Rashid Irani's review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
It's an extended last hurrah. Nine years (and six blockbusters) after they enrolled at the medieval school of magic and witchcraft, the adventures of everyone's favourite young wizards draw toward a cliffhanger climax.movie reviews Updated: Nov 20, 2010 11:35 IST
Quite a Potterpourri
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
Direction: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson
Rating: *** & 1/2
It's an extended last hurrah. Nine years (and six blockbusters) after they enrolled at the medieval school of magic and witchcraft, the adventures of everyone's favourite young wizards draw toward a cliffhanger climax.
Filmed back-to-back, the final volume of JK Rowling's saga has been split into two films with Part 2 slated for release in July 2011.
Meanwhile, a lot has changed for Harry Potter's seventh go-round. Our little big heroes are not going off to school this semester, preferring instead to pursue their noble quest even without the guidance of their magical instructors. The wizened headmaster is dead and the ministry of magic is now controlled by minions of the snake-nostrilled dark lord (Ralph Fiennes, sinister as ever).
Relying on one another more than ever before, it's up to the bespectacled Harry (Radcliffe) and his two supportive buddies (Watson-Rupert Grint) to obliterate the forces of evil. They must find and destroy a couple of artifacts that contain the secret to their arch-nemesis' invincibility.
On his third Potter flick in a row, director Yates displays some wizardry of his own while narrating one of the more complex installments of the series.
The camera swoops across wondrous landscapes and locations, but the mood is more spooky and fearsome, what with a python and lethal vaporous formations constantly terrifying the braveheart trio.
A particularly impressive scene illustrates the legend of the titular Hallows somewhat in the manner of Lotte Reiniger's pioneering silhouette animation.
Along the way, loyalties are tested, hostilities simmer and tears are shed for the death of a tiny, lovable ally.
As always, scenes are stolen by the reliable regulars Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter and Imelda Staunton.
Among the additions to the cast, British stalwart Bill Nighy is a standout in the all-too-brief role of the new minister of magic. His speech at the outset is eerily effective. The three leads, Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, embody their roles to perfection.
The two-and-a-half hours running time, however, could be a stumbling block. Also, there are some feeble attempts at humour such as the sequence where the threesome drug and impersonate employees of the ministry of magic.
Still, there's no denying that legions of fans will be giddily anticipating the final part of the formidable franchise.
Way to go, Harry Potter.