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Drags a bit in the second act, but it's a solid buildup to the final chapter in this legendary franchise.
The filmmakers...adapt Rowling's tale with as much fidelity as their budget, effects crew, production designers, actors, and common sense will allow.
New York Times:
Even though it ends in the middle, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 finds notes of anxious suspense and grave emotion to send its characters, and its fans, into the last round.
The first part of Deathly Hallows has plenty of invigorating imagery alongside the pro forma narrative elements.
For those caught up in the "Potter" world -- and surely anyone who isn't dropped out of this franchise long ago -- "Deathly Hallows" is immensely satisfying.
An awkward mating of action-fantasy and a self-reflective indie movie.
It's not a bad movie, but it is very much a transitional one, with Warner Bros. splitting J.K. Rowling's last installment in the "Potter" series into two films.
Like Alfonso Cuaron, who made Azkaban, Yates and his crew are as visually descriptive as Rowling was with language.
The seventh and penultimate entry in the franchise jettisons the humor and fizz of the earlier movies for a much bleaker adult tone.
The story-within-the-story regarding the deathly hallows is visualized by way of shadow-puppet style animation, and the effect is quite beautiful.
This one is a long, archetypal journey that screeches to a halt a few stops short of its destination.
There's plenty of humor, plenty of magic and even a bit of romantic stress, although there's also quite a bit of mulling and standing about.
There is much to love in the latest offering from the Potter franchise.
By the time Part 1 ends, you'll be anxious to see what tricks Harry has up his sleeve once he's forced to face the ultimate evil.
This grim beginning-of-the-end odyssey has a very different feel from any of its predecessors -- a development slightly more disconcerting than it is welcome.
Los Angeles Times:
To be fair to Deathly Hallows, the filmmakers have tried hard to fill the proceedings with battles and chases and debilitating curses. Genuine filmmaking excitement, however, is harder to provide.
San Jose Mercury News:
Much of the heavy lifting falls to Watson, and, in such moments as the one where she must wipe out her family's memories of her to protect them, she is more than up to the task.
I'd be lying if I said I'm not eager to see how everything turns out.
Part 1, like its predecessors, has been made with great care, craft and attention to detail. It is also darker and more foreboding.
The trouble with Harry, as becomes clear from this seventh and penultimate installment, is not that we have lost the plot -- the film is as tangled and as corkscrewed as Bonham Carter's hair -- but that we are in danger of losing everything else.
The truth is that this film is mostly plain work, done by rote, like any introductory potions class. The real fun -- and thrills and tears -- come next year.
Deathly Hallows I actually manages to be involving and kind of artful about the boredom and loneliness of heroism.
New York Daily News:
Equal parts action thriller, political parable, and multidimensional love story, Hallows feels sad and strong and true.
New York Post:
Beautifully shot but a soulless cash machine, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" delivers no dramatic payoff, no resolution and not much fun.
When Warner Brothers announced that it planned to split the seventh, and final, installment of J.K. Rowling's wizarding septology into two separate films, I figured it was all about the money. Turns out it was all about the story.
The movie builds erratically to the moment when the end credits start rolling. After sacrificing nearly 2 1/2 hours to this movie, there's a sense that more is deserved.
The film depends more on mood and character than many of the others, and key actions seem to be alarmingly taking place off-screen.
Like a virgin's padded bra, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is all tease, zero payoff.
Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves have done a fine job of building up a big, black foreboding cloud in this next-to-last installment.
The three young leads -- especially Emma Watson, who can do more with a still face than any actress her age -- are all terrific.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, having literally grown up in their characters, are ready for their close-up. They earned it, they deserve it and they nailed it.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is slower and stranger than any of the previous films, simultaneously raising hopes for a haunting finale while dimming hopes for a magical one.
Globe and Mail:
Alas, as directed by the returning David Yates, these big chase sequences are the usual compendium of ear-splitting noise and eye-glazing edits -- again, no magic required and none delivered.
The high quality of the series remains. Returning director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves remain attentive as ever to Rowlings' holy text, and the mood is as magic as always.
Instead of scooting like a Golden Snitch during a Quidditch championship, DH1 is struck with a long spell of aimlessness, and the viewer with the curse of ennui.
A film with no beginning and no end but a whole lot of expository middle, this is the least satisfying instalment in the series since Chris Columbus folded up his director's chair.
Menacing and meditative, Hallows is arguably the best installment of the planned eight-film franchise, though audiences who haven't kept up with previous chapters will be hopelessly lost.
Lumbering and gripping by turns, and suffused with a profound sense of solitude and loss.
Watson's brainy, practical Hermione drives the film's narrative; Grint's fiery, jealous Ron provides its relatable (that is, non-magical) conflict.
It's half of a really good movie, full of the enchantment, emotion and incident for which the Potter series has become so fanatically cherished.