Don't you act surprised. You knew this was coming.
Last night, I (and the millions of Harry Potter fans spanning the United States) attended the last Harry Potter midnight premiere of all time. No more shall we rot in miles-long lines for hours, awaiting the deeply-anticipated eerie theme music signaling the start of yet one more Potter film. No more must we moon for weeks, agonizing that JULY 15 IS NOT HERE YET, WHY IS IT NOT HERE YET? No longer will we be up until 3 a.m. with work in the morning! (At least not for the sake of going to a movie.)
In honor of the release, dedicated fans showed up in multitudes, many of them bedecked in outrageously intricate outfits (fun fact: the only creatures capable of competing with the Potter faithful in costume-related fanaticism are Trekkies). Unfailingly, these Potterheads carried "wands"--chopsticks, plastic tubes with glowing tips, stray twigs, etc., according to taste--and debated the details of which spell was most useful, whether Rowling's steadily decreasing use of faux-Latin for incantations signified flagging creativity or the wisdom to avoid seeming too immature, and just how much of Dumbledore's concern for Harry stemmed from a desire to vanquish Voldemort and how much came from...well, you know.
Aside from our costumed confederates, we were joined by a self-proclaimed "wizard rocker" who stood at the end of our row and played songs by Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys. (Apparently, contemporary Christian does not have the market cornered on "peculiar rock music niches.")
As for the movie? Well, of course it was brilliant.
The Potter films have been a fairly steady progression upward (starting at campy and a bit off-pitch for the first three movies and becoming significantly more palatable with each passing installment). That alone is pretty impressive, since whenever Hollywood converts a popular book into a movie they feel justified in letting it suck. Nonetheless, HP-7.5 is a cinematic triumph in just about every way. The storyline is emotional without feeling overdone (which is natural, as they follow the book's plotline almost note-for-note), the effects are spectacular, and almost every magnificent Crowning Moment of Awesome is preserved from the book. More than once, the audience burst into applause in response to the sheer weight of ohmygoodnessthatwasamazing. (By far the greatest: "Not my daughter, you--!")
Some finicky details are changed, and as per usual the Dumbledore Expository Scene is trimmed down quite a bit from the length it had in the book. And, obviously, this really isn't a movie for kids. The body counter rivals a Saw film (although there's nearly no gore) and the thematic elements will give younger viewers quite a turn.
But, really, this is the end of an era. Young adults across the nation are alternately celebrating the arrival of a long-awaited finale and moping about the end of their altogether too-lengthy childhoods. It's not just that this movie is fantastic on every level: it's a piece of history. I will tell my grandchildren about the night that I saw the Final Harry Potter Film, and watched two guys in robes chase each other around the theater screeching "Stupefy!", and heard a guy sing "I gotta save Ginny Weasley!", and saw a girl who'd glued a false beard to her face and called herself Rubeus Hagrid.
Well, hopefully not. I don't think my grandchildren will be terribly impressed with my stories, since they'll almost certainly be more concerned with their flying cars and cybernetic implants which connect them directly to the Hivemind.