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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint
Alan Rickman
Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter
Tom Felton
Bill Nighy
Michael Gambon
Jason Isaacs
Maggie Smith
John Hurt
Robbie Coltrane
David Thewlis
Rhys Ifans
Brendan Gleeson
Timothy Spall.
Directors
David Yates.
Screenwriters
Steves Kloves.
Running Time
145 minutes

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
It's Harry Potter: The Road Movie


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Plot
The ultimate battle between light and darkness draws near. Voldermort and his followers hatch a plot to assassinate Harry Potter, who finds himself not only on the run, but with a long shopping list of magical objects to track down.


Review
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Browse more images »
Rain lashes down. Bill Nighy intones, “These are dark times, there is no denying.” Good people look anxious and pale. Bad people look smug and even paler. Yes, the penultimate Potter quickly leaves us in no doubt that this is The Darkest One Yet, the film in which the phalanxes of evil rally and all looks lost. Even Hogwarts has been overrun, meaning Harry, Hermione and Ron must take to the road as fugitives. For the first time, the cosy trimmings of a Harry Potter film — train to school, lessons, quidditch match, Christmas — have all been Avada-Kedavra’ed into oblivion.

Yet what should feel fresh and urgent, a cross-country chase flick, is bogged down for long stretches by a curse of Excrucius Overplottio. There’s a main quest (find and destroy several ‘horcruxes’, objects containing fragments of Voldemort’s soul). Then there’s a sub-quest (find and combine three ‘deathly hallows’, objects that give their owner power over death). The Resurrection Stone, the Elder Wand, Godric Gryffindor's Sword, Salazar Slytherin’s Locket… at times it seems like the characters are outnumbered by the MacGuffins. J. K. Rowling had the luxury of hundreds of pages to explain it all; delivered as movie exposition, it makes you yearn for the chuck-a-ring-in-a-volcano simplicity of The Lord Of The Rings.

There’s a further unflattering parallel to be drawn with Peter Jackson’s films. Much of The Deathly Hallows: Part 1’s swampy middle stretch involves friends wandering through forests, emotionally manipulated by the jewellery they’re carrying (here, said locket) and starting to fall apart. The lead actors do things they’ve never done before — Radcliffe and Watson share a topless clinch (no wand-flashing, thankfully), while Grint has to play jealousy and paranoia — but there’s no real sense of weight to the breaking of this fellowship. And an invented-for-the-movie scene in which Harry and Hermione enjoy a dance inside their tent (which, being regular size on the outside, cavernous on the inside, may be on loan from Emilio Estevez’s character in Loaded Weapon) is both baffling and cringey.

Much better are the set-pieces. An early broomstick battle takes place in a raging thunderstorm, as Harry and several faux-Harrys (transformed by Polyjuice Potion, which, according to Brendan Gleeson’s Mad-Eye Moody, “tastes like goblin’s piss”) get ambushed by dive-bombing Death-Eaters. There’s a Mission: Impossible-style infiltration of the Ministry of Magic, now a fascist hub churning out propaganda leaflets with titles like ‘When Muggles Attack’. A fracas near the end even has bonus Jason Isaacs, always a good thing, as Lucius Malfoy gets his sinisterly-manicured hands on the Boy Who Lived. Though they’re small fry compared to what’s still to come — an audacious heist of Gringott’s bank and Voldemort’s all-out assault on Hogwart’s — these action sequences are orchestrated by director David Yates with brio and inventive effects. Crucially, this being a film formed out of half a book, they distract from the fact that there’s no real climax.

The acting is fine throughout, though again it’s a case of blink-and-you’ll-miss-a-RADA-alumnus — folk like John Hurt and Alan Rickman often spend most of their five minutes on-screen in the background of shots. Hopefully that, along with our other gripes, will be addressed in July, when the final film drops, and good and evil face off at a Scottish secondary school.


Verdict
The first and third acts are over-busy; the middle one moves like an arthritic house-elf. Still, a decent smattering of magic moments and tension’s pumped up sky-high. Bring on Part 2.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen


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Harry Potter: Film Wizardry
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Empire Star Rating

Cluttered And Pacy, But Another Success Story

As anyones who is familiar with the books will tell you, the story of Harry Potter has gone from the innocence of it's beginnings all the way to the dark and exciting dregs of wizard battle. This, the first of 2 parts from director David Yates of the last book in the series, is a fine example of how a talky and somewhat messy film can be made interesting by sheer character development. First, the acting; the performances from the leads have never been better, with everyone offering impressive an... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 17:20, 02 April 2012 | Report This Post


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:44, 13 December 2011 | Report This Post


Great show so far but we need a MAIN ending ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ciaran McDaid at 22:49, 29 October 2011 | Report This Post


overblown load of nonsense

Made the mistake of renting this nonsense from lovefilm for a night in with the girlfriend. Never been a huge lover of the Potter films to be honest, though i did rate The Half Blood Prince, coming to think of J.K. Rowling as a one trick pony (indeed i'm intrigued that its a while since the Deathly Hallows was published and nothing new and original has been produced since, she's even resorted to putting out rumours that she's considering returning to Potter and his meaningless wizarding meanderi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by brent71195 at 13:41, 16 July 2011 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0926084/]Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1ow, this is by far the best of them all (so far, the waiting is of course for part 7.2!). Immensly intense and gripping, finally really well acted and it has brilliant effects. Only thing that bothered me a bit was the lame bits of humour at times. Too bad that Cuaron didn`t direct this installment, I would`ve loved to see what he would`ve done with this! /b] Bring on Deathly Hallows: Part 2!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:29, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


I cannot wait for the final part -

I am so utterly sick of Harry Potter that when the final film is over with we can forget about it forever - This has been the longest dullest franchise (Apart from the dismal Pirates/Caribbean films) I have had the misfortune to see - They just drone on and on - ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 16:08, 15 June 2011 | Report This Post


Not a bad set-up

Familiar plot, Mcguffin overload & Dobby et machina make it tiresome. The camping doesnt work because the trio are well supplied unlike LOTR where poverty & fatigue have set in. The animated 3 brothers story was beautiful but the 3 deathly hallows are unnecessary mcguffins. Should've stayed focused on the Horcruxes. Finally; if you are hopelessly trapped, dont worry, Dobby will save you ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bnicholson50 at 20:11, 10 June 2011 | Report This Post


3 stars - a little harsh?

This is my 3rd favourite potter film so far, somewhere near the Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. I would admit that for someone that is not a fan there is nothing of interest here but whats to dislike? Well it isnt flawless, I would agree that some moments feel rushed for example revealing the relationship between Lupin and Tonks (Yikes!) but what does that matter; for the development of its three central characters is where the real strength of this film shines. I would disagree wi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 00:17, 06 June 2011 | Report This Post


Bring On Part 2

This is definitely one of the better Potter films (Up there with Chamber of Secrets & Goblet of Fire) It's action packed but gives a great amount of time to focus on the plot as-well .But at times it can drag,Pro's outweigh the cons though. Part 2 will be Immense ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by S1lent B0b at 19:28, 03 May 2011 | Report This Post


So that's a kids film...? By far the best one so far. Bleak and desperate with some decent action scenes and twists thrown in. My only criticism is that way too many major characters were sped through the story (but hopefully once the 2nd part comes out and watched as a whole film this will be remedied). All in all, looking forward to to summer. PS. I'm not a major Potter fan in real life... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BeerMoth at 23:26, 27 April 2011 | Report This Post


Three stars is ridiculous

Is there some sort of policy whereby Harry Potter films are reviewed by people who just don't get it? Quote "what should feel fresh and urgent, a cross-country chase flick..." erm, no. That's really not what it's supposed to feel like. At all. And I'm so glad it doesn't. Movie was great, a strong 4 stars. 4 and a half if I could give it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ambition at 11:45, 12 April 2011 | Report This Post


Best one so far

Since the release of both The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, Deathly Hallows Part 1 has stuck particularly close to the book, only a few bits & pieces missing, but the main storyline still intact, which is more than I can say for the others; I'm not disrespecting the other films in any way as I'm a big fan, but being a fan of both books and films brings out the fan and critic in me as I can view them as both an ordinary film & an adaptation, and between Prisoner of Azkab... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tonidepp16 at 16:28, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


A bit of Potter magic

I thought this was definitely one of the better Potter films. Despite a slight lull in the middle section the film managed to keep me engrossed for most of the full running time. Some great action sequences, especially the broomstick chase at the beginning, and without a doubt the darkest film yet (possibly a wee bit scary in places for a younger audience), I for one can't wait until part 2. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trueborndjross at 10:08, 30 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

I've given up with Harry Potter. Apart from the first three (and possibly the fifth) they are all pretty much average. Potter has lost it's magic. ] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 13:12, 27 December 2010 | Report This Post


Gone in 60 seconds

I thought this was hands down the best movie. I've always been pretty so-so on the films, with order of the phoenix and goblet of fire raising the bar over the others. I especially wasn't looking forward to this one as a) it was half a book and b) the camping sequence in the book was godawful drudge. I was wrong - this looked amazing, was scary, pretty grim in places, whilst still keeping the harry potter fun somehow. Dobby's scene was perfect, and to top it off, Emma and Daniel have learnt ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by soulbyte at 17:23, 16 December 2010 | Report This Post


continued...

...Dobby's 'hero moment' in Malfoy Manor (how heartbreaking was that, by the way? I thought he was nearly on a annoyingness par with Jar Jar Binks in Chamber of Secrets, but he is ace here). When the older heads are called upon they deliver as you'd expect; Isaacs as the terrified scyophant trying desperately to get back into his master's good books, and Bonham Carter is superb as the Black family psycho. If there is some criticism here it's that a) there is not enough Rickman, and b) Fiennes h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Boromirs Redemption at 12:03, 13 December 2010 | Report This Post


Raod Trip- Hogwarts Style....

The best part about the Harry Potter series for me, a fan of the books, has always been the cast. The magic, escapism and tribulations of the main characters are compelling, but for me it's the British heavyweights that have lifted the films high. Rickman, for example, swoops into every film, picks the scene up under his arm and says "right, I'll take this". Coltrane, Harris, Smith, Gambon, Gleeson, Walters, Williams, Oldman, Thewlis, Bonham-Carter, Fiennes, Hurt, Isaacs...the list see... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Boromirs Redemption at 11:52, 13 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Agree with the three star rating.  This film was okay but nothing special.  It started of well; i particularly loved the action sequences especially when they broke into the ministry of magic.  But the middle bit with all the camping bored me and IMO dragged on for way too long. The acting from all the leads is getting better and Emma Watson for the most part was surprisingly good.  ... More

Posted by princessa at 16:56, 11 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

You can tell it's only part of a whole, but Part One is a cracking beginning to the end of the biggest movie franchise of all time.   A lot has improved in this movie. The three leads have mastered acting and all come across as believable and emotional beings in this film much more than any of the others, which is crucial as they pretty much carry the film. In particular, Ron's descent into despair as he wears the locket horcrux is particularly effective. The visual effects are ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tbird at 14:18, 09 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

I loved the movie, it isn't my favorite one out of the series but is still magically made with some fine acting from the all star British cast. Including some of the best cinematography and scenery out of the whole series. I can't wait for the last installment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jeevan Singh at 17:18, 04 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

I loved the movie, it isn't my favorite one out of the series but is still magically made with some fine acting from the all star British cast. Including some of the best cinematography and scenery out of the whole series. I can't wait for the last installment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jeevan Singh at 12:46, 04 December 2010 | Report This Post


RE: .

Really enjoyed this movie...roll on the next one. ... More

Posted by Newander at 20:08, 29 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: pete_traynor L: Dr Lenera Yates does seem to have matured as a director, with some striking shots and an interesting flashback done entirely in shadow puppets ates can't really be given credit for that scene, as he did not direct it. It was directed by an animator called Ben Hibon. Who, it seems, is increasingly being recognised as the most talented person involved in any visual aspect of the film… and rightly so. It was a gorgeous section. hanks for that info/correction ,a... More

Posted by Dr Lenera at 12:27, 28 November 2010 | Report This Post


Potter 7: Part 1

I have to laugh at some of the comments in some of the reviews here. These comments seem to be criticising the film for convenient plot devices, which they just aren't (Why was the sword at the bottom of a frozen lake? Why did a doe just turn up?). It's one part of two films!u'll get your answers.  The doe is connected to, probably, the best storyline in all the books, but I will say no more for fear of spoilers. I thought the film was excellent. Genuinely mature and actually quite da... More

Posted by Alistair at 23:30, 27 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Baffling and cringey?

After ostensibly recycling the same story for six books and films, Deathly Hallows changes pace and could even have been a Bourne style fantasy and there are hints that this was partially the intention. Yet Rowling painted herself and the filmmakers into a corner with the remaining fact that these are theme park books and films, attractions and ideas borrowed from sources where they made some sense then relocated to a time and place where they make no sense at all. Oh, those elves are ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rancorpuppet at 09:28, 27 November 2010 | Report This Post


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