Me and Mr. Potter

I haven’t seen a movie since The Social Network nearly 7 weeks ago. A truly unacceptable streak for someone as stimulated by pop culture and entertainment as me. But aside from Due Date and Jackass 3D, which I only had mild interest in, the recent string of releases was significantly underwhelming. Enter Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: Part 1.

The difficult part about reviewing HP7a or even expressing my general viewpoint of it, is that, as a non-reader, I feel ill equipped picking it apart. Even having seen all of the films, this still feels like a franchise unintended for me.

First, a history of my relationship with Harry Potter. My brother, who hasn’t gotten a blog shout out since late June, loved the books in the same fashion that many young readers did. I tried to pick up the first book, and even got a few pages into it, but for whatever reason, I was left unaffected. I was in a very heavy sports non-fiction reading phase around this time.

When the first movie came out in 2001 I was in 8th grade, and as part of an English field trip, we went to see it in theaters. How I saw the next few escapes my memory, but I know that I saw them and liked them enough to want to see the next. Fast forward to let’s say the 4th or 5th, and I was now taking my brother to see each installment. As a youngster, he couldn’t drive himself.

I distinctly remember seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the Cherry Hill AMC because out of all the pre-screening schedules I was sent in my Review days, I never capitalized on the marginally better treatment I received as press. I saw HP6 two days early, and drove an hour south (got lost, too) to do so.

But that was the last time I saw it. As I sat in the theater watching Deathly Hollows part 1, I kept thinking maybe I should have brushed up. I catch the older ones on ABC Family every now and then, but still, I can’t remember one time I intently watched a Harry Potter film besides when it was in theaters.

So here I was, in theaters again, watching the latest chapter in this wizardly tale. This film was abundantly bleak, which from my quick memory jogging, seems to follow the elevating sense of doom. Each film gets progressively darker, with this one making young eyed Harry, white landscapes, and jolly fun Quidditch games a thing of the distant past. This is a very adult version of Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, with real serious dire problems facing them. No more dances or big feasts on the horizon. The collision between Harry and Voldemort is inevitable and as we near closer to that climax, things do not look in Harry’s favor. Muggles and wizards alike are panicking, ole Voldy grows more powerful with every day, and Harry and friends are lost in the woods (sometimes, literally).

Certain scenes made even a non-Potterfile like myself excited; the undercover mission in the Ministry of Magic for instance. But for a 2 and a half hour film, there were also scenes that were frustratingly either irrelevant or slow. There are many sit and contemplate moments, and the dancing scene was almost laughable. The movie never really felt long though.

As for any further commentary, I’m afraid I can’t scrutinize properly. I just hope this one’s fresh in my mind come July 15, 2011. My brother tells me Part 1 was his favorite thus far, so if part 2 is the satisfying conclusion readers are hoping for, then I’m sure I’ll like it just fine.

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