I saw the first Harry Potter film in theaters when it first came out back in 2001. I can’t recall specifics, but don’t believe I particularly wanted to see it and further think I was dragged if not kicking and screaming than at least pouting by people with whom I no longer associate (and I think my friend Dan was there as well).
It’s tough for me to objectively judge that experience in retrospect as I was already fairly bound and determined to dislike whatever came on the screen and recalling the company I kept for those two and a half hours does the memory no favors. I decided then and there I would have nothing to do with the little wizard boy and his adventures moving forward.
This was a vow I stuck by with vigor despite the turns my life took over the past decade. New friends who want to make an evening of seeing the new Harry Potter? Have fun, nerds, I’ll stay home and read comics. Date and marry a girl who loves the books and movies? I’ll practically pay Jim McCann to drive over and see the latest with you while I go to Transformers—lesser of two evils? History will decide—darling. Kevin comes to work in full glasses, school boy and drawn-on scar costume for no reason? Well, that anecdote really doesn’t match up with the others, but it totally happened and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring it up every chance I get.
But with time and love, I suppose we all grow a bit softer and put aside our childish wars. It was with this maturity and boundless generosity that I made the following deal with my wife: I would watch all the Harry Potter movies with her before the last one came out so I could go see it with her and her friends.
And I did it. Yes, I am that awesome a husband. There was a second part of the deal that stipulated she was to watch all the Rocky movies with me, but that seems to have fallen to the wayside…
Anyhow, what do you know, those movies aren’t too bad. Hey, I’m not saying they’re masterpieces and I don’t think I’ll be re-watching them any time soon—the last one was crazy dull—but the stories are wildly creative, the acting is pretty uniformly strong and the visual world brought to life is remarkable. I have to commend everybody from the lady who wrote the books to the cast to every crew member for entertaining me for more than a few hours and not losing my focus. I really do have tremendous respect for the folks responsible for this franchise.
However, there is no question much of my enjoyment has also come from the ability to point out huge, gaping holes in logic that my lack of emotional attachment to this material has gifted me with.
I give you now, as best I can remember it, the inspired tirade I went on directed at the aforementioned Kevin in a public New York City park across the street from Marvel as we lunched that addressed the central flaw in the world of Harry Potter and drew the attention of more than a few concerned onlookers…
Say you run a school and you’ve got a profiler—maybe a person, maybe a hat—that is able to ascertain whether a young person is innately good or evil with beyond scientific accuracy. Let’s further suppose that your profiler identifies a solid quarter of your student body as having the propensity for wrongdoing, across the board from troublemaking bullies to potential serial killers. Do you, say, expel the kids who are going to turn out bad so as to not have them reflect poorly on your institution/train them in skills that will aid them on their dark path? Barring that—maybe it’s too harsh—do you at least spread them out, apart from one another, where hopefully they can receive good influences from kinder associations? Do you have your staff pay special care to watching out and making sure they don’t tend toward the wrong side? Or do you PUT THEM ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE AND LET THEM ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TOWARDS BEING BAD GUYS WHILE DOING NOTHING TO STOP IT?
If you answered the third option, congratulations, you’re the new headmaster at Hogwarts.
I can’t hammer home the point emphatically enough and will once again resort to CAPS lock in order to at least try: HOGWARTS HAS A FRATERNITY THAT ONLY PRODUCES EVIL WIZARDS AND IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY BAD PERSON WHO HAS EVER MENACED THE WORLD AND YET THEY KEEP IT OPEN AND ADD IMPRESSIONABLE YOUNG PEOPLE TO IT EVERY YEAR.
Also, the school should have been shut down years ago for endangering students and the time travel sequence in the third movie has massive functional problems.
For the most part though, fun movies! We’ll see if I still feel that way after I have to go to the theme park in August…