Harry Potter 7: Darkness Before the Light
Yet another Harry Potter movie has descended upon the moviegoers of the world. Remarkably, but not surprisingly, the seventh installment to the franchise has managed to out earn the previous six episodes. In just one weekend; according to sources such as Box Office Mojo, the film has already made over $125 million in the United States alone, breaking the franchises own records for opening weekend earnings.
At any rate, this is not about how well the movie is doing, but the film itself and my response to it.
For the record, I agree with the overall consensus that Harry Potter Seven is dark because of the looming shadow that is Voldermort and his fearsome Death Eaters who seek to oppress and destroy those who stand in their way. Although there is a sense of almost overwhelming doom throughout the story, there are moments of humor and blissful reverie contrasted by the muggle murders, and disappearances of half breeds. One of which is a very sweet, tender moment between Harry and Ginny-a stark opposite to the heart wrenching trials our hero is about to endure.
For most of the film, Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione are on the run from Voldemort’s followers, while at the same time they decide to hunt for and destroy the remaining horcruxes. The trio manages to commandeer the third horcrux through a brilliant infiltration of the Ministry of Magic now under Voldemort’s control. This particular part of the adventure provides much of the humor in the movie as the three literally take on the likenesses of adults who work at the Ministry. Once they have hold of the small, but ominous charm, our would be heroes soon discover that the cursed item has an affect on each of them as they wear it- not unlike a certain ring in another popular film franchise-causing each of them to experience anger or depression to a heightened degree. Thus, they hasten to find how the item can be destroyed.
Overall, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is very well put together and does an amazing job setting the stage for part 2. It is akin to the first act of a tragic play, or the first few chapters in a masterfully written novel. Whether you have read all of the books or have only watched the movies, Deathly Hallows Part 1 will have you on pins and needles waiting for the ultimate outcome after seeing the last scene. Surely, the darkness before the light.
I enjoyed the film because it gripped me from the beginning and once again brought me entirely into Harry Potter’s world as it teeters on the edge of a dark abyss. I felt for Hermione, Harry and Ron as they battled the odds, barely escaping death time and again only to watch as others perish around them. For me, Deathly Hallows Part 1 only proves that the story of Harry Potter is as intricately crafted as a tapestry on a wall to be admired for years to come.
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ahhhh….seing it in 4 hours and cant effing wait!
I cannot believe it did that well on the first weekend! Very impressive. I look forward to seeing the movie soon. Thanks for the review!
I haven’t had a chance to see it yet… surprisingly seeing as how I waited in line at midnight for the final book. To quote Ron Weasley… I know its going to be wicked!
I agree!! Critics were not giving it the praise it deserves. I thought it was the best movie of the bunch so far, and I saw it three times this weekend! I’m glad to read such a positive review!
Congrats on Freshly Pressed.
Thank you for reading!! 🙂 And thank you for the congratulations.
Looking forward to taking the kids to see it this week — dark though it may be! 🙂
I loved it and thought it not only a fun and entertaining movie, but a well-directed/acted film. I can’t wait for Part 2.
Great review.. haven’t seen it yet but looking forward to it.
great synopsis. I was enthralled as well. I love the development of the movies over time.
great series. great scott.
Yeah I loved the film too. It’s amazing how JK was able to have so many twists and turns in the story as well as so many subplots throughout the entire “Happy Potter” series. Great review. Thanks.
Good luck 2 Harry Potter in the cinemas.
This has made me really excited to be seeing it this coming friday! thanks for the insight and definitely hope it’s as good as you’ve described it 🙂
I was very sad and disappointed how the storyline ended.
Good review, and cool to see what others think of the movie. You might want to stop by my blog, because I also wrote a review on Deathly Hallows. Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed, by the way!
So, I could read the book again and skip the movie? I didn’t see anything in your review that spoke to the unique value of the movie.
As an example, I’ve heard a lot about how Part I is dark and pretty much solely a vehicle for Part 2. Saw that in your review, too. But then the question I have to ask is, ‘so what?’ Can you give me a sense of how the character development was treated? How was the acting? Any major departures from the book? How did Radcliffe handle the torment and angst of his role as savior without his familiar crutch (i.e., Dumbledore)?
You know what? You’re right, I failed to mention any of those things. One thing I did notice is that the actors have become very comfortable in their roles. After all, they have been playing them for over a decade. At the very least they were believable. I would have to say also, that it was odd for Dumbledore to not be there and the film certainly takes advantage of his absence. Unfortunately, I am one of the many who did not start reading the books until well after the movies had come out and felt that it would be better if I could view the films with unbiased eyes. There is a sense in the film that Harry’s inevitable confrontation with Voldemort looms heavily over him as does his role as “the chosen one”. If I were to compare, the character of Harry Potter is not unlike the arch typical hero that is unaware of his own potential and must rise to the occasion, which makes Ron, Hermione and all the others the foundation he will need to accomplish this.
I personally noticed a lack of this awareness of his own role in Harry/Radcliffe that you say you saw clearly in his act. While I was thoroughly enjoying Watson’s and Grint’s performances, I felt Radcliffe’s acting mediocre. Although there were several moments where it was better than usual.
Mike, as someone who has read all the books and seen all the movies, including this installment, I would absolutely recommend seeing DH Part I. Having read the books, you will notice that the film was remarkably well put together. I believe this is the most faithful of the recent HP movies, which is remarkable considering the vast amount of material it needed to cover even to constitute half of Deathly Hallows. It is dark, but so was the book, and there are several light-hearted scenes interspersed throughout, so while it’s definitely not an upbeat movie, you’re not wallowing in despair every second, either.
I was a bit concerned about the acting going in, but I was favorably impressed with the acting for the most part. Radcliffe and Watson in particular were outstanding, especially during a critical interval in which the pair carry the film — there are a couple brief moments between Harry/Hermione that are original to the movie, while really respecting the spirit of the books. Of the three, I feel Watson was the real standout, and maybe Grint was comparatively the weakest, as Ron. I thought Radcliffe did well, but if he seemed a little off without Dumbledore, I suppose I gave him the benefit of the doubt with the consideration that *Harry* was a little lost without Dumbledore. You will certainly notice that the film is overwhelmingly centered upon the trio, and you may miss familiar faces of adults in the Order and Hogwarts, but that is fairly consistent with the book. One element of the book I did miss was the “Underground” network on the radio — the radio is relatively central, but the twins’ underground programming supporting the Order/Harry really gave me the sense of a real resistance in the book, and I hope to see that in Part 2. Also, don’t expect to receive the same amount of backstory on Dumbledore and the Potters, though that may come later. You do get plenty of info to follow the Horcrux/Deathly Hallows plot.
Overall, the BIGGEST criticism I’ve seen of Part 1 is that it feels “incomplete,” or just a “set up” for the next film. Well, of course it does – that’s what it is. But it is also remarkably well done, for what it is. The momentum is perfect — I intentionally didn’t read up on where it would end, and found the film had a nice flow. An HP fan – or someone who appreciates an effective film adaptation or franchise — will not feel the movie is too long, but rather be immediately ready to start on the next. The “incomplete”-ness can’t be helped; it’s much, much better than cramming the whole novel into one movie.
FINALLY, Emma Watson said in an interview that there was a huge awareness on set of the significance of the final two installments and the weight of the dedicated readers and HP fans, and because of that there was an overwhelming feeling that every single person, regardless of his or her job, was absolutely giving 100% to the production at all times — and you can really, truly tell, just watching the movie in the theater. They really gave their all to this project, and that’s one of the most important things I think can be said of the movie.
(sorry it was so long, didn’t mean to hijack the comments section — congrats on FreshlyPressed, by the way – I really liked your post, but thought I’d also address some of the other good questions raised here)
Thank you, I am glad you liked my post. I enjoyed your comment and thought you made some very good observations of the actors’ performances.
I agree with you Jonn — this flick was dark and depressing. For those HP movie fans, who have not read the books, I am sure they must be feeling especially lost and fearful for Harry and his crew. At least those of us who have read the books know not to despair. Thanks for the great review!
Thank you for all the positive feedback. This really is a great movie. I was very pleasantly surprised to see so many views of this post. Again, thank you all for reading.
I’m a new Harry Potter fan. I can’t wait to see Deathly Hallows.
Oh, this post got me SO much more excited to see the film! I really hope I can get to it this week….how’s the musical score in comparison with all of the others?
Gosh! The movie was so good, I barely noticed the score. To me, this is a good thing because a good score should enhance each scene and blend well enough that it is that barely detectable presence within the scene that just seems to heighten the tension or sweep you off your feet.
Yes, the soundtrack works very well with the plot – it is just very different from the earlier films. But so is the mood of this part.
Did you read the books? The film struck me as a love letter, of sorts, to the original book fans. I’m curious how someone who is only familiar with the story through the films perceived it.
I have read the first two books so far-I only started on them last year-since then I have watched Sorcerers Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Like the Lord of The Rings Trilogy-which I have both watched and read-the movies only enhance my love of the books and vice versa. Not to say that I like the books better, but that the films have been done well enough that despite certain parts of the books that could not be put in, each film has been a very close representation of each book.
I went to the 3am showing on opening night, and I have to say, I thought it was the best one thus far. I think as Harry has grown and matured, Rowling’s writing has paralleled. The plot has gotten darker, yes, but that is a good thing! You can see it, obviously, in the movies as well. It’s no longer just cute little kids in robes who, let’s be honest, can’t really act. The actors have grown into their roles and the plot has gotten more intricate, so it makes for a better film.
I enjoyed your review. Very nice. Keep it up!
Best Potter movie yet by far. The books are still better but I really liked this movie. Also, seeing it the night of the premiere helped improving the atmosphere.
Just been to see it – thought it was absolutely incredible. Easily the best HP so far, and exactly how I imagined it in my head. Great review x
Don’t judge me, but I can hardly talk about Harry Potter calmly
oh my gaaaaaaawd x]
I’m not an obsessed fan girl I’m just really excited. I’m going to see it this week. Everyone who seen it says it was really good. Ever since I saw the trailer I was expecting to yell at the screan that a detail is all wrong and storm out the movie theater…..right before coming back to see what happens lol
Don’t worry, no judgment here. Thanks for reading by the way 🙂
This film is the reason I love fantasy. Fantasy uses fictional characters to heighten the light and dark in our own world. This film showed the hate, the pain, the loss. But hope, friendship, and love are at the light at the end of the tunnel .
I have only watch the sneak peak (36 min version ) of the film and i think it was nice though it differ in some parts of the book..
I have to say that this was probably the movie which I liked most because it managed to stay almost perfectly true to the book. The chase scene in the beginning was pretty dramatic and the scenes within the Muggle world were well put.
However, I wished that Harry had had an obsession with the Hallows before the Malfoy Manor incident. It would have had more impact that way.
Yes, I, too, found the topic of the Deathly Hallows themselves rather neglected in the film. It came as a pretty big drawback on the film atmosphere in general. But everything apart from it was great. And aesthetic, which I couldn’t say about Harry Potter films ‘5 and ‘6.
OMG! I watched it like 2 days ago and it was so good! But it’s annoying too. Why? Because we see Voldemort do some random spell with the Elder Wand (lightning thingyamabob) and then it abruptly ends. That is the most annoying part in the movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀
Yes. Cliffhangers can be frustrating. Especially those kind.
I agree, the ending was sort of bad, but at least they didn’t end right after they beach scene (with Dobby)…
Great overview of the new HP movie!
I’ll probably wait for it’s debut on cable.. not too amped to pay for it 😉
These “later” HPs are so dark that I almost would not classify them as “Children’s movies” anymore- at times I am amazed they have been getting away with the PG rating (have not seen this latest one yet) what they do fabulously are the trailers- always gives me chills…
I love Emma Watson more than the character Hermione.
I really enjoyed reading and watching Harry Potter all the time. It’s a great fiction movie, because every time I watch it, for me the effects looks real, good setting, cool soundtracks, nice story and especially great characters. Whew! Awesome! Deathly Hallows part 1 was great too. Cool! I’m so excited to watch Deathly Hallows part 2.
Thanks for this review… The dark and smoky effects setting of Harry Potter is fit to every scene of the movie-highlighted the ruling part of the evil side in the story. Also, good mix of sound and visual effects, it can make a thrilling and suspense feeling to the movie goers. On the other side when it comes to characters, all of them are fit on their role: they execute well what is the identity of a real sorcerer. Like other movie impressive cinematography and production design, all that I can say is nice job for the director Mr. David Yates. I believe that many children as well as young people want to see this finale story of Harry Potter. Maybe this season this will be one of the award winning movie. Well let’s find out! In addition this movie is not just an ordinary, it has an implied lesson that the evil one cannot win over the good. Just try to relate the movie in our real life. Although this is a sci-fi movie we don’t realize that sometimes in our real life we’re also like Harry Potter, we fight for what we think is right!
By far the weakest Potter film. Yes it was dark and a bit moody, but it lacked excitement and degenerated into Star Wars or Cowboys and Indians with wands.
i like the conclusion you have given the movie.. A lot of people didn’t like the last two parts because they have been much more serious and not at all very “gift bearing” . i do hope the next one reaches epic proportions!
I thought this was a joke: Harry Potter 7.
Why are these films still being made?!? Shouldn’t Harry be in college or married with a baby on the way by now?
(confused) Why must this go on?
Congrats on being freshly pressed though.
I enjoyed your review and thought the 7th movie was VERY well-done. It managed to frighten me and leave me with a sense of the truly overwhelming doom you mentioned… it’s how you really do feel as you read the story. Knowing what was going to happen only made the movie that much more suspensful to me.
I absolutely loved the movie. I have read all the books and have seen the other movies multiple times. I felt that DH part 1 finally got the opportunity to take time for creativity instead of rushing to the final climax. The photography was beautifully directed. And I realized that because I wasn’t being visually rushed through to the end I was able to get even more attached to the characters. I also noticed that Emma Watson’s acting drastically improved, so kudos to her! One thing the viewer must remember that this movie is only part of a whole so you will be left with wanting more at the end which is a plus in my opinion.
I’m excited about the new movie too, but I don’t know when I will be getting to see it. I’ve heard it was really good from one of the girls who saw it at my work, so I will check it out soon.
I didn’t have much hopes on David Yates after the Half-blood prince but I guess this time he has done something good.
‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ definitely did have me on “pins and needles” right to the very end ! It definitely did not disappoint fans either. However, whilst watching the touching and depressing scene of Dobby’s death, fellow moviegoers were laughing during the session I was in! I was outraged! Haha!
Nice review. I agree with you, this is a gripping film. I didn’t know where it would leave off, but I wanted it to keep on going as long as it could.
I really loved what you had to say about the film, mostly because I completely agree. Thank you for writing this!
Hi. I really enjoyed your review and pretty much agree completely with you. Very much looking forward to Part 2 now. So much so that I’m rewatching and rereading everything that has gone before! Excellent post, I enjoyed reading it.
Nice movie. I love Harry Potter’s all series.
Just wanted to thank you for linking to my blog. It is much appreciated.