Unlike countless Harry Potter fans, I don’t wear replicas of the Hogwarts schools uniform on Halloween or when I go see those films.
I’ve never tried butter beer or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.
And I don’t own any wands made with dragon heartstring or phoenix feather cores or anything like that; in fact, I don’t own any wands at all.
Indeed, no one is a bigger Muggle than me.
But that has not stopped me from being a big fan of that bespectacled young Brit and the wizarding world that has been such a big part of our pop culture for over ten years.
I’ve particularly been a fanatic about the movies; that’s why I was anxiously waiting for this latest installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One, for nearly a year and a half.
After seeing this penultimate film in the series, written by Steve Kloves and directed by David Yates in his third turn at the helm, having directed the fifth and sixth installments, it’s safe to say that it did not disappoint; it exceeded expectations by a long way.
With receipts totaling $332.1 million worldwide in its opening weekend, I gather that the public agrees with me on that last statement.
Tom Felton, who plays Harry’s adversary Draco Malfoy, said in an interview that Deathly Hallows was going to blow all of the previous Harry Potter movies away; I was convinced he was right within the first five minutes of the film.
For that matter, Deathly Hallows, Part One was better that Harry Potters one through six combined, making those previous movies pale by comparison.
There were many reasons for this…
First, the cinematography and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous.
The places that Harry, played by Daniel Radclffe, and his friends Ron and Hermione, played respectively by Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, camped as they were looking for Horcruxes, the artifacts holding pieces of the evil Lord Voldemort’s – portrayed menacingly by Ralph Fiennes – soul that they had to destroy in order to have any chance of defeating him, took my breath away. I saw the various rolling hills, moors and cliffs that they stayed in and wanted to jump on a British Airways flight and visit them.
But what particularly riveted me was the fact that unlike the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which was a very good film in its own right, Deathly Hallows, Part One was not a kid flick, but rather an epic movie along the line of Braveheart, Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning saga that was also about fighting tyranny and the quest for freedom over oppression – kind of like this latest Potter story.
That the genres over the course of the seven movies released so far (with the eighth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, scheduled to be released in July 2011) changed from being geared toward children and pre-teens to being a drama geared for young adults was another attraction. It was a wonder seeing Daniel, Rupert, and Emma grow up on the big screen and evolve as actors during the decade they played the three best friends and heroes of J.K. Rowling’s saga.
I once wrote that those main protagonists were the Beatles of the child star world, and this latest chapter didn’t change my conviction of that; I’ve always thought that Daniel, as Harry, looked like a young John Lennon with those granny glasses.
I likened this film to the iconic Abbey Road album, in that the material and plot was far more mature and sophisticated than Sorcerer’s Stone, which would be likened to the Fab Four’s “She Loves You” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in its simplicity. Deathly Hallows, Part One could be likened to “Come Together”, “Something”, and “Here Comes the Sun”.
There were three specific scenes that I especially enjoyed:
1. The animation that depicted the tale of the Three Brothers, the original owners of the Deathly Hallows, and how they came to possess them. It was beautiful work and told the story in an exquisite manner.
2. When Harry and Hermione danced at the point of the movie when they were in low spirits and high stress due to their Horcrux quest and Ron leaving them for a time after a conflict with Harry. That scene perfectly depicted the relieving of that stress and blowing off steam in the midst of the hardships that they were going through, and…
3. The beginning of the film when Harry, Ron, and Hermione were in their homes getting ready to start their odyssey, contemplating what they were going to face and the possibility that they may not make it. Hermione, in particular, was clearly in anguish as she wiped out her parents’ memories, the pictures of her disappearing as she shed a couple of tears and left her house to join Harry and Ron.
Compared to the adventures and dangers that they faced in Sorcerer’s Stone, it is plain to see that Deathly Hallows, Part One is about growing up as much as anything else. Just the fact that they were out of Hogwarts School and running around Great Britain, fending for themselves and putting their lives on the line, was enough of an illustration of that.
An old rule of show business is to always leave them wanting more, which I feel was the most significant impact that this movie had on me as I found myself desperately wanting to see the second part of this epic saga right away.
Indeed, the only negative thing that I can say about this film is that I and the millions of Potter fans out there have to wait until next summer for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, which will feature the final battle between the mainstream wizarding community and Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters, as well as the final climatic showdown between the Dark Lord and Harry.
Needless to say, that eighth and final motion picture in the series is something that I – and the whole world – am eagerly anticipating.
And I’m sure that for all those folks who are just wild about Harry, July 15, 2011, the day that Deathly Hallows, Part Two opens, cannot come fast enough.