Wednesday, July 13, 2011
It's been Harry Potter Week, as my siblings and I have celebrated the end of a cinematic tradition by, among other things, watching all the Harry Potter films leading up to Deathly Hallows part II. I'll come out and say that I love this series, something I've always known but that has been strengthened by seeing all the movies back-to-back. In a way the world that is myself and the movies I see and love is built around the Potter films. Every year or other year since 2001, one of the main anticipations in the cinematic world for myself was the arrival of the next Harry Potter movie. And never did any of them disappoint my expectations, a result of both my hyper-excitement and the fact that these are outstanding pieces of cinema on their own terms. Each film has been crafted with eager, creative minds, calloused, sweaty fingers working meticulously on sets, costumes, and computers, and respect-not adoration, save perhaps the first two installments-for the source material. This has been a series of good decisions, from Alfonso Cauron's sagacious interpretation of Prisoner of Azkaban (he really changed the series and made it what it is today), to the burning of the Weasley house in Half Blood Prince, to the splitting of the final film into two parts. I've seen all the movies many times, but viewing them all consecutively this past week has been nothing short of terrific. It's been a pleasure not just seeing the characters develop and change and the actors grow stronger, but also to see the ways in which the films differ from one another visually. The quidditch pitch was so bright, lush, and green in The Sorcerer's Stone, yet when we see it again in Half Blood Prince, it's patchy and infiltrated by weeds. As far as the movies themselves, I, like many, prefer The Prisoner of Azkaban. It's perhaps the most cinematically rewarding chapter in the series, but I love it also because of the sentimental value it provides. 2004 was one of the best years of my life, and one of my fondest memories of it was the aching anticipating of the third Harry Potter movie. I watched the trailers repeatedly prior to its release. I'll never forget that Summer morning on June 4th when my brother took us all to see it. I'm also deeply fond of seeing The Goblet of Fire at midnight with my brother Nate, sister Rebecca, and friend Matt. I believe it was the first time I attended a midnight screening. The other highlight for me is probably The Half Blood Prince back in 2009. That was a great summer, bolstered by just how surprisingly fantastic the latest Potter movie turned out to be. It's my second favorite in the series, confirmed yesterday with my fourth viewing of it. It's not sad that tomorrow at midnight spells the beginning of the end. I'm happy that it's here because I want to see it become a whole. Overall it's pretty amazing how long this series has lasted. We've been spoiled to death by it. But the most important thing of all is the books. Make sure you read them first.