One summer, a few years back, I was the QUEEN of midnight events. It was 2007, and I was running amuck on the Disney College Program with a group of like-minded friends. We all had basically the same work schedule (thank you, Animal Kingdom, for closing early due to the fact that animals need sleep) and there were a LOT of blockbusters coming out that summer — starting with Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and going all the way to August with probably Hairspray, if I remember correctly. We went to an absurd number of midnight screenings, probably the most I’ve ever been to in such a short amount of time.
My friend Jennifer and I also went to a midnight release of a little book called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You may have heard of it, being the last in an epically popular franchise by a Ms. JK Rowling that spawned an equally popular movie franchise.
This little intro is to say that I’m suffering from severe lack of sleep right now, as I insisted on going with Jeremy to the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 last night.
I partially wanted to go to see if I was still in the same fighting shape I was that summer with all of the midnight-screenings-with-work-the-next-morning. Answer? I’m not. Curse grown-up big girl schedules!
I also just LOVE midnight screenings — the energy of them, being in a room with a ton of people who really really want to be there is so much more fun and engrossing than watching it any other time. Plus, like most other people my age, I grew up with Harry Potter — started reading the books at 11/12, have seen every movie. It’s sort of a rite of passage at this point to make the pilgrimage to the Harry Potter Midnight Event.
Still, I was somehow unprepared for the fandom at the screening I attended. We showed up two whole hours early, and the theater was already open with the only seats available in the very first two rows! Needless to say my neck isn’t holding up so well today…
In an amusing turn of events before the movie started, a cluster of movie goers (in full Harry Potter universe costumes) started acting out scenes from the books/making up dramatic fight scenes between Harry, Hermione, Draco and Bellatrix — and by acting out, I mean full-on running around the theater shouting curses and acting out dramatic wand snatchings and death scenes. I will have to say that was a FIRST for any midnight showing I’ve ever been to. It definitely helped pass the time!
The main event though, was the movie itself — thoughts below the break, just in case anyone is only watching the movies, or hasn’t read or seen any of it or doesn’t want any kind of spoiler (like where the split takes place for movies 1 and 2)
The movie was SO good — I’m not sure yet, but it definitely is already ranking as one of my favorites. I was consistently surprised by how incredibly sad it was (cue this sap over here tearing up a minimum of 4 times, and full on crying at the end, which I’ll get to in a minute).
I was also surprised by how much everyone laughed — I think it was partially just the sheer excitement of the crowd over seeing some of their favorite moments up on screen, but it was also a funny movie. Bleak, but funny. I actually think it worked really well, because honestly if we’re going to spend about half of a film watching Harry, Ron and Hermione sit around in tents, they had to figure out SOMETHING for them to be doing all that time. I think the only not-suposed-to-be-that-funny part was when Ron opens up about how the light in his heart (and Hermione) helped him find his way back to the group. It was sweet, but really talk-y and SUPER awkward and there was a lot of laughter in the theater
I really liked the added moments with Draco and his parents, because I think it lays the groundwork for their “we’re not going against Voldemort because we don’t want him to flat out kill us, but we’re not going to actively help him” stance in the second half of the book/movie #2. I wish they would’ve added more with Neville, to that extent though, just because I love love love Neville (especially in Book 7) and I wanted to see more of him.
The action that does occur though, looks SO good and is really engaging. I also really liked the way they animate the story of the Three Brothers (aka the story of the Deathly Hallows), while Hermione narrates it. The animation’s tone fit really well into the film, and it flowed into the rest of the scene with Luna’s dad (who’s name I will never be able to spell…but it was Rhys Ifans! yay!)
I wasn’t expecting the final battle of the movie at the Malfoys, partially because I think the location changed (someone who knows the book better help me out?) and partially because I continuously forgot that the movie is actually going to be two parts, and we have to wait for JULY for the actual wrap up/end.
The actual end of the film though was this: They apparate to Bill and Fleur’s cottage by the sea (they don’t tell us that’s where it is, I just know from the book), thanks to Dobby, who is fatally injured (stupid Bellatrix). Dobby dies (cue the crying…) and Harry buries him. Off to Voldemort, who breaks into Dumbledore’s casket and steals the Elder Wand and THAT’S THE END OF PART ONE.
Minus a few parts, I think the next movie is basically going to be a mix of epic fights and people we like dying. Sigh. Seriously, so good, though. I don’t know what I’m going to do until July now.