SPOILER ALERT!!! In-depth plot discussion.
Let me start off by saying that I am biased. Incredibly biased in the fact that I am almost always disappointed when it comes to books being made into movies. Call it a weakness, whatever. As a self-proclaimed bookworm, I spend the better part of any movie critiquing how closely they followed the book, and I have a hard time enjoying a movie because of that fact.
The first installment of Deathly Hallows, however, defied all my expectations. It was awesome, AND they retained a good portion of the book’s original material, though there were a few exceptions. For starters, Harry, Hermione, and Ron don’t stay at Grimmauld Place nearly as long in the movie as they do in the book, and they’re not seen planning the break-in at the ministry of magic hardly at all. Also, the entire chapter devoted to the Dursley’s leaving is contained to about two minutes of movie in which the Dursley’s don’t even say goodbye to Harry, and the exchange between Dudley and Harry doesn’t even happen. Also cut entirely out of the movie is the scene in which the old minister of magic introduces the new minister of magic to the muggle prime minister, though this isn’t really necessary for plot development, in my humble opinion. Actually, the old minister of magic doesn’t even make an appearance in the seventh installment of the Harry Potter movie series.
Part one covers up to when Voldemort steals the famed Elder Wand of the Deathly Hallows from Dumbledore’s grave. Other than those few notable exceptions mentioned above, the movie stayed pretty close to the book, which makes me (almost) grateful that they split the last book up into two movies. I was disappointed at first when I found it was being split up into two parts, but now that I’ve seen it, I realized there was no way they were going to stay as close to the book as they needed to if they kept it to one movie. At 2.5 hours, the movie is a bit long, but you’re not going to lose interest, trust me. However, I would have to say if you have young children, leave them at home for this one. It is much darker than previous movie’s, and some of the scenes do get pretty violent, especially when Bellatrix LeStrange tortures Hermione at the Malfoy Manor.
As far as the movie itself was concerned, I expected nothing less from Warner Bros. and I was not disappointed. The action scenes had me on the edge of my seat, the plot and character development kept me focused on the movie, and the acting was superb. Not to mention the directing. It takes a person of great strength to bring off a movie like this, and David Yates does not disappoint. As an avid reader of the books, I spent a good portion of the movie looking for plot holes, but was unable (at first look) to find any.
Overall, I’m going to give the movie a 4.5 out of 5, and would definitely recommend it to the 13 and over crowd.