It’s the beginning of the end.
Part one of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final installment of J.K. Rowling’s mega-popular series about the eponymous boy wizard, was released into theaters Nov. 19.
The significantly darker aura of “Hallows” is set early when newly appointed Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) laments: “These are dark times. There is no denying.”
Scrimgeour’s mournful words quickly set the tone of the film as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) sever ties with their families and embark on a dangerous quest to track down mystical items known as horcruxes.
Horcruxes are dark objects in which a sliver of an evil wizard or witch’s soul is kept, granting the individual immortality.
In “Hallows,” the seven horcruxes Harry and his friends seek contain pieces of the spirit of Lord Voldemort (a very creepy Ralph Fiennes), an unfathomably evil villain whose Hitler-esque views on blood purity led him to slaughter thousands of people, including Harry’s parents.
In order to destroy Voldemort, Harry and his friends must find and destroy all seven horcruxes, an act which will in turn render him mortal.
Doubtlessly, “Hallows” is the scariest “Potter” film so far.
Characters are tortured both on and off-screen, and the mere sight of Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini is enough to make ophiophobics faint.
Director David Yates manages to suffuse this movie with a sense of dread that never dissipates.
And although “Hallows” is Harry’s darkest adventure, it is also the most magical.
From that opening first minute to the spine-chilling last moment, the film literally casts a spell on your eyes that won’t allow you to take them off the screen.
Old friends return, romance buds, and above all, good always prevails over evil.
There are few laughs to be had, although an early scene of a bare-chested Harry sporting a lacy brassiere is more than enough to suffice.
Unlike all previous “Potter” films, in which much of the novel’s original magic was lost in translation, “Hallows” actually gives testament to the greatness of the book while still giving non-readers an excellent story that is easily followed.
The only disappointment “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” has to offer?
Part II is a long eight months away.
Click here for staff writer Joey Stipek’s review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”