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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

It's hard to believe it will soon be over. After watching Harry, Hermione and Ron grow up over the years, soon we will be saying goodbye to them and watching Daniel, Emma and Rupert move on with their lives.

It's enough to bring a lump to any HP fan's throat, but judging by Part 1, the movies will go out in great style. The three kids we fell in love with in The Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone in the US) have matured into well seasoned young actors with all the skills to pull it off.

Yes, it is kind of slow. Much of the movie, as is much of the book, is taken up with treks through the wilderness and much arguing in tents. These sequences can seriously drag, especially if you haven't read the book. The camping scenes don't just drag in the book, they feel like they go on forever. At least in the movie, the pace is faster by comparison.

A lot does happen while they are trudging about in remote places, dodging Voldemort and looking for the horcruxes, objects in which the Dark Lord has hidden bits of his soul. There are some quite lovely moments, such as a dance scene between Harry and Hermione. H&H shippers shouldn't get all het up about that - the pair are missing their respective girlfriend and boyfriend, and in the spirit of their deep friendship, Harry tries to cheer Hermione up - nothing more.

A later scene, featuring a naked H&H, might cause even more raised eyebrows, especially if young kids are watching. Again, it is not what it seems, but just be warned that it is there. What Rowling hoped is that young readers would grow up with the characters and be going through the same hormonal changes - but in movie land, these are still tagged as kid's movies, and they stop being suitable for young kids round about the Goblet of Fire stage.

Nevertheless, Part I is impressive. The photography is sublime, the direction by David Yates very sure and confident, mainly because he also directed Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince and he knows exactly how to work with these young people. Fans of Ron (Rupert Grint) will love his performance in this film, while Daniel and Emma become more admirable with every movie.

There are some gloriously funny moments too, such as the 'seven Harrys' in the first part of the film, and some very sad ones - we sat goodbye to three characters, two of whom are among my personal favorites. We also get to see the Home of Luna Lovegood, the deliciously hippy witch, and meet her dotty father.

Some scenes had to be cut, which is a shame because they were important, I feel, to the narrative, but they are available on the DVD.

On the whole, while it has received some criticism and has been called Harry Potter and the Camping Trip, Part I sets the scenes for the all important showdown in Part 2, when many questions are answered and the final battle commences. It succeeds in this endeavor very well, looks beautiful, and is a pleasure to watch. Enjoy this quieter excursion into the Wizarding World, because you'll get all the action you could want in the final episode.

I saw this movie with my own funds.

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