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The Harry Potter Movie

I know that others have already weighed in on the new (6th) Harry Potter movie, but I thought I would throw in my $.02 and see if it generates any discussion.  

I saw the movie with my daughters (14 and 10) and a friend of my older daughter (also 14).  The kids loved it.  I didn't like it very much.  This was actually the second time my older daughter had seen it.  She went with a big group to the Midnight premier last week -- several kids her age and two adults.  The kids all loved it.  The two adults didn't like it very much.  I wonder if this is a pattern that others have noticed.

So, what didn't I like about it?  For one thing, like the fifth movie, I felt that the movie had no discernible plot.  I'd read the book (I've read all the books, and enjoyed them very much, particularly the later ones), so I knew what was happening.  But if I hadn't known the book, I think I would have been utterly lost.  I felt like I was watching the Sportscenter highlight reel from the book.  All the big events were covered, but there was no narrative thread tying them all together.  As I say, I felt this same way about the fifth movie, but the fifth movie ends with that magical battle in the Ministry of Magic, and it was so stunningly spectacular on the screen, that I was able to forgive a lot that came before.  I didn't feel that this 6th movie had an effective ending to offset earlier flaws.  There is that one very cool battle scene earlier in the movie. (I won't say more so as not to give it away to those who haven't seen the movie yet, except to say that this battle isn't in the book, so you will be surprised.)  But I would have preferred that they skip that battle and have the final fight at Hogwarts.  It was an effective climax for the book, and would have been for the movie as well.

There were other liberties taken with the book as it was translated to the screen, and while I'm usually fine with that (the changes Peter Jackson made to LOTR never bothered me), I felt that these changes detracted from the story.  Most of the changes I refer to revolved around the development of Harry and Ginny's relationship.  I won't say more.

The acting was no worse than it was in earlier films.  Alan Rickman is always good and Emma Watson remains the best actor of the three leads.  Daniel Radcliffe might have been less wooden this time around; Rupert Grint didn't have much to work with in this movie, and didn't do very much with what he had.

If I had to rate the movie on a 1 to 5 star system, I'd give it 2 and a half.  It had enough to entertain, but was, in my opinion, pretty mediocre.

Other opinions?

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
I think the problem with movie 5 was simply the size of the book and the fact that they were trying to rein in the movie's length. There wasn't enough time to get it all in. Visually, it really was stunning. In the case of movie 6, I agree with you: bad direction all the way through.
wyjoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
I liked it well enough. Not that I think it will be on the critics ten best lists at the end of the year. They should have left in the battle, but I'm not going to quibble too much about it.

I guess that makes me childlike.
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
No, I think it makes you a fan of the movies. That's fine.
jdawson001
Jul. 24th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC)
I seem to be one of the few who haven't read the books, so I spent most of the movie trying to puzzle together what was going on. It lacked any cohesiveness and felt more like a series of scenes without the glue to connect them.

But I didn't go for me; I went for my daughter, and she enjoyed it.

Jenn
arhyalon
Jul. 24th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
You're exactly the type of person I worried for...without the background, I can't imagine the movie made much sense at all.

In case no one has explained it: Harry takes a book out of the closet for potions. The book has hints that allow him to be a really good potions and it has spells the author made up. Harry is really really impressed with the owner of the book and hero-worships him/her. His friends are jealous of his success and talk against the Half-Blood Prince. Harry ignores them.

This genius in potions helps him get the memory from Slugwhoever that Dumbledore needed to figure out what Voldemort was really up to. (Harry also learns a whole bunch, entirely left out of the movie, about his mother and her friendship with Snape, who had been her closest friend, the way he was Hermione's friend.)

Then, he tries a spell from the book that causes cuts to appear all over a person...the Half-Blood Prince created a curse. Curses are really bad in the Potter universe. So, Harry reluctantly hides the book.

So...at the end, when he finds out that the Half-Blood Prince was his enemy Snape, it's a huge shock. This guy he admired so much was Snape? But the movie did not deliver any of that.
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Jenn, I'll second what Jagi said. All through the movie I wondered how people who hadn't read the book could possibly follow the action. Glad your daughter enjoyed it, though.
jdawson001
Jul. 24th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
When they finally showed us who the Half-Blood Prince was, it felt like a big let-down. Here was this magic book throughout the movie, and very little time was spent on who the Half-Blood Prince was. In fact, the one question asking who the prince might be felt like a last minute toss-in. The movie was called "Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince," so I expected more of the storyline to be about the two of them. With the audience knowing. After he finds out who it is, that's it. Nothing explained, nothing changed. It felt like a footnote.

Thanks for explaining... I never once got an impression of admiration. There was very little jealousy portrayed, either. And clarification about why they were hiding the book would have been wonderful. I missed that.

Jenn
arhyalon
Jul. 24th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed it much more than you did...but that might be partially because I had low expectations...really low...when I went in. I also noted that no one who had not read the book could have followed the Half-Blood Prince plot. The Slughorn (or whatever his name is) plot was fine, but they never indicated that Harry admired the "prince" as opposed to the book.

I also hated the modern clothes...where did those wizardling kids get all those parkas they wore instead of their robes at the quittage match. This bothered me for several reasons:

1) It dates the movie. This movie will date much faster than the first one, where they were in their robes all the time.

2) It ruins the fantasy mood.

3) It breaks with the continuity of the earlier movies for no reason.

4) and most of all...this is Book Six, where Rowlings bothered to stop and take a jab at the movies by having Snape tell Harry in no uncertain terms that he would be docked points if he was out of his robes anywhere on the Hogwarts grounds.

Argh! Bah!

Okay...I'm okay now. ;-)
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
It's funny the things that bug us. That didn't bother me much at all. But I was bothered very much by the directorial decisions to stray from the text. Usually that doesn't bother me at all (as I noted in my post re Peter Jackson) but I felt like every time the director had a choice to make with respect to the text, he made a bad decision. Drove me up a wall.
arhyalon
Jul. 24th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
I have to disagree with you on the Harry/Ginny stuff. I think Ginny is the least well done character in the books, so I was delighted that they put more of her into the movie...the actress brings a lot to the character that the author, who never really clearly defined her, left out.

Unless you were complaining about some other aspect of their relationship, in which case...I have no idea if I agree with you or not.

;-)
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Not that I dislike the actress, but I feel that Rowling did pretty well with Ginny's character in the books. I always liked her character a lot, particularly as she matured and grew feistier. But mostly what I meant in my post was what I referred to in my comment above. Many of the decisions the director made to diverge from the text were connected to the Ginny/Harry story line, and I disagreed with almost every one of those choices.
arhyalon
Jul. 25th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
I suspect I would have agreed with you if I'd read the book more recently. The stuff I remembered clearly was followed pretty well. I do really like when they stick to the book. I probably would have been more bothered if I'd recalled better how it shoudl be.
hedwig_snowy
Jul. 24th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
*SPOILERS*

Ginny: I prefer the Ginny character in the movies, mostly, to the one in the books. So I can forgive the fawning. And, I even understand why they did 'the kiss' they way they did considering the Ron/Lavender kiss.

A lot of people seemed to like Lavender, but she got on my nerves and could you imagine Snape actually standing there while she whined in the infirmary? That scene was uncomfortable to watch. Not because of teenage angst, but because I felt sorry for the adult actors...

I'd agree that they didn't put much (at all) emphasis on the potions book and the revelation of who it belonged to. Would seem to be significant since that was the title of the movie eh?

Perhaps I'm somewhat like another commentor where I was so disappointed in GoF and OotP that I went in with low expectations, but I found the return of humor to the movies quite entertaining. (The only part of OotP that I liked was the battle in the Ministry). The humor in the books was, for me, almost non-existent in the last two films.

I can't see them as someone who has never read the books, but I do see gaps in information where I assume those who haven't read the books would be at a loss.

And yes, I also agree with that commenter that said the kids should always wear robes, at least when they're at Hogwarts and not in the Muggle World.

I liked the romantic stuff as well, even though that isn't usually what interests me in a film. :) Would have guessed that Snape fans - while he was on screen quite often he didn't have much dialogue - would feel slighted. Slughorn was good. Disagree about Ron as the comedian in the actor finally showed up. Only took 6 movies...

Not sure of the reasoning for two things though: The burrow scene (unless they plan on skipping the first part of Deathly Hallows) and missed the battle at the end and have no clue how they expect us to believe that HP would just stand there (with no PT curse) while Dumbledore was facing off against Death Eaters and then remain quiet because Snape told him to do so...especially considering his unthinking behavior in the burrow scene just a few scenes before. Man of action and all that.

And the ending, which was reminiscent of GoF's, was a bit "The Empire Strikes Back(ish)" to me. Where this was just a prelude of what is to come...

Rating it compared to the other movies, I'd give it a 4 out of 5, but probably more for enjoyment than technical reasons or following the book precisely. And what more can you ask from a movie than to come out happy that you saw it? :)
davidbcoe
Jul. 24th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Well, I certainly agree with you about the ending. You were more charitable toward the whole thing than I, but I can't argue with much that you say here. Glad you enjoyed it.
hedwig_snowy
Jul. 24th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
One other thing...not movie related...dropped by the local mall yesterday and then into Border's books....and they didn't have any Coe books in the Sci-fi/Fantasy section! And...while the book wasn't in the main front area where they put bestsellers, they had a plastic-framed book recommendation of their favorite books and one was Glenn Beck's...see if I shop there again! :-)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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