What a long, strange 10 years it’s been. And if you haven’t noticed, Warner Brothers puts together some pretty elaborate box sets of their movies and tv shows and if you look at the timing of this, you know they are going to release a pretty spectacular set of all 8 movies for the holiday season this year (and then continue to update them, a la Lord of the Rings every year with a new set until you’re dead).
The trailer for the first Harry Potter movie is the first time a trailer has made me want to see a movie of any genera, ever. I am not a fan of any sort of fantasy films ever. So the fact that a trailer changed my mind and made me want to see this child’s movie when I was 20 in a genera I normally don’t like, that is a huge deal. I was working at a commercial radio station back in 2001 and we “won” the rights for the sneak preview. These tickets were a hot item, of course and I asked to work the screening. I always liked huge events like this, plus I wanted to see the movie. And for free was especially good considering my track record with this genera. So if it was crap, I wouldn’t have lost anything, plus I would still get paid for my time! Win win for me!
And ohmigod, thank god I did work it! There were only random single seats in the back and I took one rather then sitting with the rest of the group up front, my seat of choice when given the option. I remember when it was over, I wanted to gobble the next story up as soon as possible. I went out immediately and bought the first three books, for fear the covers were going to change from the original art to movie poster covers, as lots of adaptations change too and I wanted the original covers. #4 was out at the time, but only in hardcover, which at the time I refused to buy. Plus, I had three books to read now! It was mid November when this happened and I still had the end of the semester and finals to deal with, so I made a deal with myself to (try to) hold off until the end of the semester. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The following weekend, when the movie opened, my sister and a bunch of her friends went to see it, so I went with them and saw it again, I loved it so much. People bag on Chris Columbus, but I love him and his work. He works well with kids and having him direct the first two films with such ammature actors, I think worked well for setting up the series as well as played a part in having the whole cast stick around the whole time.
If I was excited for the first movie, my energy for the 2nd movie in 2002 was insane. I had cable internet and cable tv 24/7 for the first time in my life at Umass that I gobbled up every morsel of information about the movie that I could get my hands on. But not so on top of it that I booked my ticket for the first weekend release at the one movie theatre in town. I was so not used to limited availability like this. The entire first weekend was sold out at the one theatre in town. UNBELIEVABLE! I finally found time in my schedule the following week after classes, but before a night meeting to take the bus into town and see the movie in an empty theatre. For $4!!!! That is the cheapest I had been to a movie in years. A few weeks later, I went into New York City and saw the movie again with my cousin and paid $12, the most expensive I had paid at that point for a movie. She had seen it already as well and we just goss’d and talked and made comments about the movie the entire time in the last row.
A year and a half later (summer 2004), the 3rd movie was released. I was spending the summer in New York City and before I left, I reread the 3rd book. HUGE MISTAKE. At the time, I liked it the least as it didn’t match the book at all, in my opinion. The little details that I loved in the book were missing or rearranged (how Harry got his new broom for instance) which annoyed the hell out of me. The movie was released one of my first weekends in New York City and I was in the process of looking for a sublet and having a very hard time. I vowed that I wouldn’t see the movie until I found a place to live. Luckily, I found one the first week of release and after I paid my deposit, immediately went to 42nd Street were the movie was pretty much starting every 20 minutes and bought a ticket. As time has gone on, #3 has become my favorite movie in the entire series. And still is to this day. I wish Cuarón had directed more titles.
A year and a half later (winter 2005) I was living out in Westwood Village with my best friend from high school and asked the rest off the high school crew if they wanted to come down and watch the movie with a bunch of college kids at a late showing on opening day. A group of us went to one of the classic theatres and had a great time, hooting and hollering and whistling when Harry took his shirt off in the bath! It was great to be in an audience full of “adults”, with a group of people who loved the movies and books as much as me.
A year and half later AGAIN (winter (for me, NZ!) 2007) I was living in New Zealand and had been to the movies in town a few times. You can order your tickets and reserve your seat online, all included in the price of the ticket, so I checked the website every single day for about a month before #5 was released so I could reserve a good seat for opening day, knowing the shows were going to sell out. Exactly two weeks before hand, I checked and was the 2nd person to buy tickets for the show I wanted, ensuring my favorite seat. The theatre ended up being packed with kids, as I went to a 5pm show on opening day, but it was a good audience and there were no shrieking kids, so it was all good for me.
While the rest of the world whined when the announcement of the 6th film was being pushed 6 months to the following summer, I was thrilled and barely noticed at the same time. I was in Australia at this point, and watching my pennies like a hawk. While I probably would have seen the movie if released in December of 2008, I was so glad it was pushed until I was home the following summer. I was unemployed at the time, but I found $6 to go to a weekday morning show for a cheap show and saw the movie by myself with a bunch of kids and parents, as it was summer, a few weeks after release. And you know they pushed it, so they could release the DVD’s 10 years after the first movie.
Same thing, of sorts, happened for the 7th movie in December, 2010, a year and half later. I was working at the time, but just not in the habit of going to the movies at all. I actually kept forgetting about it, until probably about a month after the release when I had nothing to do on a Saturday morning and actually remembered to go. There was only like 5 of us in the theatre and dead quiet in the small theatre, just the way I like it!
This past weekend I saw #8. I would have waited longer, for an emptier theatre, but I have a million things coming up in the next few weeks and with the rate that movies come and go, if I had waited until September, it might not be playing anymore. And even though I have not enjoyed the movies as much since #4, I just wanted to round out the series and see them all on the big screen as my tv is kind of crappy and I have no plans on upgrading anytime soon. And for $6 again, how much am I really loosing? The theatre was kind of small and packed with all sorts but I had a generally enjoyable experience.
Moral: And seriously, how did Yates direct the most movies in the series and they were by far the crappiest?! I mean, they weren’t crappy movies per se, but they were just so undistinguishable from each other. I can’t tell you a thing that happened in each one. What I think might have happened in #5, may have happened in #7, I really couldn’t tell you the difference. Or maybe around the same time, my interest just dropped and I kind of stopped going to the movies in general. I just stopped caring. But I still went. And unlike my experience with the books, were I ended up being overseas for half of them, I actually only ended up not being in LA for 3 (out of 8) of them and only 1 actually overseas. I own the first three movies on various formats (#1-VHS; #2 and 3-DVD; #4-bootlegged DVD, half counts, but not really) and while I am sure WB are going to put out an AWESOME box set, I don’t know if I’ll buy it anytime soon. I would love to, but really, how much use am I going to get out of it? I have no attention span and the movies are on TV all the time and I watch them whenever they are on. It’s something I would love to own, but like the LOST boxset, won’t get around to it for a long long time.