Of course, it was already more than obvious that iconic wizard Harry Potter and his cohorts Ron and Hermionie had already grown way past their Hogwarts undergrad roots.

But this, the first half of a split final instalment (part II is slated for Summer 2011) essentially confirms that the trio is no longer at the institu
te of wizardry and witchcraft. They're not on their own; much of the expanding cast that saw them through the last couple of Potter flicks is back, except, of course for the venerable Dumbledore, even though the story's resolution hinges in part on him (or something of his).

In any case, evil takes no rest and the chillingly ruthless Lord Voldemort is gathering his own forces for the final assault on goodness and in particular, on the wizardly boy wonder. Voldemort's growing strength pushes the 'kids' further out into the Muggles world and thus into greater exposure.

This means, among other things, more adult disguises and more hyped-up action (chases, battle scenes, etc). Some posted reviews have cited this new Potter as slow, but from this vantage point, its not the pacing that's the problem; its the soul, or lack of it. There's a 'let's just do it and get it over with' air that pervades the film, particularly in the interactions between Harry and Ron, who make a bit of a Steinbeckian pair (broad-shouldered Ron towers like a Lennie over the more wiry, Lennie-like Harry).

As usual, there are good performances from the repertory players (Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy and helena Bonham-Carter all shine in their respective roles) and Alphonse Cuaron's direction is generally sure-footed.

Simply, the new Potter, as the "beginning of the end" won't disappoint hardcore Harry-philes and won't prove intimidating to the scattered few newbies left.

Source: Mike@themovies