Potter Junkies For fans of Harry Potter and beyond! http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies <![CDATA[Draco Malfroy Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Draco_Malfroy-661-1670223-213113.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Draco_Malfroy-661-1670223-213113.html Fri, 9 Sep 2011 16:38:33 +0000 <![CDATA[Albus Dumbledore Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Albus_Dumbledore-661-1655960-213111.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Albus_Dumbledore-661-1655960-213111.html Fri, 9 Sep 2011 16:34:22 +0000 <![CDATA[Rubeus Hagrid Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Rubeus_Hagrid-661-1655965-213110.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Rubeus_Hagrid-661-1655965-213110.html Fri, 9 Sep 2011 16:33:14 +0000 <![CDATA[Dobby (the House Elf) Quick Tip by kfontenot]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Dobby_the_House_Elf_-661-1655966-213109.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Dobby_the_House_Elf_-661-1655966-213109.html Fri, 9 Sep 2011 16:32:37 +0000 <![CDATA[The Magical World of Harry Potter, List 2: Magical Mishaps, Tragic Accidents, and Unexpected Victories]]> WARNING: THIS LIST CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS!!!
If you have not read the series, please look no further.

In the wonderful Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, the books are full of complex plots and sub-plots, which often interweave and connect as the series progresses, but that are very different in themes and tone. While much of the series focuses on the continuing struggle between good and evil, between Harry, his, friends, and teachers and Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters, his menacing followers, they are also full of charming and often hilarious sub-plots involving whining ghosts that live in bathrooms, magic classes where the teachers know less than their students, spells and charms that accidentally backfire on their casters, and, of course, those darned magical creatures that Hagrid thinks are cute even as they chew on your fingers. In compiling this list I hope to have capture just a bit of the tonal changes in the series as they shift from humorous magical mishaps to tragic accidents to unexpected victories. So, without further adieu, here's my list of favorite magical mishaps, the moments that the Hogwarts folks wish they could forget about.

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<![CDATA[ Another Harry Potter Spetactular With The Deathly Hallows]]>
This movie is rated PG 13, but do not worry the language might be a little strong, but not more than what your children will hear on the school yard playground. There are quite a lot of scary and very intense violent action scenes, these images mey be frightening to the younger crowd, so if your child gets scared or has nightmares then, be very careful when you take them to the show. The whole movie will last 1 hours and thirty three minutes, that is a considerable lot less than all of the other movies and remember that does not include the preadmission show. All of the Harry Potter movies have just about the same cast. If you have seen the first movie you will have seen a very young Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Harry Potter in all of the movies), he is all grown up and has spent several years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

When this movie starts Harry is continuing where he left off, and that is searching for the three final horcrux‘s with Ron and Hermoine. He is successful with finding the four earlier ones and tries to see if he is up to doing battle with the great Lord Voldemort. This is a battle of enormous consequences‘, it is a battle of life or death for all of his friends that are involved with looking for the final Horcrux’s. Most of the usual cast members from the other movies meet up with Harry at Hogwarts, these characters include; Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry Potter, Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, Emma Watson who plays Hermione Granger, Ralph Fiennes who plays Lord Voldemort, Micheal Gambon plays Albus Dumbledore, Maggie Smith who plays the head mistress at the school Professor Minerva McGonagall, Alan Rickman who plays the main villain Professor Severus Snape, Matthew Lewis plays Neville Longbottom, Tom Felton plays Draco Malfoy, Evanna Lynch plays Luna Lovegood, Warwick Davis plays Griphook/ Professor Fillius Flitwick, Jason Isaacs plays Lucius Malfoy, Helena Bonham Carter plays Bellatrix Lestrange, Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny Weasley, David Thewlis plays Remos Lupin.

There are a lot of action scenes where killing becomes consistent with the story. The movie starts out a little slow but I just waited it out, if you wait a little longer the suspense starts to build and so does the excitement. They do leave out a lot of stuff that is in the book, but I guess that they have to do that to be able to put all of the scenes on the big screen in an hour and a half. All of the actors and actress do an exemplary job of acting. They have to make everything flow together and still keep you riveted to your seat. In this movie they did that for me. My wife and I could not even get to refill our popcorn, that is how exciting that the director keeps this movie.

When Harry finally finds the other horcrus’s, they have to go on a trip to recover this special Horcrux before Lord Voldemort can get to them, if they can they can destroy them all, this will stop the reign of terror that Lord Voldemort is planning. You will find that all of the computer graphics are excellent and the acting by all of the actors lives up to all of the hype. The battle scene where the two do battle while falling off of the edge of the wall will make you gasp hoping that Harry will survive. This will keep your heart pounding throughout the whole movie, and your loved one grasping your arm with excitement. This movie even keeps the love alive and though love is in the air at Hogwarts, just like any kind of love story the right girls end up with the right boys in the end.

This is an excellent movie even though it starts out a little slow, it will drastically pick up the action during the rest of the movie. Your kids will love it, but I would not pay any extra to see it twice. It also will not hurt to wait for this to come out on DVD. I can give this 3.5 stars.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Reviewed: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II [2011]]]> 12A - 130mins - Adventure/Drama/Fantasy - 15th July 2011
Hopefully everyone is aware of the storyline by now but for the nomads amongst us the eighth and final installment sees Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) along with his friends take on the evil wizard Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). In order to give themselves a fighting chance they have to hunt down the remaining Horcruxes before Harry can square up against him for the last time.
So let me dive right in. Was it a fitting ending? Yes I do believe so and it was certainly one of the best of the films released. Is it that good that it deserves all of the credit currently being flung its way? No not by a long shot. The majority of the reviews have fallen into the good old trap of media hype. Don't get me wrong, it was very enjoyable and certainly entertained me for its entire duration but that doesn't make it one of the best films of the year or worthy of any great accolades.

It certainly continues the trend of becoming darker than all of those before it (of which I am a fan) and with them having completely cut the massive battle scene at the end of the sixth film this more than made up for it with CGI and explosions galore. Although I knew that it would never happen, I'd always hoped for the last film to have a rating of at least 15 so they could unleash the evil and make it all just that bit more manic. Regardless, Fiennes and the rest of the crew impress with their acting abilities and even the main trio look a far cry from the original mediocrity of their first outing.
With a film of this stature you are going to get the people who are disappointed because if failed to stick to the book rigidly and missed out key details. Of course it did, it's an adaptation of the book not an exact replica! If they included everything it would be 14.5 hours long and people wouldn't go and watch it. The most important thing to ask was did they cover it in sufficient detail or did the variations from the book cause the film to suffer? Considering the average length of the Potter films so far has been 2h 30m I am slightly surprised that this comes in at only 2h 10m when 2/3 more scenes would have been all that was needed to keep the avid fans happy.
Although it was necessary for it to be put in for some sort of closure, the epilogue felt out of place with the rest of the film and the attempts to age the cast was something short of farcical. Considering the budget available you would have felt they could do more than just add some hair gel, a cushion around the waist and making all the actresses look extra frumpy. But what do I know?

Overall I enjoyed this both as a individual film and as I closure to the series. Despite it having several flaws and at times feeling like they were trying to see how many cameo appearances they could fit into the 130 minutes rather than telling the story, I would recommend this to most. Just be warned, it's not quite the flawless and perfect film that most would have you believe.

Rating: B+

For further reviews feel free to check out: http://www.fanaticalaboutfilms.com or follow this site on Twitter @ FAbFilms

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<![CDATA[ Swish And Edit! Harry's Farewell Hits And Misses.]]> I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One.  I felt that it was a very nice nod to fans of the book series of HP.  Of all of director David Yates' Potter flicks, Hallows Part One was my favorite.  Part Two, despite being very good, appears to be a bigger nod to fans of the film series instead.

With that stated, I'm not saying that the film is bad.  There are many differences in the book and the film, particularly one involving Voldemort and Harry, but I'm not going to spill the beans on this.  If you've never read the books, you won't even notice the changes unless a book fiend like myself points it out to you.

The film does get many things right.  Without revealing too much, I enjoyed the treatment given to the characters of Lucius Malfoy (portrayed by Jason Isaacs, who made a vile character very enjoyable to watch), Snape (the always brilliant Alan Rickman), Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton, who got better with each performance despite not always having the best lines to work with in some of the films) and Molly Weasley (Julie Walters, who has always shined).  For fans of the books, Molly delivers THAT line (you know which one I'm talking about)!

The cast as a whole has always been very good, but I have to admit that Daniel Radcliffe's performance is a bit dry in this final installment.  Something is missing in his performance that I just cannot pin down.  I also felt that Helena Bonham Carter's performance as Bellatric Lestrange was reined in a bit too much.  I wish Yates would have allowed her to completely lose herself in the character as she appeared to do in her previous performances in the series.

The special effects were very good, particularly the scene in which Hogwarts' protectors prepare for battle.  In fact, I found only one flaw in the FX department (and it's a biggie), but I'll get to that in just a bit.

Much of the film was very good, but there was plenty about this final chapter in the HP films that fell short of expectations as well.  While Matthew Lewis gives a wonderful performance as Neville, the actual treatment of his character (which is very important in this film and even more crucial in the books) is somewhat bland.  All of the things that need to happen to him occur, but with a lot less fanfare than I expected. 

Also, the great battle at Hogwarts, while very good, just didn't play out as well as it did in my mind while reading the books.  There are many major characters who are killed during the battle (on both sides of the war, mind you) and while many of them aren't specifically covered in the book (they are more or less announced at the end of the battle), the film dusts them off with even less attention.  One particular death, which features the most surprising fighter in the battle, is plagued by poor special effects.  While this is the only FX miscue in the film, it happens at what I feel is the worst possible moment.

What I dislike the most about this film is how much humor is injected into it.  Of all of the films I feel that this one should be the most dire and dark.  Instead, Hallows Part One gets that title while Part Two comes off as a serious film with bad comedic timing.  I like comedy in dark films when it is used to give the viewer a brief break in the story, but Part Two goes overboard with the humor.  

So, is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two worth a look?  You bet.  I believe that the pros far outweigh the cons.  Dedicated fans of the books might twitch their noses at a lot of the changes in the film, but they've been doing that quite a bit since Yates took over the director's chair.  Fans of the film series will be quite satisfied, and if I looked at this film strictly from that viewpoint, I'd give it four out of five stars. 

Alas, I cannot look at this final film strictly as a film goer, and have to give three out of five stars.  It was a wonderful ride, but the books trump the films any day of the week.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Well, it's finally over]]> Part 2 starts at the moment Part 1 ended with Voldemort getting Dumbledore's wand and Harry grieving at Dobby's grave. Still in search of horcruxes, Harry and his pals' journey takes them to Gringott's Bank and finally back to Hogwarts, which is now under Death Eater control and a grim place, indeed.

This movie is exactly like the book, so I knew what to expect and wasn't surprised or disappointed, just not particularly entertained. This director loves CGI and the film's cartoony and chaotic mood doesn't lend itself well to dialogue or emotions. Big events like deaths are rushed, the movie is confusing even if you're familiar with the plot, and it just didn't deliver a Grand Finale to Remember.

Ron and Hermione have very little to do here and their big kiss is robotic.  Speaking of robots, Ginny still can't act and has no chemistry with Harry. In spite of all the advanced animation, the 3-D effects are minimal and not worth the extra price.  The long-awaited epilogue scene was just like the rest of the movie - okay but not, "WOW."

If you like big action films with a lot of  computer animation and explosions, you'll love this movie. If you prefer heartfelt emotion and meaningful dialogue, you'll be disappointed but still glad you stuck it out to the end.

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<![CDATA[ An epic finale that will satisfy anyone and that will make us proud of the Harry Potter times.]]>
The final chapter to this fantasy phenomena served justice to both fans of the series and simple moviegoers. I see a pattern lately with Return of the King, Toy Story 3, Deathly Hallows Part 2 and probably The Dark Knight Rises where the last movies in the franchise might also become the best in the franchise. It's definitely an era where you have people putting a lot of effort into delivering that perfect ending to a story. The Harry Potter movies were always a hit or a miss. There's nothing constant and consistent about this franchise. A lot of directors changed, a lot of approaches so it's normal that they failed at one point to provide what fans expected. However, the last 3 movies were pretty good and this last installment clearly challenges "Prisoner of Azkaban" for the Best Harry Potter Movie title.

They really did a good thing by serving the finale into 2 movies. While I felt deceived at first now I can be clearly happy that they did that because they used all that space on screen to provide the necessary details, the necessary plot keys and the necessary deeper looks into these characters in order to create and offer the proper emotional and atmospheric ending without it feeling forced or rushed up. They did quite a good job delivering all these elements and connect them beautifully even though I had some issues. Mainly, what bothered me the most in Deathly Hallows 2 was the pacing. The film starts quickly, it feels exciting, it feels like it wanna pump your adrenaline up and it builds all the momentum for the final confrontation between Harry Potter and Voldemort. The problem is, right at the peak of this build up, it kinda grabs you and then lets you fall in some dull place. From there on, the movies feels like it uses too obvious methods to prepare you for the final setup. And it keeps pushing you and pushing you until the moment and when the moment arrives it kinda passes you by and then the movie ends. Now, at the same time, you realize that everything you saw was done properly, that there was no really bad writing, that there were barely any mistakes and that the finale was very emotional if you were connected with these characters for all these years. So... how could you feel that the build up for the last duel was not handled properly but at the same time understand that it couldn't have been another way? Probably there's something with the pacing... probably not. Probably it's just the mood I was in at that time. Probably I'm just confused. I'm confused because I know I saw something that I thought I didn't like but I can't find it. You know... that feeling that you know something bad is going to happen but you don't know quite when or how. This is the same thing. That's why this is a very hard movie to review. Because the narrative content and the story structure contains all the epic elements a closing story for this series must have. It's a real mature and dark film. It offers an ending without shining lights, without bright and boring moments of happiness, without tears of joy and so on. It feels like an ending dedicated to all Harry Potter's friends which are us: the fans, the ones that grew up on these films and invested time and feelings into this little wizard's journey.

The acting was great, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape really committing himself to this role that required so much emotion and so many changes of heart that must be represented by just a grim or a simple stare. This guy did a terrific work on all Harry Potter films and in this last movie he looked like a hurt man trying to redeem his actions but at the same time acknowledging both the evil and good in him and being wise enough to act properly in the last moments of his life. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) will all be missed and we thank them for their effort and their dedication to this franchise. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was perfect though he should have looked I think even more menacing than he did and he should have stopped screaming all the time. Jesus man... get a napkin. Clearly everyone involved in the franchise did a good job and this last product made them justice.

The cinematography and editing were amazing, the visual and special effects were on par with the best in the genre but the main technical attraction for me was the soundtrack composed by the very talented Alexandre Desplat. I think he's one of the best composers at the moment and this particular work was so immersive and surreal. It was a fantastic musical ride that matched perfectly each scene of the film. It's a honest work that only a man who understood the layers of depth the story had and the emotional complications these characters went through, only a man like that could have scored this so perfectly.

In the end I must say I pretty much wrote my review without giving too much away without a few spoilery details. I feel I needed to touch different areas with my analysis on this movie because it really felt strange for me to review it because like I said, I'm certain something was not handled quite right though I cannot specify what that single thing is. With all my confusion and probably pathetic waste of "energy" I will say that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (damn this is a lond ass name) served the franchise justice focusing more on the psychological layers of the story than on the simple and cliched moments of "good vs. evil" every hero's journey has. It's a finale that will satisfy anyone and that will make any of us remember proudly of our childhood.

Storyline/Dialogue: 9/10.
Acting: 8/10.
Technical Execution: 9,3/10.
Replay Value: 8,5/10.
Overall: 8.7 ]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Harry Potter film series. Like the seven films which came before it, it has its share of weak moments (most of which derive from deviations from J.K. Rowling's novels), but it also has its share of wonderful moments. There's a true drama here being played out and it's only heightened by the fact that we have watched the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they have grown up from awkward and naive school children into truly heroic figures.
As was the case with the final novel, I still feel a tad bit let down by the brevity of certain moments in which the heroes mourn the loss of their fallen comrades (there are a lot of them between Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2) and I still don't think that fans have been given the kind of emotional closure that they desire, but to a certain extent I think this was intentional since often people don't get closure in real life and both author and filmmakers are striving for a more realistic depiction of heroism, self-sacrifice, and loss.

The film (and don't see it if you haven't seen the first seven films) tells the final adventures of young Harry Potter, the Boy Wizard who has now grown up into a young man, and his battle against the evil sorcerer Lord Voldemort who killed Harry's parents when he was a baby. Over the year, Harry has encountered Voldemort and his forces many times since enrolling in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but along the way he has made lasting friendships with other students: Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood.
In this final installment in the film series, we witness the deaths of many of Harry's friends and mentors (and many of his enemies as well) as he and his allies gather their strength and prepare to confront Voldemort in a climactic duel to the death. But things aren't exactly what they seem and Harry learns some shocking secrets about his past and about what he will have to give up in order to find his true destiny, defeat Voldemort, and save the rest of his friends.

The thing that I will probably be most grateful for in this film is the performances of the cast. When the HP films began almost ten years before this film was released, I had my doubts about the dramatic abilities of some of the children actors who were quite good at delivering comedic lines, but seemed stiff and awkward at expressing a wide range of emotions. In this film, viewers will be so swept up in the story that they may not remember to pay attention to the acting, but if they do manage to take note of the performances I think they will find that the young actors have grown up and matured admirably in their ability to play dramatic scenes. The chemistry between the main characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is stronger than ever and it will be sad not to see these three friends in any more adventures.

As a finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has very high expectations to live up to and frankly I'm not sure if it will be able to match those expectations. One of the reasons for this is that, as with the novel, the epilogue to the film which takes place 19 years after the defeat of Voldemort is all-too brief and leaves so many questions unanswered. Another reason is that there are a lot of characters whose stories are left untold. What happened with Hagrid? What happened with Professor McGonagall? How did Hogwarts get rebuilt after the battle and what do the new students think of going to a school where there were so many horrible events? And most importantly, what does the future hold for the next generation of witches and wizards?]]>
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                Okay. I’m going to start with the pre-Potter party details. I bought two tickets to the midnight showing a month in advance. I then went out to buy a Gryffindor tie and scarf the week of and dressed up on Thursday. I even decked out the office with Harry Potter galore, buying themed food, drinks, and decorations. I am a rabid fan. So did I have stratospheric expectations for the final film? No, just exceedingly high expectations. Well, sadly, the film was nothing but exceedingly disappointing.

                To say I was underwhelmed is an understatement. With each passing scene, I could not stop shaking my head at the utter failure to capitalize on the many opportunities to truly deliver on the tagline, “It all ends.” I can certainly understand sacrificing minor details and accuracies for the sake of time and efficiency of story-telling—it would be neither here nor there to be distraught over the exclusion of, say, the extrapolated history between Dumbledore and Grindewald (albeit, I personally would have loved to see even just a clip of a young Dumbledore and Grindewald holding hands or looking into one another’s eyes with endearment). However, what Yates decided to do was completely ignore the grandiosity of scale and epic climax. How many moments of comic relief do we really need throughout the film? Especially when they’re far from humorous or tasteful? I cannot express the sheer feeling of embarrassment I felt when Professor McGonagall said excitedly, “I always wanted to use that spell!” I’m sorry? When has the stern, steadfast, and resolute McGonagall ever diminish to that of a peppy teenager? Moreover, she has never outwardly expressed fear of Snape while he was Headmaster, so for her to be seen with her head down as he is threatening the students and staff in the Great Hall is laughable. Not only were these such poor characterization choices, they weakened the gravity of the entire plot. Another example of character failing was Neville’s reaction to seeing Harry. Nothing but a calmness that would give anyone the impression that Harry had not been gone for months, rumored to be on the run, or else, dead.

                These are just a few of the offensively many characterization flaws wrought throughout the film, but perhaps the most heinous interpretations (throughout all of Yates’ films) are those of Voldemort and Dumbledore. These two characters are the most powerful and awed wizards of all time. The books have never failed to demonstrate with absolute detail and clarity the immensity of their status as such. In essence, both are akin to God and the devil, elevated to a higher sphere without the anthropomorphism. Yet, we are led to believe that both are somehow more human than they really are. The entire point and appeal of their characters is that they’re so powerful and fantastic. But what do we see in the films? Returning back to speaking specifically about this film, we have a progressively weakening Voldemort. If the film were faithful to the book, it would have shown that destroying horcruxes has no direct effect on Voldemort, but we are shown that it does, consequently crippling his power. In fact, it weakens him so much that we are treated to a 10-minute final battle where he is actually dueling Harry. Not only is the idea infinitely absurd, it downright betrays the very nature of Voldemort’s character. There is not a universe that exists in which Harry could possibly duel Voldemort!

                This brings me now to the action sequences in the film. If I thought Yates committed a deafening crime in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by excluding the final battle in the castle leading up to Dumbledore’s demise, then I was in for a surprise because the lackluster execution of the final dueling and battling scenes swept it from memory. I was shocked that they remembered to include the brief duel between McGonagall and Snape. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even get that right either.

Professor McGonagall moved faster than Harry could have believed. Her wand slashed through the air and for a split second Harry thought that Snape must crumple, unconscious, but the swiftness of his Shield Charm was such that McGonagall was thrown off balance. She brandished her wand at a torch on the wall and it flew out of its bracket…the descending flames, which became a ring of fire that filled the corridor and flew like a lasso at Snape.

Then it was no longer fire, but a great black serpent that McGonagall blasted to smoke, which re-formed and solidified in seconds to become a swarm of pursuing daggers. Snape avoided them only by forcing the suit of armor in front of him, and with echoing clangs the daggers sank, one after another, into its breast.

                Why is it that, when presented with an abundance of detail, Yates constantly ignores gold and offers rusted copper? Did the animators just get lazy? Doubtful. So, instead, we get consecutive fire spells from McGonagall at Snape until he finally retreats.

                One awesome duel averted. Shall we do the same to the final battle with Voldemort? Why, of course. In place of the aforementioned battle between Harry and Voldemort, we could have had McGonagall, Kingsley, and Slughorn dueling Voldemort at the same time, just as it is in the book because, as I said, to believe that Harry alone could duel Voldemort is preposterous. Three of the highest skilled wizards and witches against Voldermort—the spell-casting would have been spectacular. But why enjoy that when we could just watch Harry feebly attempt to thwart Voldemort by dodging, shielding, and being owned?

                Speaking of things we could have enjoyed: the music.  In an interview with Film Music Magazine, Desplat stated that scoring Part 2 is "a great challenge" and that he has "a lot of expectations to fulfill and a great deal of work" ahead of him. So he at least acknowledged the amount of consideration and care expected of him. Though, regretfully, it was worse than his previous score. Not only was the score sparse, it was uninspiring and, at times, sounded quite lazy. The only redeeming facet was the reprise of John Williams’ music, and how incredibly wonderful those few moments were. I actually feel sorry that Desplat’s score had to be punctuated (and thoroughly out-shone) by Williams’ mastery. Oh, if only the past five films could be re-scored. Some might say that Williams’ aesthetic is not appropriate for the later films because of their darker tone and storylines. I would tell those folks to listen to his scores for Minority Report, A.I., War of the Worlds, Memoirs of a Geisha, and, oh yes, Schindler’s List, just to name a few, and tell me again that he would not have written superb music apt for the later films.

                The only praise I can give this film is its treatment of Snape’s memories in the pensieve. This sequence was perhaps the only portion of the film that was almost entirely inclusive of the book’s material to which I attribute its success on screen. If only the same could be said for the rest of the film—imagine how brilliant it would be.

                Part I did well to ramp up tension and drama. Part II did well to waste that tension and drama. The characterization flops, weak music, and pathetic deliverance of action all contributed to the cinematic carcass. Needless to say, the film leaves so, so much to be desired. It certainly ranks as one of the most over-hyped and supremely disappointing films and finales of all time. And I know J.K. Rowling is wishing she could use Avada Kedavra on a certain director. ]]>
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<![CDATA[ the end has finally come....are you ready?]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_2-661-1672665-210411-the_end_has_finally_come_are_you_ready_.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_2-661-1672665-210411-the_end_has_finally_come_are_you_ready_.html Sun, 17 Jul 2011 01:25:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ The Endgame To The Harry Potter Saga Presents A Bittersweet Close....]]>
Quite frankly while I liked part one of the “Deathly Hallows”, I thought it could’ve been edited much better; true, it tried its best to be faithful to the books but now I realize that it was more of an effort to build the climactic endgame and to wrap things up. Part two of “Deathly Hallows” is where everything comes full circle, and director David Yates and scripter Steve Kloves did a splendid job in bringing the last two parts of the franchise to life.

                     Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                    Helena Bonham Carter and Rupert Fiennes in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                    Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

After the events of the previous film, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is now in possession of the elder wand and is now rallying his dark forces into finally taking total control of Hogwarts and to finally end the existence of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe). Joining Harry in the final stages of his quest to destroy the Horcruxes (remnants of Voldemort’s evil soul) are Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) as the lines of battle are being drawn and allegiances are being made and secrets revealed. It is the final battle between good vs. evil, with Hogwarts as the battleground, and it is up to Harry to summon every ounce of courage and commitment to face his supreme nemesis…..

Part one of the “Deathly Hallows” are about Harry and his quest, It was all about the realization of destiny, of going deeper into the secrets and the immovable power of friendship. Part two is about the war about to be waged in the halls of Hogwarts. “Deathly Hallows” parts one and two should really be judged as one movie, since one cannot stand without the other. The direction takes our young heroes to the definition of heroism, of courage and the shadow of war. “Harry Potter” may not be as awe-inspiring as Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” saga, but it exceptionally well-rounded for its target audience. What makes the film click is the way it portrays its finalities much more darker and yet it never loses its sensibilities as a movie meant for everyone.

                             Matthew Lewis in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                             Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                             Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

“Deathly Hallows part two” is an incredibly dark motion picture, and part two is all about raising the thrills, excitement and suspense as built up in the first chapter. Yates and scripter Steve Kloves do succeed. The direction was very capable in sustaining the creativity and boldness he had established in the franchise since he took over the helm as director. The thrills of “Deathly Hallows” doesn’t mostly come from exciting wizard battles though the battles mustered up enough violence as a PG-13 rating would allow, the crux of its thrills comes from revelations and answers; all the details of the seven films began to make more sense as it focuses more on explanations and revelations. Yet, Yates did manage to keep a hold on the urgency of the matter as he expresses it through action, the uneasiness of violence and “wand-slinging” scenes of struggle.

In this film, Yates was able to keep a balance with the introduction of new characters and even the re-emergence of old faces amid all the action and revelations. I was impressed how he used the assault on Hogwarts as a way to make new elements work as a new ghostly Helena Raven law (played Kelly MacDonald) makes a memorable appearance. The direction also competently juggles the community that resides within the school, as lines are drawn, alliances are formed and even severed. Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) becomes another memorable face as he becomes a heroic figure, as he is handled as someone who had achieved growth and maturity by standing firm in the defense of Hogwarts.

                       Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                       Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                       Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

                       Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Performances from the main cast are excellent. I could truly believe the bond shared by our heroic threesome and I was led to easily buy into the fact that they cared for one another. Harry comes into full realization of his past, and of this curse, and while it wasn’t exactly a surprise, Yates did a marvelous job working on the reactions and the emotions of those details through Harry and his friends. True, there were some scenes that appeared to take an odd turn as Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) makes an appearance and presents a welcome twist of past events, it was all meant to build up on the final encounter between Harry and Voldemort. The visual effects of the film were perfect for its mood and tone, as Yates also brings giants, huge spiders, trolls, goblins, dragons and specters to make the assault on Hogwarts even more exciting. The film isn’t too violent, and whatever violence and casualty it had were meant to exemplify heroism and its maturity. It was a act of examination and enviable action, as our hero goes forth to realize and fulfill his destiny.

“Deathly Hallows” part two is about war, combat and conclusiveness. Yates had a careful hand in balance, and the film offers a great epilogue to finally communicate the things that Harry was fighting for. It was a simple ending, while I loved the climax to “Star Wars” and “Return of the Jedi”, and the majesty of “Return of the King‘s” ending will forever be unmatched; the ending to “Deathly Hallows“ was very refreshing and cemented the idea that while Potter was a wizard, he is very human and this makes him very likable. Yes, I am not the franchise’s target audience, but I have to say that once you judge the franchise as a whole, (despite my mixed feelings of the other films in the series) it all turned out pretty darned good.

It has been a decade since I was introduced to “Harry Potter” and I have to say, it almost feels like the movies have become a yearly tradition. The two-part series exemplified maturity, heroism and friendship that one would be hard-pressed to say that it was done better elsewhere in a movie within its genre and target audience. It was also fun to see the actors mature along with its characters and clearly the series was a well-intentioned, ambitious one. There is much to celebrate with “Deathly Hallows” and oftentimes saying farewell can be bittersweet.

Highly Recommended! [4+ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: 3D." Character poster art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: 3D."

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<![CDATA[ It ends but does it end well?]]> Written by Steve Kloves
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes
Harry Potter: Is this all real or is it just happening in my head?
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Of course it’s all in your head but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
As you may or may not already know, I have only ever followed the literary icon, Harry Potter, on film. When the character made his first movie appearance, I watched simply because I was curious to see what everyone else was obsessing about. I even saw the next few films that followed for no other reason other than pure fascination with the incredible spell they cast over their fans. Fantasy has never been my favorite genre but I have always appreciated its grandness and imaginative nature. Despite this though, my interest in Harry Potter changed somewhere along the way (most likely when David Yates took over as director) and I went from mere observer to eager participant.  And now that it’s over, I simply wish it weren’t.
As a stand-alone film, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO is not the strongest of the series. In succession with the first part though, it is extremely satisfying. Honestly, how could it not be though? When Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Voldermort (Ralph Fiennes) face off for the last stand to end all subsequent stands of any kind, it is inevitably transfixing. This moment has been coming for years now and even though we all know how its going to play out, whether you’ve read the books or not, there is still a desperate need to see Harry rise to the ultimate occasion of his life. Structurally though, the final installment is somewhat shaky at the start, feeling more like an afterthought instead of the greatest conclusion of all time. It also lacks the whimsy that has always been present in past Potter pictures, no matter how bleak the scenario seems. There is arguably no room for it here but the heaviness can be sometimes too much to bear.
Once HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART TWO lays everything on the table though, it is relentless. In fact, Yates has no interest in holding any casual viewers’ hands for this last outing. It is an emotional journey that must sink deeper and deeper into despair before any hope of success can be found. The battles are epic and characters from the many years at Hogwart’s return to either perish or flourish within those battles. And then there is Harry himself, alongside his two closest allies, Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson). Their growth as both actors and characters has perhaps been the most consistent and compelling aspect of the entire series. Watching them come into their own and develop new understandings of their characters and of themselves has been the series’ secret weapon all along. As they leave the nest, they leave us with one of the most bittersweet farewells at the movies in as long as I can remember.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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<![CDATA[ The Boy Who Lived Faces His Fate]]> Star Rating:

It’s never easy saying goodbye. I can’t say that I grew up with the Harry Potter films – I was eighteen years old when the first was one released – but they have been a part of my life for ten years, and after that amount of time, anyone is libel to grow attached to what they’re used to seeing. Alas, we have reached the end. But I should not make this an elegiac fanboy essay. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, while easily the most mature and fatalistic of the series, is also terrific entertainment from beginning to end. As it nears the end, all the tension that had built itself up since the events of The Sorcerer’s Stone is finally released. The latter half of the film would rival some of our better action films; it winds itself up tight and keeps you in the grip of suspense. And just like its predecessors, it dazzles the eyes with a wealth of special effects. Sadly, almost none of them are enhanced by the 3D, employed exclusively for this film.
Adapted from the last third of J.K. Rowling’s novel, Part 2 plunges headfirst into a plot that finds our three teenage heroes – Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) – in one dangerous situation after another. Not so long ago, I would have said that they embark on a perilous adventure. But these are not the same kids that entered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with fresh-faced enthusiasm. Adventure is a thing of the past; they’re soldiers at war. They’ve dueled evil wizards, fought against monsters, and witnessed many beloved people die, including Albus Dumbledore. They’re battle-scarred and world-weary. They’re still on a quest to locate and destroy magical objects called Horcruxes, which contain fragments of Lord Voldemort’s soul.

Their journey brings them back to Hogwarts, which is no longer an enchanting magical castle. It’s now the scene of the final battle between the students and Voldemort’s evil army. I watched in horror as the Quidditch stadium burned to the ground. I cringed at the sight of the Great Hall, now strewn with debris and the bodies of the dead and wounded. Was there any other way this could have gone? Harry has been marked, figuratively and literally, since he was born; it could not have ended without a fight to the finish. The question, which was on everyone’s minds since before the book was published, is which half of the pair will emerge victorious – in other words, who will live and who will die. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a fan of the movies and intimately familiar with the books. I won’t let that stop me from giving teasing hints.
As with all the previous films, Deathly Hallows employs a wealth of British acting talent. Apart from the three leads, we have Alan Rickman as Snape and Michael Gambon as a postmortem Dumbledore, two characters Harry realizes he didn’t know as well as he thought he did. We also have Ralph Fiennes as the serpentine Voldermort, Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall (never more gung-ho), Helena Bonham Carter as the hysterically evil Bellatrix Lestrange, Robbie Coltrane as the bear-sized Hagrid, Jason Isaacs as the sniveling Lucius Malfoy, John Hurt as the feeble Ollivander, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, Gary Oldman as the late Sirius Black, Julie Walters as Mrs. Weasley, Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn, and Warwick Davis in a duel role as Professor Flitwick and, more importantly, as a cantankerous goblin named Griphook. New to the film is Ciarán Hinds as Dumbledore’s resentful brother, Aberforth.

The displays of magic in this film are, understandably, far less whimsical as they were in previous films. We see, for example, a curse that makes objects multiply should they be touched. We also see a raging inferno that takes the form of a snake before engulfing everything in flames, including one person. One of the first action sequences takes place in the cavernous depths of Gringott’s bank; Harry and his friends, along with Griphook, sit in a vehicle and speed down a twisted track that would be the ultimate roller coaster experience, were such a thing possible to build. Not long after, Harry, Hermione, and Ron escape on the back of a monstrous dragon. How that plays out, I leave for you to see.
How sad that I have no more Harry Potter chapters to look forward to (at this point, I rescind my wish to not sound like a fanboy in mourning). Like the Star Wars saga, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and even individual films such as The Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, these movies have not only created entire worlds successfully but have also consistently told captivating stories and populated them with engaging characters. They belong in that rare category of films that completely immerse the viewer in pure imagination. I will forever be grateful to J.K. Rowling for writing the books, and for inspiring screenwriters Steve Kloves and Michael Goldenberg and directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell, and David Yates for bringing her vision to the big screen.

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<![CDATA[ The End of the Magic Wand]]>
Saw it first thing today, July 14 over here in Hong Kong at the iSquare IMAX theater. One of the newest IMAX in the world; the 2nd and newest in Hong Kong. Built in 2009 which boasted "the highest grossing IMAX Theatre worldwide for "Avatar" in IMAX 3D and history", it was an experience I look forward to. For most part, my IMAX experiences have been shorter documentaries and not movies. Since it's the last as well as one that's in 3D, I clearly had no choice but to experience it to the fullest! 

The theater was filled in no time and the movie started even before all were seated! Such is the enthusiasm. I must say it begins with great promise, especially the 3D experience is quite something. It makes me wish that I had seen everything (since some 10 years ago) in 3D. Yes, so I do like to see it in 3D. Having said that, the other movie I had seen in 3D was Avatar and I remember distinctly the discomfort I felt in wearing those 3D glasses as the film progresses. Same for this IMAX 3D although the image quality is better.

About 3D
The experience was superior. How superior? Well, I believe it didn't actually fully demonstrate the effectiveness of the 3D technology in this movie. I've had better experiences at the 4D shows in Universal Studio and Disney World so I know how far that technology could go to make it seems real. In this movie, it didn't take advantage of it a great deal, imho. It felt more like 2.5D rather than 3D. 

The 3D experience kind of fades away as the movie progresses. Good or bad? Well, it depends. It allows movie goers to concentrate on the story instead, I suppose. But having paid some HK$115 (US$15) which is double the normal 3D (this is IMAX afterall but I'll come to that later) movies and almost triple the 2D experience, I expect more :-) Am I disappointed? A little.

One thing I do hope is the entire Harry Potter series could be revamped so that movie goers will be presented with a chance to see all of the episodes in 3D in the future. I certainly won't mind paying for them again as I suspect the earlier episodes would be a blast with the 3D experience, more so than this one had been!

About IMAX
I was seated at the 2nd last row so I didn't have to strain my neck very much through the entire movie. That is good. I'm not sure how I'd see the film if I were further upfront though. It might have been a different experience. I don't know for sure. May be next time.

According to UA Cinemas, "an IMAX 3D film actually consists of two separate strips of film projected onto the screen at the same time. This dual filmstrip technology is far superior to the old fashioned "red blue" glasses anaglyph 3D - one strip has images captured from the view-point of the right eye, and the other shows the view-point of the left eye, with cutting edge IMAX 3D glasses separating the left images of the left and right eyes, your brain blends the views together to create an amazing three-dimensional film that appears to have depth beyond and in front of the screen. Thus, IMAX 3D presentation is the world's best - providing the most realistic and immersive 3D ever."

Now, here's what I say. As far as technology goes, I still think it could be better. I experienced OMNIMAX more than a decade ago and that was an impressive experience. When it comes to IMAX 3D, it's not getting the ooh and aah from me (for now). Which brings me to the most important aspect of the show.

About The End 

As expected, the good always triumphs. No question about that. Is the end satisfactory? I'll leave it up to you to make your own decision about it as I feel that I'll give away the details & spoil your experience if I were to go into details discussing the story line or the characters. 

Having said that, I didn't read the book so I've got no idea where everything leads when I went into the cinema this morning. That I believe is what I like about going to movies. I like to be surprised and kept in suspense. I don't quite fancy knowing how things end, for most part. The end in this case was a little surprising but not too much. It lacks the "oh, wow" factor for me. This is the better of the 2 part series but it is not satisfying for me when an end is being looked forward to so much so we had to wait for a year for it!

Not a moment in the whole 2+ hour do I feel worried, scared or at the edge of my seat. That I feel is what is lacking in this Part 2 and last episode of Harry Potter. Considering this is a 3D experience, I certainly feel they can do much better!

And hence, my take and rating for it. Lest you think I'm disappointed, I'm not. However, I'm not excited either!!! In the case of a Harry Potter movie, I don't think that's so good; when an audience comes out and didn't feel excited!!! :-( Perhaps it's the case of too high an expectation and hype?!]]>
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<![CDATA[ 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2' 'Two Jews On Film' One Gives It A Standing 'O' (Video)]]>

'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows-Part 2 is the final adventure in the 'Harry Potter' series. The film is directed brilliantly by David Yates and cleverly adapted for the screen by Steve Klos.

This is not only the last film in the franchise, but it is the best.

 From the first shot...where we see Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) holding his sword up to the darkened sky, followed by Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) staring out into the gloomy courtyard at Hogwarts, you know...you're in for one great ride.

For those of you who haven't read the books (if that's even possible) here's what's happening...more or less.

 The Dark Lord aka Voldemort, now has the Elder Wand (that's the Mother of all Wands) and things are very very bad, for bascially anyone, that's not an 'evil doer'.

 Voldemort and his Death Eaters (no, they're not a heavy metal band) are about to take over the entire wizarding world. But luckily for the muggles, Harry (Daniel Ratcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are not going to let that happen.

 They set out on a quest to find and destroy the remaining three horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemort's soul.  Their journey takes them to cavernous deadly vaults, Gringotts Bank, to the halls of Hogwarts...Well, basically to a lot of places...where the trio face danger, monsters, and really nasty, ugly looking people.

Voldemort and Harry are in the ultimate battle between good and evil. And every scene is filled with edge of your seat tension, great action, and of course, lots of magic...

But in the end, it's about the characters...Harry, his friends, his classmates and his beloved teachers.  
Yes, there's epic battles, but what stood out for me the most...is the story comes full story.  Questions are answered.

 We find out why Harry and Voldemort are connected to each other...and see characters in a new light...Severus Snape for one. Alan Rickman gives a beautiful, complex performance as Snape.

And Ralph Fiennes  is absolutely amazing as Mr. V. Yes, Ralph wears a lot of really cool makeup, but it's his brilliant acting that makes Voldemort, absolutely terrifying.

Not to give too much a way, but the ending brought tears to my eyes.  Okay, it doesn't take much to bring tears to my eyes, but it was a beautiful ending...The film ends where it all began...more or less.

All the characters are back...Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Michael Gambon (Professor Dumbledore), Maggie Smith (Prof. Minerva McGonagall) and Julie Walters (Molly Weasley) just to name a few.

I gave 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 five bagels out of five and John almost matched my score...after some arm twisting.  The film opens in theaters Friday, July 15, 2011. 

By Joan Alperin Schwartz]]>
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<![CDATA[ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2]]> It All Ends. With little doubt the most appropriate tag line of the franchise. After seven books and eight films the epic series of the boy wizard comes to a glorious end. The people in front and behind the camera know the expectations are high from the fans. With pressure coming from muggles everywhere the cast and crew bring their A game and provide us with a brilliant end to a wonderful series.

In front of a packed theater of Harry Potter faithful, you would expect the movie to open to giant cheer and screams of jubilation for the long awaited final project, but the film makers allow no time for cheering. The movie opens on a dark and ominous tone, the movie opens where the last one left off, Lord Voldemort standing over the grave of Albus Dumbledore, the elder wand in hand. His killer Severus Snape, now the headmaster of Hogwarts, looming over his students marching into a once happy hall now overcast with dark clouds. If I just ruined anything for you, you probably shouldn't be seeing this movie now anyway. The story jumps right in and without proper context you will be left without the emotional attachment to care who will live and who will die, and you certainly won't know what a horcrux is and why they are so important to the story.

It is a credit to the whole production team that they chose to lay it out this way. David Yates does a wonderful job once again telling J.K. Rowlings story, and picking up the pieces after Chris Columbus bumbled around with the first two movies. He understands the tone of the latter half of the stories and really runs with it. It feels as if he may have even used a gray filter throughout filming, because the whole movie features a dark frame to it. But the real hero of the story may be Steve Kloves who wrote the screenplay for every movie besides Order of the Phoenix.While he says he needed a break he has stated that he regrets not penning that movie as well. He has done a fine job courting not only the diehard fans but the casual movie goers as well. His knowledge of the source material shows and much of the credit for bringing the series alive belongs to him. Similar to Part 1 though, this film is for the fans of the series so it is important that you show up and know what you are getting into.

The movie ran at a brief two hours, I say brief because I thought it would run much longer than that, but with only half a manuscript to go on I suppose it makes sense. Lost from the first one are the explanations and explorations, all we are left with is the final confrontation. With the inclusion of every detail from the original manuscript it is tough not to feel that the movie gets bogged down a little. While watching the movie it felt as if many of these scenes could have been cut, but upon further reflection it all adds to the tension and the fear that the hero shares with his audience. If anything was going to be cut before going into the movie I wish it had been the epilogue, this was the hokiest piece of writing in the series, but visually the ploy works. The decision to stay this loyal to the book works out for everyone.

This movie is full of explosive action with the final battle taking place where else but Hogwarts. They could have gone all Michael Bay with this as that seems to be what the book calls for, but Yates has mastered the tempo of the movie. At one point of intense inner drama he even silences the battle around him which increases the sense of danger our heroes know is coming while death surrounds them. You may want to bring your hankies to your screening as not everyone is makes it out of this story alive and there were many audible sniffles coming from all around the theater. The emotional weight of the movie is high as the audience hangs on our young actors every movement.

It has been a pleasure to watch Daniel RadcliffeEmma Watson, andRupert Grint grow up before our eyes, and once more see how their acting chops have developed. They have spent more than half their lives in this role so it is easy to understand why they are so comfortable now. In fact that may be why they have trouble separating from their roles to try and break out elsewhere in Hollywood. Radcliffe is at his absolute best in this one, as he allows the weight of the franchise to bear on his shoulders just as his character bears the weight of the wizarding world.

A hero can only be measured by his villain and Ralph Fiennes once again is tremendous as he who shall not be named. In this one he even seems more dangerous as Harry and Company continue their quest to destroy his soul and weaken him. Possibly the most important person to this story is Alan Rickman as Severus. With little doubt the most interesting character to the story, it always felt as if his character wound up on the cutting room floor. In this movie, we learn everything about his character and he does not disappoint. It may go a little overboard into the ridiculous during a flashback but the rest of the back story is so good that all can be forgiven. A great casting choice, he has served the character well and all while wearing the same clothes the entire series. Another character that I felt never got her full due was Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall, and in the final act she gets a proper curtain call with some great scenes and lines in the movie. There have been a plethora of who's who of royal British Actors and while they don't all get major scenes most at least receive their curtain calls including but not limited to Gary Oldman, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, and Julie Walters. That is quite the list to be on, and with little doubt you will be able to add the young stars of the movie to the list of great English actors.

The final film does what all that we hoped it would. It wraps up the series on a stirring achievement. It also justifies the creative split of the final manuscript as a move not solely made for monetary reasons. This is a tribute that the series deserves; it soars above being just a movie to become a cultural phenomenon. Fans of the series and of great story telling will not be disappointed. A-]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
Count down begins!!!]]>
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<![CDATA[The Magical World of Harry Potter, List 1: Some of My Favorite Moments in J.K. Rowling's World of Magic]]> WARNING: THIS LIST CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS!!!
If you have not read the series, please look no further.

Inspired by Sharrie's list, I've decided to create my own list, which will reveal some of the most memorable and iconic moments (plus ones that I just love) in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
I should point out that this list is for muggles and magic folk alike, but if you have not delved into the world of magic found in the books, please read no further as this list will include specific plot details.

Please also take note  that when I could I used images from the books, but elsewhere I've used photos from the films, though this list refers to the characters and events depicted in the books and not the films.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Maybe I should've read the book...]]> As a general rule, if I think a book is eventually going to be made into a movie, I’ll hold off on reading it until I’ve seen the movie.   How many times have you heard someone come out of a movie theater saying, “The book was so much better!”  or “They cut out so many parts that were in the book!”  or something similar?    This is mainly because we’ll give more time to a book than to a movie.  It typically takes me 8-12 hours to read a normal length book.  A movie gets 2 hours, maybe a little more.   Watching a movie after you’ve read the book is almost always a disappointing experience.  But if you watch the movie and then read the book, you can enjoy both;  the movie for telling a compelling story, and the book for expanding and enriching that story.

The exception to this rule might be the Harry Potter books.   I haven’t read them, and now I’m starting to regret it.  I enjoyed the first few movies, but the further we progress, the more serious and involved things become, the more confused and lost I feel.  The filmmakers are expecting the viewers to come in with knowledge of the books; they’re letting the books do the storytelling for them, and the movies serve as a sort of visual shorthand for the books.

So I write this review fully aware that I don’t get it, that I’m of the unitiated, and that the way I saw the movie will be different from the way someone who read the book (which is, apparently, everyone else in the universe) will see it.   Plot spoilers follow, but hey, you read the book, so…

Read the rest of my review here.

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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> http://www.lunch.com/FantasyFans/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_2-118-1672665-203360.html http://www.lunch.com/FantasyFans/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_2-118-1672665-203360.html Wed, 9 Mar 2011 21:20:50 +0000 <![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001 film) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher_s_Stone_2001_film_-661-1334961-199583.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher_s_Stone_2001_film_-661-1334961-199583.html Thu, 20 Jan 2011 08:15:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002 film) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_2002_film_-661-1025823-199582.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_2002_film_-661-1025823-199582.html Thu, 20 Jan 2011 08:08:22 +0000 <![CDATA[ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix]]> Despite the fact that so many people dislike this volume of the Harry Potter series, this is actually my favourite film out of all of them, mostly because of the end scene at the ministry, the general mix of heartfeltness and humour, and the addition of Umbridge as a secondary villain. I loved Imelda Staunton's performance in this role, as she encompassed Umbridge from the books pretty well. As much as I like this film, there are definitely some things wrong with it.

I'll start off with the wrong things. First of all, the pacing is kind of off, and out of all the movies, it's probably the least faithful to it's respective book. I also didn't much care for the "romance" between Harry and Cho Chang, encircling around that incredibly awkward kiss in the middle of the movie. I thought that was pointless and could have been cut out of the movie all together. I liked Cho Chang somewhat in the books, and in the movies, she serves little purpose other than a personality-less love interest to Harry who ends up ditching Dumbledore's Army and just being a sad coward.

So I've bashed it in such a way that you're probably wondering why I gave it a 100%. Well, besides what I previously mentioned, I love every other aspect of the movie. Firstly, the performances are top-notch as always, and it fleshes out the new characters without sacrificing the development of the old ones. The new characters it introduces in this movie are mostly Order members, like Tonks, Kingsley, and further developments on Lupin and Mad-Eye. The actors in these roles all do splendidly, as well as the recurring actors.

Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson never fail to disappoint, and this movie includes probably their best performances to date. I think that's because they've been cemented in these roles for over five years and they are finally secure with them just as the franchise is hitting the middle of Harry's Hogwarts years. I also loved the introduction of Umbridge as a secondary villain. She truly does set the tone for her character in the seventh book. Again, I haven't seen the seventh movie, so I don't know how her character in the seventh book is adapted to the screen, but I will be seeing it sometime this week, so you can expect a review of it.

The visuals are still top-notch, as always, but they are improved upon in this film with the addition of the Ministry and the Department of Mysteries. Also, everything just seems to be in a different colour scheme than the other films. I can't really explain it, it just seems slightly grayer without being full-on black and white. I also liked the design of the Order headquarters too, and the visuals match the dark nature of the story perfectly. Nothing much else to say, but great visuals for a great story.

The climax is also epic, and perfectly told similarly to the book. Not exactly identically, but similarly. The other parts of the story besides the climax were great, albeit the pacing being a bit off, especially the bits with Dumbledore's army and Umbridge. Needless to say, the story is great and it's what makes it my favourite entry in the series.

If you haven't seen this movie and you're a fan of the series, it's definitely worth a look. By far the best film i've seen in the new wave of potter, this is my favourite entry and it will always be, unless Deathly Hallows part I is better. All in all, a fantastic movie in a fantastic series.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I]]>
The action was great, but the majority of it takes place in the second half, so this film is much more talk-y than the others, and I think that the movie is definitely better for it. They do have action, though, and those scenes were great, like when they infiltrate the ministry and during Malfoy Manor. The action was very well put together, but there aren't really any scares, just some jump-scares (mostly involving Nagini) that startle as opposed to scare.

The cast is top-notch as always, and a ton of new characters are introduced, but the recurring cast give their best performances to date, especially Emma Watson as Hermione. She has a larger role than she did in the sixth film, and she uses that to her full advantage. I would have to say that she was the emotional anchor of the movie. Who knew simply conjuring a wreath for Harry to put on his parents graves could bring about such emotion and heart?

For all the action, this film was by far the most emotionally complex. I never cried at any sad moments in the book, because they were just words, no visual accompaniment. However, during the emotional scenes, it took some restraint to keep from bawling like a baby. But when Dobby's death scene came along, all my restraint went out the window and it was the third movie scene to reduce me to tears. The score also matched the visuals perfectly, kick-starting emotion without sounding too melodramatic.

For those of you who are big fans of the book, you'll be happy to know that the majority of material from the book remains intact. All the wedding scenes are condensed into one, and the conversation with Lupin in Grimmauld Place is removed all together, but pretty much all the rest of the scenes are word-for-word from the book. Some may call that playing it safe, but I call that securing the needs of the fanbase.

They have had six movies to master the special effects, and the effects are definitely at their finest. The sets are also wonderful (definitely at their best also), namely the Ministry and Malfoy Manor. I actually think that this movie could be a genuine contender for best visual effects (although it probably wouldn't have a chance next to the likes of Tron Legacy and Alice in Wonderland). Dobby and Kreacher also looked more realistic and refined than they did in the second and fifth movies respectively. The magic and spells also looked more refined too. Not much else to say, but the best special effects yet.

If you haven't seen this movie and are a fan of the series (whether die hard or casual), go to the cinema and see it now. It's definitely worth it. It promised to be a penultimate epic to one of the greatest franchises of all time, and it is. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want to see it just for the action, you'll be sorely disappointed for the majority of the movie because there are only a few action scenes. Also, don't see it unless you've seen the first six movies or read the first six books, because it will make absolutely no sense otherwise. All in all, the best film yet.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince]]> Out of all the Harry Potter films so far, this one is definitely the funniest. Not to say that it isn't dark or doesn't have any action, but there's more comedy in this than in the other films. This is also my fourth favourite film in the new wave and my fifth favourite all together. Like the other five films, this installment introduces some new characters while still keeping the old ones intact, and that's definitely one of the main things that I love about this series.

There's some stuff cut out of the movie from the book, but it isn't too significant, just some stuff with the Dursleys. Most of the stuff with Harry and Dumbledore exploring the memories is kind of condensed too, but I think that's just to stay within time constraints. Not all the scenes are exactly word-for-word, but the story pretty much maintains the narrative of the book. I also liked how they injected a bit of humour and romance into the story without it being an outright comedy or romance. As the books get darker and darker, I guess David Yates decided to add a little light by throwing in some jokes about the awkwardness of teenagerdom.

The performances are top-notch as usual, and it shows them going through the motions of teenagerness. Plus, the movie also starts showing Ron and Hermione's growing feelings towards one another, as well as Harry and Ginny's mutual growing feelings, leading to that awkward, blink-and-you-missed-it kiss in the Room of Requirement around the middle of the movie. The three lead actors are finally secure in their roles, it's just a shame that they've finally perfected the roles just as the franchise is winding down. They are all great actors, and I hope all three of them continue their careers now that the last film is over.

The visuals and special effects were fantastic, and I liked how the film appeared to have a more muted colour scheme, almost sepia, than the other films. That really shows the growing dark nature of the source material and segways perfectly into the heavily-shadowed Deathly Hallows. Nothing much else to say, but great effects for a great movie.

I feel it necessary to express my gratitude for the fact that Malfoy is so downplayed. If J.K. Rowling wrote him as a bigger villain, than the books would have turned much more melodramatic and would not have been better for it. Luckily, Draco is not, and he often plays second/third string to Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Malfoy is slightly more sympathetic in this movie. Not outright likeable, but we see his struggle with the task Voldemort leaves him and his wondering whether or not he can do it. Needless to say, Draco is far more developed when he joins the death eaters, and goes from petty thug to craven coward.

Don't see this movie if you haven't read the first five books and/or seen the first five movies because it will make no sense otherwise. Fans will like how faithful it is to the book, and die hard fans will be more than pleased. If you're a newcomer to the franchise, read what I said at the beginning of the paragraph. The prelude to what's the darkest film in the new wave and the most light-hearted film in the new wave, The Half-Blood Prince is a worthwhile endeavour in the franchise and is my fifth favourite.]]>
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<![CDATA[ A major improvement over the previous movie!]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-661-1669173-195365-A_major_improvement_over_the_previous_movie_.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-661-1669173-195365-A_major_improvement_over_the_previous_movie_.html Sat, 4 Dec 2010 06:34:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-195364.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-195364.html Sat, 4 Dec 2010 05:40:51 +0000 <![CDATA[ Once More, Harry Potter Will Amaze You]]>
Main Cast
There are 15 main characters that compose this movie and they are in no particular order; Daniel Radcliffe (plays Harry Potter), Emma Watson (plays Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (plays Ron Weasley), Ralph Fiennes (plays Lord Voldemort), Bill Nighy (plays Rufus Scrimgeour), Richard Griffiths (plays Vernon Dursley), Harry Melling (plays Dudley Dursley), Julie Walters (plays Molly Weasley), Bonnie Wright (plays Ginny Weasley), Ian Kelly (plays Hermione's Dad), Michelle Fairley (plays Hermione's Mum), Fiona Shaw (plays Petunia Dursley), Alan Rickman (plays Professor Serverus Snape), Carolyn Pickles (plays Charity Burbage), Helena Bonham Carter (plays Bellatrix Lestrange).

This is Directed by David Yates, the writers are Steve Kloves does the screen play and J.K. Rowlings does the novel. This is an action, adventure, fantasy, and mystery type of movie and lasts 1 hour and 46 minutes. This is also rated pg13 because of the violence that this movie depicts but there is no nudity or bad language that you would have to worry about.

This is the apex of all of the movies that we  have seen so far. The computer animation and sound effects are excellent. If your child is interested in the Harry Potter series have them read the book first because we think that they will enjoy the movie much more. If they were to go out of the theater and get some more popcorn they are liable to miss a lot of exciting parts. This show kept our interest throughout the whole movie. Even though there were a lot of kids in the theater they were so entranced with the technology that this movie had to offer that they never took their eyes off of the movie.

The three main characters Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on a quest after professor Dumbledore' s death to destroy the rest of the evil Horcrux that Lord Voldemort need to be immortal. They have to go into hiding to protect their families. If you do not know what a Horcrux is, it is a meaningful object that will hold the soul of a person that is lost due to an evil event.  The three of them are trying to destroy the rest of these, but not before Lord Voldemort takes over the Hogwarts school.

The main thing that keeps happening is that ever since the first book the theme still remains the same, and that is that Lord Voldemort want to kill Harry and Harry keeps defeating him in his evil ways.  The three of them have to devise a plan to find the last of the Horcruxes to destroy Lord Voldemort and to do that they would have to go back to Hogwarts but Harry has to stay away since Voldemort is in charge of the school and is also the head of the Ministry of Magic.

Without  giving too much away about this movie, I have to tell you that the action that is in this movie will keep you and your kids glued to their seats and their eyes on the screen. The satisfaction with the money spent to take your kids to see this movie is excellent. Even if you do not have any children this is a good movie for any Harry potter fans but, they will disappointed that they will have to wait until July to see the final.


Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Half_Blood_Prince-13-1382581-194484.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Half_Blood_Prince-13-1382581-194484.html Mon, 29 Nov 2010 04:16:44 +0000 <![CDATA[ This ain't Hogwarts anymore]]>
Unfortunately, there were a few bad influences from Twilight, particularly a vision of Harry and Hermione making out. These were usually minimal, but still stuck out like a sore thumb. Also, if you haven't read the books, some scenes will seem pointless or extraneous.

Probably the best part about this movie was the ending and how it sets up for the grand finale. I won't spoil the ending, but I think Yates chose a perfect spot to split the final book in half.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Not A Bad Film, But An UnInspired One That Serves More As A Cash Grab Than Anything Else]]> I’ll go ahead and clear the air here; I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world. Not to say I don’t like the films or the books though. I saw the first two films whenever they came out in theaters, and I remember seeing and really enjoying the fourth film. Until now I’ve not seen either the 5th or the 6th films, and I’m not a big reader, so none of the books ever really caught my eye. I can also say that I’m not the biggest fan of the latest installment in the Harry Potter series. The newest film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is the David Yates-directed penultimate volume in the Harry Potter film series. The final result isn’t a bad film; in fact it definitely has and will please millions of fans. I, on the other hand, have never been a fan of films in which nothing happens and it seems like things are just being dragged out as long as possible. Much like the past 6 films, the talented cast reprises their roles. Daniel Radcliffe, who has come to define the role of Harry Potter, does a perfectly fine job, and Rupert Grint will hopefully get more film roles outside of Harry Potter thanks to an exceptional performance here. Emma Watson is easy on the eyes, and has her moments from time to time. Ralph Fiennes, playing he who must not be named, is suitable although he’s not really in the film all that much. Also, although I’ve not been the biggest fan of her in the past, Helena Bonham Carter does a fantastic job as one of Voldemort’s evil henchwomen. She cackles and sneers as one of the film’s few shining moments. Although some of the performances are exceptionally great, other times the movie takes itself a little too serious. I get that that’s the general tone of the series and the books, but it’d be nice to see Yates take more light-hearted liberties like one particular disguise scene early on more throughout the film. At times the seriousness of the set pieces and characters came off a little bit as laughable. By far the biggest drawback of the film is the fact that there’s little to nothing happening through a majority of the movie. Now understand, this isn’t some angry fan boy whining because I didn’t understand the movie or what was going on, I followed the movie 90% having not seen the previous two films or read any of the books. It’s safe to say that 90% of the film is exposition, and 70% of that 90% exposition is needlessly slow or could have easily been cut from the final product of the film. I respect the ideas that are being presented and the way that they’re advancing the story, but did it have to be in such a dull way? It almost feels like the movie should be called “Harry and Friends Go Camping!” because that’s where we spend a majority of our time; in the woods. While the introduction of this grand story might be grand in concept, in execution throughout the film little to nothing happens. Even when something perked my interest and I was starting to get involved with where the story was going, it was delivered in such a drawn-out manner that I couldn’t help but realize the whole film feels like 7 sentences of story stretched over 3 hours. Not only is that a little bit of story stretched out a lot, it means a lot of that previously mentioned “dull momentum” isn’t much more than filler. Sure that’s great for the fans and all to have two different movies to “enjoy”, but it’s even better for Warner Bros. considering that instead of $1 Billion they’ll get $2 Billion. Overall, although I was interested in the chunks of fine storytelling found here and there, there’s an unbelievable amount of material here, filler and plot elements alike, that should have been cut to benefit the overall movie. Maybe the concept of one film instead of one camping trip movie and one action-fest summer film isn’t such a crazy idea. Although that seems like a lot of nitpicking, I’m not quite done yet. Although it’s nowhere near the structural mess Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”, there are a few elements here in Deathly Hallows structure that rubbed me the wrong way. While I do understand that’s sort of the point of a Part 1, there’s really not a huge sense of escalation until the final 5 minutes when the cliffhanger comes in. The first 30 minutes move quickly and tackle a lot of material fast, and the next 2 hours sort of go with a whimper. It almost works in a backward sense compared to a regular film, in that it goes from a climax to a consistently slow slew of “discovery scenes”, where things get slower and slower until the movie peters out with a final, quick action piece. Although I do appreciate certain elements being presented here, and it definitely gives that Empire Strikes Back feel by the end of the film, one of my best friends put it best by saying the entire film is a first act, and it never really starts. It knew what it wanted to be (besides a cash-grab), but it just doesn’t know how to get there. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can say that there are parts of Deathly Hallows Part 1 that I did like. Much like I said earlier, it’s not a bad film in the slightest. What few action scenes there are (towards the beginning and right at the end, if you’ve seen any of the television spots you’ve seen every action moment in the film) are well made. There’s some great staging, a lot of fun elements going on at once, and for once I didn’t have as much trouble taking the wizardry action seriously. There’s one forest chase right at the end that, although short, is a lot of fun to watch. Also, some of the actors and a good amount of the set pieces have a great style. The special effects look fantastic, even though some of the basic effects on Voldemort’s nose and the later appearance of Dobbie didn’t look quite right. All of the costumes look spectacular, sets like the Ministry of Magic and Voldemort’s “Evil Lair” look phenomenal, and a few of the actors there much like Carter clearly were made for their role. To close things up here, I feel like I can put my feelings best when I say that Harry Potter 7-1 isn’t really a bad movie, it’s just really uninspired. I don’t think you can really argue that Warner Bros. and the rest of the crew aren’t trying to make more money by splitting this final chapter in half. In case the past weekend’s box office gross wasn’t evidence enough, the film’s beyond dull pacing and excess of both plot and needless exposition should convince you. There are things that I liked about the film, and I have all the respect in the world for people that stayed awake through the whole thing when they saw it at midnight last week. However, Harry Potter 7-1 plays it far too safe, trusting in their fans’ eagerness to see this final chapter a bit too much, and the end result is a film that drags its feet too much in anticipation of the sure-fire box office breaker that’s coming in June 2011.

3 out of 5

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<![CDATA[ Succeeds, but not without failure.]]>                 The movie began and was off and running and I could already tell that the entire film was going to be one thing right after the next. The first scenes were quite well done and successful in establishing the tone for the next two-and-a-half hours. I really liked the preparatory scenes leading up to the Order’s arrival at Harry’s home. The sacrifices Hermione, Ron, and the rest had to make were clear and the portrayal of their significance lent itself quite effectively to the gravity of the journey ahead. Here is where Desplat seemed to show some sensitive care in the score. The ambush by the Death Eaters was exciting and particularly thrilling when Voldemort was thwarted by Harry’s wand and the electric towers lit up and crashed with Voldemort’s fury. Unfortunately, the subsequent scene in which the Order apparates two-by-two to the Burrow was done a little too casually. Yes, Remus interrogating Harry was briefly intense; however, the overall tone of everyone’s safe arrival should have been felt with more impossibility. Mr. Weasley apparating and walking towards the house as if he’d just returned from a nice walk is not appropriate in the context of what had just happened. Furthermore, the scene where Fred and George have their little exchange was treated with more attention than the news of Mad-Eye’s death. Even the toast to Mad-Eye (which is supposed to come right after) was excluded. He was a powerful auror and a role model for Harry, yet the audience never gets a chance to understand the significance of his loss. It also foreshadows more impending deaths, so it should be made clear to the audience that these deaths are not just numbers, but that they truly affect Harry and his struggle to keep hope alive.
                After the wedding party is disrupted and the three protagonists disapparate to London, making their way to a diner where they apprehend two Death Eaters, obliviating their memories was, again, given too much attention when the focus should have been on how they were able to find them so quickly (later we are supposed to find out from Ron that they were tracked because they uttered Voldermort’s name which has become jinxed, alerting the Death Eaters to the utterer’s location in an instant, but the film fails to mention that later on upon Ron’s return to the trio). When they end up in Grimmauld Place, the scene in which Hermione tries to teach Ron Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” was a minor, albeit all too familiar, annoyance. There is a plethora of classical melodies to choose from, yet it seemed the producer/director was too lazy to think beyond a simple cliché. When Kreacher returns with Mundungus AND Dobby, I was so perplexed. Dobby never appears until he rescues them in the cellar of the Malfoy Manor much later. Yet there he was. The only reason I can think of to justify his early cameo was for minor comedic relief. And so, I began to notice another trend…
                The whole sequence where they infiltrate the Ministry was entirely and inaccurately mistreated. The blatantly nervous and fearful trio treading through the Ministry under disguise is the complete opposite of what the book tells, which is a determined and concerted effort preceded by weeks of preparation and carefully calculated steps to retrieve the locket. Moreover, the polyjuice potion never wore out while they were in the Ministry, otherwise they would have surely never escaped had they been glanced at, as they were in the film. This venture was supposed to be a sign of the trio’s maturity and display of their combined efforts despite the disadvantage of receiving no aid from the Order, but, once again, Yates decides to glaze over another important character-building device.
                The scene where Harry and Hermione try their wands at the locket was pretty cool, only because there has been a serious drought of magical display of any kind in the past recent films, so I’m glad at least that necessity has made itself clear to Yates. After Ron storms off and leaves the other two, the scenery to which the audience is treated is quite beautiful. It gave a sense of broad and overbearing scope to their journey. When Harry tries to cheer up Hermione from her obvious state of depression with some dancing, I quietly grew with frustration and agitation. This sorely misleads the audience into believing there is a possible attraction between the two that is anything other than platonic when there is not. I would have been able to tolerate the scene if Harry had just said, “I love you like a sister, I hope you know that.” But of course there HAS to be at least a modicum of romance thrown in somewhere to complete the modern movie trifecta of drama, sex, and action. Are we forever forced to witness the abandon and subjugation of story-telling for superficial satisfaction?
                I was pretty happy about the following sequences where Harry and Hermione travel to Godric’s Hollow and Ron saves Harry and pulls the sword of Godric Gryffindor. The releasing of the locket was also quite grand and effective. Sadly, when Ron explains how he found the two, his words were morphed into a sappy speech that translated into comedy, rather than earnest relief. After Ron is reunited with the other two and has a brief moment with Harry, sitting in front of the jar of light, it was the most opportune moment for Harry to clarify his feelings about Hermione, but that chance was quickly wasted and we may never see the much needed resolution of the tension that lingers between the two, where of course the book resolves it as soon as Ron destroyed the locket.
                I very much enjoyed the animation sequence of the story of the three brothers. It was certainly one of the coolest scenes in the whole film. The next several sequences were done well, all the way up to the trio’s capture, delivery to, and escape from the Malfoy Manor. But when Harry announces that he wishes to bury Dobby properly without magic, I was embarrassed by such a poor writing decision. In the book, Harry doesn’t announce anything, but rather, just begins digging, and he does this alone. Here is another example of how the death of a close friend is supposed to give Harry supreme grief, yet the whole solemnity of that burial scene is relegated to Shakespearean treatment. The audience needs to see how much Harry suffers not only because of the arduous journey that Dumbledore has set upon him, but also because of the risk the he puts on his friends and loved ones and how he has to wrestle with such unbearable responsibility. We get none of the sort at all. Finally, the last scene in which Voldemort desecrates Dumbledore’s tomb and acquires the Elder Wand did little to excite me for the last installment of the film franchise.
                Despite my many criticisms, I think this film was about as good as it could have been given the vast details and plot devices in the final book. The script and sequences were more or less loyal to the text and was paced pretty well; it definitely didn’t feel like two-and-a-half hours at all, but that credit is due more to Rowling than Yates. The score by Desplat was good and never distracting, but failed to be anything more than functional and was not memorable (I feel a composer of John Williams’ caliber is necessary to really enhance the epic nature of the last two films as he did with the first three). The acting overall was good, but Radcliffe still suffers a bit from over-dramatizing some of his lines. This is also a great improvement from what Yates did with Half-Blood Prince which was regretfully flat and the audience was cheated out of every satisfaction to be had.
              I hope Part II really, really hits a home-run. ]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Quick Tip by lyssachttr]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-194297.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-194297.html Wed, 24 Nov 2010 18:14:39 +0000 <![CDATA[ Deathly Hallows Part 1 -- you're gonna see it anyway, but is it worth full price?]]> Is anyone going to come to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 who is not aware that it is two unfortunate things: part of a series and a tease? If you’ve been in a coma for almost a decade and think that Part 1 means the first part of the series then you will be lost and nothing in the movie or this review will change that. If you cannot read, then explaining, in print that “Part ONE” means that the movie will stop instead of end would be similarly wasted. Given especially this last bit, can the movie be good?
If you are a fan of either the movies, books, or both, then you’re going to see it anyway, so does the quality matter at this point? Perhaps it won’t determine WHETEHR you see it, but could determine when and where. Is it worth full movie cost? Not at all. Matinee price? Maybe, but only if you require stadium seating. Dollar movie? Almost any movie is worth a dollar. Waiting until the DVD and watching it at home? For this movie, I think it’s the best option.
If you’ve read the novel, you can skip the next couple of paragraphs of summary.
Harry is days away from his seventeenth birthday – that is the day when the spell that kept him safe while living with his hated and hateful aunt and uncle ends. The Order of the Phoenix—those tasked with keeping Harry alive and well—know this and have a plan to move Harry to another protected location. Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters know this and are trying to determine which of the factotums has the correct inside information. The plan is for half of the Order to accompany the other half of the order transformed to Harry look-alikes as they spread out all over southern England in hopes that half a dozen decoys can protect the one real one. Their destination is the Weasley home; now that Hogwarts is controlled by the Death Eaters, the Weasley home is Harry’s only safe place for the time being. It is also the site of the only happy thing to happen in quite some time: the marriage of the Weasley’s oldest son. However, this bit of joy is upended when black specters arrive announcing that the Minister of Magic has been assassinated and that Voldemort’s sympathizers control the bureaucracy that runs their world.
Realizing there is now no one who can protect him and nowhere he can be safe, Harry tries to set out on his own to complete the task Dumbledore gave him at the end of the last term: to locate and destroy a number of cursed items whose existence makes it possible for Voldemort to escape the “final” battle should it go as badly as it did the first time he faced the young Potter. Harry tries to insist that he go alone but neither Ron nor Hermione will allow that to happen, naturally.
With some luck and old fashioned sleuthing, they determine that one of the items is in the heart of the Ministry of Magic. What it is and how they get it, I’ll leave to the movie.
But it is upon their escape from the ministry that the movie becomes very problematic.
Most of the rest of the time covered in Part 1 is spent with the trio (then duo for a time) trying to determine how to destroy the one item they have and find and destroy the rest. When they absolutely must seek outside help, they risk their lives but also the lives of any they meet, so there is a huge incentive to trying all they can before relying on any other help. For fans of the novel, this is when the story gets tedious—not for me, but most of my Potter loving friends said the time the three spend in the actual and emotional wildernesses could be cut by about half. Print has wiggle room to allow for contemplation and other subtleties that don’t transfer well to the screen. But what is tedious for readers will be even more so for viewers.
Before I get to my concerns, I’ll cover the standard cinematic facets. It is a beautiful movie. Mr. Yates seems able to keep what is a very difficult balance with regards to style. Harry Potter is an epic, but not the Lawrence of Arabia sort. The majority of viewers are teens and tweens who don’t have the patience for a 4 hour desert movie no matter how beautiful it is. His eye to the natural vistas, particularly the Scottish countryside, is matched by how he presents the wider interiors: Malfoy Manor and the Ministry of Magic. The exteriors are winter gray and the interiors are very dark gray and black. The size and color show just how just how small Harry is and the joylessness of his task. While I think this metaphor is obvious, I think Mr. Yates presents it even handedly so I never felt that the film condescended. Similarly, close interiors (Xenophilius Lovegood’s home, Black Manor, and Bathilda Bagshot’s home) are almost impossibly close and equally as dim and dank as Malfoy Manor. Again the metaphor of closeness meaning danger is obvious but not heavy handed.
The acting is tepid. For roughly fifteen hours, the cast has been making an adventure tale with lots of action. Jumping around and waving wands and making pithy comments requires an entirely different set of acting skills than the complex emotional situation of conflicts between friendship and romantic love. Emily Watson (Hermione) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) prove that they can transition to believable members of a romantic dramedy—their scenes in his home town and the cemetery where his parents are buried show this most clearly. Rupert Grint (Ron) still has the same 2 expressions he’s had from the get ready (confounded and nauseous), but is able to add a level of recognizable indignation; however it is not enough to raise him to the level of his other cohorts. And the biggest problem with the acting is that every other character is reduced to type. All of these characters had enough screen-time in the previous movies to develop a character, but in Deathly Hallows, they serve essentially as plot points. When it comes to Alan Rickman (Snape) this issue is nearly criminal since Snape is the most complex and complicated character in the series.
There are two major problems that continued from Half-Blood Prince: pacing and special effects. I catalogued about 25 minutes worth of wasted time in HPB that could have been used for telling a more robust, and coherent story. I don’t think the film need be any shorter, just that the time be better spent. I’m not going to audit Deathly Hallows Part 1 in the same way. I’ll just use the time in the wilderness represent the whole. We are shown the beautiful scenery they choose to set up their camp and they are beautiful as I said above, but cutting that time in half would not have made the scenery less spectacular. We see the trio cast their protection spells around the camp site 3 times when once would have been enough. That editing would free up about 5 minutes that could have been given to add a bit of dimension to either or both sides of the coming conflagration—and that is just 5 minutes. It wouldn’t take me too long to come up with at least another ten minutes. And that time could have been used to adjust the pacing so that it didn’t go from edge of the seat excitement straight to setting up camp and worrying. The time could have been used to adjust the pacing so it was more rollercoaster and less yo-yo.
And the special effects are inconsistent. The final scenes have Voldemort opening a grave to obtain one of the cursed items. The special effects looked like it was a chapter opening for Halo Reach. Halo is a great game with incredible visuals, but it is still obviously a video game. Deathly Hallows is a multi-million dollar production that carries the high expectation of multi-millions. Ending with a special effect of questionable quality does not bode well for the finale. This is especially true since the Part 2 is supposed to be in 3D—if your effects suck in 2D, just how much are we to expect when there is one more dimension to foul up?
I hope I’m wrong, but I get the very strong feeling that the first third of DH 2 will continue the dull choices that plague the last two installments and that the final battle will last about an hour and will look more like Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Pete’s Dragon than Avatar (which no matter how much I loathed that movie did have solid effects).]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Harry_Potter-661-1655955-194075.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Harry_Potter-661-1655955-194075.html Sun, 21 Nov 2010 09:53:37 +0000 <![CDATA[If I were a witch/wizard]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/Lists-661-2716-If_I_were_a_witch_wizard.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/Lists-661-2716-If_I_were_a_witch_wizard.html Sun, 21 Nov 2010 09:34:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Dobby (the House Elf) Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1), Dobby reminds me of E.T. and how great it is to believe in one's master. Dobby's loyalty is commendable! What an adorable elf!]]> http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Dobby_the_House_Elf_-661-1655966-194071.html http://www.lunch.com/HPJunkies/reviews/d/UserReview-Dobby_the_House_Elf_-661-1655966-194071.html Sun, 21 Nov 2010 06:37:20 +0000 <![CDATA[ Prelude To War That Sets Up The End For The Harry Potter Franchise...]]>
The film takes off after the events of the last film. Dumbledore is dead, Hogwarts itself is reeling and Lord Valdemort (Ralph Fiennes) has grown in mystic power. Valdemort has extended his reach of power to the Ministry of Magic and has sent out his Dark Eater horde to eliminate all Muggles. Now Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) has to abandon everything he holds dear and to try and seek out the pieces of Valdemort’s soul called “Horcruxes”. Harry and his friends, Hermione (Emma Stone) and Ron (Rupert Grint) must go on a journey that can either give them the means to end Valdemort’s reign or cost them their lives; armed with Dumbledore’s parting gifts and their training in wizardry, they must fight Valdemort’s evil forces and avoid temptation from the “Horcruxes” itself….

                    Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

                   Rupert Grint in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1:

                  Emma Watson in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1'

Seems like “Deathly Hallows” is a cinematic event that is intended to give as much detail as possible to develop its storyline as it has been divided into 2 movies that clocks in at about 5 hours. The previous installments were chopped down as to keep the story tight and quick, as it also never disconnected folks who’ve never read the books. Yes, there were times when the previous script felt choppy, but they were easy to follow. This time around, “Deathly Hallows” is more detailed and quite long in two parts; this is the problem when one remains faithful to any book, it may alienate and disorient those who haven’t read the entire book series.

Not to say that despite some disconnection on my part that I thought “Deathly Hallows” wasn’t an effective motion picture but it was a chore to put things together at times and it does feel rather slow at some parts of the film. Still, director David Yates and script writer Steve Kloves take our protagonists on a wild quest that allows them to grow outside Hogwarts and away from their comfort zone. You feel that Harry and his friends are grieving the loss of Dumbledore; what’s more, they almost seem lost without his guidance, and the wilderness where they trek is brought into lovely exposition due to its wonderful cinematography. Gone are the light-hearted mood and fantasy-storytelling that was established in the first 4 movies; this time around the mood appears real, and our characters are made to experience the real world. This world is much darker and feels much bleaker with higher stakes; and Yates did the right atmosphere and surface as our heroes mature and become adults…and adults are made to experience a potentially more violent world filled with jealousy, betrayal, sexual tension and casualty.

                   Robbie Coltrane and Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

                  Bonnie Wright and Daniel Radcliffe in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

                 Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Andy Linden with house elves Kreacher and Dobby in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

“Deathly Hallows” departs from the family-friendly mood and earns its PG-13 rating. There are quite a good number of scenes that depict battles of wizardry, there are assassins, high-flying ‘broom fights’ and other chase sequences that generate tension in its storyline. But Yates and company don’t just give the viewer a film of adventure-fantasy, he allows room for reflection. Harry and his friends are given more opportunity to bond and to realize the stakes, they mull over their future and they show the proper emotion. Despite some disconnection on my part (because of not reading the book), I appreciated the slower pace the film took on and the way it built its momentum to an upcoming war. One who has seen all the films of the franchise would appreciate the groundwork that was laid out in its previous installments, it was nice to see Harry and company just go out, cast a spell and realize their destinies. Yes, the film is slower than usual, but I liked the way it built on characterization; Yates also brought forth a balance of humor (I thought the comedic touches in the opening act and how they infiltrated the Ministry of Magic) and the return of several characters of the franchise such as Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), the talkative elf from “Chamber of Secrets“ and some others. The film is filled with wizards, ghouls and creatures that it keeps moving so no one sticks around too long unfortunately.

                   Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

                  Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1"

Thankfully, “Deathly Hallows: Part One” doesn’t feel too much of a cliffhanger but it takes a slight pause and the next chapter is due in theaters mid-next year. This is a film franchise whose stories matures along with its characters as well as its audiences, it does build well on its “first chapter” execution (albeit a bit loose) and I felt interested in seeing the next chapter. Yates does seem to be the right man for the job, as he goes into possibly the most intricate and character-driven film of the franchise. He goes in and out while keeping the main storyline from previous movies intact as well work with the groundwork already established; but as good as this first part is, it still remains to be seen how it all comes together in 2011. For now, “Deathly Hallows” does make the franchise come alive and makes me optimistic for the finale.

Highly Recommended! [4- Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: An IMAX 3D Experience"  Poster art for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: The IMAX Experience"

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<![CDATA[ How Does Harry Do It?]]> Written by Steve Kloves
Directed by David Yates
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Ralph Fiennes
Harry Potter: Blimey, Hermione!
Everyone who experiences the Harry Potter saga on film can be categorized into two separate groups – those who have read the books beforehand and those who have not.  Those who have read them have likely read them several times.  They know exactly what each film will bring, just not how it will bring it.  For the rest of us, the young wizard exists only on the big screen and never has his world looked so great or been as engaging as in HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART ONE.  No matter which group you belong to though, the Harry Potter film experience is entering its final chapter and the anticipation is palpable.
Director David Yates has outdone himself this time out.  Despite the enormous amount of pressure on his back to bring one of film history’s biggest franchises to a satisfying and successful close, he seems to be flying through the Harry Potter universe with incredible ease after piloting the last three films.  Yates also helms the second half of “The Deathly Hallows” but first he has masterfully and delicately handled this decidedly dark first half, where nothing is as it was.  Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his most trusted allies, Hermione and Ron (Emma Watson and Rupert Grint) do not return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, like they do at the beginning of each installment.  No, now this trio of role models to children the world over are officially dropouts but with good reason of course.  Harry must soon fulfill his destiny as the one who lived to vanquish he who used to not be named (psst .. Voldemort – Ralph Fiennes).  I know how it sounds but if you made it this far, you must have bought into this already and it’s still surprisingly compelling.
I can only imagine that J.K.Rowling’s last book operated in much the same fashion as Steve Kloves’ screenplay.  Kloves has written every one of the Harry Potter films and in HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART ONE, he oscillates between somber, dark, sometimes downright frightening moments and a warm, nostalgic yearning for seemingly simpler times.  As the series nears its end, familiar faces, places and things resurface to honour both the history and the fans while new addition to the Harry Potter family, cinematographer, Eduardo Serra, lenses the Harry Potter landscape with depth and grandeur unlike anything I’ve seen in the first six films.  The mounting magnificence of the Harry Potter films is infectious and to remain so fresh and relevant so many years later is some of the best magic I’ve ever seen.

Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.

just click the link below ...

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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-194004.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_Hallows_Part_1-13-1669173-194004.html Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:07:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ Prelude to The Finale: It's showdown time!]]> So, Harry James Potter finally grows up and the series is coming to a halt? Hmm, not sure if I like that. Harry Potter was not only legendary but he's truly cute and adorable as a child. I know, I know, we all have to grow up... Yuck, that takes the fun out of life, don't you think?

Before we get on with life, as we all do, let's take a look at these kids who have made the series of films such a joyful journey, even for the adults. Cute, aren't they? Reminded me of Drew Barrymore in E.T.! Oh well, the coming of age must be hard for all concerned!

It's been more than 10 years since I saw the first film and many kids have grown up reading about Harry Potter since. I must qualify by saying that I didn't read any of the books. Not a single one. To me, the films were sufficient. I watched everyone of them and had enjoyed most of them. Frankly, I don't remember every single one of them, nor do I follow the plot closely enough. Hence, I'm not so sure how much you'd enjoy it if you had not seen it from the very beginning. It's a question you've to contend with yourself. Hence, I can only write this review based on the assumption one had seen all those prior films and are able to follow the story. I do think it'd be a good idea to acquire all the early films and watch it in one go before you head for this one though. I might just do that myself sometime before the finale next July!

This movie is the beginning of the end. It's the prelude to death; the theme which the author seems to have implied. Since this is a world based on wizarding, it is probably hard to understand the prevalent themes in the movie from the perspective of a child. If it's for children, then I fear children today grow up too quickly and are faced with themes which they might not be ready for. Fantasy, coming of age, love, illusions, fear, death, etc... they seem way beyond what a normal child can grasp!

In this episode of Harry Potter, I get the feeling death is imminent. Whose? I've no clear idea since I didn't read the novel. But the mood is ready for a showdown. There's darkness all over and fear is something the audience is left holding with. Fear and the conquering of one's fear had been the predominant underlying emotion in almost all of Harry Potter's films. When it comes to fear, the movie is pretty consistent. What it has shed in this particular film is innocence. Innocence and the fun-filled wizardry are gone. I missed seeing these kids flying across the sky on brooms. Truly, that's what I missed most in this movie. The brooms! LOL...

What I did enjoy in this film is the illustration of the story of the Deathly Hallows. That was truly well done, imho. It renders meaning and life to the entire film. I truly enjoyed that part of the movie. The elves are fun and very lovable. Dobby's loyalty is commendable too & the director did that scene particularly well. That was a touching scene and I've enjoyed it tremendously!

The film ends with an impending showdown in the works and for that we'll have to wait till next summer. In the mean time, if you're living near Florida, you might want to head to Wizarding World of Harry Potter and have some thrills of your own with regard to the brooms ;-)  You see, Harry Potter lives on, regardless!!!

(P.S. Please, please don't tell me there's no brooms there! I want to be on those brooms!)

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<![CDATA[ It's the Beginning of the End]]> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the most faithful adaptation since the original Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s also just like all the previous films in that it’s spectacular entertainment – provided you don’t mind the shadowy, deeply emotional, almost funereal direction the stories have been going in. The depth of character is amazing, in all likelihood because of the film’s overwhelming seriousness. The plot is engaging, a mixture of a road film, a scavenger hunt, and a revenge fable. It balances it’s solemnity with a healthy dose of magic and, in a few very appropriate places, humor. It’s also the first film in the series to end with a cliffhanger, always a welcome addition.
Being faithful, of course, does have its drawbacks. The film is not only dependent on the viewer’s knowledge of the previous installments, but also on the viewer’s willingness to listen. Many, many important things are said by many, many people, and if you’re not going to pay attention, you might as well see something else. Fortunately, just about everything is explained at one point or another; this is usually thanks to Hermione Granger, who after seven years is no less of a bookworm. We also have numerous scenes of the three leads piecing things together from little more than sheer speculation, and this is just as it has been since the very first film. What they will discover in Part 2 remains to be seen, but you can rest assured that some of what they thought about certain things will turn out to be incorrect.
Part 1 begins exactly where Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince left off. With the magical world in chaos following the untimely death of Albus Dumbledore and a hostile takeover by Lord Volemort and his loathsome cronies, our heroes are forced to make drastic changes. Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), now the most wanted wizard in the world, ships his aunt, uncle, and cousin off to a safe location. At Harry’s side are his two best friends, Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). So too are members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Mad-Eye Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and even Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane). It will be hard to keep Harry’s location a secret from the snake-faced Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), since it seems he can easily be traced.
A series of terrible events force Harry, Hermione, and Ron to go on the run; they magically transport themselves from one isolated location to another, taking refuge in a special tent that, like Dr. Who’s telephone booth, holds more space than its outer dimensions suggest. Their mission: Seek and destroy magical objects called Horcruxes, all of which contain a small piece of Voldemort’s soul. Harry thought he had found one at the end of the previous film, but that item – a locket – turned out to be a fake. Finding the real locket will involve an interrogation of a cranky house elf named Kreacher (voiced by Simon McBurney), the kidnapping of a shady wizard named Mundungus Fletcher (Andy Linden), and a carefully planned break-in into the Ministry of Magic, where, in disguise, our three friends will run into their old nemesis, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton).
These and other events are carefully crafted, but they’re also expected. Not so expected is the ways in which Harry, Hermione, and Ron are developed. The world as they knew it is gone – no more Quiddich games, no more visits to Hogsmeade, no more classes at Hogwarts. They’ve abandoned their former lives. In short, they’ve grown up. Yes, but why did they have grow up in this particular way? Why are Hermione and Ron following Harry when it’s obvious he has nothing to go on apart from memories of vague conversations with Dumbledore? Was Dumbledore the great wizard Harry thought him to be, or were there chapters of his life he intentionally never revealed? Our three friends are lost, confused, and weary, stuck on a quest for objects that could literally be anywhere. These include the fabled Deathly Hallows, three magical items symbolized as a line within a circle within a triangle.
The Harry Potter films have gone from wonderfully whimsical to delightfully dark to terribly tragic. We’ve marveled at their heroes, shuddered at their villains, and mourned at the loss of beloved figures. They’ve ignited our imaginations and beckoned us to follow along with them. Before, I’ve taken the approach of the giddy fanboy, brimming with excitement and anticipation. In the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, I take an approach of resignation and elegy. It’s the beginning of the end. I always knew it was coming, but even after the passage of nine years – ten when Part 2 is released next summer – it still feels as if it’s coming too soon. This new movie is wonderful, but I will always remember with longing the first time I saw three fresh-faced eleven year olds going on their first magical adventure.]]>
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<![CDATA[ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1]]> The final chapter is here. When they first movie came out the high school seniors now were in first grade. We have grown alongside Harry Potter and now his final task is upon us in what will no doubt be the biggest hit of the holiday season. This series both has left its mark on our culture both with the written word and cinematically. While I have never enjoyed the books, I appreciate that it got kids to read, and in a day of growing technology there is not enough one can say about J.K. Rowling’s feat. The movies have also had their ups and downs but here I am pretty confident when I say this movie is one of the up moments.

The decision to break up the final book into two movies was a decision made by Rowling so as to not leave any part of her manuscript out. But you can guarantee that the studio had no problem receiving even more money from a franchise that has already garnered over five billion dollars.

This movie is not for those who have never seen the others. There are so many name drops and so much terminology from the others that I was relieved that I had rewatched the previous one before entering the theater, but there were moments that I still felt overwhelmed. And this one jumps right into it, showing our three leads looking ahead to the daunting task ahead of them and the sacrifices they will need to make. We never step foot into the comforting halls of Hogwarts in this one, the dark theme is set from the opening title sequence and the skies never really clear from there.

The cinematography and musical score play a huge part in setting the tension for the movie. Once the previous cinematographer declined to return, worried he would repeat his work, Eduardo Serra took the helm. The dark and ominous lighting never leaves the screen and even when the sun is out there is always something dimming down the light. Meanwhile, while John Williams expressed an interest in scoring this movie as he did the first three they decided to go with Alexanre Desplat. While I will never speak ill of Williams, Desplat does a fine job making sure the audience is never quite comfortable. There is rarely a moment of relief in this movie as there has been in the others, and much of the audiences’ tension can be attributed to the fine work of these two men. On a side note I would love to go back and look at the other films to see the evolution of the lighting and music as Voldemort power grows through the series. With little doubt I can say this is the darkest movie yet.

The supporting cast is an All Star English team that could rival any ensemble that Team America could dream of making up including: Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, Timothy, Spall, Tom Felton, and Peter Mullan just to name a few.

With the book being broken up into two parts and everything being left in we are left with sequences that would usually be cut or at least shortened due to time constraints. Instead left in are our three heroes journeying across the English countryside looking for horcruxes and avoiding death eaters. The scenes rely heavily on Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint and they do not disappoint. It’s been a pleasure to watch these three actors develop their craft and while Radcliffe and Watson have been performing well for quite some time now Grint has finally come into his own. The scenes which have them dealing with their emotions and love for each other, both platonic and otherwise, are gripping and a testament to the casting and development of these three youngsters. Often the other movies have been swallowed by CGI and while there is probably a different foe attacking these children every ten minutes or so, it's the scenes where they are left to their own devices that are truly magic.

For those familiar with the book one of the more impressive/startling sequences in the movie is the retelling of the story of the three brothers. The style and content of the story is a perfect example of the maturity displayed throughout the movie, especially when comparing it to the earlier movies. This series has been all about the rise to evil so there is little doubt that this movie isn’t intended for the younger Potter fans.

The movie ends with plenty of still to come, including a final face off between hero and villain. The world of Harry Potter has changed over the course of seven different stories, times are bleak and Harry and company are rarely far away from danger. It’s been over a decade of people watching and waiting to see how it would all come to an end, and while most of the audience will already know how it all plays out it’s never really been about the ending, it’s about the journey. B+ ]]>
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<![CDATA[ Prepare For The Final Chapter]]> Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I last night.  I must admit that I wasn't a fan of Potter until the first film came out.  After that, I was hooked.  I've gone on to watch all of the films and read all of the books.

Deathly Hallows, as far as I can remember since reading the book some time ago, follows the printed page very closely.   Of course there are a few moments that are left out as is almost always the case with films based on books, but the core of the book is lovingly cared for by director David Yates (who also directed Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince). 

**If you haven't watched the last couple of films or read the books, you might want to skip the following part of my review.  While it does not contain spoilers for Deathly Hallows, it does mention a few things that happened in previous films/books.  For my opinion of the actors' performances, film direction, special effects, etc. skip to the next asterisked section.**

As with the books, the days of cute spells and Quidditch are gone.  This film finds Harry and his friends trying to protect themselves and others in the wake of the death of Dumbledore and the rise to power of the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort.  Both Harry and Voldemort are looking for the horcruxes that are crucial to the complete success or utter defeat of the Dark Lord.  Changes at Hogwarts (which is all but ignored in this particular part of the story) and at the Ministry of Magic, as well as the loss of Dumbledore, have left Harry and all of the wizarding world in great danger.  There's a price on Harry's head and the Ministry has begun "interrogating" all of its workers in order to find out where their loyalties lie.  

Harry digs deeper into the lives of certain individuals whom he believes can help him find and destroy the horcruxes.  He, Ron, and Hermione also have a few run-ins with Death Eaters and their loyalists.  This results in some brilliant action scenes that any Potter-phile will enjoy.

Of course, if you've read the book and already know the outcome of the tale, you'll quickly pick up on a lot of foreshadowing throughout the story.  The end of this particular part of the story is both heart wrenching and terrifying, for it leaves the viewer baited for next year's grand finale.

**Spoilers for those missing the last few films/books ends here.**

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron) nailed their characters a few films ago, but in this particular go round, they deal with some very heavy emotions.  All of them handled their roles especially well and made their characters very believable.  While Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) is perhaps the second most crucial character in the story, his role is a lot smaller than you might think.  Still, he expertly manages to strike terror into those who dare challenge the Dark Lord.  Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) doesn't have a lot of screen time either, but if you didn't like Bellatrix before, you'll really hate her after seeing Carter hold nothing back in what I believe is one of the best performances in the film.  The core cast from the last couple of films all return and do wonderful jobs.  I was especially pleased with Jason Isaacs performance as Lucius Malfoy.  He portrays the once-haughty character splendidly as a beaten down and desperate man.

David Yates keeps the story moving at a breakneck pace, but manages to toss in a few key drawn out sequences in the film that a few non-Potter fans might find a bit tepid.  Remember this, though, with a film so loyal to the original book, these drawn out scenes are crucial to the story.

I also enjoyed the fact that despite this being one of the darkest tales in the Potter series, humor was injected at just the right time to keep the viewer from becoming completely depressed.

The music and special effects are also very good.  Some of the CGI was obviously fake, but the FX crew got it right for the most part.

It should be noted that this film is rated PG-13 for some very good reasons.  There is quite a bit of intense violence, suspense, and a few very cringeworthy scenes of torture.  Also know that no character, and I mean NO character is exempt from death in this film.  There is also a brief scene of sensuality between two key characters that involves some very strategically placed CGI dark clouds.  It occurs during a vision given to another character when they face a great challenge.  Parents with younger children might want to preview this film before allowing their kids to watch it. 

Overall, this is the best Potter film that Yates has directed to date.  After watching it, I want to see Part 2 NOW!  It's going to be a tough few months for me until Part 2 finally hits the screen.  I guess until then, I can re-read Deathly Hallows and try to visualize it on the screen.

Highly recommended!  ]]>
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<![CDATA[ Made to Understand]]>
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE is not a great piece of literature, nor will it change your life or make you a wonderful person. However, it is a great story filled with wonderful characters, a fantastical setting, and exciting adventures.

The plot is rather simple. Young Harry is an orphan raised by his wicked aunt and uncled and forced to live in a closet under the stairs. However, just before his 11th birthday Harry receives a letter. Harry learns that he is a wizard and in the fall is to begin classes at Hogwarts, the world's greatest and most famous school of magic. In September, Harry makes the journey to the school and a variety of exciting things happen: learning to fly on a broom, delivering an illegal dragon to safety, and protecting the famous Sorcerer's Stone.

The world in which Harry enters is one full of fantasy. That's part of the book's appeal. However, the biggest part of the appeal are the characters. Rowling has created a cast of characters that every child can relate with: a lonely boy who's family hates him; a chubby kid who's clumsy and always breaking things; a bookworm; a boy from a poor family. These types of characters are nothing new. However, Rowling writes in such a way that children are able to identify with the characters more quickly than in other stories. The fascinating elements of the story speed the identification and makes it stronger.

At times the story doesn't seem to live up to it's potential. However, I believe this is because Rowling has a masterplan worked out and this is only the first of what will eventually be at least seven books. Also, the themes of bravery, family, and friendship make the book that much more rewarding. A delightful rewarding book that children are sure to enjoy as well as many adults.]]>
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<![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (movie) Quick Tip by cyclone_march]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_movie_-13-1004262-190881.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_movie_-13-1004262-190881.html Tue, 19 Oct 2010 17:00:14 +0000 <![CDATA[Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (movie) Quick Tip by cyclone_march]]> http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Order_of_the_Phoenix_movie_-13-1007227-190880.html http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/reviews/movie/UserReview-Harry_Potter_and_the_Order_of_the_Phoenix_movie_-13-1007227-190880.html Tue, 19 Oct 2010 16:58:22 +0000