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Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1

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Author/Source: Nicki Straza

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review:<i> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1</i>

Overview

(Warning: Spoilers contained in Review)

The saga continues with Part 1 of 2 in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1. The war between good and evil continues to escalate putting Harry in constant danger as Lord Voldemort gains strength and followers in his quest to kill Harry.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 opens with a rather grimacing scene as Lord Voldemort sits at the round table with his Death Eater loyals, including Professor Snape, discussing the punishment that should be leveled against a former teacher at Hogwarts – who is being suspended by levitation above the table. Her crime was to suggest that mating with muggles was perfectly acceptable. Her death followed by the first of several fantastic jolts in the movie, courtesy of Voldemorts Snake set the stage for another dark movie. Early in the movie it is revealed that Harry and Lord Voldemort cannot continue to exist together, one of them must die – and death must come by the wand of another.

The movie covers a lot of ground, all of which I will not cover in this overview, but I will try to give you some highlights. Harry and his team are on the move, and it is decided that protecting Harry is of greatest importance, so after drinking a potion all of Harry's friends including Ron and Hermione take on the likeness of Harry creating some comical moments! The brevity is short-lived however as the Death Eaters hunt with deadly intent, despite narrow escapes and daring risks, not everyone makes it through. With Harry safe for the moment, the Minister of Magic arrives to read the last will and Testament of Professor Dumbledore. He has bequeathed gift for Ron, Hermione and Harry. Included in the will was the Sword of Griffendor which was still missing.

Determined to defeat Lord Voldemort, Harry, Hermione and Ron join forces to track down the elusive Horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemort's soul. The hunt finally reveals a locket that burdens its wearer with negative thoughts and feelings (Much like the Ring from Lord of the Rings). Despite all of their efforts and magic the three friends cannot destroy the locket and friendships are tested and tempers flare during the process. With clever sleuthing by Hermione, they put together the pieces to discover that all the Holcruxes previously destroyed had been destroyed by the Sword of Griffendor.

The hunt for the sword brings Harry to Godrichs Hollow, the birth place of Harry and the death place of his parents. Emotions run high as Harry must face his past, his parents grave and the pressure of constantly being hunted by the Death Eaters and those loyal to Voldermort.

After some cold swimming and a glowing deer Harry discovers the sword at the bottom of a pond. The locket is destroyed by Ron, but not without a fight as Ron must face all the lies he has come to believe about himself, Harry & Hermione.

Meanwhile, Harry's jagged memories and visions begin to reveal what Lord Voldemort has been seeking – the key that will destroy Harry – The Elder Wand – the most powerful wand ever created! Their adventure leads them to Luna's Home, where it is discovered she has been kidnapped by loyals to Voldemort. Her father shares the story of the Deathly Hollows, three symbols representing 3 magic artifacts; the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Cloak of Invisibility. There visit is cut short by yet another attack by the Death Eaters and it puts the 3 friends on the run again.

The movie leaves you hanging; feeling tired and nearly hopeless. The cards are stacked against Harry, his chances of defeating Lord Voldemort seems to be decreasing moment by moment. With 4 more Holcruxes to find, Lord Voldemort hot on the trail of the Elder Wand and time running out Harry is in for the fight of his life.

Concerns

This movie is rated PG 13 and for good reason. The dark overtones and suggestion in the movie requires a bit more maturity than previous movies. Aside from several good scares courtesy of the snake, there are a few instances where violence and the suggestion of torture and punishment is strong. When Ron faces the darkness inside the Holcrux locket, he comes face to face with images of Harry & Hermione kissing, and suggestive imagery makes it seem that they are unclothed, although bare shoulders and backs are all that is actually visible. The pressure is mounting, and the body count is going up. Harry must deal with the death of people he cares about, several times in this movie. The return to the use of magic in this movie is evident, and most of the magic is used in duels, or to escape or protect against the continual hunt of the Death Eaters. There is also a scene at Godrichs hollow, where an old lady withers and rots to reveal another jolting scare by the snake. The imagery goes quickly, but could be disturbing to younger children.

In my opinion, the movie's use of suggestion, and “leaving it up to your own imagination” as to what is happening can be more scary than what is actually seen on the screen.

Teachable Themes

  • Loyalty and Friendship
  • This theme of friendship runs through the entire movie. The ministers admonishment to Harry that he cannot defeat Lord Voldemort alone sets the tone for the entire movie. The tension, and arguments between Harry and Ron escalate to the point that Ron finally leaves and the loss and heartbreak felt by both Harry and Hermione creates several tense emotional moments. In the end Ron realizes that friendship must prevail and he returns to help his friends.

Biblical References


  • Story of Jonathan and David

  • Samuel 18 and Proverbs 18:24

    One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

  • Truth Overcomes Lies

  • This theme was very well presented in the scene where Ron destroys the Holcrux Locket. As the darkness pours out and turns on Ron who is wielding the Sword of Griffendor it spews lies and images of lies at him – touching him at his points of greatest fears, and insecurities – does Hermione really love him? Is Harry going to betray him? Is he even loveable? In the end his refusal to listen to the lies helps him to defeat the darkness.

    John 8:32
    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Romans 1:25
    ”They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen”
    The application here is that sometimes we allow lies about ourselves, or God, or others to be set up in our mind as truth and it takes our eyes off of God and what he says is true.

  • Perseverance

  • Harry's demonstration of perseverance and unwillingness to quit is strong in this movie as well. He begins to realize the cost that this journey is having on his own life, and the lives of his friends and at times is tempted to press on alone, not wanting to bring harm to anyone else. However the loyalty and friendship displayed by Ron and Hermione and many others help Harry to muster the courage not to quit and to fight at all costs.

    Hebrews 12:1
    ”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

    2 Peter 1:5-7
    ”For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What did it mean when the Minister told Harry that he couldn't defeat Voldemort alone? Does that apply to our lives at all? Why or why not?

  2. What would have happened if Ron had listened to the lies in the darkness? Have you ever felt like he did in that moment? What did you do? Would you do it differently next time?

  3. What do you think makes Harry keep going? It seems almost impossible to beat Voldemort – why do you think Harry refuses to give up?

Conclusion

The story between good and evil is reaching a climax, and I enjoyed the movie as much as previous ones. I would not recommend this movie for children. For pre-teens who are familiar with the series, it will be a continuation of a familiar story and familiar characters, but I would recommend that it would be good to have a discussion afterwards to see how they interpreted aspects of the movie. This is a great opportunity to teach your young-people how to think critically.


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