So over the weekend I viewed the final chapter in the Harry Potter movie series. No, I didn't go to the midnight show Thursday night, and no I didn't dress up. At my age, the only appropriate costume would have been Professor Mcgonagall, and as much as I love the great actress Maggie Smith, it's too blame hot outside for long black robes and a witch's hat. However, I did see the movie yesterday, and, now that the series is done, I should give my readers a full on review of the series, both in book form and in movie form. So, if you are a Harry Potter fan, or if you are coming late to the party, have no fear. I'm not going to insult anyone, and I'm not giving anything away.
Book one: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Director Cris Columbus does a very credible job of showing us Hogwart's through the eyes of a child. It's brilliant, it's somewhat scary, but it's ultimately a magical place and it's where we wished we belong.
Book Two: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry is twelve, and eager to return to Hogwart's after another brutal summer at his awful aunt's home. This time around we see cracks in the happy face of Hogwarts as students are turned to stone by some unseen enemy. Harry actively takes the role of hero for the first time.
Daniel Radcliffe grew up a lot between the first two movies, reminding us just how short childhood is, even for young wizards. This time around we get an image of the young man who became The Dark Lord. The casting is spot on and hilarious with Kenneth Branagh guesting as Gilderoy Lockhart, the narcissistic professor of Defense against the Dark Arts. (They really do have trouble filling that position. Wonder if I have the right qualifications?)
Book Three: The Prisoner of Azkaban
Book four: The Goblet of Fire
Book six: The Half Blood Prince
Someone gave director David Yates a second chance, and he did much better this time. Guess he reads his Facebook posts. movie six captures the angst of a boy becoming a man who is supposed to be a hero...but who really just wants to make out with a girl. Harry now is battling forces far darker than he ever imagined...forces no one can predict. The end of the movie is as startling and as heart wrenching as the end of the book.
Book seven: The Deathly Hallows
Harry and his two besties leave Hogwarts as the Dark Lord takes control of everything. They are now on a great quest. They don't know what they're looking for, or where they will find it, but all the friends Harry's made along the way in the past years turn up to help him.
The ending of this book is so surprising...so shattering...that I couldn't put it down, but I had to...to catch my breath. From a writer's perspective, this might possibly be the most perfectly written book ever. As a person who's been a casual follower of Harry Potter, I was ready to read the next chapter to find a Harry triumphant...the Chosen One. What I got was so much more than that. Romance writers take note: This book makes us realize that it's all about love in the end.
Director David Yates brings us home with this two part conclusion. I'm so happy they did two movies...there's simply too much ground to cover. So gold star to the powers that be for giving the fans what we want: A real send off. Very little is spared and even less is strayed from in these two films. There's a lot of death...so bring the hankies because by this time you've fallen in love with even the homeliest creatures. Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves do an excellent job of bringing the spirit, not just the words, of the book to life. Even those who have read "The Deathly Hallows" multiple times are going to be on the edge of their seats...to the very last moment, and sweet, winsome moment that brings us all full circle, lets us sit back in our seats, and heave a sigh of relief.
So kudos to J K Rowlings for her persistence in getting her story published. Kudos to the hundreds of cast and crew members (No British actors were spared in the filming of these movies! LOL!) who worked for endless hours on these movies. And Kudos to Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and most of all Daniel Radcliffe, who grew up in front of millions, took on all the evil in the world, and made us believe in heroes (and magic) again.