This is Not the End of Harry Potter

Written by Katie Jameson  •  Special Features  •  July 2011 PDF Print E-mail

J.K. Rowling has had fourteen years to develop this story, but it took only one weekend to break all records. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," opened with a record $169.2 million in weekend ticket sales, and according to Box Office, $43.5 million came from midnight showings and $92.1 million from single-day sales on July 15.  But it’s not over yet. 

The tale has been etched in seven books and emblazoned in eight movies. The franchise has raked in billions and ignited the imaginations of fans worldwide. An entire generation has grown up nurtured by Harry Potter and the name elicits deep emotions. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 faces unrealistic expectations of fans and caps off the end of an era. The movie does satisfy even the most avid devotee, though. So sit back and enjoy.

Earlier this week, Warner Bros. announced that with the film opening day-and-date in 59 territories, the international box office take was a staggering $307 million, making it the biggest international weekend of all time. Led by record-breaking grosses in the UK ($36.6 million) and Australia ($26.7 million), all markets have performed exceedingly well, including Germany ($25.7 million), France ($23.9 million) and Japan ($21.5 million).

Globally, it also broke the IMAX opening weekend record with a worldwide gross of $23.5 million, which includes setting a new record in North America with $15.5 million. The film began breaking records even before its opening, as unprecedented advance ticket sales gave the first indication of just how huge the box office bow would be. Midnight opening screenings not only met but exceeded those expectations, with $43.5 million at the domestic box office alone.

First a recap of the series’ beginning. Harry started out as an 11-year old orphan, back in 2001, with insensitively rude relatives, who were quite literally twisted and disfigured. Chris Columbus was doggedly delicate in his treatment of the story, and rightly so. He had the impossible task of introducing us for the first time to the weird world of Potter, yet keeping it interesting enough for all.

Flash forward a decade and the Potter crew are experienced adult wizards, but the actors are still only movie stars. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) cannot keep the fuzzy beard beaten back. Rupert Grint (Ron) is draped in a goatee. Even Emma Watson (Hermione) is all grown up. Watching the actors grow up along with you gives them an endearing place in your heart. So, overlooking the awkward acting at the beginning of the franchise, the fun lies in seeing them so young and vulnerable, mirroring their characters.

The reason the Harry Potter movies work is that their phenomenal characters are never dwarfed by the scale of the movie. This is critical when dealing with wizards and their quirky habits that build personality to the land of magic. Also, you don’t want to piss a wizard off.  The finesse of the special effects brings to life such characters as the albino dragon. Yet, you are not put off balance by the eye-popping effects, but rather stunned at how quickly such a detailed animation becomes integrated as a living, breathing character.

Daniel Radcliffe is given far more screen time in order to battle his personal demons this time and face off with Voldemort. Never underestimate Harry’s nerve, as he lets it all rip in a terrifying battle and spectacular performance.

When the movie ended, a small boy in the back of the theater exclaimed, “That was awesome!”. He was rightly satisfied. This second part is an emotional roller coaster, so fasten your seat belts. As a final chapter it puts a lump in your throat and send you back to the beginning to watch every film anew. It is tightly directed and genuinely makes the tears well up. One could say, that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is sweets with no dinner, or two hours of climax with zero foreplay – a grand finale of fireworks and not a single dud in the 130 minutes.

Photo Credit:  2011 Warner Bros Ent. All Rights Reserved

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