Harry Potter… man, what number we on?

July 15, 2009

ha books! am I right folks?

ha books! am I right folks?

The 6th Harry Potter, here at last. I braved the hordes of dressed up preteens last night to witness this, the near zenith of the cultural phenomenon produced when J.K. Rowling tapped into a worldwide blah blah blah. At this point, you probably know the drill. Lots of books sold. Lots of money made.

But what about the movie? I’m going to skip the plot stuff, because either you’ve already read the book and know what’s going to happen, you haven’t read the book and so don’t want anything runined, or else you purposefully avoid all things Harry Potter. If it’s that last one I feel sorry for you.

this is the entire movie. right here.

this is the entire movie. right here.

The movie itself is alright. While I haven’t read the books recently, I’ve been told by those in the know that several plot elements were dropped. In general, yes, things must be cut from a book (especially books of HP’s girth) in order to be shaped into a movie.  But so much damn time was spent on the relationships and the comedy that they clearly could have fit more important plot into the story. Although judging by the squeals, ahs, and catcalls of the audience around me, they made a smart demographics call. (Seriously, if you wanted to get arrested as a pedophile your best bet was to go to a midnight screening by yourself. 90% children barely in high school.) Any kind of thrill I got from watching it seemed to come from my emotion memory dredging up what I felt when I first read the book and then saying yes, this goes with this part.

On a visual level it was a great movie. They apparently had to tone down the original color scheme, and it was the right move. Everything is bleached all the time, and is one of the few elements that really lends to the sense of foreboding that the movie needs, seeing as how it’s all leading up to the big finale of the 7th book (i.e. people die). Again this comes back to the problem of the focus on relationships, which means less focus on the increasing threat of death eaters. The few wizarding fight sequences were awesome and made me wish that there’d been more.

this is the entire movie. right here.

this is the rest of the movie.

And the acting! As one reviewer said, Hogwarts is a school blessed with a staff made up of the great names of English acting (except for Patrick Stewart, who is once more shafted for any part. What’s a Shakespearean starship captain got to do, Hollywood? When you going to respect?). They all do a wonderful job, but the kids come up short in such exalted company. The worst of the four is Bonnie Wright, playing Ginny Weasly. She really seems to be sort of operating in the “go and do what the director tells me exactly” school of acting. Radcliffe and Gint are both serviceable, and Emma Watson is the one that does the best. I will admit, it doesn’t help them to have  a script with some clunker or cliched lines in the teenage drama vein of “been there, done that”. And how many times must we have a close-up of moodily Radcliffe staring at something?

Wrapping up: it was okay, and surprisingly funny. But the movie also just sort of rolls along its path to the two-parter awaiting us at the end of this crazy train. As an ‘experience’, a part of the mythos, it’s worth seeing. Mostly, though, the movie just made me want to read the books again. Which I suppose isn’t such a bad thing, all in all.

signing off//

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One Response to “Harry Potter… man, what number we on?”

  1. Steffeee Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more


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