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Release Year: 2010
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves
This is it, guys: The last movie.
Wait, no—we spoke too soon. It's the second-to-last movie.
But, to make things even more complicated, it's the first second-to-last movie: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part I marked the first time that studio execs took one look at a long(ish) final chapter in a series and thought, "Hey…we bet that Harry Potter fans will pay to see two final movies instead of just one."
And you know what? They were right. When Deathly Hallows, Part I opened in 2010, we were there with ticket in hand. And when Deathly Hallows, Part II rocked the box office in 2011, we were also there.
After all, what's better than seeing things Get Real in the Potterverse? What's better than seeing Voldemort ascend to power and our fearsome threesome of Gryffindors fight tooth and nail against the powers of evil?
Here's what The Deathly Hallows, Part I delivers: Harry and his friends can't go back to Hogwarts, since it's no longer safe from Voldemort's crew, so our favorite trio spend most of the movie on the run while also trying to find these things called Horcruxes that house bits of Voldemort's soul.
Finding the Horcruxes = killing Voldemort, so it's a pretty important mission. Unfortunately, Dumbledore didn't really clue Harry into the locations of these Horcruxes or the best way to find them, and so now that he's dead (sob), Harry has a pretty tough time figuring out where to start.
And let's just say: that's a problem. Tensions are high, nerves are frayed, and the highest drama in this film comes from the fact that Harry, Ron, and Hermione's friendship is tested to its limits.
Yes, it's a movie that covers only half the ground of the last novel…but you wouldn't be able to tell from the box office returns: The film raked in a whopping $295,983,305. That's a whole lot of butterbeers.
Not bad for a second-to-last film, if you ask us. We'd say director David Yates and his team did a pretty good job building suspense for the final chapter, where we'll see whether the whole "Boy Who Lived" nickname is going to stick for Harry. Fingers (and wands) crossed.
Because this movie changed the way Hollywood blockbusters operate.
Back in the olden days (er, before 2010) movies were self-contained. If you wanted drawn-out, sequential action, you watched The Wire or The Sopranos or any one of the shows that ushered in the "Golden Age of television." Movies were ninety to a hundred and eighty minutes of compressed story.
But before Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part I, no one had had the audacity to divide a pre-existing story in two:
[…] the movie that set a huge precedent for multi-part films is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. The case revolving around Deathly Hallows is similar to Kill Bill in that it wanted to tell a story that is so massive that it would be difficult or impossible to condense all of it into one film and do it justice—especially if it is the conclusion to a long and enormously popular franchise. However, there is one major difference between the two; while Tarantino's film is an original story not tied to any source, Deathly Hallows is based on a book—one that, much like all of its predecessors, were designed as complete narratives that were never intended to be split in half. (Source)
This opened the floodgates. Breaking Dawn, the slim last book in the Twilight saga, was broken into two films. Peter Jackson directed not one, not two, but three movies based on the book The Hobbit. The novel Mockingjay was adapted into two different films.
And this trend isn't just happening on the silver screen, but on the small screen as well. Check out the divided-in-two last seasons of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones.
Unsurprisingly, people are a little divided about whether this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, what's not to love about extra screen time spent with Tyrion Lannister or Katniss Everdeen? But on the other hand—especially if it's the hand that's reaching for your wallet—it can seem like a pretty audacious money-grab.
Personally, we're pretty pleased with what goes down in The Deathly Hallows, Part I. The leisurely pace of action allows us to wallow in misery with Ron, take a trip into Potterverse mythology when it comes to the Tale of Three Brothers, and feel the suspense heighten. It's not the grand finale; it's the buildup to the grand finale.
But we'll leave the judgment call up to you—do you think there's a good, artistically-motivated reason for splitting up final installments?
According to Daniel Radcliffe, it took something like ninety takes for them to get the "multiple Harrys" scene right. (Source)
Did you happen to notice that Bill Weasley and Mad-Eye look alike? No, it's not a Weasley family scandal—the actors are father and son! (Source)
Harry Potter's Own Wikipedia
That's right: Harry's so big he gets his own version of Wikipedia, with a page on this very movie.
And the Ultimate Movie Source…
You can't do better than IMDb for quick info on movies, right? It's true—and they have lots of details about Part 1.
Um. Yes, There's a Book
And you can check out what we had to say about it here.
Not Sold on Spending the Two Hours?
Check it out: Even the New York Times thinks you should watch this film.
Hear How Great the Movie Is from the Horse's Mouth
And by horse, we mean that kind of literally…Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) was playing in Equus when he was interviewed about Part 1.
The Tale of Three Brothers
If you ask us, this was probably one of the best parts of the movie.
Want a little taste of what the movie offers? One of the original trailers can help.
Magical Music (Or Musical Magic?)
The spook-tastic soundtrack for the film is available online.
A Bloodier, Dirtier Harry Potter Experience
Whoa, this poster for the film definitely makes this look like a rough ride.
And Just Because We Love Harry So Much…
…here are seven of him.