Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Celebrating 15 years of Harry Potter cinema

I don't know if you were aware of this, but fifteen years ago today on November 16, 2001, the first Harry Potter movie was released in theaters. (The Americans say "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"; the Brits (and probably the rest of the world!) say "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"). I still remember seeing the movie in theaters with my mom over Thanksgiving break on November 22, 2001. (I know, I had to wait SIX WHOLE DAYS before I could see it...poor me!)

If you click on the "Harry Potter" label, you will find my reviews of all the movies (well, all of them except the fifth movie which it seems I never reviewed!) as well as my rankings of the film. Would the ranking still be the same? I have no idea, but it looks like I may have had some recency bias since I ranked the last movie as #1 just having recently seen it when I wrote that entry! It has been five years since I saw the movies, at least the latter ones, and probably even more since I've seen the first three (or four or five...I have no idea the last time I saw those movies were!) Someday, when I have nothing but time, I would like to revisit the movies. I know there have been plenty of movie podcasts (including the ones I listen to on a regular basis) that have done their own retrospective on the movies.

Back in 2001, I was all about the Harry Potter hype. I read the first four books in about three months. I had Harry Potter notebooks and pencils. I bought a Harry Potter towel off of e-bay. And I still have the towel; the notebooks and pencils, I don't. I still have a videotape (yes, you read that right!) of the appearances of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint on Oprah, Rosie, Katie Couric, Leno,  and Letterman. Unfortunately, I do not have 12 year old Daniel's TRL appearance, though I did watch it and I found a message I wrote about it from November 13, 2001:

Did anyone see Daniel Radcliffe on TRL today? Poor kid, looked scared to death! They were playing Genie in a Bottle when he came out. Uh.....Harry Potter isn't a genie. He said he thought New York was "cooler" than London. There was this girl in a HP towel outside (I think it was at that moment that Daniel wanted to move to NY -LOL) and Carson had her come up. Hehe, I have a HP towel! But hers was different. Carson asked him what he had done and he said he went to the Empire State Building and thought it was scary. (Hmm...I would be scared to go up tall buildings in NYC too....)
Anyway, the kid was scared to death and it was really cute lol. 

Since I chronicle everything (important, anyway!), I thought I would share with you excerpts of my experiences with the movies and books.

This is when I saw Chamber of Secrets in November 2002:

As I walked to the front entrance, I noticed that everybody and their mother seemed to be there. I gave the usher my ticket and decided to use the restroom first. As I was walking towards it, I could tell that everybody was there to see Harry Potter or had already seen it because all around me I heard comments such as, “Did you see the first one?”, “I should have left when he started burping up the slugs!”, “That snake was scary!” I mean, what else would they have been there to seen? (Well, maybe that Eminem movie). I noticed a young kid in the line dressed as Harry Potter. He was wearing glasses and a black robe and carrying a wand. He had black hair so it worked for him. Behind me there were these really obnoxious kids who were trying to “catch” the shooting stars on the screen above them. They kept yelling, “I GOT IT!” Augh, I wanted to yell at them to shut up. Thank GOD they were in a different theater! They started letting people in at 6:20 and I sorta snuck into the line. I found a seat in the middle of the theater in a middle of a row. It was a packed house. There were parents with kids, teenagers, pre-teens, toddlers, old people, middle aged people, all kinds of people were there. Everybody was white but I did see an Indian family! After watching fifteen minutes of horrible movie previews (except for The Two Towers, of course), the actual movie started.

This is when I got the fifth book in June 2003:

The day has finally come! I still can't believe I'm in the middle of reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix right now. So it happened like this: I got up at nine this morning and drove to Barnes and Noble. I didn't pre-order or reserve my copy, so I was praying that I would still be able to get one. I do have to admit I was a bit worried that I wouldn't find a copy.

So I get there and walk inside and there's a huge Harry Potter stand with HP stuff and the OTHER books...but not the ONE! So I'm thinking, "Oh crap, they're sold out!" But I decide not to panic quite yet. I go to look at the back of the store and there it is, a table stacked with thick, hardcover books with a blue cover and those two words: Harry Potter. I grab one and I go back to the front to pay for the book and I pass a girl about my age holding the book! Hee! Then as I was paying for it, I noticed a guy putting more books at that entrance of the store. And then I saw a woman about my mom's age with the book get in the line after me. Hee! The saleslady asked me if I had found everything I was looking for and I said I was very relieved I found it because I was a little worried there and she told me to enjoy it. Aww. And I got a good deal too: the cover said it was $29.95, or something like that, and I got it for $19.25 on sale.
And as I was leaving I saw a boy around 12 with his mom. He looked very excited. I wondered what he was going to get? Hee!

You can tell I was very giddy because I kept saying "Hee!"

This is when I got the sixth book in July 2005:

It's about 9 pm when I get to Borders (and the parking lot is pretty full) and go inside and I'm looking around for the unmistakable green cover ofHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but I don't see any shelves full of it or anything like I was expecting. However, to my left I see a stack of about ten of the books on a table with a young guy sitting behind it. He says, "Did you pre-order one?" My heart sinks and I say, "No,". "That's okay," he says, "We have extras." and gives me a book. Whee!

This is when my mom and I saw Goblet of Fire the day before Thanksgiving, 2005:

We caught the 3:20 showing of GoF! My mom has only read the first book and seen the first movie, so I gave her a brief synopsis about what this movie was about. (It was so sad...she didn't know who Voldemort was!) She asked if Harry's mean relatives would be in this one and I told her they were cut out, then I told her all about SPEW and how that was cut out too. Hehe, now she says she wants a house elf! During the movie, Mom actually jumped and screamed! LMAO. It was during the first task when Harry is flying his broom and almost collides into the dragon. After the movie I asked her if she was able to follow it along and she was. She added, "I didn't know it was going to be so scary! That dragon, that snake, those skeletons in the graveyard!" I just rolled my eyes. She thought Harry was "cute as a button" and he was the only one who hadn't changed that much, to which I replied, "Uh, he didn't have long hair in the other movies." She also thought they gave Ron the long hair so he wouldn't be cuter than Harry. Ouch, Mom!  During the movie, I'd have to lean over to Mom and explain things to her, like who Sirius and Mytrle were.

This is when I got the seventh and final book in July 2007:

This was the first time where I pre-ordered a Harry Potter book from and last night I began to have my doubts. I know I'm not the only person in Omaha who's getting the last book via mail, so who knows who long it would take to get them all delivered? What if I don't get it until really late in the evening? That would have been a whole day wasted where I could have read it! So I was hoping that it would at least be delivered before two o'clock; noon would be even better.

So I wake up this morning at nine to use the bathroom (then promptly go back to bed!) and think that I could have gone to Barnes and Noble right now and gotten it, but I really didn't want to deal with the crowds and I remember one year parking was a bitch.

Imagine my surprise when I hear a knock on my door at 9:40! I quickly go to answer the door and laying on my door step is a rectangle-shaped box. I (very quietly) squealed. Haha, on the box it says, "Attention Muggles: do not deliver or open before July 21st." 

I actually haven't opened mine yet. I want to get situated before I start reading and I'm afraid I'll flip to the last page if it's just laying around. I need to have self control. I even went to the grocery store yesterday to stock up on food so I don't have to leave my apartment at all this weekend.

And this is when I saw the final movie in July 2011:

I woke up at 10:30 this morning and saw the 12:15 showing of Deathly Hallows Part 2. Even though my alarm was set for 11 and I was planning to see the 1:00 or 1:45 showings, I kept having these dreams (nightmares?) that my alarm didn't go off and I slept through the afternoon and was late to see the movie. So when I woke up after the second of these dreams, I just decided to get up. 

I used the bathroom before I went into the theater and while I was in the stall I heard this really weird noise. It sounded like a computerized wail. When I walked out, I noticed this paper mache head with a face with a black floating dress hanging from the ceiling. It was Moaning Myrtle, ha! I hadn't even noticed it (er, her) when I first walked in.

I changed my seat three times before I finally got settled. The first time I moved because there were two young boys behind me and I was afraid they were going to kick my seat, then I moved because the woman in front of me was playing with her cellphone and I did not want to be behind somebody who had their cell on through the movie (there is nothing more irritating and distracting!), so I finally found a seat in a row third from the top. A young boy and his mom sat in the same row, just one seat between us and the boy took out an iPad and I'm thinking, "This kid better not have that thing on when the movie starts!" Luckily when the lights dimmed, he turned it off and handed it to his mother. 

And because the 12 year old inside of me never leaves, here is my favorite line in the entire series. It's from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and makes me laugh every time:

Tired of walking in on Harry, Hermione, and Ron all over the school, Professor McGonagall had given them permission to use the empty Transfiguration classroom at lunchtimes. (p. 608)

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