Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie Monday: A Battle at Hogwarts

The weekend is over. For many of you, it's back to the grind. For me, I have a day to relax after having four busy, yet fun days. My "weekend" started Thursday night, after finding last minute tickets to a Midnight showing of the movie I have been most excited to see this year....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermoine (Emma Watson) are still on the hunt to find all of Voldemort's (Ralph Fiennes) Horcruxes. They come up with a plan to break into Bellatrix Lestrange's (Helena Bonham Carter) vault in Gringott's, with the help of one of the goblins. After a complicated journey to London, the trio find themselves back in Hogsmeade where they plan to sneak into Hogwarts to find another Horcrux. They know they don't have much time, since Voldemort will know of their whereabouts. When Harry reveals himself in the Great Hall, Headmaster Snape (Alan Rickman) leaves the school grounds. As both sides prepare for battle, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine must finish destroying all the Horcruxes in order for Harry to defeat Voldemort... or die trying.

Eight months ago, I was celebrating my 27th birthday with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. I absolutely loved it and could not wait for Part II to come out. I was impressed to see that the first minute of Part II was a repeat of Voldemort seizing the Elder Wand. Out of all the Harry Potter films, this one was the most action packed and the most emotionally gripping. I know that a lot of you are probably thinking that it's emotional because it's the final film. While that is true, it is also very emotional for other reasons.... mainly with the montage of Snape's past memories (I was crying by the end of the montage). It was VERY well done. You know that you are watching a great film when you not only get sucked into the action, but you find yourself getting emotional over a character's feelings toward someone else.

As for the action sequences, I doubt anybody was disappointed. The scene in Gringott's was exactly as I expected (with the exception of several characters omitted from the scene- compared to the book). Once Harry, Ron, and Hermoine ended up in Hogsmeade (which was about 1/2 hour into the movie), I had a brief absence of mind in realizing that we had already made it toward the beginning of the final battle. I loved that so much of the film was dedicated to all of the activity that happens in and around Hogwarts.

Another surprise that I loved about this film was the addition of several new actors/actresses to the film series. So many smaller characters were introduced (or current characters with childhood counterparts) and each one of them contributed to the film very well. I also loved that the final film brought back so many characters from all of the films (dead and alive). It made that feeling of the final film more obvious and put a smile on my face to see each past character come back.

What I love about going to see movies like Harry Potter on opening day/night is the audience participation. I'm not talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show kind of participation, but being with a group of dedicated fans and reacting together to certain elements of the film together. For instance, one of the best lines in the final book is said by Mrs. Weasley (and had it's own Facebook page shortly after the book was released). When she said the line in the film, the audience and I cheered and applauded it. It's moments like that one that make me excited to go to Midnight Showings (and I take advantage of several each year).

Out of all of the Harry Potter films, both Deathly Hallows films were my absolute favorite. It makes me wish that Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince were also split into two films (more so Order of the Phoenix because that was really lacking a lot of what I loved about the book). For those who have never read any of the books (and I know a few friends who haven't), this final film will impress you beyond anything you've seen in the prior films. I might have to see this movie again... but this time in 3D!! Rating 5 out of 5 stars

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