Film Review: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1'

Updated on April 23, 2018
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Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 2010, David Yates released Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling, as the seventh film in the Harry Potter series. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, and Julie Walters, the film grossed $960.3 million at the box office.

Synopsis

The world is in turmoil as Voldemort wages war against any who oppose him. Meanwhile, Harry Potter has been tasked by Dumbledore to find and destroy the last remaining Horcruxes in order to defeat him once and for all.

Review

Though not the worst in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is a rather weak film. Voldemort finally unleashes his full wrath upon the world, spreading the terror he was known for prior to his fall. Yet, a large portion of the film follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they wander around the countryside attempting to figure out how to destroy the locket. Despite this showing the long-term effects being around a Horcrux has on the trio’s relationship, what should be methodical pacing comes off as slow and boring. As important as these scenes are, they could have been shortened significantly and not taken up a majority of the story.

Nevertheless, when the story does move forward, it does so pretty well. The scene when the three of them escape an attack at Bill’s wedding and take refuge in a café only to end up fighting Death Eaters is great, serving to show Harry, Ron and Hermione aren’t going to be able to fully rest until their quest is complete. Their sojourn into Voldemort’s newly reformed Ministry of Magic is good, too. It’s a reminder to the audience as well as the characters the gravity of the situation they are in. Further the contrast seen between earlier visits to the ministry and this one depicts just what’s changed and how much the characters stand to lose should they fail.

Additionally, death starts to be a major factor with multiple characters, some of whom are fan-favorites. These deaths appear to be symbolic in one sense or another. One takes away one of Harry’s oldest connections to the Wizarding World, another happens swiftly and suddenly solidifying the notion that even the hardiest and most vigilant of people can’t escape the effects of war, and a third occurs to one of the more innocent characters in the series as if to show the audience nobody is safe when evil runs rampant.

The actors also continue to bring good performances. Some of the best acting in the film, however, happens as the film begins. Hermione places a charm on her parents, erasing their memories of her. There isn’t much dialogue in this scene and the facial expressions Watson makes convey everything needing to be told.

3 stars for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Awards/Recognitions

bold indicates reception of award/recognition

Academy Awards

  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects
  • Best Achievement in Art Direction

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA – Saturn Awards

  • Best Costume
  • Best Fantasy Film
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

AFI Awards, USA

  • Special Award (The Harry Potter series marks the final triumphant chapter of a landmark series)

Art Directors Guild Awards

  • Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award
  • Excellence in Production Design Award – Fantasy Film

Awards Circuit Community Awards

  • Honorable Mentions
  • Best Achievement in Visual Effects

BAFTA Awards

  • Best Make Up & Hair
  • Best Special Visual Effects

British Animation Awards

  • Best Film/TV Graphics (For “The Tale of the Three Brothers”)

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

  • Favorite Film Franchise
  • Best Makeup
  • Best Visual Effects

Empire Awards, UK

  • Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Best Actress (Emma Watson)

Gold Derby Awards

  • Visual Effects

Golden Schmoes Awards

  • Best Sci-Fi Movie of the Year
  • Best Special Effects of the Year

Hollywood Post Alliance, US Awards

  • Outstanding Compositing – Feature Film

Houston Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Cinematography

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

IGN Summer Movie Awards

  • Best Fantasy Movie
  • Best Poster

International Film Music Critics Awards

  • Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film

International Online Cinema Awards

  • Best Visual Effects

Kids’ Choice Awards, USA – Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie Actress (Emma Watson)
  • Favorite Movie

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards – Sierra Awards

  • Best Family Film
  • Best Visual Effects

Max Movie Awards, South Korea

  • Best Trailer

Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA – Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing – Music in a Feature Film
  • Best Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Villain (Tom Felton)
  • Best Movie
  • Best Male Performance (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Female Performance (Emma Watson)
  • Best Kiss (Emma Watson & Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Best Fight (Harry, Hermione and Ron vs. the Death Eaters)

National Movie Awards, UK

  • Performance of the Year (Rupert Grint)
  • Performance of the Year (Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Performance of the Year (Emma Watson)

Online Film & Television Association

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Visual Effects

Park City Film Music Festival

  • Distinguished Artist Award

People’s Choice Awards, USA

  • Favorite Movie Fan Following (Potterheads)

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Visual Effects

Russian National Movie Awards – Georges Awards

  • Best Foreign Action Movie

San Diego Film Critics Society Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design

Satellite Awards

  • Best Youth DVD (Harry Potter: The Complete 8 Film Collection)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score

St. Louis Film Critics Association, US Awards

  • Best Visual Effects
  • Special Merit (for best scene, cinematic technique or other memorable aspect or moment) (Emma Watson for the “obliviate” scene which Hermione (“Emma Watson”) erases her parents memories of her

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • Choice Movie Villain (Tom Felton)
  • Choice Movie Liplock (Emma Watson & Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Choice Movie Actress: Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Emma Watson)
  • Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Daniel Radcliffe)

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture (Dobby)
  • Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
  • Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture (Kreacher)

Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Art Direction

World Soundtrack Awards

  • Soundtrack Composer of the Year




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