Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I: Forests, Fantasy and Fur Elise?!

The hype and over-anticipated nature of cult films such as ‘Harry Potter’ is often over-exaggerated, and the end result does not deliver quite as much as expected. However, ‘Harry Potter […]

The hype and over-anticipated nature of cult films such as ‘Harry Potter’ is often over-exaggerated, and the end result does not deliver quite as much as expected. However, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I’ did not disappoint. It was undoubtedly gripping. From the moment the trademark music began to the annoyingly abrupt ending, my eyes did not leave the screen.

This inevitably raises the question of what exactly it was which managed to achieve such utter engagement among cinema audiences.  Most probably, the diversity.  The mix of humorous one-liners, emotional reflections and pulse-racing action all made for an extremely intense two and a half hours. Intense, to the point of near heart-attack for many! Thoroughly enjoyable as the film was, I can’t help wondering whether these devices are simply director David Yates’ way of seeking easy, somewhat deceiving thrills.

‘This’ll be something to tell the kids’ quips Ron Weasley whilst he, Harry and Hermione flee the Ministry of Magic after their polyjuice potion begins to wear off, resulting in cries of ‘Harry Potter! Look it’s Harry Potter!’ from the various workers.

Steve Kloves’ script certainly succeeds in injecting humour into what would otherwise be terrifying, treacherous and often hopeless situations, ingeniously targeting both children and adults alike. Incongruity is the main source of humour: Harry sits darkly philosophising, contemplating the next perilous step in the search for Horcruxes, whilst Hermione teaches a struggling Ron how to play ‘Fur Elise’ on the piano. Sheer comedy brilliance. Harry and the gang move from one danger to the next, pausing only to put up their tent, cast a few protective charms and have the occasional emotional outburst.

Emotion is dealt with in an original manner to say the least. The romance between Harry and Ginny flounders as ever, with a rather unexpected moment where she asks him to do up her dress, invoking various sly remarks and whistles from the cinema audience.  The supposed lovebirds then proceed to have yet another totally unbelievable kiss which barely begins before it is interrupted by George’s presence in the kitchen. I have to admit, for a 12A film the lack of seduction was a tad disappointing.

However, there are plenty of brooding monologues set to classically heart-wrenching Hollywood music to make up for it. Particularly notable is Hermione’s consuming misery at Ron’s decision to desert the Horcrux expedition, which Harry then rectifies by leading her in dance…Not the most conventional approach for tackling such a sentiment it has to be said, although it seems to work and she is soon smiling again, most probably inwardly cringing at Harry’s methods. No wonder the progression is slow with Ginny if this is how he deals with female sentiments!

Emma Watson certainly dominates the action, playing Hermione with soul and vigour. As always, Hermione provides the brains behind the adventure. Her bravery and forward thinking is awe-inspiringly brilliant, though does seem to belittle Harry somewhat. He often appears emotionally weak, reliant on Hermione for reassurance, ideas, and even a haircut! Not Daniel Radcliffe’s best performance, but teenage girls across the globe will certainly appreciate the moment where he strips to his boxers and jumps into icy water to retrieve the cherished sword of Godric Griffyndor!

My final verdict? Exciting, enthralling, although slightly imbalanced emotionally.  Nevertheless, this is definitely a film worth watching. Bring on part two!