The end of 2021 and start of 2022 seemed be consumed with late 20th century nostalgia. Over the past few months there was the live action version of Cowboy Bebop (better then I expected), the release of the fourth Matrix movie (okay as an nostalgia trip especially when streamed), season 4 of Cobra Kai (great actors and respect to the original but heavy on the soap-opera drama), another Sex In the City movie (not interested), Ghostbusters (very interested) and a bunch of reunion specials such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Harry Potter. There are many others, but I can't really keep up with all the history!
Harry Potter did not play any defining part of my life so I didn't have much interest in its reunion special. I did read the books and watched all the movies, but while it seemed to have been a major event for the Millennial generation I had viewed it as pop culture entertainment. When I found myself folding laundry one night, I decided to switch it on just to have something running in the background and this is my quick reaction.
JK Rowling Controversy
The author's controversy around her views towards transgenders is well documented and the special did not address it directly. The author was not part of the special although clips from previous interviews was used (and prominently noted on screen that they were from prior interviews) and it wasn't brought up anywhere during the special. Although it wasn't addressed directly, I wonder if there was some subtle jabs taken in the selection of quotes used during the show especially one that says to not judge a person by their looks but by their actions.
While I didn't mind that the author was not part of the show, completely avoiding the controversy did not keep it from hanging awkwardly over the special.
The main actors grew up in front of our eyes through the 8 films and to see them together again was a reminder of how time has passed. At the end of the series, they were still young and just embarking on adulthood but now they would be playing the parent/teacher roles if the movies were made now.
I'm really not sure what the show was trying to do. It gave tidbits of background and context and would not be considered to be any type of documentary. There was emotions shown by the 3 leads as they got together, but no information was given about their interactions over the past 20 years. Was this the first time they seen each other in a long time or did they hang out regularly? There were some hints of tension but they quickly jumped in to PR mode and declared everything was great!
The cast were also separated into groups so there weren't a lot of interactions shown between different people. Many people were not part of the special but played major roles and they weren't even mentioned.
The special felt like it was hastily put together so that it can be broadcast to start the new year. I'm not certain if they actually had a reunion or whether it was just a bunch of different interviews sliced together. It provided little for the casual Harry Potter fan and unlikely to provide any satisfaction to full Harry Potter fans.