Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter finale is the grandest ever

Ten years, seven books, eight movies and a mindbogglingly finale close to the Harry Potter franchise. And what better way to close the chapter in 3-D. To ensure we get confirmed seats, we booked the 9.30 am show at Imax, Wadala. I don't remember going to a cinema hall that early in the day, ever. The action starts soon enough; first a recap of the last scene of the first part, Voldemort's access to the Elder Wand, followed by a grim look at Hogwarts patrolled by the Dementors who seem to be standing right next to your seat if seen through those 3-D goggles. It's surreal; you know in less than three hours it's all going to come to an end, no more anticipating the release of J.K.Rowling's books, no more reading the morning papers with pictures of children with the happiest faces as if they've won the treasure hunt after braving 5-mile long serpentine (thankfully not the Nagini types) queues in cold weather of foreign shores, with their latest Harry Potter books- sometimes personally signed by the author Ms Rowling- no more scouting on You Tube for a trailer of an upcoming Harry Potter movie and as far as I am concerned, no more anticipating to borrow the book from my nieces and waiting desperately to run off to Panchgani on a holiday armed with the particular Harry Potter book of the movie that is just about to release.

That's what I used to do; I never read the books well in advance, as soon as they hit the stands, fresh from the press for the first time ever, definitely not finishing the books in those crazy two to three hours that kids these days do with Harry Potter books. Even soirees last longer than that. My strategy was to pick up a book whose movie was about to release. Read that book a good two or three months before its movie version was to release, have the book fresh in my mind and then go to watch the movie without the knowledge of what has happened in subsequent versions. That way, I thought I could enjoy and appreciate the movies better.

The first part of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was much tamer than the grand finale, but the setting was perfect. Part-II moves fast, cuts out all the unnecessary riff-raff, the director cleverly assumes you're on the plot and read the book, and sticks to the bare essentials. The ending is changed a bit, but the ride is as thrilling as you'd ever imagine. Several moments stands out, especially the sensational break-in and the daring escape from the Gringotts Bank, the fortification of Hogwarts Castle by Professor McGonagall and team and Snape's touching encounter with Harry Potter. I also felt the 3-D experience to be more pronounced here than in Avataar but that's maybe because I am a Harry Potter fan and I never really much cared for Avataar. The Dementors- if seen through the 3-D goggles- will seem to be standing right next to you. Lord Voldemort lights up the screen every time he appears ; brilliant Ralf Fiennes will ensure his performance will go down as one of the most feared villains of cinematic history. Rowling's insistence on having only British actors work in Harry Potter franchise has paid off. To me- and countless Harry Potter fans- this will be one of the most memorable chapters of our lives, to have lived through the Harry Potter days, books, movies, spells and Hogwarts. 

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