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The Return of the Epic Film$
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Andrew Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684021

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684021.001.0001

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The Greatest Epic of the Twenty-first Century?

The Greatest Epic of the Twenty-first Century?

(p.188) Chapter 11 The Greatest Epic of the Twenty-first Century?
The Return of the Epic Film

Deborah Bridge

Edinburgh University Press

One epic series in particular fulfils a number of definitions of the epic without itself being considered epic. It not only embraces “popular trends and ideals that define or represent an era” and appeals to “cross-cultural structures of belonging and identification”, but has also contributed to shaping young people’s “inchoate sense of collective desire” in a way that no other epic films have. The series has dominated 21st century film, and may well be the greatest epic of this century. The films? Harry Potter, of course. This chapter explores how a series intended primarily for children and “tweeners” has become unique among epic films in the universality with which it addresses the fears and anxieties of its audience, how the films have “grown up” with their viewers and vice-versa, and how their popularity has contributed to making Harry Potter one of “the most important non-religious global cultural icons in history”.

Keywords:   Harry Potter, epic film, children’s film, popular film

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