The trouble with Harry
I know all about the Harry Potter phenomenon. Books about the teen wizard and his pals have been best-sellers. The movies have packed in both kids and adults.
I don’t know much about the Potter stories. I know the kid flies around on a broomstick, goes to Hogwarts — the crazy school for apprentice magicians — Richard Harris played a professor, some big guy named Hagrid is running around and one of the chief bad guys is Lord Voldemort. Sounds like a cheap bottle of scotch.
While I’m sure they must be great fun for young fans — my 15-year-old niece Kelly Fisher likes Harry almost as much as she adores the Boston Red Sox — I don’t understand why adults are as equally nuts. My friends Ken Creary and Mr. Patrick, both guys in their mid-50s, are big fans of the series. I’ve heard about other adults who have seen the latest witch-fest, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” and are watching their oversized hourglasses in anticipation of the second part next summer.
Hey, I like a good science fiction or fantasy movie once in a while. I caught the first couple “Star Wars” movies, when Han Solo, Darth Vader and assorted spacemen and spacewomen were pop culture staples during the 1970s and 1980s. I watched the third on cable, and had no interest in the second trio of movies that showed up during the late 1990s into the 2000s.
The “Matrix” movies lost me. I couldn’t keep track of all the characters in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, and bagged the series after the first two, which I rented from the library.
The kid on the flying broomstick has staying power. But if I’m watching any movie featuring a guy named “Harry,” it’s Harry Callahan, as played by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood.
Here’s a guy who doesn’t need a book of spells to get things done. If Harry Potter ever decided to bewitch Harry Callahan — Dirty Harry, Inspector 71 from the San Francisco Police Department — it would be one very short affair.
A magic wand? Against Callahan’s .44-caliber Magnum — the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow a wizard’s cap clean off? Let’s get real, in the realm of cinematic reality. A kid magician's got to know his limitations, when he opposes Dirty Harry.
The Potter kid is creative, but so is Callahan. He put the Smith & Wesson .44-caliber Magnum to good use in five movies, in a series that featured no-nonsense titles like “Magnum Force,” “The Enforcer” and “Sudden Impact.”
I doubt Harry Potter would have an answer for a LAWs rocket, which Harry Callahan used to obliterate people’s terrorist Bobby Maxwell at Alcatraz Island in 1976 and “The Enforcer.” Dirty Harry also knew slight-of-hand tricks, cleverly switching on a small bomb and watching that dirty cop — that smarmy Lt. Briggs — drive away and blow up in “Magnum Force.” And Callahan seems to be able to disappear as well as any Hogwarts freshman or sophomore. He just shows up in the diner where a robbery is under way in 1983’s “Sudden Impact.” Harry uses the same trick in “The Dead Pool” in 1988. Both sets of criminals are soon enjoying the magic of the .44-caliber Magnum.
The .44-caliber Magnum Auto Mag, a harpoon gun and a merry-go-round unicorn also play supporting roles in the series.
I think Harry Potter would be advised to lay low and sing small if he was ever summoned to duel Harry Callahan. The better idea might be to enlist the laconic detective in his fight against Lord Voldemort. Now there’s a movie I’d pay to see — especially when Dirty Harry asks Lord Voldemort if he’s feeling lucky.
Then blows him out of the sky with a LAWs rocket.