There are film franchises that sometimes work their way into your life. For the past decade we’ve been seeing the various adventures of HARRY POTTER. When it began, I scoffed at the notion of this “children’s book” and the mania it has caused. BUT – I went in with open eyes & mind. I swore a decade ago to never read spoilers, to save reading the books for that point of time in my future where if I find myself lucky enough to have children… Well, I’d like to read the Potter books and discover the undeniable magic that must reside in them at that time… with a child.
Exactly five and one half years ago, the world of Harry Potter had a massive change for me. I met my wife upon our first date exactly five and a half years ago, and on this day 4 years ago I married her. Her name happened to have CHO as her middle name and I am most definitely a HARRY. Harry’s first kiss in the series was with CHO and we made a big deal about that. Every year, about two weeks before Halloween we throw a WIZARD PEOPLE DEAR READER party, where we play SORCEROR’S STONE with that rather awesome audio track. Our living room has jack o’lanterns hanging from the ceiling at various levels just like in the great hall at Hogwarts…
Yoko and I love the HARRY POTTER series – but we both haven’t read the series, she’s cracked a few of the books, but I’ve forbidden her from telling me anything that is in the books that isn’t in the movies. I have been committed to running a site that often deals in spoilers, while at the very same time avoiding spoilers – and I’m happy to say… I SURVIVED.
I made it to the first showing of HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II at 11:10am this morning, the first 2D show at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. It was a sell out crowd. I had 7 tickets for the show, bringing my father, sister, nephew and a pair of his friends, but we couldn’t sit together, so it was just Cho & Harry – as it should be – at the end.
I have to say, I’ve been privately rooting for Ginny to be killed so Harry & Cho could make a lil Eurasian Wizard or Witch… But that bitch in pink ruined any chance of their relationship – but in this final outing, I saw a spark between Cho & Harry twice in the film. I liked that.
How did it conclude for me?
Smashingly! Everything that is revealed about Snape’s character is pretty much exactly what I had hoped was coming. I won’t say what that stuff was, just in case, like me you’re trying to remain spoiler free… good luck on that btw – it isn’t easy. It is why I avoided the midnight crowd, when you’re in line with the hardcore – sometimes there’s some hardcore fan that is so excited to see their favorite part of the story and they could inadvertently blurt something out and suddenly my wand pops out and it’s Avada Kedavra and Dementors for the rest of my days. Fuck that. I’ll just slip in, not talk to anybody – be anti-social and just let the film play.
This final episode was extremely emotional. As the film played their came an overwhelming building sense of finality that washed over me. I could feel it ending, almost in the same fashion that Voldemort feels the threat that he feels. I honestly don’t want the series to end, but that is precisely why it must.
I would absolutely love it if the cast and crews could make another 20 episodes. That the sets would continue to stand, that we follow with magical lives of these characters with different genre twists. I’d love to just discover Harry’s adult world of magic. How he exists… I would love spin-off films that followed the life of Neville or Luna. The R-rated lives of Ron & Hermione.
If you haven’t discovered or warmed to Harry Potter – I hope you find it some day. It might be when you have kids.
Without a doubt, the HARRY POTTER series is one of the great episodic film series of all time. To deny it, would be to deny STAR WARS, LORD OF THE RINGS, GODFATHER, JAMES BOND, the FRANKENSTEIN trilogy, the Weissmuller TARZANs, the Rathbone & Bruce SHERLOCK HOLMES, the THIN MAN series, The MAN WITH NO NAME trilogy… All the great popular film series of all time. That this series was about a child becoming a man and that Warner Brothers was able to commit to the whole series, produce them in such a way as to have a whole cast of now adult actors that are ready to move on, create magic in whatever way they wish. This is more than Harry, Ron & Hermione… Look at the enormous talent pool they’ve created with this franchise.
I’m really curious what the next 20 years holds for the young cast members. They’ve had their talents honed by working with some of the very best older actors. If acting is what they wish to do.
Now – DEATHLY HALLOWS Part 2 has one truly stand out performance. It was frankly time for Lord Voldemort and Ralph Fiennes to take center stage. There’s a point in this film that evokes a point in Miike’s brilliant 13 ASSASSINS – and it involves the fragility of invulnerableness. His character has always strutted like a peacock, but here he finally has a great character to become. The highs and lows he experiences give him the basis to be the grandest bipolar villain in screen history. Watch him after the forest scene in the courtyard of Hogwarts. He’s just a delight. I once sat with Fiennes – long before HARRY POTTER. I was convinced he’d be the greatest Lex Luthor ever. After QUIZ SHOW & SCHINDLER’S LIST – I was just blown away by the fierce intelligence in his eyes. His ability to delight in his own thoughts. In RED DRAGON, which was the film he was at Sitges to promote, he was again the stand out from the film. Now we have him in one of the biggest franchises we’re ever likely to see. How does Voldemort stack up to the Emperor in STAR WARS? Well… for me it is a clear decision. Voldemort, especially in this final film, has become one of the great villains.
As for the Half Blood Prince, Rickman’s turn in this final film is the reason to rewatch the entire series right now. I’ve got this thing I have to do with my wife, but when I return home this weekend, I want to watch the entire series. Not before, that’s wrong. But after. The brilliant thing about Rowling’s story is that only now at the close do all the relationships, odd eccentricities, looks that characters have. Only now does it truly all make crystal clear sense – and it doesn’t let you down. It doesn’t make you sad for investing so much in what is really quite a silly tale of wizards and witches. Instead, here at the end I realize that this is a film series that isn’t over.
Just as I rewatched the entire SHERLOCK HOLMES series earlier this year, or that day this year I watched all 6 Star Wars films on SPIKE, or my recent one day orgy with LORD OF THE RINGS Expanded Editions. This is a comfort series. A film series to cuddle up with and share with the people you love, be they your wife, family, girl friend or children. The series takes its dark turns, its perilous trips, but in the end it is a complete life cycle that points out what we pass on.
The epilogue of the film underlines this. The universe of Harry Potter continues whether or not J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros puts it to paper or to screen. This universe is ours – to discuss, play with and wallow in. It’s a blessing really.
Today I watched 3 young people that I’ve come to love riding astride a magnificent albino looking abused dragon upon it’s valiant flight to freedom – and I cried. Cried because it was beautiful to see. Imagining the wind, the smell of that Gringott chained beast. The character animation of that dragon was perfect. It was one of the best dragons in the history of cinema and its life of pain was written upon it. That isn’t easy folks. It’s easy to make a badass dragon, it’s something else to make a dragon with pain. I can think of only one other – and I had a 15th Anniversary AICN screening of it earlier this year.
I delight at the magic of the Potter films. They are truly magical from beginning to end. This is most definitely not the last of this series that I’ll write about. For the rest of my life I’ll reference it, compare other films to it – quote it, party with it and I most definitely plan on raising a family and including it alongside a great deal of other wonderful films.
Enjoy this series. We’re not likely to see one quite like it ever again.