Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 has had a record-breaking opening weekend.
We attended the “midnight” show at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 15. Before the show, we went to a Harry Potter pre-party where we sipped Butterbeer and munched on chocolate frogs and caldron cakes.
Oh, the things we do for our kids … (OK, the grown-ups were just as excited about the party and movie.)
We arrived two hours before show time. As there wasn’t a movie showing in our theater prior to our start, we were allowed to enter when we arrived.
At least we could sit in the air conditioning, unlike many movie-goers who were lounging outside on blankets waiting for their theater to become available.
Fortunately, the audience was quite entertaining. Many people arrived in costume. Dobby, Bellatrix, Rita Skeeter and a Dementor or two milled around. Out in the lobby, other characters like Hagrid and Voldemort posed for photos. Several costumed folks in our theater performed skits, to the delight of the patiently waiting audience. With wands drawn, the performers acted out the final moments of the previous movie. The audience applauded as the scene of Dobby’s death unfolded in live drama.
Shouts of “30 more minutes” and “Five minutes to go” rang out as 12:01 drew near. The familiar animation of the roller coaster, with admonishments to silence cell phones, signaled that the time had arrived. A hush, and then a collective groan, as the green screen lit the theater with “The following preview …”
Really? It’s midnight. Do we need previews?
Fifteen minutes later, the magic did begin.
I truly enjoyed the film. The theater broke out in laughter, gasps and applause several times, including the "19 years later" scene and again at the end of the movie. It delivered a satisfying conclusion.
That said, I was disappointed that certain key scenes from the book were left out. Percy Weasley was nowhere to be seen in this final movie. His emotional reconciliation with his family was noticeably absent as was the climax of Percy witnessing Fred’s death. The appearance of Grawp and of Aragog’s descendants for the final fight was brushed over in the film. Harry's plea to Neville to kill Nagini was missing. The quick camera shot of the bodies of Remus and Tonks didn't do justice to these two significant characters.
This final movie was the shortest of them all. Personally, I would have preferred a longer movie to include some of the missing details.
I've read all seven Harry Potter books and have seen all eight movies. While I love the action of the films, I always come back to “I like the books better.” If your kids enjoy the films, encourage them to read the books to enhance the movie watching experience. It’s a package deal. The books and movies complement each other. Watching a Quidditch match on the movie screen was magical and far exceeded my imagination. The books help to fill in missing details left out of the movies.
It was the perfect ending to a 14-year run, but I say this is just the beginning. Quidditch teams are springing up on college campuses and on high school playing fields. On July 30, Harry and the Potters will appear in Philadelphia as part of their US tour, and the popularity of A Very Potter Musical may be a foreshadowing of a Broadway musical.
The boy wizard lives on.