Today I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
This movie was exactly what I expected—a faithful re-telling of the not-so-exciting portions of the final book in the Harry Potter series, sprinkled with enough charm to keep things interesting.
When this section of the story begins, Harry (Radcliffe) is by tradition leaving his aunt and uncle's house. Each book began this way with the young wizard heading off to Hogwarts for another year of school, but this final one has a twist: Harry is instead escaping to a safe house to elude the ever-so-evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).
In the first chuckle-worthy scene in the film, a spell is cast on several of Harry's friends who have agreed to be turned into a replica of his likeness to throw the death eaters off the scent. Radcliffe shines, taking on the mannerisms of most of them while remaining in his own 'skin.'
Of course, he does survive this stunt, but that set-up launches the audience into over two hours of provoking, then escaping, only to provoke again.
Harry is naturally accompanied into this war by his two best friends, Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), who are preoccupied with their own chemistry, yet loyal to a fault.
It's difficult to squeeze even half of a book into a full-length film, but after a few meaningful scenes about the relationships between these three friends, I found myself wishing for more.
Sure, it's fun to see Helena Bonham Carter's Bellatrix throwing things around, and it's nice to see Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) squirm instead of smirk, but the genuine camaraderie between the three lead actors is such a pleasure, I hope the final chapter devotes more time to their bond.
As for this installment, I thought it was appropriately dark and full of exposition, and I nearly went to pieces at the culmination of Dobby's big sacrifice. If ever the lesser class had a greater hero!