The long goodbye for the most successful film series of the century thus far begins with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, the darkest and least characteristic of the batch. Gone are Hogwarts and the sense of security that went with it, gone is any of the joy of youth, gone is more than just a measure or two of John Williams' original music. With Harry, Ron and Hermione left largely to their own devices on often forbidding terrain, this grim beginning-of-the-end odyssey has a very different feel from any of its predecessors -- a development slightly more disconcerting than it is welcome. That this holiday release will be a huge international attraction is beyond question, even if the real fireworks mostly await the finale's second installment, which arrives July 15.
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