New Harry Potter Film Sets the Bar High

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The Spectrum

Grade: A

Muggles everywhere beware; the Dark Lord has risen again.

Dark times have fallen upon the wizarding world. The Dark Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes, Cemetery Junction) has taken control of the Ministry of Magic and named Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and company the most wanted criminals in all of England.

Now the only way for them to survive is to find and destroy the horcruxes that house the seven pieces of Voldemort's soul. But when these horcruxes can be anything and anywhere, this is one task that will need a little magic to get done.

This is the premise behind the latest silver screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's beloved bestselling series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

This time around things are darker, moodier and more violent. From severed ears to snakes ingesting fresh corpses, this is a Harry Potter film that the child in everyone is unprepared for.

The more mature theme behind this installment is a welcome addition, however. As the characters in Harry Potter have grown, so have their fans. The new serious and grim setting makes for one of, if not the best, Harry Potter film to date.

Director David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) did an incredible job of setting the atmosphere for this film. The dark tones used throughout resonate the dire situation that the characters find themselves in, and viewers can't help but be worried for the outcome of all the characters involved.

Atmosphere isn't everything, though, and what truly makes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 shine above all others are the performances given by the trio of best friends.

Daniel Radcliffe portrays the brooding and mission-driven Harry Potter with near perfection. Viewers can feel from his performance that, to him, the only thing that matters is stopping Voldemort and he'll do whatever it takes to make sure he does.

Hermione Granger is played yet again by the impressive Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Her emotional and neurotic state from beginning to end is one of the most convincing performances in the entire movie. It's clear from her portrayal that what Hermione cares for most is the safety of her friends.

The best performance in the film, however, goes to Rupert Grint (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) for his portrayal of Ron Weasly. Jealous and filled with concern for his family, Ron's anger finally boils to the surface in the film. His envy of the boy who lived is almost palpable as he confronts both Potter and Granger, feeling unwanted and underappreciated.

Even though Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the most mature film thus far, that doesn't mean it is absent of the same lighthearted humor that has been a staple of the previous installments.

The head butting quips between Granger and Weasly are still there and Dobby the house elf's (Toby Jones, What's Wrong with Virginia) return to the series provides plenty of giggles reminiscent of the early years at Hogwarts.

But these characters are no longer children, and that is made clear throughout the movie. Before the film reaches its conclusion, the three best friends will battle numerous Death Eaters, lose close friends, and have their wills tested beyond anything they could've imagined.

One of the most impressive scenes in this movie comes when Harry, Ron and Hermione are forced to break into the Ministry of Magic. After knocking out three ministry employees, the group drinks a batch of polyjuice potion, which makes them look exactly like the three people they knocked out, and is able to slip into the ministry undetected.

Getting out doesn't go as smoothly, though, and a firefight breaks out with spells flying back and forth between the protagonists and their pursuers. The whole scene is very heist movie-esque and worthy of an Ocean's title or perhaps even 007 himself.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is filled with action sequences such as this one that will keep viewers' eyes stuck to the screen almost as if by magic from beginning to end.

Brimming with horror, comedy and action, the latest addition to the Harry Potter film series is also the best. Hopefully for Potter fans around the globe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will be able to live up to the precedent set by this film.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com