Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

We could call this The Review That Does Not Count. Or 628 Words That Will Influence No One. Or She Who Must Not Be Shamed Into Writing Columns That Will Generate Hits. (Note to self: Put Daniel Radcliffe is sooo cute! in tags)

What I think of the final installment of Harry Potter movies doesn’t really matter, because this Hogwarts Express of a film is steaming its way toward movie history as the biggest box office hit of the year, and possibly this young century. The reviews have been superlative, and the marketing as overwhelming as the scream of a mandrake. If you were a fan of the other seven films, you were probably in line at midnight the day this one opened. If you read all the books, you had your social engagements cleared from the calendar so you could see the film at least three times this weekend. And if you didn’t have any knowledge of either of these pop culture phenomenons, you are not the kind of person who should be reading an obscure blog about movies that make you vomit, so just move along and let me get to it, okay?

My relationship with Harry Potter started in 1999. My son was eight years old and not particularly interested in reading, so I was looking for chapter books that would engage him. I picked up the paperback of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and we started at a chapter a night. The first book was mostly exposition and an entrance to a wonderful imaginary world, but short enough that he wasn’t overwhelmed by it. He loved it; I kind of did, too. That was the year Prisoner of Azkaban was published, and we soon caught up to the third book. We sat on the sidewalk outside of a Borders in November for four hours so he could get his copy autographed by J.K. Rowling and actually speak to her. He asked her how you pronounced Hagrid’s name, for we had been going back and forth between “Hagrid” or “Hagreed.” This was before Robbie Coltrane made his imprint as the giant, so it was thrilling to hear Jo Rowling say “It’s Ha-grid, honey!” with a little wink just for him.

I always felt Azkaban was the best of the series, and that was the book that my son accused me of reading ahead after we had finished our one chapter a night. I lovingly reassured him that we would do it together, although at that point I had finished it two days ago. I hope he doesn’t read this blog.

Twelve years later, and the final film brings the journey of Harry and his friends to a satisfying finish. The movies were never quite as good as the books were, but that didn’t really matter. They kept the saga going, and if some details didn’t match exactly what we envisioned the first time we read it, we soon learned that we were powerless to resist the charms of Alan Rickman’s greasy hair and his amazing repertory company of scenery chewing British thespians. And Daniel Radcliffe was sooo cute!

My kids are now adults, but they were just as excited to see this new movie as they were when the first one came out. As Harry searched for his family, my family went through changes that were as unpredictable as dreamy Ralph Fiennes getting famous for a role where he had no nose. The books, and then films, were as reliable and comforting as old friends, and the story so involving and ultimately satisfying that it feels like we were allowed to be part of the cheering crowds at Hogwarts who saw good triumph over evil. Thanks, Harry. Thanks, Jo. You’re both bloody brilliant.

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS I did not see the film in 3D because I couldn’t take another one after the five hours last weekend I spent wearing those stupid glasses. And please note: the movie is very dark, sometimes so dark that you can’t make out who is on the screen, and 3D amplifies this. The only part that would have been cool in 3D was the snake coming out at you, and only a member of Slytherin would like that.

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