I saw Harry Potter last night. I am not really sure what possessed us to want to see it on opening day, but we found ourselves at the local theater for a 10:15 show last night. This also kept me up until 1am, which is almost unheard of for me and my friends will be excited to hear that I did not fall asleep in the movie, which I have been known to do.
Overall, I liked the movie. I think that these young actors, who have grown up on the big screen along with their fictional counterparts, have really benefited from the franchise that also boasts some of the best actors in the United Kingdom.
Below the cut is some other tidbits about my thoughts. If you haven’t watched it and don’t want to be spoiled, I recommend not clicking here.
This movie did actually lack punch of the New Actor introduction, which I have always looked forward to. All of the characters have been established and the only new actor, who appears as the very first person in the movie, is Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic. I like Bill Nighy whether he is in Doctor Who or Shaun of the Dead, so I was pleased. Though his character left little for him to do before his untimely death. However, the television geek in me was beside myself to see a small appearance by Dave Coaches from Gavin and Stacey but I imagine that few people were as excited as I was.
This movie is certainly a story of the Hero’s Journey. Harry and his companions are running and hiding along their way to save the wizarding world. There was a lot about this story that was Tolkien-like without the grace of Tolkien. As the three friends hide out in the woods or other remote locations, they also battle the evil horcrux that they carry with them in an almost “Frodo Baggins and the One Ring” kind of way. I think in a way the new more adult moving making approach actually cost them some of the wonder that I am expecting in Harry Potter movie. This was three hours of exposition with very little action when you really look at the movie as a whole. And this new trend of “To Be Continued” movies leaves me cold. I have to admit, though, that I shed a tear or two at Dobby’s heroic death scene. That was one good Elf.
There is a great discussion going over at Patheos, particularly on their Facebook pace about the religious implications of Harry Potter. It isn’t too late to get involved in the conversation. I’ll be honest; I don’t see the franchise as being specifically Pagan at all, even with all the talk of Witches and Witchcraft. It is a fantasy tale with themes that touch on any hero’s journey so there is nothing wrong with pulling meaning from it for ourselves if that is what we see.
I do have to say, though, that the highlight of the movie for me was the fantastically animated telling of the story of The Three Brothers from the tales of Beedle the Bard. I thought it was simple, elegant and lovely.
If you’re invested in the story and read the Deathly Hallows in one day when it came out like I did I suppose you’re going to have to go see the movie. Don’t get me wrong. It is entertaining and I did like it, I just felt it was missing a bit in the movie magic department.