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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (****)
directed by David Yates
written by Steve Kloves, from the novel by J.K. Rowling
Principal Cast
Bill Nighy -- Rufus Scrimgeour
Emma Watson -- Hermione Granger
Richard Griffiths -- Vernon Dursley
Harry Melling -- Dudley Dursley
Daniel Radcliffe -- Harry Potter
Julie Walters -- Molly Weasley
Bonnie Wright -- Ginny Weasley
Rupert Grint -- Ron Weasley
Ian Kelly -- Hermione's Dad
Michelle Fairley -- Hermione's Mum
Fiona Shaw -- Petunia Dursley
Alan Rickman -- Professor Severus Snape
Carolyn Pickles -- Charity Burbage
Ralph Fiennes -- Lord Voldemort
Helena Bonham Carter -- Bellatrix Lestrange
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 I've seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 twice now, and enjoyed it more the second time than the first. The action sequences, of which there are many, are not as exciting as those in, for example, Unstoppable, the runaway train film currently in theaters, and this keeps Deathly Hallows from being of the very first rank; it isn't up there with Star Wars, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or The Lord of the Rings. But it is extremely good -- as good a movie as we get in most years. It is the characters, not the action, that make the movie.

There is too much plot, and this almost three-hour-long movie is only the first half of the story. Even so, some parts were hard for me to follow -- hence the greater enjoyment on the second viewing, where I caught information I'd missed the first time out. There are still things I'll have to reread the books to understand. How did the sword come to be in the exact place Hermione chose to camp? Why did Ron say there were only three more horcruxes? I thought there were four more. Yes, rereading the books is a priority. But I think I'll wait for the last film before I start.

Deathly Hallows isn't the longest book in the series; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is more than a hundred pages longer -- but Order of the Phoenix was the shortest movie and the only movie in the series not written by Steve Kloves. It left out a lot. I am glad they broke Deathly Hallows into two parts. The ending of Part 1 feels like an ending -- enough happens at the very end that the film doesn't feel unfinished. I do worry that director David Yates, who is better at little details than at big set pieces, doesn't have what it takes to knock the last film out of the ball park.

All in all, I enjoyed the earlier, light-hearted movies more. But I love the books, and I am glad the films are treating them with respect.

Copyright © 2010 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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