As the closing credits began to roll on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” my friend Julie turned to me and said, “I bet that’s really confusing if you haven’t read the books.”
To which I replied, “You have no idea.”
So here we are — the seventh and next-to-last episode in the seemingly endless Harry Potter saga. As the story begins, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is holding court at the Brotherhood of Evil Sorcerers where they’re plotting the demise of young Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe).
They decide to ambush Harry as he’s leaving home which leads to a confusing chase scene that ends at the Weasley home, where apparently Lord V has no power. After the wedding of a couple I didn’t recognize, Harry and his sidekicks — Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) — decide to get down to business.
Per the late Dumbledore’s instructions in the last film, the trio need to find the Horcruxes. Horcruxes are locket-like things on a chain and if you wear them for very long they make you grumpy. To defeat Lord V, the Horcruxes must be destroyed by throwing them in the fires of Mount Doom. Wait. Wrong fantasy. The Horcruxes can only be destroyed by the magic sword in the stone. Wait. Sword in the lake.
Our intrepid trio run around various interesting locales and nifty set designs, break up and get back together, steal and destroy one of those locket-things and then, in the last half-hour, discover they really should be chasing after The Deathly Hallows — three entirely different magical artifacts. Roll credits.
Wait. What? Oh, right. This is Part One. I’m sure it will all make sense in July when Part 2 rolls around. And if it doesn’t make sense, at least it will be over.
But I kid. While I’m not a big Potter fan, I’d rather sit through seven disjointed, confusing Harry Potter movies than one “Twilight” film. They’re so much better made.
“Deathly Hallows, part 1” is actually one of my favorites in the series so far. It has the stellar cast, solid special effects and nifty set designs you expect from the series and includes some really nice cinematography as the gang travels throughout the countryside. There’s also a neat animated bit when they tell the story of the deathly hallows.
What really makes the movie stand out for me is that the focus is primarily on the three leads together, without new characters being introduced right and left to confuse matters. I like the Harry-Hermione-Ron dynamic and this time the show is all about them. It’s considerably darker that earlier installments but that’s to be expected given where the story’s headed.
Did it work for me? I still don’t know what a Horcrux is or remember who half the cast is, but I like the kids enough and it’s a professional enough production that it’s worth the time.