I just saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and I must say I was very impressed. I’ll enjoy it more the second time I watch it (the first time I’m inevitably doing nothing except comparing it to the book), but the movie remained very true to the text.
I only had a few “complaints,” and most of them are just things that I would have liked to see that weren’t terribly important to the overall plot: Kreacher’s tale, how the sword of Godric Gryffindor was allegedly taken to Gringotts, Lupin’s visit to Grimmauld Place, etc. I get why these weren’t included (and I suspect that a few things are being saved for Part 2). But if you don’t mind me nerding out a bit, there are a few things I feel really should have been changed:
More Dumbledore: This is my biggest issue with Part 1. Very little of Dumbledore’s background was discussed at all. The only mention of Dumbledore’s family was Elphias Doge revealing that Dumbledore had a brother named Aberforth, and Aunt Muriel telling Harry that Dumbledore’s father murdered three Muggles. Nothing was mentioned at all about Ariana, or Dumbledore’s complex friendship with Gellert Grindelwald (Grindelwald explicitly sells Dumbledore out in the movie!). Someone who hadn’t read the books would be wondering who the heck Grindelwald was and why he was in Rita Skeeter’s book. I do think this is rather important to the story, as it explores Dumbledore’s motivations and his relationship with Harry Potter. Harry’s sense of disenchantment and betrayal isn’t done justice by a mere “are you sure you knew Dumbledore at all?” from Aunt Muriel.
Harry’s Hallows insanity: In the book, upon learning about the Deathly Hallows, Harry becomes obsessed with them. This is fueled by the sense of betrayal that I mentioned above. Harry becomes less concerned with Dumbledore’s task of finding and destroying the Horcruxes, and becomes fixated on becoming the “master of death.” This is important because it is the same mistake that Voldemort makes, and that Dumbledore made before Harry. Overcoming the lust for power is an important moment of character development that Dumbledore laid out for Harry, and it’s skipped entirely in this movie.
Occlumency: When the Trio have been captured by the Snatchers, Harry has to fight off the visions he is receiving from Voldemort so that he can stay aware of his surroundings and help his friends. The events during and following the trip to Malfoy Manor are also important to Harry’s character development. By finally mastering Occlumency and willing his mind to close to Voldemort, Harry has learned to take control of his surroundings and make the difficult choices that he needs to make as “The Chosen One.” The moment he has to decide whether to pursue Horcruxes or Hallows is the pivotal point of the story, and once again, this is ultimately ignored.
That being said, the movie was still excellent without these points. The plot still trucks along, and at the end of the day Voldemort will get what’s coming to him. But Deathly Hallows is more than just Harry defeating Voldemort; it’s about the theme of death and how we accept it (or don’t accept it). While I do love the running and the yelling and the spell-casting, I also want the major themes of the epic to remain intact, and I felt like they were lost a bit here.
I’m hoping that some of these things are still covered in Part 2 (particularly Dumbledore’s past). It would make sense to me if they were being saved for the next movie, so that the audience doesn’t have to rely on their memories alone to understand some of the more complex parts of the story. It’s hard enough for non-readers to know what’s going on as it is! Overall, I’m very pleased with this entry in the film saga, and can’t wait to see it again.
What did you think of Part 1? What do you think of the cartoon? Let me know in the comments!