Over the weekend, Sara and I had to go to a movie to maintain our average of 1 movie in the theater a year since Evie was born. Just to recap, the other 3 moves were Slumdog Millionaire, Public Enemies, and Avatar. That’s right, we go to so few movies in the theater, each one is worth a blog post. Now, 2 of those movies were really good. But if you’re only going to see 1 movie a year, you can’t afford to have just an average movie in there. So this time, we didn’t want to waste it, so we saw the last of the Harry Potter movies.
I saw a lot of people being bummed about the end of the long-running series, and calling this the “end of an era”. I don’t know, I just didn’t feel any sentimentality over it. Maybe it was because I was into the books more so than the movies, so my era already ended. Certainly I was very excited to see the movie (but then again, that might just have been the fact that Sara and I were getting away from the kids for the 4th time ever), but I didn’t feel any sense of loss or absence or whatever afterwards.
The movie was really good. It was fast paced (after all, they had to wrap up an 8 movie series in just over 2 hours, which the shortest of all the movies), it was well done, it was superbly acted (especially Alan Rickman), and it did everything it needed to do, which is apparently harder in a series finale than you might guess.
Now that all is said and done, I doubt I’ll ever go back and watch the movies again. I tried watching the first one awhile ago, and man is it silly. I didn’t notice at the time, but now that we’ve seen the darker movies, it’s hard to go back to the early, goofy ones. It’s how they had to do them, however.
In fact, I’ll go on record saying that’s the single biggest reason why the Harry Potter series was successful.
The books (and consequently the movies) started out as kids books, but they didn’t stay that way. They grew with the audience. Children who read the first book at an appropriate age were 10 years older when the final book came out. If the books would have continued to be written for children, they would have ceased to be interesting to the kids who were no longer kids.
So the question is, will something like Harry Potter ever happen again? Well sure, in the sense that there will always be some sort of high-selling-cultural-phenomenon that everybody just has to go see. So in that sense, I guess Twilight is/was the new Harry Potter? There are a couple of significant differences though, and not the least of them is the fact that Twilight focused on a much narrower audience (mostly teenage girls)(and before you yell at me, I read them all, so don’t try to tell me they’re not focused on teenage girls), and Harry Potter has something for everybody.
I would certainly think that making 8 movies with virtually the same cast would be the hardest part of it. To me, that is the most amazing part, and I’m still impressed they were able to do it. Think of everything that had to go into that. You had to have actors that were able to carry on the roles that long (consider how many were unknowns, and how many started as kids and ended as adults). You have to have no scheduling conflicts or egos demanding more money (maybe that last is the hardest one). You have to have a studio that is really committed to doing everything right, with no egos on their end who demand changes or certain directors, etc. You have nobody who decides they don’t want to be typecast, or wants to move on to something new (I guess this goes back to the ego thing, but hey! This is Hollywood! Ego plays a big part.)
So that’s it I guess. I’m looking forward to someday reading the books with Evie and Oliver. That won’t be for quite some time I think.
Oh, a final note about seeing movies in 3D…I’m over it. The 3D in the movie was interesting, maybe even neat, but at the end of the day, it added nothing. It is certainly not worth paying a couple of bucks extra to see. Movie studios won’t stop doing it until we stop paying for it people. Stop them now before there are no 2D options left! (Of course, we can always go buy 2D glasses from ThinkGeek to down-convert 3D movies into 2D movies…)