We find ourselves in the final stretch of the Harry Potter saga with part 1 of the final film. Yes, part 1, something that was started with this franchise and taken way too far in other franchises like The Hunger Games. While I can see where a part 1 and part 2 can work, I don’t feel like it’s something entirely necessary or useful especially when the book was never meant to be two parts. Also especially when the last book isn’t even the longest of the series so warrants less of a reason to be split up over two movies. It can be done well though when the intent is there to specifically tell a story over two movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. When going into watching this one, I was coming off of liking the ending very much to The Half-Blood Prince, so I had fairly high hopes for what part 1 had to offer. I did however have the feeling that part one wasn’t going to be as exciting due to it likely trying to set up the grand finale in part 2. Either way, my first viewing of it was sad for reasons and I quite enjoyed it, this time though, my feelings changed.
Part 1, is an overblown and overlong movie that should never have been anything more than 45 minutes at the most. While there are many things that happen that actually give the movie some depth and makes it feel like it actually has a good story to tell of two hours and twenty minutes, it actually doesn’t. There are a lot of scenes that nothing really happens and it tries to sit too long on many scenes just to make the time. The problem is that, there is clearly a sense of this movie being a bit longer of a story to tell that may feel like it should be split in two movies, but it just doesn’t have enough substance in the first film. It’s the one movie that feels most separated from the rest of the series despite being very much involved with the lore of the wizarding world. It’s the lore that makes this movie worth watching whenever you rewatch the movies, otherwise I would advise skipping it.
Now the one positive note about this movie is that it really delves into the character development in a more natural way than what we have had in the past. The Horcrux’s have a way of causing one who is holding it to become mean and negative towards others, mostly from the fact that it’s the essence of evil. While that does cause a rift between our main trio, it’s also fair to keep in mind that given the fact that they really don’t have a clear direction of what to do themselves, it does make sense for them to have issues while travelling around. Of course though this time it has to be Ron against Harry and Hermione again, but it was a pleasant turn when he showed up to save Harry and ultimately destroy the Horcrux.
As much as I rag on this movie being too long and trying to stretch its story out too long, it does have many highlight moments that make the movie enjoyable. First off, I really like how this movie incorporated the magic elements in the real world. We’ve seen glimpses of it before, but this one really embraces that approach and gives us an interesting mixture between the two worlds. I know it wasn’t a major scene, but when the trio are at the coffee shop and are having to fight the two death eaters, was certainly an enjoyable moment that seemed cool since the fight was actually outside the walls of Hogwarts.
On top of mixing the wizarding world with the real world, the movie really takes time to explore more of the wizarding world in general, like giving us some more insight into the Ministry of Magic. I also think that this sequence was pretty cool and showed how much the Ministry has changed under the control of Voldemort and how well our trio have evolved over the series of movies and even resorting back to an old transformation trick that they used in the Chamber of Secrets. It was also delightful to see the return of Delores who is in possession of the Horcrux which of course made perfect sense. When trying to escape, we got to see how magic can actually go wrong when Ron’s arm is caught up when teleporting and ends up getting severely damaged. It shows that there can actually be a cost to doing magic and even not doing it correctly. In a way it kind of humanizes magic even though Hermione is able to close the wounds, it still shows that he has to keep his arm in a sling which means that there even some things that magic can’t fix.
The whole middle of the movie is extremely slow and while it does have its moments that feel important like Harry returning to Godrics Hollow, none of it really feels important enough to keep my attention until we finally get to see Harry in the pond trying to get the sword. That is when the story really picks up and begins by giving us the doe patronus that we know doesn’t belong to him or Ron so there is a mystery there, but we finally get an item that can destroy the Horcrux’s and a clear path for our characters who now only need to find the others so that they can destroy them.
One of my favorite parts of this movie is when we finally get to Luna’s home when our trio talks to her dad about the deathly hallows. We get a cool animated storytelling of the deathly hallows and what exactly they are. They add another layer of intrigue as to how important the items are for the end of the story. We know that Harry has the invisible cloak and that Dumbledore has the elder wand, but we don’t know where the resurrection stone is. I pretty much only like the story and how it was animated more than I do the inclusion of what the items are. Of course they are important, but it just adds another layer of items that important to the story on top of the Hrocrux’s.
This finally leads us to the ends when our trio is captured and taken to the Malfoy manor. We get the return of Dobby who is trying to help them and we get their escape that showed us a few things. Clearly Draco wants nothing to do with helping Voldemort and seems to only be doing it because of his family, and we get a moment where Harry steals his wand that at first seems insignificant, but since I know what happens in the next movie, I know the significance of it. They also escape by teleporting away from there and as we saw with Ron as to how magic can go wrong, this leads us to our finale of seeing the knife that was thrown make it through and end up stabbing and killing Dobby. This was incredibly sad, despite not seeing him too much throughout the series. It set the tone for where the story would be going in the next part and really ended on a sad note that was ballsy and something that a lot of movies are too afraid to do. I respect that and enjoyed what they did in the last third of this movie.
Overall, this is probably the weakest movie of the series and ultimately my least favorite despite all of the things that I like about it. I don’t think it was necessary to split this movie in two, but at the same time, there was a lot that went on in this movie that may have made the last one feel too long or rushed. I feel like it took time setting up a lot of things that I believe will be finished in the final movie, but it really drags towards the middle which hurts it. I will probably rank this one as my least favorite when all is said and done, but that’s not really a knock against it at the same time. I like this movie, but I feel like it has more problems than any of the other ones. If anything it only makes me more excited to see the final film rather than actually caring about what all happens in this one.