Rather than draw out their long goodbyes in a single sitting, as Peter Jackson’s Hobbits did in his too-long Lord of the Rings finale, Team Harry’s swan song will unfold in two parts, a decision dismissed in some quarters as purely a marketing strategy.
Yet even at two-and-a-half hours, the first installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling’s conclusion to the saga of an orphaned wizard destined to battle a Hitler-like menace, sacrifices some particulars of the author’s story but emerges as the most faithful adaptation in the series. Readers expecting everything plus the kitchen sink – or, in this case, seven magical Horcruxes – should not be disappointed.
The strange, improbable story of Woodstock has been documented exhaustively in print and on the screen, making it somewhat curious that Ang Lee has chosen to make it the subject of his first bona fide comedy since 1994’s Eat Drink Man Woman. Yet that’s just what we get in Taking Woodstock, a lighthearted look back at three days of peace and music whose more magical qualities fail to materialize here.