Potter versus Voldemort – Round 7 *ring ring*

John Murphy casually spends a day in the wizarding world where the Dark Lord is… well… spreading darkness…

As muggles (non-magic folk), our journey to the wizarding realm of Mr. Harry James Potter is always a highly-anticipated occasion. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 certainly doesn’t disappoint, but this time there is a difference: the familiar trio are plunged into the darkest world they have ever faced, and it is growing darker by the day.

Voldemort’s strength and influence multiplied: he has taken over Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic is subject to his every whim, and the army of wizards and witches at his command has expanded (from both fear and respect). He is, naturally, determined to kill Harry Potter (a.k.a. ‘the Boy Who Lived’, a.k.a. ‘the Chosen One’), but he also has a hidden agenda: Voldemort is seeking something. What is it? I won’t spoil it, but I can tell you that (to the best of my knowledge) he isn’t looking for a wig, a prosthetic nose, a new robe, or make-up…

Harry leaves No. 4 Privet Drive for the last time, Hermione Granger takes measures to ensure that her parents will never be in danger of having a muggle-born wizard, and Ronald Weasley departs from his loving family – our once fresh-faced trio face the big bad wizarding world. Alone.  Their task? To pursue, and destroy, the remaining four Horcruxes (pieces of Voldemort’s soul) in the hope of finally defeating the Dark Lord.

There have been two frequent complaints regarding the Harry Potter series of films: the first is its relationship to the book. Those who haven’t read (and even refuse to read) J.K. Rowling’s books may have trouble understanding some sub-plots and concepts that are intricately explored throughout the seven Harry Potter books. For instance, in HP7 Bill Weasley (Ron’s brother) makes an appearance. Readers will know that he has a presence from the first book (The Philosopher’s Stone), but in the latest movie he makes his debut. Movie-goers also miss out on some of the meticulous character development and sub-plots solely present in the books. Feel cut off from the full Potter experience? Luckily, I have just the remedy for that: read the books! Buy them or go to your local library; some of them are even in the Boole Library on campus (betcha didn’t know that!).

The ‘noticeable length’ of the previous six movies has also been criticised – not this time. While watching HP7 one is engrossed into the world on-screen and (as tragic as it may sound) wishes the film would just seamlessly slip to Part 2 for an extended connection with ‘Potter bliss’. In theory, some of HP7’s scenes would seem slow-moving, but neither the length nor the pace disappoints: a darkly enriching script, notable performances, and a poignant (and often breathtaking) soundtrack, each provide a riveting experience for the penultimate Harry Potter film.

Without trying to divulge too much information, the film ends with Harry in a vulnerable, fragile state of mind, while Voldemort is triumphant in an endeavour. This sets-up the audience for the second instalment of The Deathly Hallows, due to be released the 15th of July 2011 – both in 2D and 3D! Let’s hope they deliver a stupefying 3D experience for what will be geared-up to be the most-anticipated of all the Harry Potter films (a host of disappointed Potter fans would not be a pleasant sight for any to behold).

What have we got to look forward to in the next film? A visit to Gringotts Bank, the revealing of the identity of the eye seen inthe shard that Harry owns, and (most exciting of all) the ‘Battle of Hogwarts’ with a showdown between Voldemort and Harry. Will the trio find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them? Do the Deathly Hallows truly exist? Deathly Hallows Part 1 partially answers these questions, but Part 2 will be the most revealing and the most exhilarating of all the films.

Anyone up for a trip to Hogwarts for the best (and most life-endangering) front-row seats you will ever have? I certainly am.

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