You may be seeing a lot of people out wearing their best velvet, burgundy and yellow scarves, capes and Hogwarts paraphernalia, but rest assured, you haven't jumped back in time, it's all for the newest Harry Potter film.
On opening night of the latest film in the franchise, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I," people came out in droves to the Regal St. Louis Mills 18 Theater midnight viewing, decked out in their best Harry Potteresque outfits.
Yuki Foster, dressed in her Hogwarts uniform, was one of many die-hard fans in attendance on November 18.
"I love Harry Potter!" she exclaimed.
Chad Browning, marketing manager for Regal Entertainment Group said the midnight viewing is sort of like the who's-who for the film and true fans look forward to it each time a new sequel is released.
"It gives the real die-hard (fans) a chance to go at it first," he said of the midnight viewing.
Hazelwood Patch was present at the midnight viewing and it was apparent that the love of the franchise is what brought all the viewers out on that chilly Friday morning. As the lights dimmed down for the trailers to begin, the sense of immense anticipation from the audience was palpable. Fans were ready for the seventh film in the highly-successful series to begin.
As the film went on, the audience experienced the full range of emotions: gasps of sheer terror, deafening laughter and not-so-quiet crying were all echoed throughout the theater. Of course, after the film, groups of friends huddled in the lobby to share their responses - both emotional and critical.
"It's fun, and you get to hang out with friends," said Anthony Austwick, whose white-blond hair and all-black suit made him the spitting image of the villainous Draco Malfoy.
Some may argue that the film drags on or that a few scenes border on being tedious, but those scenes showcase a huge depth of development for the trio of heroic characters at the center of the Harry Potter universe. While the action and special effects sequences in the film are quite outstanding, one of the real strengths of the Harry Potter series and this film in particular is the ability to go beyond the world of magic and show what makes these characters human.
As for the film itself, "Deathly Hallows, Part One" does a good job of connecting everything that fans have seen in the first six movies and gearing them up for the final film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II, which will be coming to theaters summer 2011.