It was exciting enough just to be going to the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, at the IMAX Navy Pier theatre benefitting Urban Prep Academies. But the evening took on a surreal feeling when I found out the surprise guest for the evening would be the film's star, Matthew Lewis, aka Neville Longbottom!
This 2 hour and 11 minute film packed in more excitement and remarkable visuals than any movie I've seen in recent memory. Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars. I give it 10 stars! While I am a huge Harry Potter fan, people who had never read a book or seen any Potter films (and some were there on this night) absolutely LOVED the movie! The woman behind me was crying so hard (because the reality of this being the last film was sinking in), it was sometimes hard to hear the dialogue. The 3 D effects took the experience to another level and the kids and adults in the audience squealed with delight when the Deatheaters floated into the theatre.
The premiere benefitted super successful Urban Prep Academies and head wizard and UP founder, Tim King, a huge Harry Potter fan, graciously posed for photos with anyone who asked against the cool backdrop of the scary film sets.
The night began with a short film about the wonderful history of Urban Prep laced with heartwarming stories from its students. Next, Tim addressed the crowd and thanked them all for being there and said, "Stay seated after the film for a surprise announcement."
Well, that's when my heart started pounding and it never stopped. At the end of the fabulous, must-see film, Tim came on again and introduced noted film critic Richard Roeper, who interviewed MATTHEW LEWIS! Matthew's character, Neville Longbottom, transforms from a shy, little boy who was bullied at school in the first film to the hero in this final film and it was soooooo exciting to see! Matthew said he had spoken to "Jo Rowling" during the 5th film and she told him she had just finished writing a great role for him in this final film and that she had it in her safe at home. He also posed for pics with fans and answered a few questions. One audience member asked him to pass his phone number along to Emily Watson. He said he would but couldn't promise that she'd call him. Tim also presented Matthew with an Urban Prep cap with the number 100 on it representing the percentage of students headed to college. The VIP after-party was held in the beautiful Crystal Gardens.
The movie has some casualties but nothing you can't live with.....and I won't tell you the ending but it's very heartwarming....:-)
As one young fan said when I asked him if he was sad this was the last film, "No, fortunately the stories will live on through DVD's. And we will always have the books."
Thank goodness, yes we will!!! (Photo by Mila Samokhina)
(For extended coverage, please visit www.CandidCandace.com)
Tags: Candace Jordan, Candid Candace, Charley Jordan, Chuck Jordan, film premiere, Fred Jackson, Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry Potter premiere, Lauren Dobie, Matthew Lewis, Mila Samokhina, Navy Pier, Neville Longbottom, Richard Roeper, Sarah Cooley, Tim King