Review: Tone of Harry Potter series matures

Stephen Boyd-Morales

The first part of the final installment in the Harry Potter series has hit the theaters.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is probably the most anticipated adaptation of all the books in the series by J.K Rowling.

David Yates has returned to direct, though the tone and cinematography in this film is quite different from his previous entries, “The Half-Blood Prince” and “The Order of the Phoenix.”

Many have argued that the film was split in two for profit reasons, as two films would allow the studio to get twice the ticket sales. But having read the books and seen this movie, I disagree. A lot happens in the books, and to scale that much information into one film would have left the film feeling rushed.

In this installment, Harry is once again joined by his best friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, who have not returned to Hogwarts but instead are fulfilling a task given to Harry by Dumbledore before his death.

Previous films revealed that Lord Voldemort had split his soul into seven pieces, allowing him to cheat death. Six of those pieces were placed into magical items called Horcruxes, and prior to the film, two of them had been destroyed. Harry has only one clue to the next Horcrux: the initials R.A.B.

What sets this film apart is its tone. The children are older, and the tone of the series has matured with them. While previous Potter films had endings that weren’t perfectly happy, “Deathly Hallows” finishes on a tragic note.

Most of the Potter films have taken place within the confines of the magical world, but “Deathly Hallows” is set mostly among muggles, or non-magical people. Interestingly, in the magical world, even during serious moments, everything feels very whimsical, while scenes in the muggle world feel more serious and dangerous.

Earlier entries in the Potter series received either a PG or PG-13 rating, usually because of violence and frightening images. But “Deathly Hallows” received its PG-13 rating partly because of brief sensuality, with some well-done scenes that are adult in nature.

At a midnight showing of the film, I noticed there were no children in the audience, perhaps not surprising for a Thursday evening. But on a return trip during regular hours, I still did not see children in the theater.

At other midnight showings of the previous Potter films, there were always tons of people dressed up, but I only saw a handful of people in costume at “Deathly Hallows.” The most original was the guy dressed as the house elf, Dobby.