The Harry Potter film francise sets itself apart by having the unique ability of living up to readers' expectations. The first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was no exception.
I spent Saturday re-reading Book 7, before I went to see the movie on Sunday. While I had originally intended to stop after the scene which closed the movie, I couldn't help myself and read all 700+ pages (for the 3rd time). What an amazing book. Yet, it was very different from the others, and this was translated well into the movie.
Each book, and each movie, gets darker, more intense, and has more plot than action. And the action is no longer Quiddich games and Troll boogies, some of our favorite characters are being killed. The plot in Harry Potter and the Deatlhy Hallows is heavy, and full of details and deeper meanings which are reflections from the earlier installments, but not so intricate that one might not be able to follow along. This could make for a slower film for some moviegoers, but the filmmakers did a wonderful job at moving the plot along, even though they may have skipped some minor details that may have been too troublesome to shoot - for example, Harry, Hermione and Ron used the Invisiblity Cloak much more in the book than the movie. In fact, I don't recall the cloak coming out in the movie at all, yet I felt they spent most of the book hiding beneath it.
Even though the movie was intense, there were a few one-liners - mostly delivered by Weasleys - that kept some of the more intense scenes from bringing us down too far. There was one line that completely fell flat - mostly because I don't think anyone wanted to see Daniel Radcliff in a lace bra. Other than that, I found myself chuckling at all the right parts.
I can't talk about right parts without talking about one wrong part. I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone, but there was one addition to the movie that was not originally in the book. The motivation behind the scene was confusing, and we had one teenage girl who simply yelled out, "WHAT?!?" And the rest of us chuckled, because we all felt the same way. What WAS that scene?!? It didn't belong.
The only other thing I didn't like about the movie? Not being able to see Part II NOW! I think the end of part one was clear when reading the book. There is definitely a shift in tone, pace and emotion, so I am happy with where they chose to make the break.
A word on the cast. Many readers who fell in love with these books as children have grown up with this cast, and I feel they all delivered their best once again. The friendship among Harry, Ron and Hermoine is so natural at this point, and Daniel Radcliff, despite the bra scene, is serious without pulling faces or becoming over affected. The Dracos were especially brilliant, and Alan Rickman is always genius as Snape.
It's no secret, I am a huge fan of Harry Potter - the books and the movies. I must attribute the films' success to the writing of J.K. Rowling. She sets such a vivid scene in her books that normally would have different images for different readers, but somehow we all manage to come up with similar images, which are then translated to the big screen. Bravo to the filmmakers for staying true to the vision, but I extend a deep bow of gratitude to Ms. Rowling who gifted us the most beloved children's series of our time.
In short, I loved the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and can't wait to see Part II.