I haven’t visited Hogwarts, Platform 9 and 3/4 or the world of witches and wizards in over three years — the last time being when I read the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shortly after it was released. Yet 24 hours ago, I was at Regal Cinema, waiting in line with true Harry Potter fans. Awaiting for the doors to open and the cl0cks to strike midnight was magical unto itself.
It was exciting to see that everyone had made a trip to Diagon Alley, and picked up their wands from Ollivanders before the gathering — which can been likened to when masses gathered for the Quidditch World Cup. It was amusing to see all the Weasleys roaming around the movie theater, each with their lumpy mismatched sweaters, which had to have been hand-knit by Molly Weasley and complete with giant initials of their names. Even more entertaining were a pair of Weasley twins (two girls sporting flaming red wigs and wizarding cloaks dressed as Fred and George, or rather “Gred” and “Forge”; one of them with a bandage on her ear) — their light-hearted jokes and banter with each other in the hallways would have cost them detentions with Dolores Umbridge, especially for disturbing the peace at the movie theater.
Yet as much as we, Muggles, may wish that we were witches and wizards — and that they simply ‘forgot’ to send us an owl with an acceptance letter to Hogwarts when we turned 11 years old, we had the pleasure to pick up a handful of Floo powder and transport into the wizarding world by watching the first installment of director David Yate’s film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and seeing author J.K. Rowling’s vision on the silver screen.
The movie, which deals with the final battle between He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (Ralph Finnes) and “the boy who lived” (Daniel Radcliffe), was dark and grim, but a good number of “holy” ear jokes and sexual frustration sets a satisfying balance and tone amidst a wizarding war. When needed, Weasley brothers are a reliable source of comic relief — whether it is Fred (James Phelps) and George (Oliver Phelps) with their antics, or Ron (Rupert Grint) with his comments. Yates does an excellent job in splicing everything together, so that the movie experience does not feel like a bunch of dementors just got out of the Azkaban prison.
Yet the film paints the full, gritty context for war, showcasing sacrifice and valor. In the first sequence, as one is introduced to Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), one also realizes that she must make her parents forget that she has ever existed in order to protect them. In another scene, Ron is lounging by the radio, anxiously listening to hear if any of his family’s names are called. Harry can be seen playing with a tw0-way mirror from his godfather — persistently believing that Sirius Black is alive behind the veil. And to think — the trio are just kids, skipping school to go on a wild horcrux hunt — puts the whole senario into context.
Despite the grave situation, the heart of the books and movies is friendship. Yet the Harry-Ron-Hermione trio is off-center. Perhaps actor Tom Felton, who plays wizard and death eater Draco Malfoy, describes it best in an interview with MTV: “This whole perfect friendship thing kind of goes out the window a bit.”
However, loyalties — however shaken that the might be — do play a big part in the battle of good versus evil. As for screeplay writer Steve Kloves’s and director Yate’s loyalties to Potter fans, the most disappointing part of the movie is when the movie stops with a lack of end credits.
Just like fans would wait in bookstores with excitement, speeding through Rowling’s words when the book came out, fans will wait excitedly for July 15, 2011 — for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 — and to return to Hogwarts, Platform 9 and 3/4 and the wizarding world.