tek's rating:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - part 1 (PG-13)
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Caution: spoilers!

Well, we're into the home stretch, here. This is the seventh of eight movies in the series, based on the first half of the final book (which I remind you, I haven't read yet). It begins with the new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy), giving a speech about living in dark times, but the Ministry still being strong and standing against the forces of evil, or whatever. Then there are some brief scenes of Harry, Hermione, and to a lesser extent, Ron. Harry is left alone when the Dursleys leave, since it's no longer safe for them in their home. Meanwhile, Hermione casts a spell to erase her parents' memory of her, and all trace of her existence. (Though I can't help but think the photos she's been erased from look weird without her, which should raise anyone's suspicions that something's amiss... but whatevs.)

Then, after the opening title, Severus Snape arrives at a meeting of Voldemort and a bunch of Death Eaters (certainly more than we've seen before). Snape informs Voldemort that Harry Potter is going to be moved to a safe location by the Order of the Phoenix earlier than another of the Death Eaters had said he'd heard that would happen. So, they'll have to move up their plan to attack Harry. Also, Voldemort takes Lucius Malfoy's wand, since his own wand and Harry's have some connection that makes them incapable of killing each other. (I suppose it wouldn't even occur to him to kill Harry by some non-magical means, or maybe he'd simply find the thought... unthinkable.) Anyway, the Order does take Harry to safety, but they're pursued by Death Eaters, and the good guys suffer some losses, during their desperate flight.

Later, Scrimgeour delivers items to Harry, Ron, and Hermione that Dumbledore had bequeathed to them in his will. (Oh yeah, I didn't mention in my previous review that Dumbledore was killed by Snape.) Harry gets the first Golden Snitch he'd caught in a Quidditch match. (I have no idea how that would be useful, but I look forward to finding out.) Ron gets Dumbledore's Deluminator (which we'd seen at the start of the first movie). And Hermione gets a book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." The Minister also says Dumbledore bequeathed Harry a second item, the Sword of Gryffindor. He says it wasn't Dumbledore's property to bequeath, but in any event, it's gone missing. (That definitely sounds like something that'll become important later on, doesn't it?) Well, Harry is eager to set off on his quest to find and destroy the remaining horcruxes, but first there is a wedding between eldest Weasley brother Bill, and Fleur Delacour (whom we met in the fourth movie). Death Eaters then attack the reception, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione go on the run. Um... lots of things happen, and I don't want to spoil all the details. But the Death Eaters take control of Hogwarts, and the Ministry, I guess. (Wikipedia's plot recap mentions Scrimgeour being killed, and Voledmort replacing him with a puppet Minister, but I don't remember any of that.) And our heroes have to steal a locket (the next horcrux) from Dolores Umbridge. (Later on, the locket seems to affect anyone who wears it in a way I found reminiscent of how the One Ring affected the mental states of its bearers in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.)

Eventually, our heroes obtain the Sword of Gryffindor, which can destroy horcruxes. But at one point, Harry's wand gets broken. Ron later gives him a replacement wand. And they all go to see Luna's father, Xenophilius Lovegood (Rhys Ifans). He explains a symbol they keep seeing, the Sign of the Deathly Hallows. It has to do with three items from a story in Hermione's book: the elder wand, the resurrection stone, and the cloak of invisibility. (Which makes me wonder if Harry's cloak is the cloak. I suppose time will tell.) But when the trio try to leave, Xenophilius tries to stop them, because Death Eaters had kidnapped Luna, and he's being forced to turn them over in exchange for her. They manage to escape, but are later captured by Snatchers, who take them to Malfoy Manor, where Bellatrix puts Harry and Ron in a dungeon. There they find Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook the goblin. Meanwhile, Bellatrix tortures Hermione for information. Dobby the elf then appears in the dungeon, and helps everyone escape. Then... something tragic happens that I don't want to spoil. And the movie ends with Voldemort robbing Dumbledore's grave, and apparently obtaining the elder wand.

Yeah... it seems like I've given away virtually all the major plot points, but trust me, I've left out plenty of details. You know, the kind of things that make movies fun to watch. Anyway, all this is really just the first half of the final chapter of the saga. I must say, on its own I found it reasonably entertaining, but not quite as much as I'd hoped. But I expect that as part of the whole chapter, it will turn out to be more satisfying. So now I'm quite looking forward to the final movie....


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