Okay, you know me--I never see "huge" movies on opening weekend, and it makes perfect sense. While the REST of the county was capacity-cramming CAPTAIN AMERICA, my wife and son joined me in a luxurious, half-empty auditorium to enjoy a peaceful screening of the final Harry Potter movie.
Unfortunately, we didn't get much of a chance to reflect on it. Seems this weekend plays host to a big motorcycle racing event, and there are motorcycles all over the place. And it ALSO seems that a car preceding our trajectory on the way home plowed into two of those motorcycles near a motel driveway. And in his rush to flee the scene, he backed directly into US on our way out of the shopping center even as my wife leaned on the horn.
Okay--not enough room for him to build up killing speed--we were all lucky, and none of us were hurt in the slightest. And here we thought he was pulling over onto the next street so we could exchange info, etc. Nope--he ran, taking his two companions with him, as the bikers screamed for us to "get that S.O.B."
Well, WE couldn't "get" him--and it happened so quickly that we didn't even get his license plate number... but luckily for everybody else, the bikers DID! I just got off the phone with the police, and it appears that they have "made contact" with the individual in question (smiles quietly to himself). And you'll also be happy to know that the bikers, while badly shaken up, were NOT injured. Hell, even the CAR survived with only a loosened bumper. Still, a jarring experience like that isn't something I'd recommend for an evening out with the family. Up to that point, we'd enjoyed some terrific barbecue, became new patrons of a super-enthusiastic comic-book store and saw a terrific movie.
Ah, yes... the MOVIE! Sorry for the digression, but I trust you'll understand. You may recall that I suggested that the first half of DEATHLY HALLOWS, while certainly well-done, was less than completely satisfying, but only by its very nature. I also suggested that as part of a whole, it was likely to be outstanding. And I'm pleased to report that this turned out to be the case.
Of course, Part Two doesn't stand very well on its own, either, but that's just because there's no recap/flashback material at all... they really DID just snip one very long movie in half and attached extra titles to the extra ends. But Part Two, naturally, is where everything pays off. Where you're forced to say goodbye to characters with whom you've spent an awful lot of time--and where some of these farewells are more wrenching than others.
Now, this has been the case from pretty much the first movie onwards, but I'll hazard a guess that not too many people are going to see this movie WITHOUT knowing the various outcomes (mostly from reading the books, some from seeking out spoilers), and I have no interest in recapping the plot. But just as it was with the last few films in the series, you really need the enhancement of the book for the full payoff--some crucial details do, indeed, whiz by, and characters you knew far better through the books get the merest whisk of the brush ("wait a minute, who's this 'Tonks' they mentioned?"). For all that, the cast is as dependable as ever, all of the principals get their chance to shine, and Neville Longbottom makes the most of his last opportunity, but it's Alan Rickman's Snape who gets the honors chair as I see it...
...and as a grand VISUAL finale, this film couldn't possibly disappoint. We didn't bother with the converted 3-D, and I don't think we missed much, but if the job was well-done, it certainly couldn't have hurt.
As someone who read the actual books aloud to his own children (until they were too old to need me for such things), I can say unreservedly that the HARRY POTTER series was never a simple "money-machine" product franchise--it was fine, thoughtful, imaginative and significant fantasy that served my family well over the years in both book AND movie formats--I congratulate all involved for all that they've given us.
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