Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour
Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood
Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge
Peter Mullan as Yaxley
Toby Jones as Dobby (voice)
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid
Brendan Gleeson as Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody
Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape
Fiona Shaw as Petunia Dursley
Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley
Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley
Julie Walters as Molly Weasley
Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley
Ian Kelly as Hermione's Dad
Michelle Fairley as Hermione's Mum
Carolyn Pickles as Charity Burbage
Helen McCrory as Narcissa Malfoy
Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Timothy Spall as Wormtail
James Phelps as Fred Weasley
Oliver Phelps as George Weasley
Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley
George Harris as Kingsley Shacklebolt
Andy Linden as Mundungus Fletcher
Domhnall Gleeson as Bill Weasley
Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour
Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks
David Thewlis as Remus Lupin
John Hurt as Ollivander
Frances de la Tour as Madame Maxime
Simon McBurney as Kreacher (voice)
Rade Serbedzija as Gregorovitch
Jamie Campbell Bower as Gellert Grindelwald
Hazel Douglas as Bathilda Bagshot
Adrian Rawlins as James Potter
Geraldine Somerville as Lily Potter
Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter
Michael Byrne as Gellert Grindelwald
Dave Legeno as Fenrir Greyback
Warwick Davis as Griphook

Directed by David Yates

Special Features:
Prepare For Final Battle as Cast and Crew Lead an Interactive Journey to Ready You for the Monumental Last Stand Against Ultimate Evil - All as You Watch the Movie!

The Seven Harrys: See How Daniel Radcliffe Re-created the Personalities of the Multiple Harrys in the Privet Drive Scene.

On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James: Join Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), and Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) for a Round of Golf and a Glimpse into Their 10-Year Friendship.

Dan, Rupert and Emma's Running Competition.

Additional Scenes

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 146 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Harry, Ron and Hermoine set out to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort's power - the Horcruxes. On their own and on the run, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever...but Dark Forces threaten to tear them apart."

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" is rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.

The Movie:
As a fan of both the books and the movies, I think "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" did a lot right. One of the more notable things, to me, was how they merged the real world with the wizard world. We have a broomstick chase through the middle of London freeways, tunnels, and power lines. We have a wand battle in the middle of a diner that was as good as any shootout in a cop movie. We have Harry, Hermione, and Ron hiding out and blending in among the crowds in London. This helps make the fantasy world more real and also makes the stakes seem a lot higher as humans come under the threat of Voldemort, too.

This Harry Potter movie also had some very memorable scenes. Besides the aforementioned spectacular chase scenes, we get a funny and tense scene when Harry & Co. infiltrate the Ministry of Magic in disguise. David O'Hara and others take over the roles of our heroes and deliver some of the funniest moments in the series as they face their mortal enemies in an office environment. Also memorable is a scene where all of our heroes transform themselves into copies of Harry Potter in order to fool the Death Eaters. It's technically impressive due to the visual effects while also being artistically impressive as Daniel Radcliffe must play all of the characters playing him. Also memorable is the animated fairy tale about the Deathly Hallows. It is beautifully animated and the silhouette look combined with impressive character design is extraordinary.

The movie also featured some really strong performances by all of the cast. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson are excellent as usual. They really played up the love triangle between the three in a way reminiscent of Han, Luke, and Leia in "Star Wars." Even though most audiences knew how it would end, there were moments where there was a lot of romantic tension between Harry and Hermione. It was well played. Another standout among the cast is Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. She really lets loose this time around and perfectly embodies the psychosis and rage of the Death Eaters. Her scene torturing Hermione is incredibly intense.

On the negative side, the pacing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" grinds to a halt as there are a lot of long, slow, dark, depressing scenes of our heroes on the run and camping in the wilderness. At these points the movie gets rather dull and I started to think that if they trimmed these scenes down, they could have reduced the excessively long running time down a bit. In fact they might have been able to decrease it from two movies to one. But there are obvious business reasons why they'd want to drag this book out into two movies.

This movie is also geared towards more adult audiences I think. Some of the scenes are quite scary, notably a scene with a giant snake attacking Harry Potter. Also on the more adult side is a vision Ron has of a naked Hermione and Harry standing together taunting him. Sure, it's a nightmare sequence and it doesn't show anything, but it's a little surprising if you're a parent showing it to kids under 10.

Finally, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" ends on a cliffhanger moment that leaves audiences feeling somewhat unsatisfied. By the end of this movie the characters haven't progressed much from the situation they were in at the beginning of the movie.

Overall "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" is a good movie and while it may not satisfy younger or more impatient viewers, it's a well made chapter in the saga.

The Extras:
This Blu-ray delivers on every other front. You can watch this in 'Movie Mode.' Jason Isaacs hosts you as the movie plays and you're treated to commentary, stills, and behind the scenes footage. The movie will also occasionally kick off into a side video covering a variety of topics. You'll see footage about Warwick Davis and his goblin makeup, shots of the broomstick chase, the set decorations, and more. I'm personally not a big fan of the Movie Mode because I like to watch the bonus features separately, but this is a very interesting look at the making of the movie. And you actually are able to watch a few of the featurettes separate from Movie Mode.

Also included are a few stand-alone featurettes. "The Seven Harrys" shows how they accomplished the transformation scene in the movie. I was impressed with how Radcliffe imitated his costars performances and you start to appreciate what it took technically to pull it off. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1: Behind the Soundtrack" is kind of self-explanatory. The Additional Scenes are quite good. One scene shows Dudley actually walking up to Harry and making amends with him before the Dursleys left their house and went into hiding. (I personally thought this was a great scene and wish it hadn't been cut because it showed there was some hope for the future and that Dudley redeemed himself.) Another scene shows one of the Death Eaters showing up at Hermione's vacant house, thus showing she actually saved her parents' lives by wiping their memories and hiding them. There were a few other remarkable scenes, but you get the idea. There was so much stuff from the book, they had a lot of good stuff to cut from the movie for the sake of pacing and running time.

There are a few other more unconventional bonus features. "On the Green with Rupert, Tom, Oliver, and James" shows the cast members playing golf while reminiscing about shooting the movie. "Dan, Rupert and Emma's Running Competition" shows a competition the three leads had as they shot a chase scene in the woods. There is also a first look at a scene from "Part 2," but that was omitted from the special features disc we received for security purposes.

Rounding out the bonus features is a look at the star-studded opening of the Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios in Orlando. We're booking our trip already!

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