A lot of people were upset that the final book in the "Harry Potter" series got split into two movies.
]Personally, I don't mind. At 2½ hours, Part 1 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is so jam-packed with narrative, it's hard to imagine what a mess it would've been if the filmmakers had tried to cram in a few hundred more pages of story.
Not even the most powerful spell could've saved the movie.
As it is, this penultimate finale to the saga of a boy wizard battling his evil nemesis moves along at a crisp pace under the steady hands of director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves, who collaborated on the last three Harry Potter movies.
Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters have effectively taken over the government of the wizarding world, and begun a reign of terror aimed at killing Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). Their mission is to find the Horcruxes in which Voldemort has split up pieces of his soul, rendering him effectively immortal.
The mood is darker than previous Potter films, and it's nice to see the series growing up with the young trio of actors at its center.
Video extras are rather paltry with the DVD version, but an upgrade to the Blu-ray/DVD combo brings a wealth of goodies. The DVD contains only eight deleted/extended scenes totaling 11 minutes.
The centerpiece of the Blu-ray is a "Maximum Movie Mode" -- an interactive feature of pop-up scenes detailing various features of the production, hosted by actor Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy). There are other featurettes on topics like an on-set competition between the three stars, a round of golf in which Rupert Grint and others reflect on the series, and the making of the soundtrack.
The combo pack also includes a digital copy of the film, and a sneak preview of "Part 2."
Please note, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" will be released on video Friday, April 15.
Movie: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 3 stars