You know those people who go to the Thursday midnight showings of new movies? I became one of them last week when I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. There were a lot of dorks there. Many in costume. Hilarious! This also marked my first time seeing a feature film in 3D. I was not impressed.** However, the movie itself, the final chapter in the Harry Potter saga, was really good. It is the perfect conclusion to a perfect story, and it does the book justice.
Split into two parts, the first part, which came out last fall, gets us caught up with all the background and nearly 2/3 of the book. This final part gives us all the action, the final battles and showdowns. I was entertained from start to finish in a crowd of people that were just happy to be there. It's ironic that I came from Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, in a theater with maybe three other people in it, to this movie, which I viewed in a packed house with 13 other packed houses surrounding it. I criticized Malick's film for being beautiful and thoughtful without the entertainment. For this one, I can say that it was entertaining (no doubt), beautiful (for what it is), not extremely thought-provoking but thoughtful to its characters and their story. The crew I was with all had a great time.
I have followed these movies relentlessly since reading all the books a couple years ago. It has really been great to see these actors grow with the characters, and it is impressive that they've all been able to stay with it for so long. Like the readers of J.K. Rowling's novels, you can tell that Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have a vested interested (besides the millions they've made) in seeing this thing to the end.
Director David Yates, who helmed the 5th, 6th, and 7th movies in the series, has really created, in these later movie versions, a true vision of Rowling's novels. They are almost exactly as I envisioned them as I read: darker, more mature. Yates is a master of special effects, and this one is his magnum opus. It is action-packed from beginning to end. And I don't even care that he and his writer (Steve Kloves) tweaked the ending battle with Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) a bit. For those of you who know the books, the epilogue did not work in the movie quite as well as it does in the novel, but I'm glad they filmed it.
It would appear that nearly everyone in America has seen this movie. It just broke the opening night and weekend box office records. For those few of you that haven't had anything to do with it. Take it from me: Read the books, then see the movies. The Harry Potter series has been an important chapter in popular culture, world culture, and entertainment, and I'm happy to be part of that.
Note: I have to agree with many of the critics out there who nay-say about all the 3D these days. This movie does not need it, didn't utilize it to its full-extent, and the glasses were just annoying to me after awhile. I'd like to see it again in regular 2D or IMAX.