‘Voldemort: Origins of the Heir’ review
By Veronnica MacKillop, Columnist
Harry Potter fans are a devoted crowd, and are always looking for more content from the beloved franchise that ended six years ago with its eighth film. While we wait for the next installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Italian independent film studio Tryangle Films has created Voldemort: Origins of the Heir, the Dark Lord origin story we’ve always wanted.
Since a Kickstarter for the project was launched in 2016, people have been avidly supporting and anticipating this fan adaptation, and as of Saturday it has already been viewed over 10 million times since its release on January 13. After the Kickstarter began, Tryangle Films ran into some issues with Warner Bros. issuing a takedown notice, but they reached an agreement and the film was able to start production once it raised €15,000 from the campaign.
Considering the fact that this 52-minute, straight-to-YouTube movie is an amateur production that made no money off the project, the film has very impressive visual effects, sets, and actors.
It’s not without flaws, however; director Gianmaria Pezzato makes some interesting choices with camera angles, some of the dialogue is pretty strange, and the poor English dubbing is a little distracting, but overall it is a very enjoyable film that fits quite nicely with the franchise.
The actors are convincing for the most part, though sometimes the delivery of the dialogue seems a little off. In addition, in one of the flashbacks the characters are supposed to be 12 years old, but the same actors, who are in their mid-20s, play the roles. Also take note that the film is definitely aimed at hardcore fans—it makes a lot of references to the books and movies that could easily be missed.
The plot follows Grisha McLaggen, an original character—although the McLaggen family is canon in the Harry Potter universe. She is the heir to Godric Gryffindor; one of the four heirs in the film, another of which is Tom Riddle, the heir of Salazar Slytherin. Grisha is captured and questioned at the Russian Ministry of Magic, where it is revealed that she’s trying to find Tom Riddle because she suspects him to be involved in a string of murders. The film is told mostly in flashbacks, and it has a pretty interesting twist ending.
Origins of the Heir is not an official part of the franchise, so its creators didn’t have to follow any rules, but, knowing Harry Potter fans would be highly critical, Pezzato made sure to do his research. Although some things are definitely not canon, for the most part the events could very well be. We only know bits and pieces of Voldemort’s adolescence, and this film does a nice job of portraying what his time at Hogwarts and shortly after could have been like. It would have been interesting to see more canon events such as Tom opening the Chamber of Secrets, but it’s understandable that the filmmakers wanted to focus more on events we didn’t already know about.
Overall, considering the sheer amount of fanfiction that exists based on the world of Harry Potter, this film is notably impressive and enjoyable. It is no A Very Potter Musical, but it’s quite an interesting story that clearly had a lot of hard work put into it.