Sunday, July 24, 2011

One Week Later

It's been a week since the last Great Harry-thon came to a close (and by close, I mean close).  Throughout this week we have seen the grand finale three times--once in the double feature/midnight showing with our dear friends Lacie and Leland, once on Saturday night with Mike, and once on Wednesday night for Julie's work party (that means it was free!) with our London friends Caity and Melissa.  We always joke with people who were unable to join our opening day festivities that it probably wouldn't be very hard to persuade us to see it again if they want to go at a later date, so we might just see it a couple more times in the theater (and when it comes to the dollar theater??  Forget about it!).

So what did I think?  I'll tell you what I think!  Well, you can probably guess what I think, and you would probably be right.

I loved it.

I don't know if I'm ready to give it my stamp of "favorite," but it comes pretty close.  Although it's the shortest of the films, which makes sense as it covers about 250 pages of text, I was amazed at how it filled the time, since it basically consisted of two major events (though they were pretty major).  The action was intense and the characters and relationships were at their very best.  Dan, Rupert and Emma have sure come a long way in the acting department, though I always thought they played their characters well, and by now I can't possibly imagine anyone else as Harry, Ron and Hermione.  I almost cared about Snape, and Alan Rickman finally had his chance to actually do a little acting (he's a fine Snape, I guess, though he doesn't really nail the nastiness that Snape has in the books, and his portrayal has always been restrained and a little bit theatrical).  The score was fantastic, it had the right blend of end-of-the-wizarding-world intensity and real emotion, and expertly incorporated some perfectly-placed key themes from the very first John Williams scores to great effect--there were a couple of moments when I gasped and gripped Julie's arm when an incredibly familiar theme started to play.

The midnight experience was fun, and I'm glad we did it, not to mention the excitement of the double feature and starting the second half almost immediately after the first (which I so desperately wanted to do last November when Part 1 was released), and though there were some people who were obviously dragged there and didn't quite "get" the excitement of a midnight showing, it was really awesome.  As a side note, I'm really glad we bought tickets early enough to get them right here in Provo so we wouldn't have to drive home through construction and freeway closures at three in the morning... We were dressed in full Gryffindor attire (which I admit is more conducive to a fall/winter movie release), and the hundreds of fans waiting in the lobby and the theater were duly impressed, and some even asked to take pictures with or of us.  We were like celebrities!  One day we will have a wee tot and draw a scar on his forehead and go as James, Lily and Harry.  I mean, I have heard more than once already that I kind of resemble James in the movies, which I'll totally accept.

She's so excited!
The Wife stopped to say a quick hello to Captain America.  See you next week!
This is a very small indication of the crowds.  This is the line for snacks and cheeses.
Rushing to finish re-reading the Epilogue between Part 1 and Part 2.
Us!  Note the Cherry Coke in the cupholder.  We were taking precautions in order to be alert all through the night.
The Lius!
Now that's what I like to see.  A theater showing Harry Potter all day.
Overall I was so pleased to see just how much they included in this movie, and the embellishments to the ending didn't bother me at all.  That Fiendfyre scene is really intense (just sayin') and I thought it was a fitting final battle between Harry and Voldemort, with some very interesting themes being brought full-circle.  Yes, I did laugh, gasp and smile almost the whole time, and yes, I did get kind of misty at certain parts (and some of them were really unexpected parts!).  The only gripe I have, and it is minor, is that this doesn't seem to have a fully fleshed-out story as a film on its own.  As the second half of one really long film based on the last Harry Potter book, it is fanTAStic, and I like to think of the two movies as one long movie anyway.  I think it's better that way, and the story and characters round out better.  My annoyance with the splitting of the book into two parts is well-documented, and the trend it seems to have started (NO Twilight book can or should be split into two parts, period.  Especially not the last one.  I just have no idea how they're going to make that into two movies that don't induce the viewer into a coma.), and I still think it would have been awesome to have one super-long finale event, but if it means that I get both of these awesome movies, I'll take it.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to just watch one of the movies once Part 2 is on DVD...  So far I'm already finding it difficult to just listen to the second part of the soundtracks.

Anyway, it was wonderful, and it's been a really awesome trip from start to finish.  It's been ten years since the first movie was released, and the memories of driving with Elise up to Jordan Landing are as fresh in my mind as the day they happened.  The traditions have changed, and I have luckily found a spouse that is as enamored of The Boy Who Lived as I am (at LEAST as much as I am), so she understands and indulges (and encourages and fuels!) the hype and excitement I feel as each Harry Potter Day, of which there are now very very few remaining, draws closer.  I do have mixed feelings about it all being over at least, but I don't feel all tragic and woeful and "the end of an era means the end of my life and childhood and happiness!" like some of the fans are feeling, I feel like it's been an amazing journey, and though I've had my quibbles with some of the movies, I'm a very grateful fan.  I didn't "grow up" with the books or movies, like my younger sister and fellow super-fan did, but I still followed them and came to feel like the characters were really good friends.  It does feel like the end of something big, but I like to think of it as Alan Rickman is quoted to have said in some premiere interviews:  "I think things like this are meant to end, and you should not miss it--you should just be happy that it ends well."  Will there ever be anything like Harry Potter again?  I seriously doubt it.  It's an incredible phenomenon that has meant so much to so many people on such real and personal levels, and I can't see anything else ever coming close to that, but that just makes me glad that I found it when I did and was able to take part in and enjoy all the amazing hype and waiting (and waiting and waiting...) for the newest book or movie.  I don't even know what I'll have to look forward to so eagerly in the theaters now...  OhwaityesIdoit'sTheHobbitofcourse.

Also, about the Epilogue?  I like it.  The make-up wasn't entirely convincing (Ron and Hermione hardly looked older at all), but when you see the images floating around the internet of how they looked the first time they filmed that scene (19 years later?  More like 39 years later!  This first attempt was scrapped, leading almost to cutting the Epilogue scene entirely), you realize that it's really pretty good.  It was so great to hear that familiar music and see Harry sending his own kids off to Hogwarts, coming full-circle and bringing back memories of his own first journey on the Hogwarts Express, almost as if it happened to each of us.  It's so weird that there's a real feeling of personal nostalgia involved, but there it is.  It was also kind of symbolic of the feeling I (and we as fans) will have one day when I put the first book in the hands of my own kids and introduce them to the experience of discovering the world of Harry and Co.  Hopefully they'll be interested in the books before the movies, I would love for them to have the same experience I had of discovering the world in the words before seeing them brought to life so expertly on the screen.
HP7.2 Take 2!
This time I'm reading The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
So yeah, this is a little gooey, not unlike when I blogged about finally reading the last book, but it's been a huge part of my life for more than a decade, influencing my art, my musical and cinematic taste, and it was even a huge factor in the development of my relationship with my dear sister and of course, the series of very fortunate events that led me to meeting and marrying my moste splendid wife.  Thanks for everything, Harry.  Your story has been told, but you're not really out of the picture.

A message to people who still haven't seen this movie, or to those who (SOMEhow) haven't seen the other ones, or, even more amazingly, haven't read the books:  SEE IT.  READ THEM.  Then come back and thank me. :)


  1. Can I just say..... your blog has changed my life!! I have not really gotten into that scene, but yours is so well written and exciting. I can imagine the making of a peanut butter sandwich even thrilling me when you have written about it! You rock Drew! Keep it up!
    The End

  2. Oh Harry! Let's do it all over again!