On Saturday, some lucky test screeners in Chicago got the opportunity to see the first cut of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1." The CGI wasn't completely finished, it had a stand-in score and its runtime was 150 minutes, but the response from the fans was overwhelmingly positive despite any issues they may have had with the first cut of the movie.
Hit the jump to see our wrap up of responses to the film and how they resolve some misgivings that have been had with "Part 1." Be warned, spoilers are contained after the jump, so if you want to go into the final two installments of the "Harry Potter" saga unspoiled, you probably don't want to read the rest of this post.
In The Beginning...
The film opens with Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour holding a press conference informing the media of the dangers facing the wizarding world. It then cuts to the scene in Malfoy Manor where Snape tells Voldemort about the plan for Harry to leave 4 Privet Drive, and this scene is supposed to be amazing. Note: filmmakers did include the murder of Charity Burbage as well. Then, Hermione is shown using a memory charm on her parents -- something explained but not shown in the book -- which is the scene from the trailer that shows Hermione walking towards a church. It is after this scene that the title credits roll.
No need to worry, fans: the bird gets it. After a shot in the trailer of Harry setting his pet owl free, many were worried that the film would omit the first of many heartbreaking deaths in the two "Deathly Hallows" films. In the film, Harry does release Hedwig, but the owl later returns to protect Harry from a death curse headed for Harry, thus revealing to the Death Eaters that he is the real Harry. Fans agreed that this was actually an improvement from the death scene and reveal of the real Harry in the book, and better served for the film.
Finally, audiences will get a chance to meet Bill Weasley, the last of the Weasley brood to grace screens. The wedding scene seems to go by fairly quickly and stays close to the book, but one big change in this scene is that Harry is not disguised as a Weasley relative, and instead is just himself. The overwhelming consensus among fans is that when Kingsley's Patronus warns the party that Death Eaters are on their way, it turns out to be one of the most chilling in the film.
One of the biggest complaints about the novel was how much time Harry, Ron and Hermione spend in the woods. Unfortunately, that isn't really changed in the film. A few people complained that the forest scenes offset the action-packed pacing of the first half of the film, but the beautiful cinematography of these shots make up for it somewhat. Hopefully those scenes will be condensed for better pacing before the film hits theaters.
Pureblood Wizard Supremacy
The allusions to Voldemort's reign and Nazi Germany were fairly clear in the book, but director David Yates made them much clearer in the film. Anti-Muggle propaganda is shown throughout, and the guards at the Mnistry of Magic even have red bands around their arms to indicate that they are pure blood wizards. What's more, the statue in the Ministry of Magic of Muggles being crushed to death by wizards is included in the film.
Reunion With Ron
Ron saving Harry's life when Harry finds Godric Gryffindor's sword and Ron destroying the locket Horcrux are supposed to be some of the best scenes in the film. When the Horcrux taunts Ron, the being that comes out looks a lot like the smoke monster from "Lost," and then reveals a topless Harry and Hermione making out and taunting Ron. Word is Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson put their all into that scene.
The Tale of the Three Brothers
This was portrayed as a barebones animation sequence along the lines of Tim Burton's work, and was said to appropriately tell the story of the Deathly Hallows without needless exposition. Everyone agreed that it was a high point of the film.
The Torture Sequence
Helena Bonham Carter gets her chance to shine (if that's the right word) when Bellatrix Lestrange tortures Hermione towards the end of the film. The actual torture isn't shown, but watching the responses on Harry and Ron's faces while Hermione's screams echo is supposed to be chilling enough. When Hermione is later brought back, it is revealed that Bellatrix carved "Mudblood" into her arm.
Oh Dobby, how I wept when you were murdered in the book. Since the beloved house elf did not have the same character development in the films as he did in the books, many were worried that his death would not have the same payoff. Apparently, the entire theater responded when it was revealed that the house elf was murdered while protecting Harry and his friends. This was probably helped by the fact that Dobby was introduced earlier in the film as well.
Harry's flashes to Voldemort reportedly aren't done especially well, but hopefully that will be resolved as the film continues to be edited. The film ends with Voldemort flying to Hogwarts grounds -- the only time Hogwarts is shown in the film -- and stealing the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's tomb.
Mad-Eye Moody's death is included, but glossed over, as is Tonks' pregnancy. The significance of Sirius Black's mirror is not included, nor is the development of Harry's relationship with Kreacher (though Kreacher does serve the same purpose as he does in the book). The Potterwatch subplot is left out, and Voldemort does not show up at Godric's Hollow before Harry and Hermione escape.
Do you still have any concerns about the adaptation of "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" to the big screen, or do these responses alleviate your fears?