Movie of the Week: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Part II

(Spoilers abound so you’ve been warned)
It would have been pretty hard for them to screw up the second part of Deathly Hallows.  They got all the boring walking, arguing and trying to explain things like Horcruxes and Deathly Hallows out-of-the-way in the first part.  All that was left were the action set pieces.  Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows was the first book I thought J.K. Rowling wrote with an eye on how it would look on the big screen.  How else could you explain a series that was pretty low on action for the most part ending with a battle that could only be compared to Helms Deep in The Two Towers?

I thought Yates (directing his fourth Potter) did a great job with most of the action pieces.  It was also good to see some of the Hogwarts staff which had been relegated to the background for the last few movies finally have some moments to shine, particularly Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall) and Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick and Griphook).  The all-important Snape backstory was filmed a little over-dramatically but worked mostly because of Alan Rickman’s performance. Continue reading

Daniel Radcliffe is a Good Sport

Sanma Akashiya’s “Karakuri Terebi” held a contest last month in which 10,000 of Japan’s biggest Harry Potter fans competed for a chance to travel to the UK and interview the stars of the new Harry Potter movie. As it is a comedy show, they intentionally picked the strangest fans as finalists. A girl named Kana was the grand prize winner, and here are partially subtitled clips of her meeting Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Source: Japan Probe

Movie of the Week: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

Good movie, questionable adaptation.

I enjoyed the movie for the most part. It’s weird seeing these kids/adults grow up physically and as actors.  I remembered not liking Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) in the earlier Potter films but he really outdid himself this film.

The only disappointments I had with the film were I wanted more Alan Rickman (Severus Snape).  Since he doesn’t have many big scenes in the final book, I was kinda bummed that some of his parts from the book were cut (like his interrogation of Harry after he uses the spell on Draco).  Also, I don’t think the final confrontation was paced very well.  I don’t want to get into too many details for fear of spoilers but the big death in this film felt less significant than the deaths from the last two films.

I can’t wait to see how they do Deathly Hollows.

Movie of the Week Pt. II: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: An IMAX 3D Experience

How do you turn a 870 page book into a 138 minute movie? Very carefully.

The best way to describe what was determined to be left out of the movie form the book is this: describe the book in one paragraph (5-6 sentences). Mostly everything that was left out of that paragraph was left out of the movie. Little things were added for future reference (Grawp, Kreacher, lovelorn/jealous looks from a certain girl). And I’m okay with that. Why? Because they fixed the biggest problem I had with the book.

When I was going through my Potter book-a-thon last summer, this book was the hardest to get through. Not because the book was bad or anything but because Harry acted like a bitch for the entire book. I understand that Rowling was going for sullen teenager but he came across as a whiny, “woe is me” brat. Halfway through the book, I started to hate him. So credit to the screenwriter Michael Goldenberg and Daniel Radcliffe for making Harry’s attitude not as annoying and more understandable.

That said, I think they should have added the Quidditch scenes because this movie is devoid of fun and the “Weasley is Our King” scenes would have lightened the mood of this otherwise political thriller set in Hogwarts,

Imelda Staunton is the biggest standout as Dolores Umbridge. She pretty much takes over the movie. I just wish there were more scenes with her and the other British acting powerhouses in the film (Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman particularly).

The battle in the Department of Mysteries in IMAX 3D was amazing. It was a much better use of the technology than Superman Returns (the only other movie I saw in IMAX 3D). It is definitely worth the extra cash and if you are near one, you should definitely make the effort.