An era has come to a close. Last month marked the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The final chapter in the Harry Potter (HP) saga has been long-awaited by HP fans. As a die-hard Pottermaniac, I was excited to see the last installment on the big screen on opening weekend.
The series is record breaking in so many ways. The midnight showing of HP7.2 was the highest grossing midnight opening in history, and its first weekend ticket sales topped the last record setter, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which followed on the heels of star Heath Ledger’s death. Aside from dollars, Harry Potter is arguably the longest running single storyline to ever grace the big screen; consider that franchises such as James Bond and the Friday the 13th series are all technically stand-alone films. With the frenzy that accompanied the release of each book, the remarkable collective success of the films is no surprise. But what of their actual, individual impact? I asked a few friends what their favourite HP movie was, and why.
One of my classmates, Gabrielle, couldn’t name just one movie. She listed her “Top Potter” favourites as the first, fifth and eighth films (in that order). She loved the magic of seeing Potter come to life for the first time in The Philosopher’s Stone, and how the characters really gelled in Order of the Phoenix. As for the final film, she said it was the perfect wrap up for the story. My husband was quick to say his favourite was the fourth film, The Goblet of Fire. He felt it was the first time the characters and the audience sensed the gravity of the plot, and the story matured and moved into the realm of adulthood. As for me, my love is for the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Aside from the dark and twisty ambience brought by Mexican director Alfonso CuarÓn, I think the third film was when the world woke up to what the Harry Potter stories were all about. While the magic was truly there, it was the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione that stole the show.
For Harry Potter fans, I won’t need to give any reason why the movie is worth watching! But for those of you who aren’t keen moviegoers, or who plan on waiting for the DVD, I urge you to go see this movie. This series is more than just books on screen, or for you cynics out there, a Hollywood money grab. The phenomenon that is Harry Potter is a zeitgeist that’s guaranteed to become a classic. If you missed seeing classics like Gone With the Wind, Star Wars: A New Hope, or The Lord of The Rings in theatres, don’t let the opportunity to see Harry Potter slip away. It truly is the next great classic of our time.