Voldemort: Origins of the Heir

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Voldemort: Origins of the Heir
Voldemort, Origins of the Heir poster.jpeg
Promotional poster
Directed by Gianmaria Pezzato
Produced by Stefano Prestia
Screenplay by Gianmaria Pezzato
Based on Characters and
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Starring
  • Stefano Rossi
  • Davide Ellena
  • Andrea Baglio
  • Andrea Deanesi
  • Aurora Moroni
  • Maddalena Orcali
  • Andrea Bonfanti
  • Gelsomina Bassetti
  • Alessio Dalla Costa
Music by
  • Matthew Steed
  • Stefano Prestia
Cinematography Michele Purin
Edited by Gianmaria Pezzato
Production
company
Tryangle Films
Release date
January 13, 2018
Running time
53 minutes
Country Italy
Language English
Budget €15,000[1]

Voldemort: Origins of the Heir is an English-language Italian dark fantasy film directed by Gianmaria Pezzato and with Stefano Prestia as executive producer. It is an unofficial fan-made prequel to the Harry Potter film series.[1][2]

The official teaser trailer was released on Facebook and YouTube in June 2017, the Facebook video exceeded thirty million views in less than 48 hours. On December 1, 2017, the final trailer was released on YouTube, the film was not released in cinemas but available to view for free on YouTube. It was uploaded for viewing on 13 January 2018 and by March 2018 had received over 13 million views. Reception to the film has been generally mixed with criticism levelled at the actors (specifically their ages) and direction, but praise for the special effects.

Premise[edit]

Voldemort: Origins of the Heir depicts the story of Tom Riddle's rise to power as a dark wizard and main antagonist in the Harry Potter saga. Several original characters are introduced in the film: not only the protagonist, but also the other Hogwarts houses' heirs, and several minor characters for the plot.

Plot details[edit]

As a flashback Tom Riddle is shown packing his bags and preparing to leave his house. As he does so he pauses over a photograph of himself and three other students before abandoning it. In the present, Grisha McLaggen is attempting to break into a Soviet Auror warehouse, but despite defeating many of the guards is captured and fed an intravenous drip of Veritaserum while questioned by General Makarov. In a mixture of flashbacks and present tense a Soviet reconnaissance team finds a chest filled with dark objects, including Tom Riddle's diary, but are killed soon after opening it. In the warehouse Grisha explains that she was a student with Riddle at Hogwarts, who along with Wiglaf Sigurdsson and Lazarus Smith were the true heirs of the Hogwarts founders (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff respectively). All of the heirs formed a club, which was dedicated to "making the world a better place". When an argument occurred between Lazarus and Tom over Grisha's affections, they fell out. Grisha noted that Tom was becoming distant to them all and changed completely after the incident. Over the last few years Grisha has become an Auror and dedicated herself to tracking down Tom in the belief she can save him from himself and the dark path.

Under further questioning and flashbacks it is shown how Tom stole both Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket from Hepzibah Smith before killing her and framing her house elf Hokey, and that Grisha believes he intends to create Horcuxes. She thinks that Tom's diary - the artefact she was trying to retrieve from the warehouse - will give her a clue as to either Tom's whereabouts, or his intent. She also explains that Tom has since killed both Lazarus and Wiglaf and it is implied that he has already taken and started using the name "Voldemort" rather than Tom Riddle.

After deliberation, Makarov says that he believes her story as she was under the influence of Veritaserum when she told it - yet just because she believes it does not actually mean that it is true, and she could be mistaken in her belief. However, he is not willing to take the chance as the threat of Grindelwald is still a recent memory and so gives her the diary, saying "it is a Brit problem" and that they should deal with it. Grisha is released, given her personal effects and allowed to leave.

As she leaves Makarov asks her how she knew they had the diary, and Grisha replies "I didn't - or maybe I did..." before transfiguring back into Voldemort and killing Makarov and his assembled guards.

The film finishes with a flashback to a second reconnaissance team finding the chest and recovering it. The two Soviets discuss the contents, mentioning that the bones are female (the implication being that they are Grisha's) and what they mean, with one grimly concluding that there must be darkness in order for there to be light.

Development[edit]

The film was conceived by Pezzato and Prestia as an unofficial prequel to the Harry Potter film series, and initially crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2016.[1] A trailer for the film was officially released in June 2017 through Tryangle Films.[3]

Litigation[edit]

Litigation with Warner Bros. ended the crowdfunding due to copyright violations. The defendants agreed to not generate profit.[4][5][1]

Reception[edit]

Reception to the film has been generally mixed, with most reviews complimenting the special effects and production values whilst being less so of the acting and directing. Kat Brown of The Telegraph gave the film "Two warm drinks out of five", noting that while "the cast are uniformly gorgeous", they were far too old to portray their ages accurately - "Moroni, supposedly playing an 11-year-old second year, is one lollipop away from being an inappropriate fancy dress costume". Brown was more appreciative of the technical aspects, stating that the magic was impressive, highlighting the use of moving photographs, owls and filming locations.[2] Calla Wahlquist of The Guardian makes similar comments, that "Pezzato does weird things with camera angles", and that "the English dubbing is not great", but counterpoints it with the statement that "the visual effects are, in many places, better than the multimillion-dollar Warner Brothers movies, the costuming and sets are also good" and that she enjoyed the twist ending.[6] Rick Austin writing for Fortress of Solitude is equally dismissive, albeit for different reasons, speaking highly of Pezzato's directing, but criticising "the story, the casting, the acting, the poor dubbing, the scattershot editing and the production design." Common to other reviewers, Austin was critical of the ages of the actors against their supposed characters, but impressed by the special effects.[7]

Cast[edit]

  • Stefano Rossi as Tom Marvolo Riddle, a dark wizard and Hogwarts student
    • Davide Ellena as Lord Voldemort
  • Maddalena Orcali as Grisha McLaggen, Hogwarts student, and Heir of Godric Gryffindor. Orcali also narrates the trailer.
    • Aurora Moroni as young Grisha McLaggen
  • Andrea Deanisi as Wiglaf Sigurdsson, the Heir of Rowena Ravenclaw.
    • Andrea Baglio as young Wiglaf Sigurdsson
  • Andrea Bonfanti as Lazarus Smith, the Heir of Helga Hufflepuff.
  • Gelsomina Bassetti as Hepzibah Smith, Lazarus Smith's aunt.
  • Alessio Dalla Costa as General Makarov, a senior Soviet Auror.

Voice actors[edit]

  • Mitchell Thornton as Tom Marvolo Riddle and Lord Voldemort
  • Amy Davies as Grisha McLaggen
  • Rasmus Bækgaard as General Makarov
  • Rorie Stockton as Lazarus Smith and Igor
  • Stefan Chanyaem as Wiglaf Sigurdsson
  • Margaret Ashley as Hepzibah Smith
  • Biscarte Hazencruz as Veteran Soviet Auror
  • Masha Bazhenova as Loudspeaker Voice

Crew[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Echites, Giulia (2018-01-16). "CINEMA Le origini di Voldemort in un film tutto italiano". Repubblica.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-01-17. 
  2. ^ a b Brown, Kat (2018). "Voldemort: Origins of the Heir review: a fun-free Harry Potter fan film lifted by magical effects". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-01-21. 
  3. ^ Hencke, Gerrit. "Neuer Film : "Voldemort: Origins of the Heir" – Das ist der erste Trailer zu seiner Vorgeschichte | shz.de". shz (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  4. ^ derwesten.de, DerWesten -. "Trailer zum "Harry Potter"-Prequel "Voldemort: Origins of the Heir" ist da – und bricht Rekorde!" (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  5. ^ "Voldemort: Origins of the Heir – Teaser zum fangemachten "Harry Potter"-Prequel". PC GAMES (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  6. ^ [1] I watched the crowdfunded Harry Potter spinoff. It was ... good?
  7. ^ [2]Voldemort: Origins Of The Heir Review – There’s Almost No Magic Here

External links[edit]