Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

It seems that every writer who has talked about this movie used the word 'penultimate.' Well I refuse. This next-to-last film in the wonderful Harry Potter fantasy series is nothing more than a dark, glorified setup for the eighth and final film, which will be an epic battle between our hero and his loyal cadre of friends against the growing power of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his henchmen; so I'll talk instead about the Harry Potter phenomenon itself.

If Laurence Olivier were alive, I'm sure he would have appeared in this series in which the crème de la crème of British acting royalty has appeared at one time or another. I won't itemize them here because very few are in this latest film; after all, our dauntless little trio has left Hogwarts so we mostly see faculty members who are in league with You-Know-Who. (I assume you are familiar with the story line.) The only British actor who didn't show up when called was Richard Harris...he died!

Author J.K. Rowling (richer now than Queen Elizabeth II) scrutinized every aspect of these films and her meticulous eye has guaranteed astonishing production values, a solid story line, sympathetic main characters and a logical child-to-adult arc for our three valiant warriors and their erstwhile classmates. Of course it didn't hurt the budget to base these movies on her record-setting series which prompted millions of children worldwide to read those huge "chapter books." For that, I will always be grateful.

In addition, I appreciate having the opportunity to watch three capable youngsters grow up on film. The three main actors have stayed the course, developed their acting chops and kept out of trouble. Seeing the rest of the exemplary cast speaks very well of British pride and mutual support. The end result is a gift to us all.