Harry Potter ‘magic’ in three unique ways

Image provided by Warner Bros. Studio

“When I say Harry, you say Potter! Harry…” “Potter!”

Chants, yells, songs and spells filled the Blue Oaks theatre that contained more Hedwig costumes, Slytherin robes and wands than any movie series could dream of having in one auditorium. Not to mention, there were two other completely full auditoriums with the same emanating screams and characters running around and reenacting wand duels.

This night was the infamous July 15, midnight premiere of the long awaited “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.”

Hermione Grangers and Luna Lovegoods, among numerous other kids, teenagers and adults in costumes, lined up behind the theatre up to 12 hours ahead of time, grabbing food from Subway and Dollar Tree, and playing Harry Potter Monopoly and card games to pass the day as the excitement built. Theatre staff tried to calm the chaotic wizard fans and sort them into groups by what auditorium they were in at 9:30 p.m.

The desired calm of all the people would never come. It’s the final Harry Potter film; calm is not an option.

Sitting in seats, quietly waiting for the previews to start would be the people in any auditorium but the Harry Potter premiere auditoriums. It felt more like the dining hall at Hogwarts when Professor Quirrel announced a troll was in the dungeon; only there was more laughing and the yells were in excitement, not terror. That is, until the lights went down and the movie started, when everyone went silent in their seats, barely moving to avoid making any distracting noises.

Cheers erupted whenever a death eater was killed and tears rolled down many checks as a beloved character died in battle. Emotions were all over the place as the movie progressed but one thing was sure: sadness was most prominent as the final scene showed Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as Harry, Hermione and Ron for the last time.

Though many people will see the film again in theatres, one unique way to celebrate the final film is to gather up some friends or family, a pick up truck and a mattress for the tailgate and head to the West Wind Sacramento 6 drive-in movies.

The drive-in is practically a secret among a few in this area, though arrive any later than an hour and a half ahead of time and it’s obvious it is no secret among Sacramento citizens. Lines to just drive up to the ticket booth can take 30 minutes and parking spaces are scarce after about 7:30 p.m. with the actual movie not starting until 8:45.

Getting there incredibly early is well worth it, though. The cool night air, the stars and the outdoor essence of the movie create a feeling that can’t be found inside a normal, crowded right next to strangers theatre. Harry Potter outside on an enormous screen while laying comfortably on a mattress with blankets and snacks may not provide the loud, eccentric fans of a midnight premiere, yet it is a great memory to have of the last wizards film.

But for a true, incredible Harry Potter experience take the drive to downtown Sacramento to the Esquire IMAX theatre for a 3D opportunity like no other. With 44 surround sound speakers and a screen that is six stories tall and 80 feet wide, living in the wizarding world couldn’t feel more real.

Ticket prices for 3D IMAX films are more expensive than the Blue Oaks theatre price of $10.50, or the drive-in price of $6.50, with IMAX being $16.50 per person, but spending a few extra dollars on a ticket instead of that second candy bar is definitely worth it.

Seats tremble at every intense moment and every heart is beating with the music and sounds of the movie. The audience races around Gringotts with Harry and hears Voldemort’s seething voice as though it is really in their head like with the characters in the movie.

Whether it was more emotional because of the unique IMAX experience that makes one feel as though they are a Hogwarts student fighting alongside Harry and the gang, or the fact that it was the third and final time seeing the movie which brought a closure to the series isn’t clear. But either way, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” in breathtaking IMAX 3D (available until September 4) is a perfect opportunity to say goodbye to the incredible, heart pounding, magical Harry Potter phenomenon.

By SHAI NIELSON