7.15.2011

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Midnight Memories

Last night was the record-shattering midnight showing of what appears to be the last we'll ever see of Harry Potter in its current form (~$43M, over the ~$30M earned by last year's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"). For a "day job" I work the concierge desk at Naples, FL's Silverspot Cinema (that's me, the red shirt in the middle, telling portions of the mob at approximately 11:20 PM that they can feel free to take their reserved seats at any time... after they were sure to grab their butterbeers and polyjuices, exclusive alcoholic concoctions from our restaurant manager, that is) and I'd been anticipating the flood of 800+ people more than I can remember looking forward to any shift.

Just to get it out of the way, I should mention my lack of Potter fanhood. I have no interest in reading J.K. Rowling's apparently derivative and melodramatic doorstops of youth novels packed full of offensively convenient, page-turning twists that materialize out of nowhere to negate any modicum of significance, and after seeing and greatly disliking "The Sorcerer's Stone", "The Chamber of Secrets" and "The Prisoner of Azkaban" I decided the multi-generational phenomenon of a film series - more a series of sound and image to accompany the literature than full-fledged stories in their own right - is mostly geared toward those who have completed such an undertaking. Okay, that's been said. Moving on.

The midnight show was a blast! It matters not whether I care for Potter - the enthusiasm filling our building for hours almost made me wish I did like the little wizard and his funny-word-laden exploits. The majority of attendees appeared to be in costume, whether that costume be a simple striped tie or a full-on, full-out Bellatrix LeStrange get-up. One bloke came dressed as the sorting hat and went about draping his costume over strangers before loudly proclaiming "Griffindor!" or, in more humorous cases, "Huffle Puff!!"

At one point I thought I should have been keeping an "Overheard at the HP7.2 Midnight Showing" list, which would have included such gems as "O.M.G. why are you wearing a Huffle Puff scarf?"

And thank goodness, our team pulled it all off with nary a hitch, making for a seethe of what appeared to be more-than-satisfied customers when the shows started letting out at 2:10 AM. I had managed to poke my head in to one showing for a minute and, well, chalk it up to the atmosphere but what I saw was far better than those first three films I suffered through (it was the part where things got real quiet... then Ralph Fiennes made a funny noise no one was supposed to - or did - laugh at). It would appear that under David Yates the series has indeed grown up with its audience. I might be cautiously optimistic, now, when at some point my daughter comes up to me and says, "Daddy, at school they were talking about these movies, and..."

I suppose that about covers it, without getting in to incessant specifics. I had a ton of fun - far more fun than someone should reasonably have for working from 4 PM to 2:45 AM and helping manage a crowd of giddy movie fans (then afterwards having their car run out of gas a mile from the nearest station... but that's another story). I hope we can do it again for "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" (though I don't foresee that one being quite as momentous)... or any other movie we see it feasible with, for that matter! I mean, if "The Hangover Part II" can get a successful midnight showing...

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