The last time I watched a 'Harry Potter' movie, I didn't like it. The installment in question was 2004's 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,' and by all accounts it's considered one of the best films in the franchise as a whole. On the other hand, I really enjoyed 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' way back in 2001, and even the biggest Potter fans don't have many nice things to say about it, at least in retrospect. Otherwise, I've neither seen the other films nor read their source material, nor followed the story, even from a pop culture perspective, which of course makes me ideally suited to review the first half of the last film in this iconic series.

Of course, I'm only kidding. And Cinematical did indeed enlist a qualified member of our team of reviewers to provide a more serious and knowledgeable critique of the film (see Eric D. Snider's review). But as an outsider to the works of J.K. Rowling, and a nonfan (via disinterest, not dislike) of their big-screen iterations, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1' is nevertheless a well-constructed, competently-told and generally engaging tale that conveys an appropriate sense of finality and suffers only from being but part of the whole story.