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Harry Potter was a big name back when there were only books, and now that there is an almost-complete movie series, it is an even bigger name. The latest movie, Harry Potter 7, is called The Deathly Hallows Part One, and was released to a US audience in November 2010. Critical and viewer responses were generally positive, though there were the occasional naysayers.

Given that previous Potter movies have ranged from the relatively light-hearted adventures of an eleven year old Harry to the recent dark and disturbing Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows had a choice to continue in the dark and devastating vein of the wizarding world’s war, or to return to lighter days. In keeping with the books, it chose to stick with a dark tone as it tells the compelling story of the days leading up to the final battles of the war in author J. K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

While some series can be entered at any time, this is not one of them. The seventh movie requires a knowledge of the previous six books or movies in order to be at all comprehensible. There is hardly time to add a recap, either– the plot is heavy on information that needs to be found out before the climax of the movie can occur, and there’s not a lot of time for extras.

The response to the acting was, unsurprisingly, nearly universally positive. Six previous films have spoken to the quality of the actors and actresses employed in these movies, and the young leads received their usual acclaim. There were few complaints among either critics or viewers about the performances of the youthful but talented Potter cast.

The main complaints among critics and viewers alike have to do with the fact that this is part one of a two part movie. The storyline is unfinished, and this first film contains a lot of set-up. While it is mostly true to the book and necessary for the plot twists of the second part, for some people, it seems to have felt stagnant at times.

The other main issue was with the amount of time spent by the characters pondering and anguishing about their situations. However, this particular movie is the build-up to an epic battle that will end the war once and for all, and the emotionally-fraught moments spent thinking about their mortality and uncertain futures felt appropriate to most viewers. The dark and serious tone of the movie is also very true to the book.

The pacing of the film has received some complaints and some lauding. Clearly, it is mostly a matter of preference. While the first and third acts are filled with action and the second is allowed to slow and become more thoughtful, reactions to these choices are mixed. Some find the sequences too fast or too slow, while others applaud the maintenance of the book’s storyline, pacing included.

Most people who enjoyed the previous films with like Harry Potter 7. And those that were disappointed with lapses of movie canon away from book canon will be quite happy with this segment. There are always detractors for a film this big, but the overall reception was mostly positive.

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