Release: 2010, theatrical
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates
Previous in the series: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
Next in the series: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: All hell has broken loose in the wizarding world. Each day, more and more people, muggles and wizards alike winds up either dead or disappeared. In the midst of all this, Harry Potter is preparing to find all the Horcruxes so he can finally destroy Voldemort.
Here we are, the second to last movie. The final hurrah before the big blow-out in the final battle. The book of this movie is huge, which is why they decided to cut it in half for these last two movies. Making the number of movies eight rather than seven. Because of this, I decided to watch these two last movies back to back, and it confirmed for me that Part 1 actually works much better as a first and second act of one big movie. With all of Part 2 being the final act.
The story of this movie is very much in the vein of hard work. It kinda says "Okay we know what to do, now we just have to go do it". None of it takes place on Hogwarts, as Harry instead decides to go on a treasure hunt for the "horcruxes" - pieces of Voldemort's soul that must be destroyed in order to finally off him. The movie also starts something that Part 2 would eventually finish up, that something being that Dumbledore might not be all what he's crammed up to be. Part 2 will eventually give us somewhat of an answer to that question but I have to stress that if you're really curious about not only Dumbledore's past, but Voldemorts motivations as well you really have to pick up the book instead.
The movie instead decides to stay in the now, being very much an action-adventure story. Harry, Ron and Hermione go around to different places in the wizarding world, some of which we've seen before. It also has a very cool animated sequence narrated by Emma Watson. As a standalone movie, this would fail. It's a bit rushed at places and the characters personalities seem a bit vague. However, considering it's the 7th installment in a continuous story and only the first part of a two part movie it actually works pretty well. Everything is addressed and taken care of so that Part 2 can focus mainly on what we've waited for since the beginning. The final battle between Harry and Voldemort is looming in the distance and rightfully in this part of the story, everything just seems to be falling apart before everything will be fixed. Just like a first and second act should be.