Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Split Between the Two Parts of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Revealed

It was not a big surprise to fans when it was announced that the film adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" would be divided into two separate movies. After all, the final book in J.K. Rowling's immensely popular series is a 759-page long epic culminating in a massive battle sequence and the final showdown between Harry and Lord Voldemort.

But the big question for many Potter fanatics was exactly where in the book would the split between the movies happen. In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, the dividing line was finally revealed, and it happens much later in the story than anticipated.

SPOILER WARNING: If you haven't read the book or want to be surprised when you see the movie, stop reading now

According to EW's story, the first film will end at the conclusion of Chapter 24 of the book. That is the moment where Voldemort retrieves the Elder Wand from the tomb of Professor Dumbledore. The wand is one of the Deathly Hallows, the three magical items that can be used to defeat death.

The book has 36 chapters, not including the epilogue, so the split occurs two-thirds of the way through the story. Director David Yates says that breaking up the novel in this way creates a sense of two distinct movies. He said, "I didn't want the two films to feel similar in tone." He describes the first part as "quite verite, quite real," while the second is "much more operatic and colorful and fantasy-oriented."

The first film will be sort of a road movie, with Harry, Ron and Hermione outside of the protection of Hogwarts as they hunt down the missing Horcruxes -- secret objects that each contain a piece of Voldemort's soul. They must destroy all the Horcruxes to vanquish the Dark Lord once and for all. That leaves the second movie to be an action-packed spectacle, with the forces of evil descending on Hogwarts for the final battle. In a behind-the-scenes video, Daniel Radcliffe describes "Part II" as "relentless... it's a really, really fast ride. It's going to be so much action, so much fighting, but in a good, epic way."

The filmmakers are quick to refute the notion that the decision to make two movies was entirely motivated by greed. Studio president Alan Horn tells EW, "There's no question that Warner Bros. will make more money with two films than they would have with one." Still, he emphasizes that they would not be splitting the movies if Rowling had not supported their decision.

Of course, doubling the number of films meant doubling the amount of work the actors had to do. The shoot lasted over a year-and-a-half, starting in February of 2009 and wrapping last June. All told, production on the eight "Harry Potter" films spanned a full ten years, roughly half the lives of stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

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