It is June 10, 2011 as I write this. We have already been warned that the apocolypse would come (it didn't, turns out it was just late). We still have those pesky Mayan 2012 rumors to contend with as well. The 2 Era's I refer to are the end of 2 very long journey's completing their story this year.
Duke Nukem Forever has finally arrived.
Harry Potter is coming to an end theatrically.
Unless you are interested in the video gaming world, you will probably have no clue who or what Duke Nukem is (in that case, you probably blundered onto my blog by mistake!). But those Pentium Computer users back in the 90's certainly know the Duke, his quips, cigar and lack of bubblegum. Though Duke had 2 self titled games in the early 90's, it was Duke Nukem 3D that most gamers will remember. Mutliple versions and off-shoots were based on this iteration.
In 1997, 3D Realms announced the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, entitled Duke Nukem Forever (DNF). That years E3 Expo the game made headlines, the following year showed off game assets and promotional material. Called Vaporware, DNF was caugt in "development hell". The entire studio was terminated in 2009, Take-Two Interactive bought the publishing rights with a hefty advance to finish the game, 3D Realms could not complete the game. The DNF rights were sold to Gearbox Software, who eventually finished the game and released on June 7th 2011, with possibly the longest development cycle (14 years) of any entertainment software to actually be released. To give you some persepctive, Nintendo 64, Playstation 1, the Sega Dreamcast and Saturn were the active gaming consoles at the time.
Early reviews have not been good, but the off and on again dance with the Big Duke has been an industry insider joke. To finally say it is out must fulfill some quasi-universe-altering event we ahve not yet to perceive.
What do you say to a generation of fans who have grown up with a scruffy-scarred-infamous, now grown up, scruffy-scarred-infamous wizard? More books, please, Ms. Rowling! This year will bring the 7 year journey of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to an end. The film series began 10 years ago in 2001 with the Sorcerer's Stone has been one of the most successful movie franchises in modern history. The second part of the last book in the series comes to a close on July 15, 2011. It promises to not disappoint all the eager fans waiting to know who will finally win between Voldemort and Harry and what happens to all the characters we come to know and love (if you've read the book, you know how exciting this last movie will be).
Tossing the word phenomenom has been a Hollywood marketing ploy for a while now, but very few movies actually meet this term. The Potter franchise defines it. For a franchise to keep the same actors (Richard Harris unfortunately passed away after the second movie, causing the franchise to re-cast one of its pillar characters) around for its entire run is a feat in-of-itself, but to also set the same or higher bar for each successive sequel has been nothing short of record breaking. In fact, the Potter film franchise has made over 6 billion dollars, not counting the record breaking book sales and merchandising sales.
As some of my nieces and nephews have stated, after this movie, what's next? There are no new Potter stories (Though rumor abounds of a possible Rowling revisit) to read or watch. This film franchise reminds me of the Star Wars Trilogy, with HP7, pt2 specifically relating to the Return of the Jedi. I remember knowing this would be the last movie and that it would answer so many questions raised in the first two movies. The feeling of anticipation was too great for a 10 year old kid to handle. As a fan of Harry Potter today, that same nervous anticipation exists for this movie. A feeling of nestalgia, giddiness and sadness all wrapped up together and bouncing about in my gut. It is a great feeling. And though I look forward to many more movies that defined my childhood (The Hobbit), I am happy to have found a story and movie not deeply woven when I was an impressionable kid, but that was refreshingly great as an adult.
10 years. A Decade. Many things can happen in that space of time.
It only happens on a few occassions, but to have such a constant reminder of ones youth, in some cases to define ones youth, and for both of these events to happen in the same year, roughly the same period, is nothing shy of something special. Childhoods end and people move on. That's a fact of life.
Sadly, this year, we all grow up a little.