The Harry Potter Project

I’m fairly certain that I’m the last person on the planet who hasn’t seen the Harry Potter series. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding them or think that they’re evil.. Honestly, they’ve just never interested me.

Now that the saga is coming to a close and I see my Facebook feed becoming filled with updates about friends preparing their costumes for the premiere, not to mention that HP7.2 just demolished ticket pre-sale records (currently sitting at $32 million), the pop culture junkie in me could no longer ignore the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Last Sunday, my friend Brandon and I sat down and and began to tackle the 20-hour filmatic journey. Our goal: complete all 7 films in time for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
With 11 hours until showtime, we’ve now seen all of them except HP7.1, which we’ll should be a piece of cake to fit in before the main event.

I could go through and review each film in depth, but Brandon has already done that over on our combined blog, Grab Bag OK.. It turns out that we have the same opinion on each film so far, so I highly recommend you popping over there and checking out the reviews.

However, for those of you who don’t want to do the extraneous reading (and who could blame you?) here are my overall thoughts of the series thus far:

The good:

  • The characters.
    To me, the most important thing in any story of any genre is being able to connect with the characters. J.K. succeeded in this and it’s paid off for her like gangbusters.
    Given his past and his disposition, how can you not root for Harry? How can you not love sweet, toe-head Ron? He and Harry are like a magical Kevin Arnold and Paul Pfeiffer. Then, of course, there are a whole slew of solid supporting characters – My personal favorites being Sirius Black and Rubeus Hagrid. (Yay for beards!)
  • The quality.
    Visually the entire series is strong – the sets, the costumes, the overall “look” – all well done.
    The acting has vastly improved from the beginning (which is to be expected when you hire no-name child actors) and it’s been fun seeing a hodgepodge of stars that I had almost forgotten – Alan Rickman (who looks distractingly like Trent Reznor.. am I right?),  Gary Oldman, Helena Bonham Carter (okay, I didn’t forget about her, but I was surprised to see her), Ralph Fiennes.. the series is chock-full of underrated talents.
  • The overall journey.
    The story is a series of twists and turns; a battle of good and evil. A tale of love, friendship and family. It’s a fun adventure to be a part of. I’m not one that loses themselves in fantasy, but if you are that type, I can see how you’d enjoy a 2 1/2 escape into Potterville every couple years.

The bad:

  • Plot holes galore.
    This may be different if you’ve read the books.. matter of fact, I can almost guarantee you that it is since the person we’re watching it with has read the books and was able to answer 90% of our questions. However, I haven’t read the books and I don’t plan to.  The movie makers shouldn’t just assume that everyone walking into the theater is a build-in book fan.
  • Runtime.
    I know big Harry Potter fans will vehemently disagree with me on this point and I’m okay with that. From an outsider, all of these movies dragged at certain points. To me, that time could’ve been used more wisely.. like by clearing up some things that were unclear. Or just cut the runtime by an hour since most of the films didn’t get to the point until about an hour in.
  • Kind of insulting.
    I’m not saying I’m the smartest person out there, but don’t insult my intelligence.
    Harry: “Remember what Aragog said about that girl 50 years ago? She died in a bathroom. What if she never left?”
    Ron: “Moaning Myrtle!”
    Also, when Harry is explaining the prophesy to Dumbledore he says something to the effect of, “It says we can’t co-exist. So I guess that means one of us has to die.” Yes. Duh. Thank you, genius. I thought that was pretty clear.
    Maybe this shouldn’t irritate me because I know they’re supposed to be “kid” movies, but it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. If it just occurred in the first couple movies, I could’ve let it go, but give your audience a little credit. They’re not complete morons.

Ratings:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s  Stone: 7/10
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 7.5/10
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 8/10
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 8.5/10
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: 7.5/10
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 8/10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: TBD
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: TBD

Verdict:
I’ve enjoyed the series and it’s been better than I anticipated. I may not completely understand what all the hype is about, but I’ve never been one for stories full of magic and fantasy. Despite the bad things that I listed, I honestly care about these characters and what happens to them.. that makes up for a multitude of short comings.
Whether or not you’re a fan of fantasy; regardless of age or religion (seriously, I found nothing offensive to me as a Christian), I recommend you watch this series. In the end it’s a story of relationships, love and an epic battle of good vs. evil.

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