Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

HP Mania: Countdown complete!

For those who know me at all, you know there was a very important event taking place Tuesday evening that I have been looking forward to for about a year now. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came to theatres at midnight Tuesday evening, and I attended with my friend Beth in tow.

There are a few shocking observations I want to make first before getting into movie comments and/or happiness level. The first major observation is that the mania is actually continuing to grow even larger (Oh my gosh but how is that possible but I'm about to tell you IMO). I chose Quality 16 this year because I figured Showcase would be a rat pack. But when I got there, three things were made immediately clear to me...

First, the group of people attending the midnight showing were much, much younger than me. It was borderline uncomfortable at times. I'm not sure if this is because Quality 16 draws younger crowds than Showcase, or if it's because a full year has gone by since the last movie came out.

Second, I fiercely underestimated how long people were going to stake out. I figured showing up an hour beforehand would be PLENTY of time to secure a decent seat in at least one of the 6-7 theatres they'd be using. I was wrong. When we got there (already with our pre-purchased tickets in hand), the hallways were completely packed with people... and in the way that you know they've been packing in for a really, really long time because they were sitting and playing with their wands if you know what i mean omg.

Third, the numbers were exponentially increased and waiting in line wasn't going to happen. So our strategy was simple... there was no way we were going to find a seat in the upper decks... so we might as well just pick the theatre that starts seating next and find the best floor seat possible. So that's exactly what we did. We were dead center in the rows on the floor, but the row furthest from the screen of that section, to be sure.

What happened next will both shock and intimidate you. Once we were seated, two very large and distinct groups of friends started making their way to the 7ish seats to my left. One group came from one direction and the other came, you know, from the other direction. Then what do you know they figure it out and start walking fasterrrrrr... until the two front runners are in a full-on sprint for the open row. Now, let me preface the next bit of the story by saying that one front-runner was a guy, and one was a girl. So it was somewhat shocking to me when they literally tackled each other and started fighting. Which is the say that the boy essentially close lined the girl, threw her on the floor, and dove head first onto all the seats, covering them with his body. The girl stood up, disappointed, dusted off some dust balls and old popcorn kernels, and went on her way to the row immediately in front of the winner. Boo hoo so sad. The only thing that would have made this scene even funnier is if the guy had chanted a spell while tackling her and leaping onto the seats. Something like 'Stupify!' or 'Expelliarmus!'

So once everyone settled down I started taking in the craziness of the wardrobes. Truth be told, it wasn't that bad. I saw the typical Harry Potter look-a-likes... you know, the ones that only look like him by accident because they just have that legitimate nerd LOOK. And also saw the Harry Potter fake look-a-likes that took the time and effort to make the dorkiness look real. There were some token Hermoine slutties sitting behind me in their Britney Spearsesque school girl outfits with breasts popping out and a cute little Griffindor tie. You know, to make the look CLEARLY a Harry Potter tribute. But other than that people were fairly tame. I think for the most part, since the series is growing older with the fans who originally read it, most people are growing out of the dressing up. I say most because my friend wanted to wear a cape, tie, slacks, the whole geddup. I refused. And I do know a girl who dressed up like a Hermoine ho and attended an all-day Harry Potter movie marathon that began at 8 and included "butter beer." People take this very seriously.

But then right before the trailers starting running, a Quality 16 manager came in to hush us all up and say a few words. He needed to say a few words because apparently this was a momentous occasion. It was momentous because, as it turns out, the midnight showing was the largest ever that they've had at the place... that includes all past Harry Potter screenings, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Watchmen and Transformers. They sold out 11 theatres that night and had almost 2,000 people there to see the movie. That's a lot of people. Which makes me wonder what the numbers were like at Showcase and if I made a mistake changing venues.

But it was a really great time and I sincerely enjoyed myself during the movie. I do have comments about the movie itself, but that will require an additional post. But I wholeheartedly recommend this flick to all who have or HAVEN'T read the book, because it really does deliver on both fronts in an entertaining way. Well directed. Good acting. I have some qualms about pacing and the writing, but that's neither here nor there for the moment. So check it out!


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