Cast: Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter)
Director: David Yates
Theatrical release: 11/19/2010 DVD Date: 04/15/2011
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 146 minutes
Note(s): The screenplay was adapted from the novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.
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Review: This seventh film in the wildly successful Harry Potter franchise would have been the final in the series ... had the producers not made the ill-advised decision to split the story into two parts. This first part is, sadly, a waste of effort on the part of otherwise talented filmmakers.
The plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 can be summarized in just a few words: Harry and his friends are seeking the remaining horcruxes -- they find and destroy exactly one in almost two and half hours -- and Lord Voldemort is chasing after Harry. It's as simple as that. And that's probably the film's greatest fault, that it isn't more. Indeed, what we have here is boring. Boring as in mind-numbing. Boring as in coma-inducing.
Where is the -- pardon the term -- magic here? The early films inspired a sense of awe, with their grand visuals and creative creatures and imaginative settings. In this film there is none of that. None whatsoever. With the exception of the first 15 minutes or so, the only recurring characters from previous movies are Harry, Hermione, and Ron. (That's a slight exaggeration, but not as much as you might think.) Even they disappear for a while when they take the form of other people to run through the Ministry of Magic. (Have to say, I never did understand what they were doing there in the first place, and it wasn't even a visually interesting place to visit. What happened to the creative folks behind Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and the like? Why weren't they a part of this film?) And then Ron -- played by probably the best of the three principal actors -- takes a hike and disappears for a good portion of the time in the middle of the film. Good for him. At least he had some time away from this mess of a film. Viewers aren't so lucky.
There are very few films that I believe have no redeeming value, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 now ranks among them. I can safely say that anyone who has seen the previous film in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, could safely skip this part, start with the next and be confident they haven't missed a thing. (I say this having not seen the the second part; indeed, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 won't even hit theaters for another month.) There is not a single scene in this film that wouldn't have hit the cutting room floor had there only been one movie to comprise the action in the seventh and final Harry Potter book. Well, maybe that's not entirely true: the 2 minute animated story that gives the film its title probably would have survived. Two worthwhile minutes out of 146. Wow.