I generally enjoy writing reviews immediately after seeing a movie, or at the very least, the next day. In the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (furthermore to be referred to as HP 7.2) I dropped the ball… or rather… I took a vacation from the blog (and work) for a bit and didn’t feel like writing diddly until now…
Nothing can compare to a midnight opening of a huge franchise… especially the closing chapter of a franchise. Usually, attending a midnight movie on a Thursday night with the notion of having to wake up and go to work for eight hours on three hours sleep is not appealing to me anymore… but sometimes sacrifices must be made in the interest of sharing a communal experience with people I would generally not associate myself with… and in the case of HP 7.2, there were teens in Hermoine costumes, bad Dumbledores, eyeliner lightning bolts on every other head and fake wands a plenty. It was a fantastic group of young and old with more than enough energy to help me forget how dead tired I would be the next day (it was my last day of work before a week long vacation to hang out with my kids while their nanny is in France for three weeks… Mrs. Blahg has the next two weeks).
Once I figured out which line was which (there were at least 8 sold out shows at the theater I went to) and that my theater was already seated, I proceeded to get my usual snacks (buttered popcorn, medium Cherry Coke and Sour Punch Straws) and hoped for a seat somewhere other than the front row. Fortunately I found an aisle seat midway in the theater and didn’t have to suffer with a strained neck. The woman sitting next to me began asking if I was here with my kids or friends and I had to sheepishly admit I was here on my own… and she then went on to share her thoughts on how happy she was to not be the only other “older” person watching the movie. Thanks… I didn’t feel awkward enough, I needed someone to point out how very much older I was than the average lighting scarred geek waving his wand saying “Accio, a life!”.
As the hour approached, one minute before the lights were to dim and the trailers begin… the screen went white with a Windows “Active Desktop Error” message and the crowd freaked for a bit. First it was a quiet rumbling… then the concern grew until people were nervously shifting and beginning to yell for the projectionist. For two minutes I believed the crowd would turn unruly and stage a revolt… until the screen went black… then the familiar green preview screen appeared and cheers went up. After the requisite 15 minutes of trailers… the film began… and the hooting and hollering began with the Warner Brothers symbol and didn’t stop until the end.
So… what did I think of the film? I loved it. I found the entire film to be an absolute pleasure to watch and a perfect coda to an incredible series of films. Much has been made recently about the series as a whole… yes, the books are better, the movies have had more than a few missteps and for all the wonderful things the films included from the novels, there was so much left out… but considering this is a cast we have grown to know and love over the course of eight films and eleven years and the added bonus of having watched these young people grow before our eyes is quite spectacular.
I won’t bother going into the details of the story… if you are reading this, chances are you are very aware of the story itself… and if you have not seen any of the films or have not read the books, coming into a series in it’s eighth and final film would be a pointless endeavor and I couldn’t imagine you being interested in it at all. Were some elements of the story glossed over or omitted completely? Yes… and I believed almost everything would be included seeing how they spread it over two movies… but that is nonsensical reasoning as well. Even HBO couldn’t get everything from one book (Game of Thrones) into a ten hour season much less a huge book with tons of back story into five hours. Where was Kreacher? The actor portraying Crabbe was missing due to legal trouble involving a large quantity of weed… and a number of things were lengthened or shortened due to time or story constraints… but overall, the main points were hit.
I have heard some complaints regarding the final duel between Harry and Voldemort… basically saying that it was too short and anti climactic… but I disagree. How much more protracted can two people shooting light from sticks get? Really… the whole last two films are the final battle. I was pleased as punch at the end and don’t believe it could have been much better… satisfying and fun. I will say though that I was quite shocked that I didn’t shed a single tear… usually I am the weeper in a theater, and in this theater there were more than a few weepers (and in the case of one young girl, a sobber and moaner as well… she was quite distraught), and oddly I was not one of them.
The following Sunday I went again with Mrs. Blahg and the kids. My six year old was somewhat nonplussed… but my wife and eight and a half year old (soon to be nine really) enjoyed it quite a bit. But best of all, when not sleep deprived and paying attention to all the goings on around me, I was able to let a few tears loose and feel a more proper farewell to the boy who lived and his saga. To have a tear wiped from your eye by your daughter as she smiled was the best moment of all… and I appreciate the series for allowing me to share, not just in the character’s moments, but in my moments as well.
Farewell Mr. Potter,
Cornelius J. Blahg