Director David Yates Release date: 19/11/10 Link: IMDB Harry Potter fans, your bittersweet moment is here. Fortunately, the sweet far outweighs the bitter. True, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 signifies the beginning of the end since it's based on the seventh and last novel of J.K. Rowling's beloved fantasy series, but worry not Muggles, director David Yates knows how to throw an eventful farewell party. At least the start of one, anyway. Yes, you read that correctly. The final "Harry Potter" book has been divided into two films. At first I thought this decision was solely based on making more money at the box office, but for once I will admit that I was completely wrong. Sure, the potential for bigger tickets sales was undoubtedly a deciding factor, but the split has also allowed screenwriter Steve Kloves to give Rowling's story the time and detail it deserves. Instead of rushing from one extravagant set piece to another, Kloves slows everything down and gives us a chance to truly understand and absorb the dire situations that face the wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and his two best friends, Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint). Some may argue this procedure could result in the film becoming a tad long-winded in sections, and it most certainly does, but Kloves' unhurried approach is completely necessary from a storytelling standpoint. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 might be the largest Harry Potter in terms of scope and locales, but it is also feels the most intimate and personal. We've had an enormous amount of fun watching Harry, Ron and Hermione grow up before our very eyes, but Dumbledore and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are no longer there to hold their hands when the going gets rough. Their new journeys across the globe consist of even more peril, and Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) — with some help from cinematographer Eduardo Serra — uses his film's murky visual tone to perfectly reflect his characters' moods. "These are dark times, there's no denying," says the minister of magic as Deathly Hallows: Part 1 opens, and boy, he is not lying. Wizards and witches are reported missing on a daily basis, innocent Muggles are being murdered in the streets and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his army of Death Eaters are more powerful than ever. Voldemort is hell-bent on taking over the world, but in order for him to accomplish his goal, he knows he must track down Harry and kill him. However, don't expect Harry to go down without a fight. Harry, Ron and Hermione now know exactly what they need to do to stay alive, and it involves locating and destroying several Horcruxes — items that contain pieces of Voldemort's soul. The trio may not know where each and every Horcrux is hidden, but their loss is our gain. While Harry, Hermione and Ron escape death and search for the keys to their survival, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 transforms into a compelling tale of mystery that will keep you guessing at every turn. I'd have to watch every Harry Potter movie again just to be sure, but the suspenseful Deathly Hallows: Part 1 might be the most intense chapter of all. But it's not like Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is only filled with doom and gloom. You could easily say it is the most grim out all of the entries, but Yates and Kloves lighten the mood every so often with some rather amusing comedy. And while Deathly Hallows: Part 1 might be too heavy on the exposition for some, Yates prevents the film from becoming excessively verbose by throwing in an ample amount of thrilling action sequences, one of which includes Harry, Ron and Hermione breaking into the Ministry of Magic by using a shape-shifting potion. (Although it isn't necessarily an action scene, the animated segment that reveals the history behind the Deathly Hallows is a visual marvel.) Aside from the few moments in the middle where the narrative tends to drag, my only other complaint with Deathly Hallows: Part 1 — and the entire film franchise in general — is that it doesn't feature enough Voldemort. I'm the kind of person who finds villains infinitely more complex and interesting, so it's a little disappointing that Voldemort once again only appears in a handful of brief scenes. (Truth be told, the Empire Strikes Back-like ending almost makes up for Voldemort's ephemeral screen time.) And while I do admire Kloves for crafting Deathly Hallows: Part 1 with a slow and steady hand, I can't help but feel worried about how that might impact the second piece, which is scheduled to hit in theatres in July of next year. Knowing what I know, I just don't see how Yates and Kloves will be able to cram in all the important details without Deathly Hallows: Part 2 coming off as too rushed. Either way, July can't get here soon enough. Photobucket