Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows - The End

After 10 years, the Harry Potter saga has finally come to an end. The seven-book masterpiece authored by J.K. Rowling that captured the fantasy and wizardry imagination of its followers all around the world culminated in a one grand and final story – Deathly Hollows.

Personally, I’m not much of an HP fan but I was able to watch every single HP movie with my kids on DVD. There was even a time where a typhoon cancelled all classes and all of us were forced to stay put at home. So we decided to do a marathon DVD watching of the first five Harry Potter films for eight hours straight, non-stop. For me, it was one Harry Potter overload that made me experience fatigue of all sorts. I was surprised that my boys had the stamina and endurance to absorb everything with matching commentary exchanges on the side.

Two days ago, I had the momentous opportunity to watch the premier showing of the last and final installment of the phenomenal Harry Potter – Deathly Hollows at SM Mall of Asia in IMAX 3D. The Philippines was given the rare opportunity to be one of the few countries to hold an advance screening after the global premier happened just last week in the US. This reflects the very strong fan base among Filipino Harry Potter aficionados. The HP charisma was even heightened by a cosplay fashion show displayed by a big number of Harry Potter advocates with their wands and Hogwarts robe uniforms. There was even an exhibit with actual replicas of the wardrobe and costumes that were actually used in the movie.

Watching a movie at the IMAX with its DOLBY digital surround sound system is always an exciting treat for me and watching a film such as Harry Potter in 3D amplified the experience even more. The special screening was graced by a short talk by Mr. Francis Soliven, General Manager of Warner Bros. Philippines. The short speech was filled with mixed emotions. For one, it has a kind of festive celebration culminating the end of the last book of HP. At the same time, there was this sad feeling for most die-hard fans since this is also the end of an amazing story that, for many, has been a big part of their fantasy and imagination for the past decade.

For me, the Harry Potter movies has become a benchmark for other fantasy movies such as LOTR and Narnia (although those books were written much earlier than HP) on how fantasy movies should look like in this digital age and how they will be appreciated by avid movie goers as they witness the words of an author animatedly come alive on the silver screen with the aid of CGI technology. What every creative man can conceive, the CGI can perceive. The possibilities are limitless.

Other factors that made Harry Potter so appealing to the public were the celebrity “issues” and “intrigues” that surrounded the cast. Back in 2001, when the first HP blockbuster film first came out, all of us found it adorable to see these three very young and innocent characters (Radcliff, Wesley and Watson) as the cute-trio that captured the hearts of HP fans. But as the years went by and as they grew older, showbiz immersion likewise took place in the lives of these young celebs casting them with the evils of intrigues and malicious spells that usually accompany fame.

In 2009, Radcliff was rumored to have alcohol problems resulting from weeks of partying among celebrity friends. Another gossip that came out was that the character Albus Dumbledore has gender issues and was said to have the “hots” for Harry. There were also the “sneak-peek” voyeur photos of Emma Watson exposing her privates taken by paparazzi perverts. And the list went on about other cast members who had their own share of intrigues and scandalous photos that were devoured by showbiz columnists who were like death-eaters, feasting on the private lives of these celebs who became publicly exposed in tabloids, social networks and YouTube.

As HP came to an end, I hope these “issues” would also come to a close along with the book. In the movie, the dark lord Valdemort, along with his cohorts, was ultimately vanquished by Harry Potter which led to a happy ending for Harry and friends. But in the real world, the lives of these people behind the characters would continue to face intrigues and scandals that still linger in every corner of the World Wide Web and their lives may not be as blissful. All of them now are setting their own individual shining showbiz careers catapulted by the HP phenomenon. But with the fame are also their personal “baggages” that will ultimately test everybody’s mettle as they leave the post-Harry Potter era and enter another chapter of their new showbiz careers.

*Thanks Jeman V. of for the photos

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