I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night and lemme tell you, that is some dark, dark moviemaking. I think I was actually more scared last night walking home than I was after watching Paranormal Activity 2. It didn’t help that it was blowing a gale outside as I wandered the alleyways and back streets round Bondi Junction. It could have been Diagon Alley. I thought Voldemort was about to stick his big flat face in mine and whisk me off in a cloud of black smoke. Or maybe Hagrid would swoop down from the sky on a massive motorbike and I’d get lost in his giant beard, and my flatmate would be calling and calling, wondering where I was and when I’d be getting back to do the dishes, but all the while I’d be trapped in a cave beside a purple fire-breathing dragon, drinking butter-beer from a kindly gnome and awaiting my imminent death at the hands of a horcrux.
ARRRGH! When did this series get so terrifying!? I’d never take a child to see that film. My mum wouldn’t have taken me to see it either, when I was a kid. She had her reservations about Rainbow Brite – there was a real baddie in that if I remember rightly and he was only in 2D animation, made of lines and crayon. Imagine the nightmares kids would’ve had over Harry Potter back in the 80s, with nothing to compare it to? There’s nothing to pacify a sheltered imagination in this movie. No clouds, rainbows or talking penguins. There’s a talking elf, sure, but even he winds up covered in blood. Even Ron, one of the main protagonists, gets his arm chopped off. Jesus! Kids these days must be shockproof. No wonder they’re all carrying knives about – the things they watch on big screens are all so realistic they probably truly believe wizards and warlocks will kill em unless they’re ready to fight back.
I have to admit, I haven’t read past the third book in the Harry Potter series. There was a time back there when I’d lose all my friends for an entire week as soon as a new one came out, so I kind of rebelled after a while and did my own thing. But I understood then, what it must have been like for my family when I’d walk along as a kid with my nose stuck in Enid Blyton’s tales of Famous Five adventures and Mallory Towers, when I was supposed to be socialising. Her world’s were far more interesting than the real one, and now… JK Rowling’s is even more interesting than that! Imagine what’s next. We’ll probably pay for a movie ticket and promptly be whisked away into the film itself. We’ll pay to play roles in our favourite movies as our comatose bodies sit slumped in a darkened theatre, plugged into the Matrix.
Anyway, because I gave up after book three, until last night I didn’t even know that Dumbledore was dead… ah shit, sorry if you didn’t know that either. But he is dead. Such a shame – he was my favourite character. In the movie you get a few flashbacks of his bearded face and a glimpse of his corpse in a tomb, but that’s it. His body isn’t even rotting, by the way, and there are no worms eating any part of him – presumably because he’s made of magic.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the other movies, really. It’s pretty easy to catch up. Ron’s still an idiot, whose head appears frighteningly small for his grown up body, Harry’s still a dweeb and Hermione is still WAY too beautiful to be associating herself with either of ‘em. I feel bad for Draco Malfoy who doesn’t even get a speaking part in this one. He just looks menacingly at others in a couple of scenes, like he’s dying to squeeze a few words out to add to the resume but was shunned in favour of more stuff from Voldemort, who consequently looks like a warthog with a face wrapped in clingfilm. He wouldn’t have been very scary at all if it wasn’t for all the swishing and swirling and electric and spells and special effects surrounding him in every scene. As it was though, that clingwrapped warthog haunted my dreams.
It did make me want to watch the eighth one actually, and I’m also going to have to watch the rest in reverse now, to catch up, so I guess it’s done its job. Plus, I hear it took more than $15 million at the box office around Australia, making it the second highest-ever opening weekend for a movie. LOTS of people have seen it. So I guess there’ll be a lot more wand/knife bearing teens walking round now, too.