Preview: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

You are either going to see this film or you aren’t and that’s probably got more to do with whether you have seen the previous film (or read the books) than whether you think this might be a good movie to see. I have read the books, I know what’s coming, and for me it’s a simple question of whether they can effectively tell the final chapter or will they royally screw it all up.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling the films haven’t quite captured the best elements of the books, especially when it comes to its characters. The Half Blood Prince for example was so far removed from the central conflicts of the novels it may as well have been called something else. The fact that The Half Blood Prince storyline itself became a sub-plot was dumbfounding, I know friends of mine who had not read the books found it somewhat confusing.

It’s a great shame because it’s the characters that make the books as engaging as they are, and I get the feeling that the last few films have dramatically misunderstood what made those characters work. I remember in the The Order of the Phoenix feeling like they sucked the life out of the everything making it rather drab, dull, gloomy, and a little boring.

The trailer for this final film seems to suggest however that it’s packed with more action than all the previous seven films combined. This could be both a good thing, and a bad thing, you really don’t want a story built on strong characters and a wonderful world ending with a flurry of superficial fight scenes. I remember the TV show LOST, and for all it’s great writing and wonderful characters, it all ended in a fist fight. How lame can you get?

The other big talking point for this last installment is how well it will do at the Box office? Unbelievably The Sorcerer’s Stone is the most successful of the Potter films with a total $974 million worldwide box office takings, while Prisoner of Azkhaban (the best of the movies in my opinion) is the worst at $795 million. Regardless, then seven movies so far are all in the top 30 of all time, which means they are the biggest money spinners in Hollywood history.

How will the final film rank? Will it break the mystical $1 billion mark, putting it in the class of The Dark Knight? There’s nothing to say it couldn’t make the top three of all time, but to do that it would need more than $1.12 billion to dethrone the final Lord of the Rings. Realistically that the best it could do, there doesn’t seem to be a way to catch Titanic ($1.84 billion) or Avatar ($2.78 billion).

With the inflated 3D prices and the chance that most fans will see it more than once I don’t doubt it will do well. However is it’s appeal around the globe as strong as it is in the major Western countries? Perhaps the fact that the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is attached to this film is a good sign that insiders think it will be very big. Most of the top films in terms of Box Office rely heavily on the money taken outside of the US, with The Dark Knight being the notable exception. In that regard, I doubt it will break the magical $1billion mark, but I wait to be surprised.

It’s been frustrating not being able to talk about ending because not too many of my friends have read the final book, so I am really looking forward to that discussion. There’s only a week to go, enough time to watch each of the previous films, one film per day. I’m sure there are even some die hard fans who will watch the close to twenty four hours of film currently on DVD in one sitting before heading out the final film. Good luck to them, I wonder what they will get hooked on next?

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