Writing about Harry Potter is going to be difficult. Not as difficult as sitting through the damned thing (that’s not an insult in the slightest). Let’s clarify: the movie was traumatizing, but in a totally fantastic way. Still sounding really weird? Alright, let’s start at the beginning:
When I saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I was eleven (just like Harry when he began his legendary saga!). I began fantasizing about receiving a letter from Hogwarts, and I still remain in denial that it never came. I’ve picked my desired wand (though the wand chooses the witch), and I know I would be in Ravenclaw house (the most clever house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry).
The impact of Harry Potter on the lives of so many in my generation (and beyond) is staggering. I’m not about to presume why this is, as everyone brings something different to Harry Potter fandom. For me, however, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever read. It’s something I can never tire of, and it inspires me (a hard-hitting rationalist and naturalist) to see the potential for magic in what is usually ordinary. For many this last film symbolizes and coincides with growing up, giving closure to Harry’s adventures and their own childhood. I sat between two crying fans at the premiere, and I held their knees in support; Harry Potter is worth getting emotional over.
The Harry Potter film franchise, though an endurance exercise up enchanted castle stairwells and through scary forests, is just as rewarding as it is exhausting. While some of the middle films seem like placeholders rather than films in their own right, this last one finishes everything off right without simply acting like an awkward stage sweeper (or a proverbial Argus Filch, if you’ve already seen Part Two).
In order to enjoy this film, you have to be ready with at least some background knowledge of the film series. You needn’t have read the books; just go rent the last few movies and you’ll be up to speed. Of course, it helps to have read all of the books and to have been invested in the series for almost a decade, like myself. I suppose these factors altered my viewing experience. It’s hard to critique a Harry Potter film, simply because I just want to see the characters I love in all their live action glory, and because I tend to love each film no matter what.
It is also important to note that I was at the midnight premiere, an experience in itself. I waited in line for at least 6 hours (the line eventually resembled Diagon Alley), and what would have been boredom was replaced with intense anticipation. Energies ran high, and there was a lot of cheering for wonderful moments.
Do not underestimate the power of premiere night. Going on premiere night even affected my view of X-Men 3 positively (but only for a minute and I woke up the next morning thinking “What the hell was that?”).
Post Potter Premiere Hangover, however, I was still very pleased. It’s filled with heart-stopping action and is paced much more expertly than The Deathly Hallows Part One. The young actors have become more than just character look-a-likes and the older actors keep going strong. The special effects are beautiful, and the plot is a pretty faithful adaptation. I realize one book was split into two parts most likely for financial gain, but I was just happy to see more stuff packed into my promised two and a half hour journey.
My only complaint is the makeup, namely Snape’s. I understand they’re trying to communicate his emotional strain with some harrowed, darkened eyes, but he just looks like an emo kid. I also don’t appreciate Neville Longbottom’s lingering head wound blood (and why does it have to always be Neville?). Does anyone else hate it when directors put in head wounds just for show? Head wounds bleed for a long time, and they adversely affect a person’s performance in battle! Also, be on the lookout for some weird noises on Voldemort’s part (yeah, you heard that right). Harry Potter fans take this stuff seriously, and there were still giggles in the audience.
Though the review might seem as long as the film itself, I feel a little background was necessary to convey this emotionally confusing feeling of a “cinematic moment.” I love films, and I love Harry Potter, so naturally I hate that it’s over. The Deathly Hallows Part Two is worthy of my love/hate mostly because it reminds me of what I (and others) try to cover up with pretense and pizzazz: I’m still a delusional child, hoping for a little magic, a hero or two, and a great ending. Even though she’s unabashedly rich, I thank J.K. Rowling for enriching my life for the past decade. I hope Harry Potter’s message, advocating bravery and love, endures. In the immortal words of Albus Dumbledore: “Alas, earwax!”
Did you see the final installment in the Harry Potter series? If so, tell me what you think in the comments below!