Soundtrack Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1
When most people think of score, they think of the epic, full orchestral versions that work to drive the emotion and pace of a film. Over the years, scores have been expanded on, electrified, and stripped down, but HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 delivers a score that echoes the more classic, aforementioned style with booming percussion, full strings, and triumphant horns.
As we come to the close of the series, the story has slowly, but surely, gotten increasingly darker as the looming threat of retaliation against Harry’s very existence grows near. The song titles alone show that there is not much in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS outside of struggle, strife and, as the film’s title suggests, death.
The tone of this seventh installment is one of foreboding, which never dissipates. The tag line on the posters for THE DEATHLY HALLOWS states: “No where is safe” – a simple statement that could not be truer. Composer Alexandre Desplat (FANTASTIC MR. FOX, TWILIGHT: NEW MOON) has created a score that is the emotional embodiment of everything we see on screen and, more impressive, probably felt while reading the book. Even in its softest and most understated moments, each piece links to the next to create the soundscape of Harry’s world and what it has become in its darkest hour.
Each track succeeds in creating the feeling of the scene or character it represents. The slightly off, possibly sinister, motives behind “Bathilda Bagshot” are present in every off-putting note while the strings almost sing out in agony in “Captured and Tortured.” Although the overall tone of the film and the score is tumultuous, we get a few moments of levity on tracks such as “Lovegood,” which is a bit brighter, much like Mr. Lovegood himself, as the wind instruments take the forefront.
Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) truly came into his own in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, and he gets two tracks to his name to prove it. The audience see, and hear, his growth from rash frustration in “Ron Leaves” to understanding of his role in his relationships with Hermonie (Emma Watson) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) in “Ron’s Speech.”
The series has never shied away from death, and Desplat does well to take one of the more emotional moments in THE DEATHLY HALLOWS on “Farewell to Dobby,” creating a beautiful piece that is certainly sad and mournful, but at the same time, almost hopeful. I felt this piece perfectly embodied not just the spirit of what keeps this trio moving forward despite all the obstacles standing in their way, but stayed true to Dobby’s character as well.
Desplat is without question a brilliant composer and he delivers a score that not only helps to drive the action, but also round out the more melancholy moments of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS. Within the film, the score works to give you goose bumps in both the adrenaline charged scenes and the quiet emotional ones. But the soundtrack is an opus (almost 30 tracks in total) and I found it lost a bit of the magic (pardon the pun) outside of the film. The score is accomplished and layered, but on its own, it starts to drag. I admit – I tend to grow tired of any score that attempts to include every moment within the film on the accompanying soundtrack. Minute long clips here and there are certainly important in the film, but a more succinct version may translate better to the soundtrack itself.
Potter fans and music fans alike should enjoy the soundtrack, but fewer tracks would have allowed certain pieces to stand out more instead of getting diluted by the group.
This soundtrack is available through Watertower Music.
2. “Snape to Malfoy Manor”
3. “Polyjuice Potion”
4. “Sky Battle”
5. “At the Burrow”
6. “Harry and Ginny”
7. “The Will”
8. “Death Eaters”
10. “Ministry Of Magic”
12. “The Locket”
13. “Fireplaces Escape”
14. “Ron Leaves”
15. “The Exodus”
16. “Godric’s Hollow Graveyard”
17. “Bathilda Bagshot”
18. “Hermione’s Parents”
19. “Destroying the Locket”
20. “Ron’s Speech”
22. “The Deathly Hallows”
23. “Captured and Tortured”
24. “Rescuing Hermione”
25. “Farewell to Dobby”
26. “The Elder Wand”
27. “Voldermort (Bonus Track)”
28. “The Dumbledores (Bonus Track)”
29. “Bellatrix (Bonus Track)”
All songs on this soundtrack composed by Alexandre Desplat.
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