Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome Back, Potter

Magnet # 397:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Dark Arts


Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell


Purchased By:  Me

Harry Potter is back and am I glad to see him!  I admit, I don't visit the local cinema very often, but I've always made an exception in his case.  As I imagine you've already heard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I hits theaters today and it's easily one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year.  This particular installment comes from the seventh and final book of the series and has been divided into two parts.  This decision goes all the way back to 2004, when producers considered splitting Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth novel in the series, which featured whopping 734 pages in its U.S. version, in half.  While that idea was ultimately rejected, it was clearly not forgotten.  According to the producers, the split was made with the final novel because the story is just so dense, but the U.S. version of this one is 759 pages, just barely more than the fourth book.  And the studio claims that this is a way to celebrate the incredible franchise with an extra hour and a half, but plenty of more jaded folks out there realize this is another way to milk more money out of a franchise that's almost come to an end.  Still, I don't mind.  I have really gotten into these films and I'm happy to have one last hurrah with the series to look forward to.

It's kind of funny that the only Harry Potter magnet I have is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because it's still my favorite film of the series.  And, no, I haven't read all of the books, but I have listened to the audiobook version of the first two novels.  The incredibly talented Jim Dale narrates all seven of them, and has won two Grammy Awards for his efforts.  If you like Harry Potter and haven't tried enjoying the series this way, you're definitely missing out.  Anyway, I tend to like the fourth film best because it's really the one that begins the main characters' transition into adulthood.  The tone grows notably darker in this one and it will only become moreso in the future.  They start to struggle with feelings of attraction and rejection, and it's also the first film movie when one of the Hogwarts students dies.  Plus, there's plenty of gripping action, as Harry fights a dragon, saves his friend Ron from the watery depths, and faces a maze that's much more sinister than it seems as part of the Triwizard Tournament.  The event also brings in wizarding schools from France and Russia, and having a glimpse of other magical cultures really intrigued me.  Every time I watch another Harry Potter film, I compare it to this one and they never beat it in my estimation.  But today's release may change my mind.

Pretty much all of the shooting for both films of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is in the bag at this point.  It was treated as one movie when it was shot, and when the filming came to and end on June 12th of this year, the three main actors were brought to tears.  But additions have been necessary since then, so more scenes have been shot, many for the Epilogue.  One of the most disturbing occurrences during production was when the young actor who served as Harry's stunt double suffered a spinal injury from a fall during an aerial scene.  He's been left paralyzed and in a wheelchair, likely for the rest of his life.  I wish him and his family the best and hope the studio and producers will look after him properly.  I imagine these final films will leave them with plenty of funds to do so.  I've already heard that this first installment is a great one, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it for myself.  But I have a feeling it's going to be a long wait until the final half of this film makes it to theaters on July 15, 2011.

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