Thursday, December 2, 2010

Harry Potter and the Money-Making Adventure

Over the Thanksgiving break, I saw some movies for the first time since July.  So here's movie review #1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 of 2.

Splitting the movie into two parts was kind of a dumb idea, because this is the book where not much happens.  Harry and his friends spend nine months camping in the woods, and those are the chapters you skip when re-reading the book, because it's a total snoozefest.  And sadly, most of these boring chapters make their way into the movie.

The camping parts aren't really that bad, but it's the easiest part to complain about, because the movie and plot gets very slow at that point.

Here are various thoughts I had on the movie, in no particular order.

  1. It kind of upsets me that Harry Potter is not a kids series anymore, even though they are children's books.  I want to talk about the locket scene, but I won't, in order to keep things child-friendly.
  2. I think the movie did a bad job of handling the Ministry of Magic scenes.  The oppressive environment and focus on blood purity is supposed to remind you of the Nazis, but the movie goes overboard and puts actual Nazis in these scenes.  That is, there's a squadron of soldiers with red arm bands marching around the area.  It was ridiculously out-of-place to have soldiers that look just like Nazis, considering that everyone else on the set was dressed in wizard robes.  Besides, there are no soldiers in the wizarding world, so there's no reason to have them.
  3. Also, it was weird how Harry and his friends didn't leave the Ministry of Magic as soon as possible.  You'd think they would be in a hurry to leave, seeing as their disguises just failed, and there are Nazi troops patrolling the area.  But instead, they just stand in place for a minute, doing nothing.  Worst escape plan ever.
  4. Dobby was great in this movie. They gave him a lot of good lines to try to make up for the fact that he got cut out of all the other movies.  But it's still depressing that they brought Dobby back, just so he could get killed.
  5. The big escape from the Dursley's house took place on a freeway.  Why did it take place on a freeway?
  6. Harry and his girlfriend Ginny are not a good couple.  Their "romantic" scene was hard to watch, and it's only the comedy relief who comes in at the end which makes it a bearable scene.  The "friendship" scenes between Harry and Hermione are much better, to the point where you think Harry and Hermione are going to become a couple.  He clearly has more chemistry with her than his girlfriend.
  7. The Snatchers chase reminds me of the Twilight movie previews.
  8. Our heroes wear a lot of flannel during the nine month camping trip.  And even though they spend months away from human civilization, they have perfect hair and makeup the whole time.  Riiight.
  9. The part with Luna and her dad at the wedding felt rushed.  Luna was all, "Hi, Harry. This is my dad. I'm introducing him to you to set up for later on in the movie. Bye!"
  10. The set-up for the Godric's Hollow scene was not optimal.  I knew what was going on, but everyone who didn't read the books had no idea who Bathilda Bagshot is or why she's important.  And so, when she shows up in Godric's Hollow (and no one mentions her name), the reaction from the crowd was confusion, and not, "Oh, hey, it's Bathilda!".
  11. The Seven Potters scene was awesome, but the start of it was a little weird. It's a scene where there are 14 characters in one place, but the movie places importance on introducing the two "new" characters (Bill and Mundungus) that were cut out of the other movies.  So the other twelve characters kind of get skipped over.  Oh well, at least Moody kept things moving along with a stream of constant one-liners.
  12. They did Japanese shadow puppet animation for the Deathly Hallows story.  It was weird.  They should have gone with the Potter Puppet Pals instead.
  13. Harry is a hilariously bad dancer.
  14. Peter Pettigrew doesn't get killed, which I'm pretty sure disappointed everyone.  I was disappointed that Ollivander, in his ten seconds of screentime, didn't say his catchphrase, "Curious.  Very curious." The fans would have gone nuts.
  15. At the part where Harry talks about catching the snitch in his first Quidditch game, I wanted to see a flashback to that moment.
All in all, it was better than Movie #6, but I can't help but feel that the pacing is bad.  There are scenes that are too rushed, so you have no idea what's going on, and then there are scenes that just drag on forever.  I think it would be a much better movie if they cut out a lot of stuff.

The weird part is that the director says they cut fifteen minutes of footage out of the movie already.  I'm wondering what they cut.  Maybe it all comes from the scenes that feel rushed.  Or maybe it's the "Harry spies on Dean, Ted Tonks and Griphook" scene from the book.  Maybe we'll find out when the DVD is released.  Or later, when the Special Edition DVD is released.  Or later, when the Parts One and Two Put Together DVD is released.  Or later, when the Parts One and Two Put Together Special Edition DVD is released.  Or later, when the Entire Harry Potter Series - Please Give Us Money Edition DVD is released.  Who knows?

Look for my review of Tangled tomorrow.


Alex C. said...

I like that the movie kept a lot of the details form the book...that's what makes it a good movie series. Unlike the Percy Jackson movie which was a so-so one on its own, but totally went off the track with the book plot. If they had stayed to it, they could've made more money with 5 movies.

Anonymous said...

Haha! ;D I just started watching the movies this summer and I have to watch the 6th one until I'm caught up! :)U know how u were sick? Well, now I'M sick! :/ The weird thing is that I only have a bad cough! :/ I guess that's kinda good....

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with you about Ginny and Harry's never see them having having a good time together or talking to each other, they just--kiss. As if that's all a relationship is.

Anonymous said...

I'm going with my baby sister to see Tangled tomorrow!!! i hope its good, can't wait for your review!

Kira said...

A friend of mine said that the movie felt like "one big preview" and that the scenes in the woods were boring. But of course, I'm going to go see it this weekend, because I have read Harry Potter: And The Deathly Hallows three times, I love Harry Potter, and I would NEVER pass up a chance to see a Harry movie, especially when I get to see it in IMAX. :-)

Anonymous said...

I really liked the movie. but your review for the movie was hilarous. i could never get mad at you cause your soo funny in your reviews. i loved this movie. i'm probably going to like part 2 more through.

and the split into 2 parts thing.. they HAD to do it.. the 7th book is really big. and it just wouldn't do the movie justice if it was one flim.

- Caittie

Kira said...

Actually Michael, after finally seeing the movie, I have to disagree with you some. In my opinion, the movie was just fine! It followed the book quite well, and I think they chose to split HP7into two parts because so much happened in the last Harry Potter book ... that and the movie-making people probably want to make more money, too. But still! Great movie. I enjoyed it.

Katia said...

I completely disagree with Micheal's opinion because not only do I live in Oxford, but Harry Potter was a story read to me as a child.

miss_gracey_09 said...

You make me feel sick Michael. You really do.
Where's all the postive points of the movie? You make it sound so awful.
A few of the things that you pointed out are true, but you don't need to go on and on about it.
Seriously, what's your problem?
It's like you have watched the movie intently to find all these negative points.
I thought you were cool, and I still do, but what you wrote is just wrong. Very wrong.
How dare you dis Harry Potter?