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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 19, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 47
Harry Potter an epic cliffhanger
Arts & Entertainment
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Harry Potter an epic cliffhanger

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN Contributing Writer

Harry Potter and

the Deathly Hallows:

Part One

Opening November 19


The beginning of the end has started; the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been released - at least part one. The seventh installment of the blockbuster-hit films has taken the last novel of the series and broken it into two films; part two is not due out until July 15, 2011. It's understandable, as the last book is a 759-page tome and after seven years, there's a lot to finish off in this grand finale.

What leads up to this point is simple: Lord Voldemort is the most evil wizard to ever live. His nemesis is the orphaned Harry Potter. Harry and Lord Voldemort have faced off a number of times, but Harry has always been protected. Lord Voldemort plans on killing Harry - for as the prophecy says, 'Neither can live while the other survives.' The good guys are The Order of the Phoenix, and the bad guys are The Deatheaters - there, everyone is caught up to speed.

For anyone who hasn't read the books (I'm sure there are a few of you out there), the movie's storyline is still pretty easy to follow, even if you haven't seen the previous films. Harry is turning 17 and his magical protection is over. The Deatheaters are trying to hunt him down. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run, while at the same time trying to continue their secret mission to seek out and destroy the last of the horcruxes - the only way to kill Lord Voldemort.

The three main characters - Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) - all do good jobs in their roles; even Emma Watson! These three kids have grown up on the screen before us and have all reached a fine-tuning for this film. Daniel Radcliffe continues to show us that he is well on his way to becoming a great actor. Over the past years, he's obviously not only held his own against such powerhouses as Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Gary Oldman, and Ralph Fiennes, but he's obviously observed them and learned from them. We empathize with Harry more so than in the past, and Radcliffe expresses this with just a brooding look or torn expression. Rupert Grint has grown out of his awkward stages of adolescence and into the form of a focused young actor. He allows Ron to struggle with personal haunts and deal with them in the realistic manner of a 17-year-old boy. Emma Watson is not only a surprise, but also enjoyable to watch. In the past, her acting has been one of the things slowing down the previous films, but this commonplace opinion must have reached her at last, and she obviously took note. She's learned to emote with expressions when appropriate more so than out of lack of what to do. Hermione's struggles finally become clear to a viewing audience, and Emma's acting adds to the progress of the film instead of slowing the pace.

The film carefully lays out the groundwork and pacing for what is needed to complete this epic tale. It's a little slower-paced than the others in the series - let's get real, half of the book is the three of them running and hiding. It's by no means boring or slow, and it's definitely one of the better-produced film versions. There are plenty of special effects to make the film exciting and visually appealing. For devoted fans of the books, they will find changes to the storyline and edits have been made. But what was cut really isn't needed to further the story, it just gives a more rounded history to detail. All of the major points are covered - Bill and Fleur's wedding, the visit to Godric's Hollow, the Malfoy's estate - especially since series author JK Rowling is listed as a producer. The Dursley's departure flashes by - which is a shame, because it was a redeeming scene in the book.

Running at 2 hours and 24 minutes, the film can only cover so much - even if it's only the first installment. The break/cliffhanger for the second film is done at a reasonable part in the storyline, even if some of the book's events are rearranged to cause that cliff-hanging effect. There is more than enough of the story left over to make sure that part two will be exciting. The countdown has begun: only six months, three weeks, and five days to go.

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