Archive | Harry Potter RSS feed for this section

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2- Second Viewing!

24 Jul

If you recall, my first impression of Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 was less than stellar. I liked, but did not love it. I’m a little late in posting this second review (I saw it over a week ago at the midnight showing). So, how did my second viewing go?

Well, sadly to say, my opinion is largely unchanged. Once I got over the shock of it, I felt a little more forgiving, but on the whole…I still find it a bit of a let-down. I know I’m really in the minority in this. This film, more than any of the others in the series, has received hugely positive feedback. Yet I (and most of my family members who saw it, plus one friend) still prefer Part I.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!

My main complaint is that the film was too rushed. It was the shortest in the series, yet it didn’t need to be. This was the ending, so I feel like they could and should have taken all the time possible to make it perfect. A lot of the key points and characters from the book are in there, but for a split second! Hardly anything made much of an emotional impact on me because it was just BANG, move on to another scene without any time to digest anything. The moments that moved me the most were The Prince’s Tale and The Forest Again, because they were slower pace. Like a lot of Part 1, they gave the scenes time to breathe so I could actually digest what was happening.

I was so disappointed with the lack of the side characters. They were all brought back and there was all this build-up in the beginning leading the audience to believe that they would be featured in some epic battle scenes. But they weren’t! We saw a couple cool shots of them getting ready for the battle and a couple seconds of them fighting, but that was it. Lupin and Tonks had one nice moment reaching their hands out to each other, but that was it before we see their dead bodies. We never learned about their son, so when Harry mentions it in The Forest Again, instead of being an emotional moment, it’s just a head-scratcher. The same goes for Fred Weasley. The twins have a nice but waaay too brief scene on the roof and Fred’s only line in the movie is “yeah.” I was so mad we didn’t get the wonderfully written, abrupt, and tragic death scene in the book- or at least have him featured in the movie a bit more! Lavender Brown is clearly brutally killed, but it’s never mentioned again. Hagrid is mysteriously absent during the whole movie until he suddenly shows up as the Death Eaters’ hostage in the forest. How did he get captured? What was he doing the whole time?

My next big complaint also has to do with battling- namely, the handling of the Molly/Bellatrix and Harry/Voldemort duels. Where were the audiences during these scenes? Molly vs. Bellatrix is over in a second with no one watching. The intensity of the book scene is totally absent because it’s over in a split second and it wasn’t treated as as big of a deal. Mrs. Weasley just smiles in satisfaction to herself afterward, which I felt was totally out of character. Harry and Voldemort’s duel, on the other hand is terribly drawn out to be made more “cinematic.” I didn’t really care to see them falling over the side of the castle or the Dragonball Z-esque long-ass shot of their spells colliding. And then Voldemort just disintegrates once Neville kills the snake? Okay, I get that all his horcruxes are gone, but he still actually has to be killed! I never saw the spell actually hit him. And once again, like Molly and Bellatrix, no one is watching. And afterward- where’s the reaction from everyone? They’re all just chilling in the Great Hall waaay too casually. No cheers and whoops or sobbing and laughter? It was too toned down.

I think the easiest thing to do is list the rest of my quibbles/complaints.

  • Angle of Ron/Hermione kiss scene- All you could see was the back of Ron’s head.
  • Draco apparating into the castle- why couldn’t they all just apparate away then?
  • Luna randomly appearing in the Room of Requirement when she had been at Shell Cottage earlier that day.
  • Voldemort hugging Draco- no,  just no.
  • Awkward/forced Harry/Ginny- always big fail in the movies.
  • Random Neville/Luna
  • No explanation for the end of Wormtail. He was clearly alive at the end of Part 1, yet nowhere to be found here. Did Voldy kill him in rage at some point in between?
  • Young Lily clearly has brown eyes. No one caught this?
  • I wasn’t crazy with Harry telling Ron and Hermione he was going into the forest, but their reaction pissed me off. Hermione hugs him and offers to go with him, but Ron does not and they don’t hug?
  • Harry breaking the Elder Wand and not repairing his old wand.

Ah, my expectations were just way too high for this. The wonderful book and Part 1 just got my hopes up so much. Part 1 was so faithful and let the story breathe. This didn’t have the same feel for me and of course I was let down. My rating is up, but not by much.

My Rating: 7/10

Advertisements

Deathly Hallows Part 2- First Viewing

13 Jul

I was fortunate enough to win tickets to an advanced screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 yesterday evening. I can’t even describe in words how much I was looking forward to it. Deathly Hallows is my favorite Harry Potter book, and Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is my favorite Harry Potter movie. All of the trailers and featurettes and early reviews made the movie sound absolutely amazing. I try usually not to let hype get my expectations up too much, but in this case I couldn’t help it. I was fully expecting the series to go out with a bang

Let’s start with my general, spoiler-free opinion. Were my high expectations met? Sadly…no. It was a big let-down, actually. It didn’t feel like part of DH 1. It was more similar in tone to the Half-Blood Prince movie to me for some reason. It was too short and just felt chopped up. Like HBP, it seemed like a lot more was filmed, but then it was hacked in the editing room. And then I read that this was exactly the case…All of the actors, practically, from the previous films are back- for mostly blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. The battle was lackluster and anticlimactic. At points it felt rushed, at other points too slow. A lot of the dialogue was changed and didn’t feel right. The relationships were handled awkwardly. This is just my purist side, but a lot was changed from the book. I didn’t think it would be that way, after Part 1. It really let me down.

Was it a terrible movie? By no means. The acting was good, the special effects were great (though I wouldn’t pay the extra money for the 3D), and some of the scenes did hit the mark.  I know I bashed it pretty hard up there, but, really, the majority of my complaints are based only on the changes from the book. I’m judging it not really for the movie it was but for the movie it could have been, the movie I wanted it to be. The hype definitely ruined things for me. I feel like I would have liked it better if I hadn’t read the books. But then again, my brother, who has only seen the movies, was also let down. He was disappointed by the lack of a bit epic battle scene that he was expecting there to be.

I’m seeing the movie again at the midnight release tomorrow night. I’m hoping with another viewing, I’ll get over my shock about all the changes and my feelings will mellow. I doubt it’ll ever be my favorite of the series, but I really want to like it more. So, I’ll post another, more in-depth review after the second time and see if I’m any more positive.

My Rating: 6/10

 

Best and Worst Movies/TV Shows of 2010

1 Jan

I didn’t see nearly as many shows or movies this year as I read books. I rarely watch movies in theaters. I did watch quite a few period dramas, which take up a good part of the list, but most of them were pretty old. I’m going to limit this list to movies that were actually released in 2010. Some of them were technically from 2009, but didn’t come out on DVD until 2010, so I’m going to count those as well.

Best:

1. Bright Star I’ve already posted about how beautiful and understated this movie was. No one I know (outside of the internet) has even heard of it. Such a shame.

2. Downton Abbey– I ignored this while it was airing and finally gave in out of curiosity and was so pleasantly surprised!

3. Emma– This miniseries wasn’t perfect, but it still became my favorite Emma adaptation.

4. Going Postal– It was hilarious. I loved the characters and the whole Discworld universe. The books are still on my TBR list.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1– My favorite Harry Potter movie! I hope Pt. 2 is even better.

6. Iron Man 2– I really only have two negative things to say about this: A. It wasn’t as good as the first one (but that was hard to top). B. Replacement of Terrence Howard.

7. Sherlock- I just discovered this modern-day Sherlock Holmes a few days ago and watched all three (90 minute) episodes in one night. Is it really going to be a whole year until the second season?

8. Sherlock Holmes– I was expecting this movie to just be goofy and silly after the trailer but it was actually really good.

9. Toy Story 3– It wasn’t the best in the series, but it was still really good. I didn’t quite cry, but I almost did!

10. The Young Victoria– It wasn’t exactly a historically accurate movie but it was still a nice romance with nice costumes.

Worst:

1. Hot Tub Time Machine– My cousin watched the DVD with me. She loved it but I thought it was just a stupid, forgettable comedy.

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief– Talk about a disappointment! I liked the Percy Jackson book series but it was quite obvious the filmmakers didn’t care about the source material. It was an okay movie on its own, nothing special. But aside from Percy, they butchered the book characters.

3. Return to Cranford– It was…okay. Hopefully this is the end of the whole Cranford saga. I liked the first series, but it seemed like they were running out of ideas for this. Mary was barely in it and instead new characters were shoved down our throats. Who is this Bell family that have supposedly lived in Cranford forever and yet were never seen or even mentioned in the first series? Why are we supposed to care about them? It had some nice moments, but was weak overall.

4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse– No, I did not pay to see this. Why do I keep watching these horrible movies? I am not a Twilight fan. I guess I’m just a masochist.

5. Upstairs Downstairs– It was just trying to cram in too many storylines into too little time. A disappointment.

I’m really happy I couldn’t find more movies to put in the worst list. There were some other old ones that I wasn’t fond of and/or stopped watching because I couldn’t get into them, but I didn’t want to put them all in here. I hope there are some good films and shows in store for this year!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Mini Review

24 Nov

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog, but I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I started reading the books when I was 12 (just over 11 years ago) and was immediately addicted. I’m so sad that the series is ending and torn about having to wait until July to see Part 2. The end of Part 1 left me wanting more but I’m glad that it won’t be over for a while now!

I’ve already seen the film four times and will most likely see it a few more times! (My record is 6 for Half-Blood Prince.) It was so unlike all the other Potter movies but I guess that’s not a surprise since the book was the same. Hogwarts is nowhere in sight and about 3/4 of the film is just the trio on their own. Even my younger sister, who never bothered with the other movies, loved this one because “it didn’t feel like Harry Potter.” Admittedly I have a cousin who wasn’t fond of it for the same reason, but to each her own.

Let’s start with the good stuff!

The acting was outstanding. I’ve always felt Rupert Grint as Ron was the most natural of the trio but up until now he hasn’t had much to work with, usually stuck as comic relief. Finally he got to show off more of his skill in some real dramatic moments. Emma Watson’s Hermione was the weakest to me in the first five films, overacting and constantly wiggling her eyebrows. Thankfully she improved in HBP and got even better this time! I thought the two of them outshone Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, who was good, don’t get me wrong. He just slightly paled in comparison to the other two. The supporting cast was equally good. Peter Mullan was very intimidating as Yaxley and even better than I imagined him in the book. Nick Moran’s Scabior played a bigger role than in the book and was almost alluring in a really creepy way. Helena Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix was a touch toned down from the previous films, which I was grateful for. I was also so glad we finally got to meet Bill Weasley and Mundungus Fletcher.

The soundtrack was really good. I particularly loved Obliviated in the beginning because it caught my attention right away and Farewell to Dobby because it was so beautiful and moving. The cinematography was also excellent. I wasn’t fond of the camping scenes in the book but I didn’t mind them in the movie because of the gorgeous location shots!

Nearly all of the individual scenes were well-done, with a perfect balance of drama, action, and comedy. My favorites were Hermione erasing her parents’ memories and the silver doe. I was confused about the Harry/Hermione dance scene because I felt it was a bit out of character for Harry, but it was actually pretty cute.

The film wasn’t perfect. My two biggest complaints were the lack of explanation for the mirror shard and no use of the invisibility cloak. Since the cloak is one of the Hallows, wouldn’t it have made sense to remind the non-hardcore audience about it? Similarly, those who haven’t read the books will be scratching their heads trying to figure out where Harry got the mirror shard.I also felt Ginny was really a nonentity. Hers and Harry’s romance was poorly treated in HBP as well and I was disappointed that it was more of the same this time.

My other complaints are really minor quibbles in comparison. I missed seeing Dudley and Harry’s handshake, even though the movie works perfectly fine without it. I would have liked to see Harry and Ron hug after the destruction of the locket and have Harry assure Ron that he only sees Hermione as a sister (especially since some viewers thought he was trying to come on to Hermione in the dance scene!). I also felt Malfoy Manor, while a nice scene in itself, paled in comparison to the book. It was slightly rushed and watered down- namely Ron’s reaction and Wormtail’s fate. I suppose this was done for a reason, and it does work in the movie- but the book scene was so much better.

The end only made me want Part II right now! I guess I’ll have to reread the book to satisfy myself until July.

My Rating: 9/10