Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

November 28, 2010 - It's always darkest before the dawn goes the old saying. And, these are dark times indeed for Harry and company in this movie based on the final book of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular series (which I have not read).

Part 1 of the two-part finale (the second part is due out in summer 2011) focuses mainly on Harry, Hermione and Ron as they leave the increasingly dangerous confines of Hogwarts to go in search of the Horcruxes. As we learned in the previous installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, each of the seven Horcruxes contains a piece of the soul of Harry's mortal enemy, the Dark Lord, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). If Harry can find and destroy all the Horcruxes, he and his friends will have a shot at defeating Voldemort when they meet for the final battle.

In this episode, Hermione gets to strut her stuff. She casts the spells that allow the trio to hide while they search for the Horcruxes. She also is skilled in the healing arts. And, she proves that she's becoming a real woman by carrying around a very deep purse. Her contributions are vital as the three friends undertake their perilous journey.

Overall review: *** The focus on the three characters helps give this movie the, well, focus that the most recent installments have lacked. For me, it seemed easier to follow than the others; it's more viewer-friendly for people who haven't read the books. As an added bonus, the cinematography is dazzling. And, one more note. Part 1 ends on a cliffhanger that made me wish we didn't have to wait several months to see the exciting conclusion.