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.
Stream Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
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It's not a bad movie, but it is very much a transitional one.
This is a quest movie, with a lot of ground covered, and just as our heroes never stay long in one place or feel safe in their surroundings, neither does the audience.
It's grim, funny in one sequence about shapeshifters, vivid in moments of violent action, nearly devoid of plot twists and marked by long patches where Harry, Ron and Hermione camp in the woods or by the sea or near a frozen lake and ponder What It All Means.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 also bravely faces the future, slipping with expert ease among the thrilling mass of complications (and complicated set pieces) that Rowling throws fans in the final sprint, then guiding the faithful to the fate that awaits everyone in this world, the moment called The End.
With that kind of financial imperative it's something of a miracle the Potter films have been, on the whole, good. One or two, very good. One or two (the first two), less good. This one's good.
The film might have ended at its action-packed and ultimately moving climax, but screenwriter Steve Kloves goes one step farther. He finds the perfect cliffhanger, one that emphasizes just how dangerous young Mr. Potter's situation really is and definitely leaves the audience anxious for the next chapter.
Part 1 of the final installment, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,' is another scrupulous adaptation of J.K Rowling's books.
A handsome and sometimes harrowing film, and will be completely unintelligible for anyone coming to the series for the first time.
For a studio so clearly willing to take risks with so many of its movies, this particular movie has a whiff of exploitation. Rowling wrote one epic funeral that Warner Bros. requires us to attend twice.