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Monday, July 18, 2011

The End of Harry

So I attended a midnight showing of the final movie in the Harry Potter franchise on Thursday night. I feel like many people will look at back at this movie in a bittersweet manner; enjoying the movie itself, but sad to see a franchise they've come to love come to an end. I am not sure if that is how I feel. While I wouldn't say that I am happy there will be no more magical hi jinx with Harry, Ron and Hermoine, but I do feel as though the series has run its course.

I say this for a couple of reasons. As a 23 year-old male I was definitely a little older and more male than a majority of the people in attendance. But I did not feel out of place in my mind because I literally grew up with the characters in the movie. The first book came out when I was ten, exactly how old Harry was at the start of the first book. The first couple of books were filled with whimsy, and a light sense of something darker. But Voldermort (who really carries the darkness) was not really around for the first two books, so the darkness that has really come alive in the last few movies was not there. This was perfect for a young boy like me.

But as I got older, my taste matured, and just the fact that there was a magical world of kids my age performing spells would not have been enough to whet my appetite. But this did not happen. As the books progressed, they started to deal with death, love, and even awkward sexual tension, odd themes if these were just kids' books. As I got older and more mature,so did the characters, and so did the subject matter of the books. people Harry truly cared about, like Sirius who became kind of the closest thing harry had to a father, die trying to protect him. That cannot be an easy thing for a boy going through puberty to deal with. A normal 15-year-old would just be worrying about Cho Chang, but no, Harry also has to deal with the fact that wizards more powerful, and greater than himself, are literally sacrificing themselves so Harry can do something he has no grasp of whatsoever. That's heavy.

In actuality, the most recent film featured so much death that it could easily have received an "R" rating had there been more blood and less wands. And while I think the movies have done a fine job in attempting to convey the same sorts of emotions that the books did while having to cut some stuff due to time constraints, i think the one part the filmmakers missed the boat in the last movie is with death. Even though they made the last book into two movies, there are several occurances where things just kind of happen and are justglanced over. I don't want to get to spoilery, so I will leave names out, but in the penultimate battle scene, members of the Order of the Phoenix and other characters who we have gotten to know over the course of now 8 movies get killed. Not only do we not actually see this occur, but there are mentioned briefly with a tracking shot showing the dead bodies and some of their friends and family weeping over them.

Then it’s back to Harry. For a series that may seem like it’s about protecting the world or whatever, it was seven books long, and while Rowling isn't the best author ever, she'd have to be literally the worst author ever for us as readers to not have a connection with these characters. Ok sorry I’ve got to get into this some more. SPOILER: the fact that we barely get a mention of Lupin and Tonks' death or the Weasley twin dying made me quite angry in fact. While these were not the main characters they have more "face time" or "page time" then Voldermort or countless other characters. Neville Longbottom gets to look like a hero in the movie, but these three characters who have done plenty of heroic things over the course of the series aren't even granted the decency of dying on screen.

Also: WHERE WAS HAGRID???? He is in the last movie for like 5 minutes and after Harry saves the world or whatever, he comes up to him, hugs Harry then walks away. That’s it. No more Hagrid.

Okay, but enough complaining. I actually did really like the last movie. It was the shortest of all of them I believe, and at no point did it drag at all. We got big action set pieces, followed with some dialogue setting up what was going to happen next, followed by another big set piece. The film was well constructed and shot very well. They were also able to mine some small humorous moments out of dark material and not come across as cheesy. I also felt they dealt with the final scenes very well, especially Harry in the White Room, which also could have been cheesy but I thought worked.

All in all, i thought it was good ending to a series I have literally grown up with. Maybe not the best film adaptation of something I love a la "The Dark Knight" but still good nonetheless.

But one more thing: couldn't they have given old Harry an actual beard instead of stubble like he was 16? Shouldn't the most awesome wizard in the history of wizards be able to grow a decent beard? I mean, come on.



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