Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Rated 3.0

My biggest problem with the Harry Potter films has been that they treat J.K. Rowlings’ books as sacred and uneditable texts, rather than as the jumping-off point for well-crafted films. The result has been a series of entertaining but altogether stiff movies that deliver the “big events” of the books without much of their charm. Despite being split into two parts, those problems are only magnified in this seventh and last entry, which sees the boy wizard attempt to take down his nemesis Lord Voldemort. Characters we’ve barely even met are suddenly shoehorned into the film (such as Dobby the House Elf and Ron Weasley’s brother Bill), for no other reason than that they’re in the book. It might play best as a game of see-how-many-recognizable-British-actors-can-get-crammed-into-one-scene; early on, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Timothy Spall and Peter Mullan share a scene.