Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

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(2010) ★★★

ITV1: Saturday 11 July, 7pm

Dark times follow Dumbledore’s demise… The Ministry has fallen. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint convene under glowering skies and hide in plain sight (and a few funny disguises). Trying to steer clear of Voldemort’s lethal minions, the steadfast trio are tracking down Dumbledore’s bequest, the sword of Godric Gryffindor, its current whereabouts unknown. Despite a few heavy-handed attempts at humour typical of the entire series, this introspective episode of the Harry Potter saga is not so much an adventure as a solemn preparation for impending doom. There’s a CGI snake attack that’s rather obviously designed for 3D, an animated shadow-play that’s like an out-of-place excerpt from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and one peculiar scene that manages to conflate Bambi with Excalibur. As for the stuff with Kreacher and Dobby and the lockets, it’s another reminder of just how much HP owes Tolkien. But when it sticks to doing what it does best – portraying adolescent friendship in a sympathetic and often affecting light – the first part of the final part of the free-falling fantasy is almost magical. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing, does he?” says Ron, looking at Harry in the distance. “None of us do,” replies Hermione. She’s right, as usual. The rest of it is hokum-pocus.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 146min