Voldemort can’t smell fear

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures

(Because he doesn’t have a nose)

Sarina Tracy
Journal Staff

Well folks, it is the beginning of the end.  On November 19, the epic film saga of this generation, based on the literary genius of J.K. Rowling, reached the first half of its two-part finale with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I (2010, Warner Brothers).  With scarlet and gold-striped scarves and lightning-scarred foreheads, millions of Potterites scrambled to theaters for the midnight premiere, laden with excitement, great expectations, and bittersweet sentiments.

Director David Yates, a veteran to the Harry Potter films having directed the previous two installments, prepares an especially dark environment as Harry, Ron, and Hermione attempt a dangerous search for the objects known as “horcruxes.”  These magically evil objects keep Lord Voldemort alive, and their existence is the only thing barring Harry from destroying the arch nemesis, and ridding the world of his wrath.  First, however, they must find them- which proves to be difficult.

This film most notably shows a change in scenery. Hogwarts and its crowded, tapestried hallways and moving staircases are nowhere to be seen.  In its place stand spanning vistas of picturesque forests, cracked rock cliffs and snow-glazed meadow, as the trio treks across the English countryside, with incredible cinematography and breathtaking backdrops.  They are in solitude- albeit a scary one.  Yates does an incredible job at exhibiting just how much our heroes have grown, and just how much has changed.  No longer are they concerned with trivial matters, such as schooling.  For the time in which they live, they have greater things to worry about, and heavier responsibilities on their shoulders- namely the future of their world, and by extension, the entire globe.

As Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione) have gotten older, their acting has improved exponentially. In fact, the Deathly Hallows showcases some of their best acting yet.  This film gives theatrical credibility to three young adults who genuinely deserve it, and have clearly worked hard to that end.  The rest of the legendary cast, including  Helena Bonham Carter as the deliciously evil Bellatrix Lestrange, Bill Nighy as the well-intentioned but sadly ineffective Minister of Magic, and of course, Ralph Fiennes as the genuinely frightening Lord Voldemort, only add to the ensemble.

To be fair, viewers who are not avid readers of the Harry Potter series may feel a bit displaced and unaffected with certain areas of the film.  A large amount of the previous films did not mesh with the books, therefore successful and epic execution of important scenes and relationships are incredibly squeal-worthy for those who read the books with love. Harry’s final goodbye to the cupboard under the stairs, and his long forgotten soldier figurines?  Dobby, in general? Ron and Hermione’s budding romance? Perfection.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I took the nearly impossible task of fitting together the first half of the seventh book cohesively and poignantly, with  sufficient plot chains, character endeavors and beautiful scenes in the midst of darkness.  This film not only does J.K. Rowling proud, but the millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide who dread saying a final goodbye to the trio in 2011, and refuse to utter “mischief managed.”