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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Potteriana

I caught the new Potter flick on opening weekend. Solid flick definitely better than the first two movies but not as good as the third. My old friend Nick how ever had a much more passionate reaction and here it is:

I liked it considering the amount of things that go on in the book and that they need to make it fit into a couple hours of screen time. Still, I wish they would have just made it a 5 hour long movie and put in the first half of the book. I did feel cheated on not having any World Cup scenes. (BTW, did you ever see the Daily Show's report some years ago from Harry Potter camp where the kids essentially played Ultimate Frisbee while holding brooms between their legs...).

The pace was really quite fast and I'm not sure if someone hasn't read the books if they will really catch on to what is going on. For instance, the whole gilliweed (sp?) exchange with Snape misses something without the Dobbie/House Elf sub-plot, though they try (and fail) to infer that Moody made it happen. I also think the SPEW thing is important to the Hermione character development (not least because I was once an idealistic laborista-type myself...). I do think that the Dobbie aversion might be to some sort of Jar Jar Effect, but the house elves are cool and fit the spirit
of the story, whereas Jamaicans in Space do not...This also tells me that that part of the story will not be carried forward at all in Book 7.

The only thing that grates on me every time I see this movie (my 6th viewing will be on Thursday--its only like $3 here), I am developing a strong aversion to the current Dumbledore. He moves too fast. I like the All-Knowing, Metered Albus of the first two (Richard...whatshisname...). In fact, I think even Richard's dead corpse would be better than the current one. He's too cartoonish and the scripts make him too obtusely sage-like rather than the behind the scenes mover and shaker that he is until the end of Half Blood. I was appalled at him rushing at Harry and almost tackling him after his name was drawn and they convene down in the dungeon. Ahkh! The best contrast is how the two Dumbledores handle candy be it the Everyflavor Beans in the first or the Licorice Snaps in the current one. Acting, acting, acting...

The one major flaw in the screenplay though is the disemboweling of the whole Crouch and Crouch dynamic. It was murdered. The whole denial of having done anything at the Wizengamot is the crux of that story and they just had him do the admission (and weird tongue flick) once he was caught in the pensieve recollection. I think that could have been written into the screenplay without adding any additional scenes or taking up any more time.

I did wish there was more character development with the Champions, though I did get all choked up when Cedric bit it (especially when Harry's clinging to him once they get back to Hoggies). Of course its always easy to feel empathy for good looking people...Fleur was a little one dimensional and should have been waaaaay more French. Instead of the formidable woman that she is portrayed as in the books, she comes off as the standard heroine in distress. I couldn't get enough Diggory and Krum and that's the theme of my main dissatisfaction with the film. NOT ENOUGH. MORE, MORE, MORE. It wasn't so much the omissions, but the aversion to straying from only Harry's story. I sort of feel they did a Rita Skeeter on the book.

Also, you just can't have enough Rickman and I know that in the 6th installment it will be all Severus, all the time, but still...

The twins were great, but again, it would have been nice to have the Pearcy sub-plot and the foreshadowing of the weak character of Cornelius Fudge. After all, he's not just a silly, weak politician, but duplicitous and that comes to light in Phoenix and this would be a good set up. Shades of Bill Bennett... :)

Alas, not enough Sirius, but I can see that being made up for in Phoenix so as to get maximum tears. If I got all sniffly over Cedric, I'll be a basket case when Sirius goes through the looking glass (although, I'm absolutely jones'd about his evil cousin--but that's partly because she's such a good character when Jim Dale reads her on the audio versions).

Still, I'm glad they didn't change any of the themes or alter any of the storylines in fundamental ways that would have diverged from the book. Although, the Myrtle scene was a bit overdone and I hope it doesn't portend them mangling the Luna storyline in the next installment.

I liked the way they did Moody, but (like Lupin in Azkaban) he wasn't anything like I was expecting, but I liked the way they rendered both of them.

And now here's my geek hang up: Bulgaria's colors are NOT RED & BLACK. I understand why they did what they did, but its like in Dune where they screwed up the coloration of the Houses and instead opt for the standard Hollywood color wheel (red = bad, [insert a McCarthy joke of your choosing here]...). If British Pinewood wanted to be considered more than just a shadow of American cinema, they should challenge these cinematic stereotypes...okay, I'm done geeking out. Putting jam on my nose...

I will end my ramblings on the whole ball/love subplot which I thought was done superbly. I really do like how Daniel, Rupert, and Emma deliver all their lines through out the movies. They just so good at being these characters. "It will never wooo-ork." sings Granger to Fred & George as they enter with their aging potions or Radcliffe's "How could anyone figure that out, Ron," after Grint goes through the complicated way in which he really did tell Harry about the dragons.



Woo! Now that was a rant! Although I must completely disagree with nick about the whole Harris/Gambon Dumbledore debate. Harris was too comatose to be the Dubledore of the books!

1 Comments:

At 12/02/2005 5:32 PM, Blogger merychippus said...

My God!!

 

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