I am a fantasy geek. I grew up arguing with my brother about which Star Wars Film to watch before lunch. After lunch we would fight tooth and nail about which to watch next. Nine times out of ten, we watched all three. My mom, to her annoyance I'm sure can quote nearly every line of Return of the Jedi. Thanks mom...
My whole family geek-ed out on Star Trek and every version of the t.v. series for the better part of my pre-college days.
Each Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Tron Legacy have all been released on or close to my birthday, in which my friends and family have embarked on a theater takeover for the better part of a decade.
I am a fantasy geek.
The Harry Potter series came late to me, the films began to release the year I graduated high school, I was a late follower. I saw the 1st 4 films before I read any of the books. I read all the books with exception to Deathly Hallows instantly after I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book #4). You could say, "I came late to Harry's party." I didn't grow up with Harry like many of my younger cousins did, but I can relate. I caught the late albeit short bus.
Many friends and colleagues dismiss Harry Potter. I truly feel sorry for their loss of not being a part of J.K. Rowling's world, our experiencing of it, and dare I say it, the sadness that it has come to an end. It feels odd to put myself in the arena, but I would call myself a 'fanboy'. Purely on its film making and entertainment value, the first few movies were far from stimulating. I think it was because many older generations had a hard time relating to the children that drove the story. The acting was bad, the effects lackluster, [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone released 2001, my high school graduation year)]and most importantly there was little risk for any of the characters early on in the series.
Fast forward through the last 7 years. I became a huge midnight-movie-fan after the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). The effects continued to improve, the kids grew up, and the 'bad guy' began to show himself...
Its sad its all over, its even more sad that some will not be able to experience the final show in the way I know many have this past week. Imagine growing up alongside these characters on and off the screen; experiencing teenage angst, bullying, and first loves along side some of your favorite on screen characters! I didn't get to, I was too old, but I got to watch the movies with an audience who identified their childhood's with this series. I was a part of the unique movie-going experience, the excitement and the defeat, 14 years in the making (the first book was released my 8th grade year, 1997).
I sat in the theater last Thursday night for only 4 hours and finally began to understand it. Many had waited (in theater) 8 hours or more, playing ninja and tag. More touching, I overheard several people, young and old, talking about the first time they cried for a character, or their favorite memory of a moment in the series. This was much more than just a movie for these people. It had become much more than a fantasy film for me.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 pulls no punches, it savored every loss and victory the book did, it allowed the audience to feel each characters' defining moment and many characters' last flickers of life. The storytellers allowed an audience that hated Voldermort for 10 years to finally feel pity for him. I truly felt more and more sorry for the bastard. The movie let people cry...it even gave them time to cry. It let us cheer for unlikely heroes, and emotionally prepare for the final battle during Hogwart's defense. It gave us a moments glance into so many friendships, yet told much more. It says so many things many of us are afraid to say to each other. It is so much more than a movie. It was an experience.
Harry Pottter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is one hell of a ride. Especially in IMAX 3D. It is one of a few films that is enhanced by the venue. I truly appreciate the filmmakers respect for the readers, the actors performance and dedication to the series, and of course, J.K. Rowling for delivering such a beautiful ending.
If you haven't been on the bandwagon, jump on, watch all of the previous films, read all the books, finish on a high note. It is never too late to start. I can't wait to share this series with my kids (and I don't even have any). Be warned though, I will cast the killing curse at any person that shows one of these films to my kids before I do.
After all, I am a fantasy geek.