Harry Potter is, as even Muggles know, a phenomenon. For fans, like myself, seven books and possibly more movies will never be enough to satisfy their desire and need for all things Potter. You can only read and watch them so many times. There must be more!
And so a subculture was born. Some have argued that this is THE subculture. This is the Wizarding World spawned by the creative genius of J. K. Rowling and this documentary serves as an introduction.
The director, Josh Koury, chose the Wizard Rock Scene to begin with. Groups such as Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Hungarian Horntails and Whompy of the Whomping Willows were featured. I’d heard of only one of these groups prior to seeing this film and that was Harry and the Potters: two brothers who write short and amusing songs about the Harry Potter saga. I enjoy their work. The Hungarian Horntails is fronted by a seven year old boy who is having a lot of fun on stage but he wouldn’t be someone I’d pay to see. I didn’t find the other acts much better but you have the links above and so can make your own judgement. Of course, I have to remind myself that this isn’t about skill. This is really about Pottermania and these groups often get together and do sell lots of tickets to see their show.
Brad Neely is covered by the documentary as well. He basically creates CD’s that you would play with one of the HP movies after having turned down the sound. This is basically commentary but one which is seemingly meant to make fun of the movie. Personally I would find that kind of media would get old real fast but I certainly see how kids love cynical add-ons like this. That style of making fun of stuff is very popular with my own kids. I do like Neely’s comics though: he’s a very good artist. His rants about Warner Brothers’ agents hunting him down were also funny.
Heather Lawver‘s fight with Warner Brothers for her freedom to express herself on all things Potter was good. There’s something to be said about a David such as this, especially when successful in starting boycotts against this particular Greedy Goliath. I don’t think it was necessary to talk about her disease: her case was strong enough with out that.
Melissa Anelli’s Leaky Cauldron site was also featured and her site was one I’d heard of before. I think more time should have been spent on Melissa, a true fan’s fan.
Of course, as Rochelle pointed out (see below for who Rochelle is) the glue that holds all this crazy fandom together is the internet. Using it there can be enough of a base for almost any lunatic fringe group (and there is). Having said that I don’t want crazed readers out there getting the wrong idea. This is not a bad thing. I have always been a fan of nearly anything on the lunatic fringe. It’s usually fresh, interesting and good for a laugh.
But back to the review. I found the editing could have used tightening up: it dragged in places and not enough transition was used to move from topic to topic. It was easy to get confused. There was also too much swearing especially by Brad Neely. This is often a real problem at film festivals, like ours, where you don’t really know the rating for a film. Kids were attracted to this film and they came to watch it but the foul language, which is completely unnecessary IMHO, really shut them out. I know I was embarrassed that the kids that came had to hear it. And that goes back to lazy editing again. Why diminish your audience like that, Josh?
After the show Rochelle Mazar, a UofT Mississauga Librarian, lead some interesting discussion after the film. She was knowledgeable, interesting and knew the topic very well. Rochelle made the point that this documentary was only scratching the surface of the Wizarding subculture.
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