*Beware Spoilers - Do not read if you don't want to know details!*
Went to see HP7.1 last night, or as anyone who hasn't been living under a rock knows it, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One." After the initial "wow" factor wore off (I didn't see it in 3D, by the way, but I bet it's good that way), I can safely say I rate it a 4 out of 5.
The movie opens with some wonderful detail on things we haven't yet seen in the Potterverse, most notably, Hermione's home and her parents. (Her room is so ORDINARY! It made my Muggle heart happy to see it.) We then get a look at Ron in his non-Hogwarts habitat, and also Harry in the now-vacated Dursley home. We only get a glimpse of the Dursleys as they scoot out of there, so my hoped-for semi-resolution with Dudley was absent.
The first real alteration of plot was that, rather than keeping Hedwig in her cage, Harry lets her loose before their departure from Privet Drive. Hedwig later swoops in to attack a Death Eater as he tries to curse Harry when they're escaping, and instead of dying trapped in that owl cage, she dies a hero (I cried, even though I knew she'd die, fifteen minutes into the movie--poor Hedwig, but such a heroic scene!)
We meet Bill Weasley in this movie, scarred from his werewolf attack by Greyback in the previous book (not shown in the previous movie). It's only briefly mentioned, and people who haven't read the books might be wondering how the heck Bill and Fleur wound up together and engaged. The movie does operate on the assumption that you have read the book, and haven't been living under a rock for the past ten-ish years where the Potterverse is concerned.
From there, the movie passes quickly on to the rest of the plot. They added a few scenes which I found awkward, but which will certainly make the Harry/Hermione fans happy. I see the reasons why they added these scenes, but I didn't care for them. After Ron's departure from the trio (er, now a duo), there's a new scene of Harry dancing with Hermione in an effort to cheer her up. There's a point during this scene where there's a clear attraction to Hermione on Harry's part, which she quickly cuts short. Later, you can see Harry having a moment of residual attraction, and she does the same. Hermione's all Ron's, and she knows it even during Ron's absence. After Ron's return, things go back to book, but the unfortunate problem with these added scenes, is that when Ron goes to destroy the locket Horcrux, the vision of Harry and Hermione intertwined actually has some validation, rather than being all in Ron's head. (Quite a racy scene, if you want the truth--there art the Harry/Hermione fans happy, again.) Romance-wise, there's much less Harry/Ginny feeling in this film than Harry/Hermione. That's too bad, because Ginny is then reduced to a convenient love interest.
Ron! Let me say how awesome Rupert Grint was in this movie. He stole the show, as far as I'm concerned, even if he wasn't in all of it. He's huge, too. Ron must be eating his Wheaties, because he towers over Harry and he looks like a tank. And he's got acting chops, that Rupert. Great, great work!
I really felt that, for the most part, HP7.1 felt more like a checklist of plot points than a cohesive story. The problem with cutting the book in two (it ends when Voldemort gets the Elder Wand) is that you don't get the beginning-middle-climax-end of a typical book or movie. This is just beginning-middle, and it feels just as unfinished as it sounds. The movie ends on a down-note, and I feel it would have served the story better to release the entire two-part film with an intermission, a la "Gone With The Wind."
In spite of all that, it's still a rocking good movie, and the kids of Harry Potter have grown into handsome/beautiful young adults. Again, I give it four of five, and I look forward to Part Two (still a disappointing half a year away, sigh)!