There were few things I hated more than Harry Potter when the first film, Harry Potter And The Battered Sausage and Chips (or something) came out back in 2001. War, pestilence, the Kaiser Chiefs… no, actually, there was nothing I hated more than Harry Potter, the scarfaced wizard fuck.
Why? Oh, Harry, let me list the reasons I loathed thee…
1) Other than Little Miss Sunshine and… oooh… that’s it, I don’t enjoy films with children in them except for films that I saw and enjoyed when I was a child (ET, The Goonies, Willow… oh, wait, they’re not children?)
2) There was someone I went to school with who looked a little bit like Harry Potter and who smelled a bit like what I imagine rotting peas would smell like (see also: reasons why I don’t like Everton, Wednesdays, the bible or dogs).
3) Perhaps, in the year I left university, I had become so taken with my new academic status I’d started only watching movies with subtitles and at least four people with beards in them (this is true, they were almost always French, and with hindsight, boring).
4) I didn’t like the word Quidditch. Still don’t, really.
Somewhere along that line that changed.
Actually, I can pinpoint the precise moment it did, when I begrudgingly became a fan of the Harry Potter movies. In 2004, when Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban opened, brought along creepy kooky Gary Oldman for ride - and ushered in some genuine darkness.
Okay, if there’s one trait of modern filmmaking I hate (and there’s not, there’s hundreds, but I’ll save them for another hundred blogs) it's cinema's obsession with darkness. As someone who likes The Jungle Book and has no desire to ever see a snuff movie, this concerns me.
It’s a trait that’s blighted every superhero movie I’ve seen other than Kick-Ass in the years that have passed since The Dark Knight. “Oooh, the new Spiderman film is really dark!” OK, well I won’t watch it then, I want to see Spiderman jump between skyscrapers, not self-harm.
Yet if ever there was a film franchise that would benefit from some adult themes, it was the namby pamby japes of the first two Harry Potter movies. Azkaban, the third, delivered in dark, ominous spades.
I mean, it’s got a scene in it where some kindhearted mythical bird-cow creature hybrid is threatened with being executed for a good half an hour!
Which is why I’m convinced the next two films, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the two-part finale to the series due 19 November 2010 and 15 July 2011 respectively, will be the best Harry Potter films yet.
Just look at the trailer! The opening credits have got thunder in it (there’s never been a happy film with thunder over the opening credits ever), it’s got a massive dragon in it (dragons are normally dark, it’s just in their nature) and it’s got Voldemort in a wood, at night, sounding like he’s just smoked a massive bong, going “Harry Potter, come to die…”
What? You wanna rent Herbie The Love Bug instead?
More than that though, those big words that flash up going ‘The Motion Picture Event Of A Generation’ half way though are genuinely exciting. It sort of makes me think that if you’re five years younger than me (so, like, cough, sixteen maybe) then you probably feel about Harry Potter and bit like I did about Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings.
This is your fantasy opus orgasm, the conclusion to it all. Now, I might be a cunt, but I wouldn’t deny anyone that.
So, yeah, I’m a Harry Potter fan, better late than never. Don’t get me started on the books though...