Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time to put away childish things...


For the past 5 years, we've always been lucky enough to get tickets for the opening midnight showing of the Harry Potter movies, complete with long lines to get drinks, even longer lines to get into the theatre, and people dressing up as their favorite characters (my favorite was two guys, one dressed as Harry in his Quidditch uniform and the other, in a gold outfit with wings, like a snitch!). And the cinema was of course, always packed, to the point that last year (2 weeks before Sophie was born), Jude, Libby, and I all had to sit separately throughout the whole movie (see here for a photo of the line that snaked around the parking lot after the midnight screening of Half-Blood Prince.)

This year, we couldn't possibly attend the midnight screening but didn't want to miss seeing the movie on opening day. And so thanks to Sophie being in daycare, Jude and I made a lunch/movie date out of it and caught a matinee screening. Things were much saner, no lines for concessions, and there were plenty of choice seats in the theatre. How refreshing...

As for the movie, I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched the movie or read the books, but suffice to say that we both felt a real sense of despair at the end of it. Not that there is much death in this installment (there was more of it in Half-Blood Prince I think), but the note of sombreness and sadness was so palpable throughout the whole film that it was hard to shake off even as we walked out. It's tough to say if we "loved" the movie- 1) we've technically only seen half the movie, with Part 2 opening only in July 2011; and 2) thinking about it as the beginning of the end of a wondrous series that we've been following for more than 10 years adds another layer of melancholy to the whole experience.

There is still plenty of magic in Deathly Hallows but not of the same kind of magic that delighted and enchanted us in the earlier movies- the magic now is darker, of deeper import, no longer about levitating a feather, but about being shielded from evil. And the helplessness, loneliness, and stark desolation that was slowly building since Goblet of Fire has reached a fevered pitch (or abyss, depending on how you want to look at it).

So yes, in the words of A.O. Scott, in his NYT review of the movie, it is time for young wizards to put away childish things... :(

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