July 21, 2007 marked the end of an era in our generation with the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter series. In the ten years between when these books were published, readers everywhere have been captivated by the fantasy universe of British author J.K. Rowling. Following the craze of the Harry Potter series, it was without surprise that the film industry caught on and has so far produced six movies based on each of Rowling’s books. On Nov. 19, the first part of the 7thand final installment was released in movie theaters all over the world.
For anyone who has read a Harry Potter novel, you know that there is so much substance to work with that it can almost be overwhelming. When making a film adaptation of a book there is always the problem of staying true to the original material and deciding what parts to keep and what to leave out. This can often be the deciding factor in whether or not the movie will be as successful as the book. 2009’s release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was evidence enough of just how skewed a story can get when not properly adapted. Because of this, it was easy to see why fans were somewhat skeptical about the quality of the seventh installment of the series. Fortunately, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” greatly made up for the shortcomings of the “Half-Blood Prince.”
Following the usual runtime of films in the Harry Potter franchise, “The Deathly Hallows” covers a large portion of the novel, chapters 1-24, in two and half hours. This may seem quite difficult to do considering that most of the information in the final novel is crucial to the storyline. After seeing the film, it suffices to say that a story true to the original text was created while compressing minute details and keeping major plot devices intact. A large appeal to this film, aside from its adherence to the book, is the array of new characters introduced as well as the new direction taken in certain sequences. New characters such as Xenophilius Lovegood, played by Rhys Ifans, and Bill Weasley, played by Domhnall Gleeson, make their first film appearance in the series. In terms of new film techniques, audiences everywhere will be awed by the creative way in which The Tale of the Three Brothers is explained. For those who have no idea of what any of these things or people are, it goes without saying that reading the novel beforehand greatly helps.
When looking back on the past 6 Harry Potter films, it is quite amazing to see the progression of a young boy and his friends emerge into young adults as they face the world. Along their journey they face relevant issues like love, friendship and finding a place in the world. After seeing this film, it may seem like an episode of “Lost” where you leave the theater with more questions than you had when you came in. The next film in the series, scheduled to premiere July 15, 2011, will answer all of these questions in detail and should provide a quite entertaining conclusion to the Harry Potter series. Until then, we can only hope for the best.