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“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1”

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Very rarely does a book get translated into a movie and survive the translation. More often than not, a lot of substance flies out the window to comply with cinematic requirements including the length of run time. Then, there’s the actual and more serious problem of translating words into visuals. End result, people who have read the book get disappointed with the film. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, for instance, was one of the most terrible movie version of a book ever made.

When the news first broke out that the final Harry Potter book would be made into two films, many howled. Me included. And the girls. The suspense could kill. But after seeing part one of Deathly Hallows last weekend, I’ve stopped complaining.

Not since Sorcerer’s Stone, the first Harry Potter film, has a Harry Potter book been translated into film so well. And that really makes me happy. Heck, we knew it would be packed to the rafters on the first weekend but we went anyway. Last full show on Saturday evening. From 11.30 in the evening until 2.00 o’clock in the morning.

Because the usual two-hour constraint has been stretched to four hours, the director had the freedom to include as many details as he possibly could. Unlike most Harry Potter films, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, especially, where so many things were left out that the films didn’t make a lot of sense unless one had previously read the books, Deathly Hallows succeeded in translating most of the characters’ emotions from words to visuals amid the gloomy backgrounds which were just as the book described.

Sure, some things were left out. The emotional tag-o’-war that both Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape went through, for instance (I expect they will be played out in Part 2). But, all in all, it is a successful movie adaptation. Even the part where the story gets cut off was well thought out.

But the most pleasant surprise? Although there are no magnificent action and fight scenes (with the accompanying stunning computer-generated visuals), the film had no boring points. And I don’t just say that because I’m a Harry Potter fan. I know when a movie gets dragging because Speedy starts snoring. And he didn’t snore at all while watching Deathly Hallows. And that says a lot.

Deathly Hallows is dark, brooding, menacing and melancholy for the most part. Perhaps, not meant for the appreciation of young children but then the Harry Potter audience has grown up with Potter, Hermione and Ron over the years. Come to think of it, there weren’t very many young children in the movie house. Most of the viewers were in their twenties and older.

I won’t spoil it for you in case you’re planning on seeing the film. Suffice to say it is a good penultimate chapter of the Harry Potter saga and a promising prelude to the climax that Part 2 will bring.