a character of such profound evil that even though he has very little screen time, you feel his presence lurking around every corner. Much of this is due to the outstanding performance by Fiennes. The special effects are mostly top notch, aside from some sloppy CGI work on the house elves. From a technical standpoint “Hallows Part 1” stands above any of the previous Potter films.
The only fundamental problem I have with the film has more to do with the production studio than the movie itself. In an apparent money grab, Warner Bros. has split this last installment into two parts, which basically reduces this film to an expertly made two and a half hour trailer for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”. While avid fans of the book would say that there is too much important information to fit into one movie, “Part 1” is clearly padded by at least 45 minutes. It reminded me a great deal of “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”, a well made film that has the main characters traveling from start to finish. Just like that film, “Hallows Part 1” ends abruptly and cannot stand alone. If “Part 2” is as riveting, together the two films will represent the best Harry Potter movie of the entire series.
By this point in the Harry Potter series, you have probably already reached a conclusion as to your feelings of the content in the series. If you look at every Harry Potter film’s review on this Web site, you will see a list of positive and negative responses that either praise or condemn its content. There are some that say Christians should have nothing to do with stories involving witchcraft or wizardry. There are others (myself included) who believe that in the realm of fiction, where the lines of good and evil are clearly drawn, a story’s inclusion of magic does not represent our involvement with it. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, a movie series which many Christians laud because of the faith of the author, heavily features a good and evil wizard. Respected Christian author Charles Colson used the word “mechanical” when describing the magical elements of the Harry Potter series, and this is an accurate depiction of what occurs throughout the series.
Is the Harry Potter series truly harmless?—Ever since the popularity of JK Rowling’s first book took hold, the debate rages. What is a Christian to think of the Harry Potter worldview and philosophies? Is there anything to be concerned about?
Two things that can be agreed upon about “Deathly Hallows Part 1” is that it contains a clear distinction between light and dark, and that it is not appropriate for kids or younger teens. Just as the readers of the Potter series have matured over the past eight years, so also have the dark and serious aspects of the film. With Harry, Hermione, and Ron mourning the death of Professor Dumbledore, while on the run from Lord Voldemort and the rest of the now jaded ministry of magic, darkness clouds the film from start to finish. Through this darkness the positive aspects of loyalty, friendship, and trust shine the brightest. Other content issues are a few mild profanities and one scene in which an evil horcrux makes Ron see glimpses of what appears to be Harry and Hermione together and naked. While it is quick and nothing more than their shoulders are shown, it is still more provocative than anything in the previous six films.
Instead of feeling tired, the penultimate chapter of this series of movies feels fresh. Gripping, moving, and sometimes funny, “Deathly Hallows Part 1” is a must see for fans of the previous six Potter films. It will also leave the viewer hanging and ready to drop down $10 more this summer to see how it all plays out. Eight movies is a long time to wait for good to triumph over evil. Better late than never I guess…
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.