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  • Saturday, October 15, 2011
  • 7:00 PM–12:00 AM
  • Covenant Fine Arts Center
  • $1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a blockbuster in the very best sense of the term. It was a summer event film, one that legions of fans of all ages lined up for at midnight dressed in the costumes of its characters. It contains breathtaking actions scenes, 3D visuals, and an epic score. It is, so far, the highest grossing film of 2011 in the U.S. and the rest of the world (take that Michael Bay!).

Unlike the typical blockbuster though, Harry Potter has a big, satisfying story to match the spectacle. It’s a story about community, taking risks, and making tough choices. It’s a story about ordinary characters placed into extraordinary circumstances. Ultimately, it’s a story about good and evil.

While the final book/film draws clear lines between ultimate good and evil, its characters inhabit a world in which daily choices are not so clear -cut. Harry is unnaturally gifted, but cannot do it alone. He struggles to know who to rely on, who to listen to amidst his epic quest. Draco Malfoy struggles to maintain his autonomy and his humanness amongst extraordinary circumstances. Snape must make challenging distinctions between moral ends and means. The world of Harry Potter is black and white on each end, but gray everywhere in between.

J.K. Rowling’s story itself isn’t the only thing that makes HP7: Pt. 2 a must-see film. The epic tale is faithfully adapted to the big screen by director David Yates and stands on its own as a work of popular art. Where Deathly Hallows: Part 1 left audiences a bit unsatisfied, critics and commoners alike agree that the final film is one of the best, if not the best, in the series. For me, the quality of the ensemble cast puts HP7: Pt. 2 head and shoulders above the typical summer superhero film. Yes, Daniel Radcliffe portrays the main character, but his acting is nothing if it isn’t constantly bouncing off the wit and grace of Emma Watson’s Hermione or the comic quips of Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley. In this last film, Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Snape especially stuck in my mind. Rickman brings to a blockbuster film the type of nuanced acting usually reserved for Shakespearean theatre or an Oscar-nominated drama.

The ending of the Harry Potter film series is, in a way, bittersweet. We have grown up with the characters of the Harry Potter universe and the actors who portray them. It will indeed be strange to never attend a midnight book release or film premiere again, but the mythology of Harry Potter is too rich for this to really be the end. Surely our children, and our children’s children will travel to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, Hermione and the gang. If not, at least there’s a theme park.

- Dan Hofman
October 2011
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