Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

Let me be upfront and state that is not a movie review, nor review of any sort. You can find plenty of those all over the internet -- or being told by others. I just wanted to take the opportunity provided by the fervor surrounding the release of the last Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2) to reflect on the entire series, and my past experiences with it.

In more ways than one, JK Rowling's epic is special to me. For one, I am part of the generation who grew up with Harry Potter: we are approximately of the same age and, more importantly, shared the same school year. The effect of Harry Potter with my life story is further highlighted by the fact that I lived more than 3 years in England (Great Britain). In those 3 years, from 1999 to 2002, I witnessed the meteoric rise of Harry Potter from a popular children's book into a cultural and global icon. Of course I became a huge fan, along with many of my friends. It is incredibly nostalgic, therefore, to see the (final?) conclusion of the series. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is the last film made on Rowling's now-timeless classic.

Two memories in particular come to mind, when I look back now on my past experiences with Harry Potter. The first occurred in the sixth grade, a few months after I arrived in England from Portugal. By this time (winter of 1999), the fourth book in the series (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) had already been released -- which I remember because I recall a classmate reading it during our "reading periods" in school. The series had already gained considerable traction in England but, using myself as an example, it had yet spread to other countries. The memory involved my inquiry about what Harry Potter was/is to the teacher, which was overheard by my classmates -- who thereafter wore very incredulous looks. It was obvious they could not believe what they just heard, that someone did not know who Harry Potter was! I learned quickly and became an addict of the books, but this specific memory remained.

The second memory follows the release of the first Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). I recall that there was considerable craze, especially in schools, about going to watch the newly released film. Since I had become a "Harry Potter convert", I schemed with a friend to go watch the film. Fortunately his parents were able to take us, and I remember we were extremely excited. Lines were long -- for the showing after ours, the line went around an entire block! But it was not a positive experience. As shared by others at the time, I had been disappointed by the movie's shallowness and the general unimpressiveness of the special effects use ( to be fair, this was 1999). I have since singled out the Nimbus Two Thousand, the greatest broom for half of the epic, to resemble some old stick. I suppose my experience supports an old adage: movies rarely do justice to the books they are based on. For better or for worse, I had since refused to watch any of the subsequent movie releases of Harry Potter.

The fact as it currently stands is that I have no intention to watch this final movie. I heard it's good, but I feel that many viewers are watching it for the reasons similar to those expressed above (e.g. sentimental).

This last one should be better than the previous ones, as Time Warner had (wisely) split the final book into two separate movies. If it did not seem outright greedy, every book should have been split into two movies each. The overall continuity would suffer, but I believe the result experience would more than justify such an action. In simple economic terms, the elasticity of demand for Harry Potter films is relatively inelastic -- meaning the population of viewers is pretty much the same regardless. Once a Potter fan, always a Potter fan. But carrying out my vision is a logistical nightmare: it would span at least a decade, and require the involvement of all important actors/actresses to come to fruition.

No comments:

Post a Comment