Tag Archives: Harry Potter

“Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Review

Click on image to view trailer

Director:  David Yates

Writer:  Steve Kloves

Stars:  Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, and Matthew Lewis

Harry Potter:  The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a good film, but underwhelmed me.  Before I continue, though, you need to know a few things.  I am typically underwhelmed by films that I am very excited for, and I was very excited for this film.  Also, there has been a non-stop onslaught of press that has added to that excitement and expectation.  Like the finale of Seinfeld, it would have been very difficult for this film to live up to the hype.  Unlike Seinfeld, I believe after time on second viewing my perception of the film will improve.  Another thing you need to know is that I am a big proponent of watching the movie first, then reading the book–you’re never let down.  If you love the film, you’ll love the book more because it adds to a world you already care about instead of taking away.  By reading the book first you also typically know how everything ends and, in the case of this film, who dies and who lives–taking away some of the emotional punch.

Now that I got my baggage out-of-the-way, what are my thoughts?  The film is a three act script, but emotionally it is divided into two parts–before Hogwarts and after.  Before the trio arrived at Hogwarts, I was very surprised how unemotionally connected I was to them and what was going on in the film.  After they arrived, that changed; more for the small moments than the main Harry/Voldermort conflict.

As an adaptation, Steve Kloves (the screenwriter) did a great job.  As a piece of literature The Deathly Hallows book, though an enjoyable read, is weak.  The writing is clunky and has too much exposition.  In the film, many of the minor characters are given their due with both small moments and large.  Long exposition scenes in the books that are necessary for the plot of the film were deftly, creatively, and quickly handled.  The ending was also much improved from the book.  Whereas Harry is a much more passive figure until the final verbose duel with Voldermort, in the film he is active and the scene much more action packed.

As for the film, David Yates (the director) did a good job.  The decision to break the final film into two parts was a good one.  You need the first to properly setup the second.  The look was great and editing OK.

And what of the characters and the actors performances?  They did a good to great job.  I thought that Ralph Fiennes was great.  The slight changes the screenwriter made to the Voldermort character were excellent choices, and they allowed Ralph to enhance the character.  Daniel Radcliffe was good, and he handled the emotional scenes well.  The same can be said for both Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.  (Side Note:  I loved how they had a role reversal where Ron was coming up with the great ideas and Hermione was saying “Brilliant”.)  But the stand out for me was Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom.  He’s not going to win the Academy Award, but of all the characters in the Harry Potter universe, Neville Longbottom is the one that has come the farthest and changed the most.  The audience–myself included–showed their appreciation for the character every time he was on-screen.

Grade:  B

P.S.  If I had written my rankings of the minor characters after I watched this film, Neville would have been first on the list.


“Harry Potter” – The Main Characters

Then

Now

Imagine it, half your life playing someone else.

That is what these three young actors have done:  Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermoine Grainger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley).  What will happen to them?  Only time will tell.  The one good thing for their future is that–baring a total mismanagement disaster of their wealth–none of them have to work ever again.

All three are much betters actors toady then they were back then.  Of the three, Dan and Emma have shown the most range.  Rupert in the last film was allowed a few moments to shine.  Dan has done a great job carrying the franchise.  As an actor I saw him live on Broadway during his Equus run, and he was excellent.  I most likely see him having a decent career as a character actor along the same vein as Neil Patrick Harris–a good actor, but not able to carry a movie on his own.  Emma I know the least.  I believe she has not done anything outside of the Potter films, and she has dedicated herself to getting an education.  I am most curious to see what happens with her.  Though I haven’t seen his other films, Rupert has filmed a rather quirky list of movies–ranging from broad comedy to some serious fair.  I plan to Netflix them and see what he has to offer.

Of the Harry Potter films I think Dan shined the best in Order and then again in Deathly Hallows Part I.  I thought Emma was great in Goblet, and Rupert’s best work was in Deathly Part I.  As for their worst performances, I would say Chamber of Secrets.

What do you think?


“Harry Potter” Films

All Harry Potter Posters

So which Harry Potter film has been my favorite so far?  Like the books, I am going to go with The Order of the Phoenix.  The main reason being the character of Dolores Umbridge.  My least favorite is The Chamber of Secrets.  It left my feeling ambivalent.

What makes Order my favorite?  Besides Dolores, there is a lot of emotion.  You have the death of Sirius Black, and the near fatal attack of Mr. Weasley.  This is the first time you see Harry really become a leader.  You see some of the minor characters also rise to the occasion.  And you finally have the conflict between student and master, Dumbledore and Voldemort.

How do the movies rate as films?  They’re good, but they are also like Bond films where you say, “that was a good Bond film”.  You do the same for these.  Are they great films?  No.  Will I watch them over and over again?  Yes.


The “Harry Potter” Books

U.S. "Harry Potter" Book Covers

(1) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, (2) The Chamber of Secrets, (3) The Prisoner of Azkaban, (4) The Goblet of Fire, (5) The Order of the Phoenix, (6) The Half-Blood Prince, and (7) The Deathly Hallows

So, how do I rank the books in comparison to each other?  For the most part I have liked each one more than the next, but I would say The Order of the Phoenix is the best.

The curious thing about the series is that you can tell when the editors started to back-off with their comments, or JK just didn’t listen to them as much.  The Goblet of Fire is significantly longer than the previous three books, and all the later books kept growing from there.  Did all that added length diminish the books?  Obviously not based on book sales.  Was all that added detail necessary?  It’s a matter of opinion.  For the most part I liked the added details, but there were certain tangents that should have been excised.  One example is all the Dumblebore history.  That could have easily been its own book, and its exclusion from the final one would not have harmed the story.

How do the films compare to the books?  They compare favorably.  The challenge of movies based on books is to find the main point of the story and focus on that.  The films have done this very well.  I also have no problems when the film veers from the book.  These are two different art forms; what works on the page may not work on the screen.  That being said, I am looking forward to seeing how the film deals with the final battle between Harry and Voldermort.  Frankly, I thought the book’s resolution was overly convoluted and weak.  I’m expecting the film to be much better.  We shall see.


Why “Harry Potter”?

This Friday is the release of the last Harry Potter film.  And the question is why do we care?  Why do we care about this movie, this series of books, and these characters?  The short answer is J.K. Rowling.

J.K. Rowling

Quick facts:  J.K. Rowling is a pen name.  The J is for Joeanne, but the K means nothing and is in homage to her paternal grandmother, Kathleen.  Her publishers insisted on initials for the release of the first book since the target audience was young boys, and they feared that boys would not buy the book written by a female author.  Also, she wrote the book while on welfare.  Her personal story is one of rags to riches.

But what about the long answer to the question?  JK wrote a series of books that work on two levels, and also evolved as the characters evolved.  Like a Pixar film, the surface of the books are intendend for kids but the meat of it for adults.  Also, the target age of the audience grew up with the characters.  Whereas you can give the first book in the series to a ten year old, you would not do so for the last book.  The same applies for the films.  The first is filled with innocence and wonder, the last is dark an dangerous.

In anticipation of the final film, this week I will be releasing daily posts with Harry Potter as the theme.


“Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows, Part 2” (Tickets are Purchased!)

Good afternoon all (or is it just me?).  I have just purchased by tickets to the 7:25 PM showing of “Harry Potter:  The Deathly Hallows, Part 2” at Regal South Beach for Friday, July 15th.  I hope to see you there.  (DISCLAIMER:  it is for the regular showing, and not 3D–I hate wearing glasses over glasses)

You can purchase tickets through Fandango.  You can click on the icon below and it will take you right there.

Click on the image to purchase tickets

If you want to watch the trailer click on the next image that references the one scene from the book I am most excited about watching in the film.  Can you guess?

Click on the image to view the trailer