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Commentary: Hardcore Potter fans need to lay off the Butterbeer

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

Harry Potter is overrated.

I said it.

Before I go on, I want to clarify that I don’t think Harry Potter is bad, per se. I’ve found the films to be perfectly apt pieces of entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ll get to the books later.

That said, I don’t understand what’s so worthy about it that it causes nerds to flock in droves to midnight releases of Potter books and films.

A few weeks ago, my girlfriend, a big Potter fan, asked me if I’d go with her to the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.” I was hesitant, but she bought my ticket, so I couldn’t complain too much.

After seeing the film Friday morning, I can safely say that never in my life has a movie-going experience left me questioning whether I ever want to return to a movie theater. Not, however, because of my opinion of the film itself (in all honesty, I thought it was a perfectly OK film), but rather because of my unabashed hatred for the unbearably annoying fans in attendance.

Midnight screenings bring out the nerds in every big franchise, sure, but this was something I’ve never seen before. Hoards of nerds dressed in costumes – the girls in slutty ones, but let’s be honest, nobody in that audience was getting laid – watching previous Potter films on their laptops and shouting spells and quotes from the series in a terrifying, cult-like fashion.

Being among the infestation of nerds wasn’t even the worst part.

It started during the trailers. During seemingly every trailer, people kept shouting, “We want Harry!” Guess what, nerd? The projectionist isn’t going to stop the trailers and start the movie for you.

Most egregiously, one nerd in particular decided to spout off shortly after the trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises” came on.

First off, it’s the first trailer for probably one of the most anticipated films in movie history. Some of us would like to focus on the inevitable greatness about to unfold before our eyes. Second of all, it’s the freaking Bat Man and he’ll stomp your freaking face in.

When the Internet told me that the trailer would be attached to prints of Potter, I finally had a single reason to justify attending the screening. Hearing that nerd shout their crap while I was trying to enjoy what was undoubtedly the best part of the whole experience made me long for Bane to pop out of the screen and snap some nerd vertebrae.

(In the interest of full “nerd” disclosure, I do own four Batman graphic novels, as well as every Batman film from 1989 onward. The difference here is that Batman would make Harry Potter look like a ragdoll in a fistfight.)

Then there was the clapping and cheering. Goodness gracious.

One of my biggest pet peeves at movies is when people clap and cheer. Sure, that might be the instinctual reaction when something great happens, but take a second and think about what you’re doing. You’re cheering at a screen … an inanimate object. The cast and crew can’t freaking hear you, and instead, you make it impossible for everyone to hear the sound of the movie while you’re going on.

This happened at least 10 times during the course of “Deathly Hallows.” Instead of clapping and cheering, how about you buy the DVD or something? Then the folks involved with the film will actually know you liked it.

As I said earlier, I don’t dislike the movies. For the uninitiated, it’s perfectly harmless entertainment that can pass time. The books, however, I wasn’t so fond of.

I remember reading the first one in seventh grade. I struggled to get through it. I will confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of  fantasy, which might explain why I found the books to be a bore.

I will credit J.K. Rowling for crafting a universe that appeals to so many. Despite my whining, the sense of imagination – and the sense of imagination that the readers require to read the books – in the Potter world is commendable.

Then again, just because something is eaten up by the masses doesn’t mean it’s good. Sure, the books and movies are good in their own right, but popularity isn’t necessarily a reflection of quality. Just look at Lindsay Lohan and “Avatar.” Neither of those things are surely the best of their ilk.

Still, I don’t think the hype is justified, especially among adult fans. If you’re over the age of 18 and you line up up at a movie theater hours in advance dressed up as a wizard to watch crappy actors fly around on broomsticks, chances are you just left your eHarmony profile to read this.

I understand Potter was a big part of some people’s childhoods. “Toy Story” was a big part of my childhood, but did you see me at screenings of “Toy Story 3” wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume and shouting, “To infinity, and beyond!” at the screen? Hell no. People would probably think I was a pedophile.

Apart from the sexy Batman trailer, the highlight of catching Potter at its midnight premiere was easily when a group of nerds in the audience started chanting, hoping this would somehow entrance the projectionist into a hopeless nerd spell and start the film early. In response, a patron in the audience started chanting “Edward Cullen,” much to the chagrin of many angry nerds. Another guy shouted the ending to “Marley and Me,” which was also undoubtedly hilarious.

But why complain now? Presumably, Potter is now all over with. Apart from Pottermore, where can the series go from here? The James Bond film series will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year with its 23rd film, despite having long used up source material from the 14 books the series is based on. Will Potter experience the same longevity?

I doubt it (and I hope not).

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