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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
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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


Related Reviews
Books
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

RE: Baffling and cringey?

I found this movie really fast pace, but then again every Harry Potter movie is like this. I found it very good, up there with movies 3 and 4. All the actors did a great job, especailly Rupent Grint and Emma Watson. My favorite part was when Hermionie was cutting Harry's hair and she went, 'Oh God!" and Harry reached back thinking she cut a chunk of his hair out. I also thought the dancing part was sweet. ... More

Posted by white mage at 01:21, 27 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: Deviation Why does that remind me of Hellboy 2? just observation and one I myself made but one page ago. Similar indeed but not a carbon copy, so Hibon still deserves credit as it was beautiful animation. Did check his IMDB page to see if he’d animated that Hellboy 2 work but doesn’t look like it was him. ... More

Posted by pete_traynor at 16:32, 26 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Why does that remind me of Hellboy 2? ... More

Posted by Deviation at 16:39, 25 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

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. ... More

Posted by pete_traynor at 13:07, 25 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I really loved this. I'm undoubtedly blinded/biased because I've grown up with the books and the films, but I loved this. Too much probably. ... More

Posted by hiptobesquare_x at 22:00, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

The omens weren't good for this movie.  It comes from David Yates who directed the dull last two movies and ensures the series has a downward slide after Presoner Of Ahkaban.  It's also the first half of the last book, which if like me you think the films are mostly too long, have lots of pointless scenes and comprise a story which is tediously stretched out overall, does not promise much and just seems like a way to make more money.  Nonetheless it gets off to a pretty good firs... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 18:54, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Saw it the other day, and I'd have to agree that it's a 3 star film. There's a period of about 45 minutes where virtually nothing happens, Ron does his usual and gets a monk on about nothing, they get captured rather easily out of the blue and then, well, it just ends. No fuss, no real warning (certainly not for someone like myself who hasn't read the books) - it just ends like the end of a chapter. Plot holes abound but I assume that is more to do with the source material than anything else. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by superdan at 13:10, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Felix One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen more praise for was the animated section, thought it was stunning. t was the best part of the film hands down! Albeit, a tad Hellboy 2 opening… but beguiling and wonderfully conceived nonetheless. Perhaps the reason they didn’t mention it in the review is that it makes for a wonderful little ray of sunshine in an otherwise pretty slow and dull film. Potentially, they didn’t want to ruin the surprise? For fans of that se... More

Posted by pete_traynor at 11:19, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Felix One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen more praise for was the animated section, thought it was stunning. yes it was brilliant, and just what was needed... i was thinking about how they were going to tackle the story and did have my fingers crossed for something this beautifully animated and just kept thinking "nahhh they wont and it'll just be live action and it'll be just ok" and boooom there it was, it was just magical and so perfect for the tone of the tale ... More

Posted by mystra at 11:10, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Bloody Magic

Just got back from seeing this (at the gf's behest) and for the 7th time all I can say is 'meh'. The characters flash by so quickly you never get a chance to invest, the second act was dull and the elf cgi was terrible. The one saving grace was the sublime animated section. Totally sucked me in and the style choice was inspired. If the whole film had been animated in the same way, it would have been a million times better. I think I pretty much agree with the 3/5 Empire gave it. ... More

Posted by chilipenguin at 00:26, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: jonson L: Hobbitonlass L: Felix One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen more praise for was the animated section, thought it was stunning. ! I'm rubbish at remembering things in films, even immediately after I have come out. That was my favourite part. I absolutely loved how it was filmed /quote] Oh shit yeah, me too. our age probably needs to see it a few times before remembering it all. ought that bit was really clever and explained the Hallows perfectly fo... More

Posted by horribleives at 17:41, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Hobbitonlass L: Felix One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen more praise for was the animated section, thought it was stunning. ! I'm rubbish at remembering things in films, even immediately after I have come out. That was my favourite part. I absolutely loved how it was filmed /quote] Oh shit yeah, me too. our age probably needs to see it a few times before remembering it all. ought that bit was really clever and explained the Hallows perfectly for anyone w... More

Posted by jonson at 15:42, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: horribleives One question though, what the fuck was up with Bill Nighy's ridiculous accent? e's a shit actor? ... More

Posted by Felix at 14:31, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

I've often wondered how much sense the films make to people who've never read the books and judging by some of the comments in this thread it appears this one is particularly hard to follow. Shame. Still, it's easily the best in the series for me - the action set-pieces (and there are plenty of them) are brilliantly done, the three leads give their best performances yet, and for once, it really is as dark as they keep telling us - the animated Deathly Hallows sequence is beautifully sinister. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 11:13, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Felix One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen more praise for was the animated section, thought it was stunning. ! I'm rubbish at remembering things in films, even immediately after I have come out. That was my favourite part. I absolutely loved how it was filmed ... More

Posted by Hobbitonlass at 10:46, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Rather a dull film all in. Don’t care for anyone slinging what it got wrong or right in terms of the source text about, as this isn’t the source text. This is a film and as such should be judged on the merits of what it accomplished cinematically with its story telling. There is just no pace to this film! It started pretty well I though and then just sat done and never got up again. The fundamental problem is that it is just far too long for the story, sorry half story, it’s telling. A two a... More

Posted by pete_traynor at 10:31, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Felix L: Hobbitonlass Agree with all of that. I know it dragged when they were on their "journey" but the action pieces more than made up for it in my eyes. For me, Hermione and Ron were far better and you can really see how they have grown through the films. Daniel Radcliffe is still the same although possibly not quite as wooden as previously. I was sat next to a little girl of about 12 and count of the times she jumped, particulary with the snake.s great seeing how ... More

Posted by talpacino at 10:14, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

L: Hobbitonlass Agree with all of that. I know it dragged when they were on their "journey" but the action pieces more than made up for it in my eyes. For me, Hermione and Ron were far better and you can really see how they have grown through the films. Daniel Radcliffe is still the same although possibly not quite as wooden as previously. I was sat next to a little girl of about 12 and count of the times she jumped, particulary with the snake.s great seeing how she reacted to it ... More

Posted by Felix at 10:09, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Squote]ORIGINAL: jonson SPOILERS For me it was one of the bext HP's yet. Slow, but so was the book, but it's left me gagging for the final part. I'll ignore the bits they left out, and also the bits that were hastily rushed (such as Bill's introduction) and for one minute I happily thought Hedwig had made it but alas, they gave him a more heroic death than in the book. Bill Nighy was excellent, the 3 main kids (well, adults now I guess) were better than in any of the other films... More

Posted by Hobbitonlass at 09:58, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Look you stupid bastards, you have your opinions, and Empire's staff have another, I happen to just about agree with a 3 star review for this film, but often I don't, and that's ok. You disagree with a review? Fine. They are still entitled to their opinion. They aren't 'wrong'. If they liked Salvation, that's ok. You, me, someone else, we didn't, it doesn't mean Empire are wrong. People bitch and moan about how Empire is never right and how they are really on the very edge, just about to jump f... More

Posted by crazymoviesdude at 09:43, 23 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter film seriously underrated!!

L: talpacino s below few bits that I may have missed/didn't get. What happened to Peter Mullan's character after the ministry of magic scene when they ended up in the woods and Ron was injured? How did the sword of Gryffindor happen to end up where they were in the woods that Hermione just chose to bring them? I remember them saying something about it presenting itself when it's needed but that's just a bit crap. Also if it's going to be so nice as to just turn up, why at the b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 14:12, 22 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Harry Potter film seriously underrated!!

3 stars would be about right for me, excellent start but after that it fell off a fair bit and didn't really come back. s below few bits that I may have missed/didn't get. What happened to Peter Mullan's character after the ministry of magic scene when they ended up in the woods and Ron was injured? How did the sword of Gryffindor happen to end up where they were in the woods that Hermione just chose to bring them? I remember them saying something about it presenting itself when it... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by talpacino at 13:20, 22 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Got dragged along by the Mrs to see this yesterday....and as with all Harry Potter films, I'm left confused and underwhelmed. I've never read the books, but have now seen all the movies (Actually - I think I missed one with Kenneth Branagh?) and it feels, to me at least, as they get progressively duller. The first handful of movies all seemed pretty straightforward - Harry & Co go to Hogwarts, do some magic, get involved in some kind of mystery and resolve everything, whilst driving forw... More

Posted by porntrooper at 09:27, 22 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: DH PART 1 = EPIC

otter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1ood. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by swordsandsandals at 03:28, 21 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Deathly Hallows

What the hell? Just seen the film and loved it so came on here to read Empire's review in detail after seeing it only got 3 stars. Not to criticise, just to see what wasn't liked really. Instead I've had the next one spoiled for me! Not everyone has read the books, I know a few people like me who just watch the films and now I know two of the main action sequences that are going to happen in the enxt film and where the final battle will be. Thanks a bunch. ... More

Posted by Vadersville at 23:41, 20 November 2010 | Report This Post


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