Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Potter Generation

Jacket art of Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsImage via Wikipedia
The end of an era has begun. That's right Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was released two weeksago to mixed reception by fans and critics alike (see the related articles at the bottom of this post for reviews).  I was at the midnight showing with a group of like-minded Potter-fans (excluding the two boyfriends who got dragged along). I have to say I was impressed with the accuracy of the movie as compared to the book; they even kept the George's "holey" joke.

The downside of following the book so closely was that the film inherited the problems of the book as well.  First of all, the cast was really lacking. Very little Snape and Hagrid, no Dame Maggie Smith aka Prof. McGonagall,  and a whole lot of Harry and Hermione moping in the woods, though I must admit that I loved seeing all the landscapes of Britain.  Second, plot is sparse with explanations (how does Ron actually find them) and the extended camping trip does not lend itself to excitement. Finally, there is no recap, so if you haven't read the books or haven't seen the movies in awhile then it's hard to remember what happened.  Now the last is a bit of a double edged sword because by not re-reading the seventh book before seeing the film, it gets rid of all the plot-spoilers so I was able to enjoy the movie more.

Now granted there were a few gratuitous cinematic liberties (why Ginny couldn't have asked Hermione to zip her dress up upstairs I will never know) and some missing info (I had no idea what the mirror shard was until I started re-reading), but overall the films have matured just as the books have.

And that's what I love about the series; we grew up with it. When the first book was published in 1998 (U.S. date) I was 9 and when Pottermania really took off I was about 12, the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  With each successive book the material got darker and more serious, in effect we grew up with the characters (though Harry is actually close to 30, you can figure it out with the second book and the date on Nearly Headless Nick's death-day cake - yes, I'm a dork, deal with it) and then the actors, who are my age.  We waited through midnight book releases and movie showings just to continue on with the story.  We embraced that magical world buying into all the commercialization and trying to recreate that world in this one.   We've even made it our own through parody (for laughs watch the two clips at the end of this post) and fanfic.  We are truly the Potter generation.
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