Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) – the eighth and final instalment of one of the world’s most successful film franchises (IMDb, 2014).
Despite being set in an epic fantasyland, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter carries with it much cultural significance and social meaning for modern audiences. Death, prejudice, corruption, love and friendship are among many themes explored within the series.
The trailer opens with the all-too-familiar Harry Potter theme song, dramatically slowed in tempo, as dark images fade in and out of the frame. The well-known Warner Bros. Pictures symbol emerges from the clouds, as diehard fans are reacquainted with more familiar images – the piercing gaze of Lord Voldemort; an extreme close-up of Harry’s famed round spectacles; loyal companions Ron and Hermione; and the memorable architecture of Hogwarts. Snippets of dialogue are selected wisely – inclusive language such as “join me, and confront your fate” and also “we can end this” invites the audience to climb aboard, for one last time, the roller-coaster of adventure that Harry Potter films entail.
More broadly, the adventures of Harry Potter and his classmates very much align with contemporary issues and concerns for students today. Whilst there is no immediate evidence of dragon fighting, spell casting and potion making in our modern muggle education system, Bailey (2011) illustrates adolescent life issues that are similarly prevalent within the Harry Potter narrative, such as feeling silenced by schools, marginalized within the classroom, a need for democratic change and finally “understanding one’s place in the world” (p. 94).
For me personally, the Harry Potter series was a monumental aspect of my childhood and adolescence. Like many around me, I grew up consuming the cultural phenomenon that began as seven novels and eventually transformed to eight fantastic films.
Bailey, B. (2011). “When I make a film, it’s out of my head”: Expressing emotion and healing through digital filmmaking in the classroom. Digital Culture & Education, 3(2), 76-97. Retrieved from: http://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/uncategorized/dce1056_bailey_2011_html/
Accessed July 2014
IMDb. (2014) IMDb: The 50 highest-grossing movies of all time. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000021718/
Accessed September 2014