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The infamous trio returns older and wiser, to face far greater dangers than before.
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★★★★✩

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Directed by David Yates

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint

Potter fanatics had been counting down to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for months; the anticipation was almost too much to bear. On the opening night, throngs of Muggles queued up in theaters, even along sides of streets, in creatively Potter-fied costumes waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Thanks to MIT’s student body class organizers, many MIT students were able to view the pre-midnight premiere at Boston Commons Loews theater, making them the envy of the crowds.

The film does not disappoint. It is saturated with well-planned suspense, several heart-wrenching moments, and lighthearted innuendo. In comparison with the previous six films, it was the most artistic. Instead of dark and eerie shots inside Hogwart’s classrooms and hallways, the movie is mostly composed of shots in nature. Adaptation of the storyline from the book is well done for the most part, but avid fans will notice several gaping holes.

For one, leaving out the ghoul from scenes at the Burrow detracts from the development of Ron’s character as well as the humor that lightens the intense storyline. The interesting history of Dumbledore and Grindlewald is also missing from the film, leaving out aspects of the original story that helps to develop and explain Dumbledore’s character as well as context for the Hallows. To minimize disappointment, it is advised that you do not (re)read the book right beforehand.

Even though the film leaves out some important aspects of the story, it is arguably one of the best of the Potter film series. The humor in the film has evolved from innocent jokes to well-planned innuendos; several times, the entire theater was roaring with laughter. The characters were great, but the romantic sequences still need a bit of work. The actors’ portrayal of the romance between Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione was awkward at best. (Although, Ginny’s trick with the zipper was clever and can be saved for future reference, ladies.) However, the random naked scene in the movie was “steamy,” according to many unnamed male friends. Apart from the trio, the adult actors were fantastically well cast. Even though actors like Nick Moran (Scabior) and Peter Mullan (Yaxley) had only seconds in the film, they definitely made the most of them.

In many ways, the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) is akin to an elephant marching into a crowded room: it pushes all else to the periphery. Movies like Skyline and Unstoppable had only a few showing times at Loews. In just two days, Potter fans helped the movie gross over $125 million in domestic box office on premiere weekend, the most ever in Potter film history.

The second installment of the Deathly Hallows will be released on July 15, 2011. It definitely has a lot to live up to, and part one has not even hit the halfway point in the book. There is still a lot to look forward to from the Potter crew.