Join 3,439 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Is Harry Potter for us?
July 15, 2011 5:08 AM   Subscribe

Mrs & I are not fans of the Harry Potter books or movies, but this last movie is getting rave reviews so please advise us if we will enjoy it without knowing much of what went before. We know it is about the struggle of good vs evil. We enjoy other fantasy movies (LOTR, Avatar etc.). Does it start with a synopsis?
posted by lungtaworld to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I haven't seen the movie, but these two (very obnoxious) people who knew nothing about Harry Potter and were not fans of the genre said they only understood about 30-40% of it but they liked it anyway (spoilers within).
posted by Dojie at 5:16 AM on July 15, 2011


The review I read this morning said that this final film goes right deep into it with absolutely no handholding or "last time on..." benefit for newcomers.

That said, I think it is going to be action packed and on the whole about good v. evil so you may enjoy it anyway, even if just for the atmosphere especially if you're with a good crowd. Maybe you can just look for a quick Harry Potter plot synopsis online just to get the gist of it?

Are you in the UK? Look for this week's Time Out. There is an article in there where these two guys (one huge fan, one not so much) do a marathon of all the previous movies and gives you their impressions of each. Maybe that would be enough?
posted by like_neon at 5:18 AM on July 15, 2011


Having accompanied my wife to a couple of the films, not having seen the first one or two, read any of the books, or any of it, I can honestly say that I didn't have any problem understanding most of what was going on. Those books and films are aimed pretty squarely at children of average intelligence. I'm sure there were references that I missed that might make the experience richer for devoted fans, but even after sleeping soundly through the middle 50% of one of the films, I didn't feel like I was particularly lost. No synopses, as far as I can remember, but the occasional helpful flashback occurred.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:19 AM on July 15, 2011


Oops, I mean Time Out London specifically. And what do you know, here is the article.
posted by like_neon at 5:20 AM on July 15, 2011


I think it's worth seeing HP7-I before 7-II because it does kind of throw you into the deep end of things - there's a 30-second "this is how the last movie ended" sequence but that's it. But I don't think you have to watch the first 6.
posted by Xany at 5:28 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Irish Times says: Completely impossible to follow if you come with no prior knowledge, the film has no worth as a stand- alone project.
posted by Segundus at 5:28 AM on July 15, 2011


I have an addition to my original comment:

The review I read this morning said that this final film goes right deep into it with absolutely no handholding or "last time on..." benefit for newcomers.

That said, I have seen Part One being referred to as: The One Where They're in a Tent (made me laugh and I'm a fan) so you may actually not have missed much if you familiarize yourself with the general storyline. :D
posted by like_neon at 5:30 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd advise against it. I've read the books and seen all the movies, but I hadn't spent any time refreshing my memory before I saw the last movie, and I was almost completely lost. I'm going to have to bring myself back up to speed before seeing this one, and I have to say it's reduced my anticipation somewhat.
posted by valkyryn at 5:31 AM on July 15, 2011


I haven't seen the last film, but based on previous films (and with prior knowledge of the books) I would say you'll probably be able to follow it, more or less, get most of the jokes, enjoy the special effects, and come away reasonably satisfied that you knew What Just Happened.

That said, the climax of the Harry Potter storyline is heavily reliant on a number of massive McGuffins which you will probably not fully appreciate, while the events that unfold in this film are the culmination of six other books, seven other films of which you have little prior knowledge. You won't have anything invested in the charcters and will miss a huge amount of nuance.

So on that basis, I'm not sure you would enjoy it to the extent that the reviews may suggest you should.
posted by londonmark at 5:33 AM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Many thanks for all your answers so far.
I found this Wiki article very helpful as well, so am doing some homework..........
And we are going to the movie @ 4 p.m.
posted by lungtaworld at 5:46 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Today Slate.com posted a six minute video review of the prior movies for folks like yourself. Check it out at http://www.slatev.com/video/potter-movies-six-minutes/
posted by BDoyon at 6:02 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saw it yesterday. With the caveat that I'm in general pro-Harry, having actually read the books [it does help to read them before having opinions about the series, although it has been impossible for me to convince some dear friends of this simple logic...], and hence reasonably well informed, I'd still encourage you to go: I found some parts of the plot that come across a little muddled in the last book astonishingly well explained in the movie. And some of the acting (Snape!) is absolutely stunning - he finally gets something to do...
posted by Namlit at 6:18 AM on July 15, 2011


While not a replacement to the books or movies, Harry Potter in 7 Minutes is a pretty good, humorous, and quick introduction.
posted by semp at 6:28 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll have to say that this sounds like sort of a dumb idea. I mean, the whole reason this is a huge deal for people is because it's the culmination of literally growing up with Harry Potter. It might be an okay movie, but you'd be missing out on a ton if you haven't read the books/seen the other movies.

I don't seem to understand your reasoning. This last movie is getting rave reviews, so you want to see it. Every single book and movie also got rave reviews, but you weren't interested in seeing them. I don't understand why you think this will be different for you guys.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:45 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not the type of person who could do it, but it sounds like you don't have my hang-ups; still, I think you'd enjoy it more if you watched the other movies first (and they're all pretty good, too). Having said that, here's a nice article from the AV Club to catch you up on what you missed [although it's more of a reminder to people who saw/read them but might have forgotten].
posted by bah213 at 6:56 AM on July 15, 2011


Mrs & I are not fans of the Harry Potter books or movies

Do you mean you've not tried Harry Potter or you've tried it and you don't like it? If you don't like then you don't like it and there isn't much point watching the ending. If you haven't tried them then why the hell would you start at the end?

I am sure you will be understand roughly what is going on. But it is the second half of the seventh film in a series and all its power as cinema stems from this fact.
posted by ninebelow at 6:58 AM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Do you mean you've not tried Harry Potter or you've tried it and you don't like it? If you don't like then you don't like it and there isn't much point watching the ending. If you haven't tried them then why the hell would you start at the end?

I agree with this. Plus, the books are MUCH better than the movies are... (speaking as someone who just read books 1-7 after watching movies 1-7 over the years) I don't know if it would be worth your time to bother with it, if you didn't like the books.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:15 AM on July 15, 2011


Anyone who's managed to avoid any knowledge of the basics of the Harry Potter story by this time must have been living in a really ideal media-insulated box - and I would like to know more about how you have managed that.
posted by zomg at 8:53 AM on July 15, 2011


I went to a midnight viewing last night. We had an extra ticket, and for shits & giggles a friend went to had neither read any of the books or seen any of the films.

She said she had no idea what was going on at ALL. Her description of the film at the end was (SPOILERS, though at this point if you don't know the basics, I can't help ya) "There was a snake and then there wasn't and people were happy. Was Voldemort the snake?"

There is no handholding, there are no info dumps to bring you up to speed. It is assumed you know exactly where you left off in the last film. I don't understand why you'd want to see it, to be frank. It's getting rave reviews not because it's a brilliant stand-alone movie, but because it does an excellent job of concluding the previous 7 films.
posted by Windigo at 8:59 AM on July 15, 2011


The OP has said they're going to the 4pm showing.

Have fun lungtaworld. Enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy it for what it is and hopefully it will spark your curiosity enough to check out the books and/or other films.

Pouring one for my homie Hedwig.
posted by like_neon at 9:19 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


How are the reviews from people who feel as you do?
posted by wobh at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2011


Just back from the movie -- which we very much enjoyed. A great ending too!
Thank you for all your answers.
(Wikipedia was a great resource, as always)
posted by lungtaworld at 5:25 PM on July 15, 2011


« Older Where can I find a blind, deaf...   |  Hi guys. Years ago, I was con... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.