It has finally happened. What people are calling the end of a phenomenon. A movie that many say marks the end of the Harry Potter franchise forever. This past Friday saw the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on screens across the country and around the world. This was the eighth and final movie depicting the stories in J.K. Rowling’s globally-acclaimed book series about the young wizard, Harry Potter.
The midnight showing at the theater in East Hampton was positively buzzing, as many excited youths expressed their emotions throughout the film. Teenagers in our theater were sobbing almost from the moment the lights dimmed, representative of a generation of young people that grew up waiting for the books to come out and considered Friday night the end of an era.
The movie is available in many theaters in either 2D or 3D, but those who chose the 3D version that opening night received special viewing glasses shaped very much like the iconic ones worn throughout the movies by Harry Potter (Dan Radcliffe) himself. This film concludes Rowling’s lengthy tale in a thrilling two-hour adventure of murder, friendship, romance, sacrifice, and, ultimately, the triumph of good over evil.
The movie actually continues the story found in Rowling’s final book of the seven-part series, so we enter the story in the middle. Those who have not read the books should see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 to really follow the story, as it can otherwise be confusing. The movie’s action sequences pull us in almost from the very beginning, as we follow Harry’s quest to find several items of Dark Magic. These “horcruxes” actually contain parts of Voldemort’s soul. Harry, along with his best friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), travel throughout the Wizarding World to find and destroy these items so that he can eventually end the reign of terror that Voldemort has instigated by killing the evil wizard himself.
Through a series of close-calls and dangerous adventures, including using a dragon as a means of transport, the trio eventually ends up back at their magical boarding school, Hogwarts. This is where the movie differs the most from the book, as it spends much more time showing the preparations for a large battle that Hogwarts wages against Voldemort and his followers than Rowling’s original version did.
As a devoted fan of the novels, I was pleased to see how many of my favorite scenes were included in the film. A moment of triumph for a previously underwhelming character, surprising revelations about Harry’s former professor Snape, and a touching example of the true loss that war can cause show that the director and writers really researched which parts were critical to include in the final film. Although these scenes did not quite manage to capture the deeper emotions in Rowling’s extremely intricate books, I give the filmmakers credit for doing what they could with over 700 pages of writing.
The film managed to break at least three box office records this past weekend, and by significant margins. Its midnight release earned $43.5 million dollars, beating the previous record held by last summer’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse by $13.5 million. Harry Potter’s opening day earned the movie $92.1 million, this time beating The Twilight Saga: New Moon by $20 million. Even further, it went on to earn $168 domestically in its opening weekend, beating out The Dark Knight by $10 million, and – just to prove its international appeal– the movie, in total, over its opening weekend worldwide, earned $475.5 million dollars. Almost half a billion dollars was spent in just three days on people watching a movie about a young wizard. It’s incredible.
For the true fans out there, the story of Harry Potter will never be over. As we constantly contribute to a fandom that includes millions of people worldwide, J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece will forever find a lively discussion and new bibliophiles just waiting to learn about the epic tale she came up with just two short decades ago. So for now, it is not truly a moment of “Mischief Managed,” but really just one in which we can say that, for now, all is well. [/expand]