First chapter of 'Harry' finale a tease

Thursday, November 25, 2010

With throngs of anxious fans pouring into theaters last weekend to catch the first part of a two-part series finale, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," set the stage for the final chapter of JK Rowland's beloved character and the secret world of wizards and witches.

Through six previous movies, we have watched Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), his two best friends -- Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), -- their classmates and instructors at Hogwarts School grow together and prepare for the building storm of Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his legion of Death Eaters. While the good wizarding community seeks to remain hidden from the public, Voldemort and his evil followers look to destroy the wizarding world and then enslave an unsuspecting human population.

This go-round, the students have become adults.

Harry, Ron and Hermione aren't headed back to Hogwarts for another year. Instead, the trio decides that rather than continue their education after their mentor Professor Dumbledore's death, they begin to pursue the objects that will stop Voldemort. The Horcruxes -- objects containing the secrets to destroying Voldemort -- are hidden in random locations and are unidentified and it is up to Harry and his friends to track them down and destroy them, which in turn kill Voldemort.

In case that doesn't sound hard enough, the Ministry of Magic, now under the control of Voldemort, has declared Harry and crew public enemy No. 1. With danger at every turn, the heroes embark on what will certainly be the most dangerous and deadly year of their young lives.

The tension of the situation pits friend against friend as they press on, estranged from their family and friends as the Death Eaters continue to capture, torture and kill those they've left behind in their crusade.

Highlighted by solid drama, spectacular special effects and a few more disturbing moments than past Potter films in the series, this is definitely the darkest of the entries yet. The acting is genuine and you find yourself suffering right along with the characters as they come of age under horrific and trying circumstances. Obviously, since this is the set-up film for the big finale pic it leaves you hungering for the payoff. While there is plenty of action in this nearly two-and-a-half hour film to sustain any movie fan, you will definitely have that "oh man" feeling when the credits begin to roll and you realize that your payoff isn't due out in theaters until July 15, 2011. Part one does a great job of setting up the final film, and I wish it were coming out in a couple weeks. Guess I'll just have to read the book again.

Oh, if you're wondering what a deathly hallow is exactly, I guess you're just going to have to see the movie.

* Out of a possible five popcorn buckets, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" gets four-and-a-half buckets, just one or two squirts of butter short of perfection. Close to five buckets, but the letdown knowing I have to wait nearly eight months for the conclusion is irritating me. Make sure you get a large popcorn at the Southpark 7 so you can score a refill to last all movie long. This film was viewed at the Southpark 7 in Spencer. Running Time: 2 hr. 30 min. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence and frightening images.

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