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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

The end begins - as for me, it is the completion of a decade-long journey as a fan of the series. Yes. I am a Potter freak, and has been one for the past 10 years now. My literary journey with Harry Potter ended last 2007 with the release of Deathly Hallows, my cinematic journey on the hand ends on July 2011 and I had the best sneak peek of the finale just moments ago.

Part 1 helms the web of the previous 6 movies. It connects all the events that took place for the past 6 years of Harry's life as a wizard. It is therefore vital that each moviegoer should either read the books or watch the movies again from Sorcerer's Stone to Half-Blood Prince. If you just watched the movie for the first time, you might get lost.

Deathly Hallows, aside from Sorcerer's Stone, has been very faithful with the book. The sequence of events that took place are followed exactly from the book and that gives me satisfaction. The only part which I find somewhat neglected was when the Dursley's moved out from Privet Drive. There was no closure on their part. The scene where Harry revisits the cupboard which he once reside is a signal that indeed the franchise is coming to a close. The 7 Potters Scene makes a superb opening, though, I see Hagrid less in this part. And then Bill Weasley is introduced briefly (You know who he is). And then, they decided to kill Hedwig. Yes, all those who died in the book, dies in the movie.

Nothing is left out... as of this moment. I have yet to see Dumbledore's backstory. Aside from that, everything is just marvelous. I was really impressed on how they presented "The tale of the Three Brothers." Its like two books in one movie. I read Tales of Beetle the Bard and has been a fan since. If you are a legit Potter fanatic, it would be easy for you to make the ends meet.

Characters from the previous movies made revivals for a short time and then killed after a few minutes of screen time. What delighted me most is the return of Dobby. I remember him to be annoying back then with Chamber of Secrets, but somehow, he is adorable in this one. Imelda Staunton is back and she is such a sight.

I love Harry-Hermione moments in the movie. I love to see them do intimate things with each other without implying malice. I love Ron-Hermione moments too. Harry-Ginny moments are quite quick and inconclusive.

I never made a standing ovation for any movie except for this one. I do not find it embarrassing. I still feel overwhelmed with the movie that it becomes a torture on my part that I have yet to wait for another 7-8 months to see the conclusion of one of the best franchise in movie history.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Harry 5 and 6 Revisited

2 days from now, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will hit the screens. It is only fitting that we revisit the previous 2 movies that marked the end of the franchise. Enjoy my reviews on Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince... :)

but before that, i leave you with some juicy pics from the movie....

definitely can't wait anymore

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Revisited

Giga Fries. Check. Large Soda. Check. 1 bucket of Popcorn. Check. I guess I have everything I need. I had been waiting for 8 months since the release of Half Blood Prince has been delayed November of last year. I am breathless. I am full of anticipation. Before I went to see the movie, critics had been praising this 6th Installment of the Harry Potter Franchise and I am full of envy that they have to see it before I do. I remember when I first purchased the book way back 2005, I was first in line. I was there before the mall opened. No need to guess that I am indeed a Harry Potter Fanatic a.k.a Potter Geek! And proud!
The movie follows Harry’s 6th year at Hogwarts, and in this year the mystery behind Voldemort a.k.a. Tom Riddle a.k.a. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s past is discovered. However, the flashbacks were entirely insufficient. The Gaunt’s were not included, Voldemort’s meeting with Hufflepuff’s descendant, the fetching of Dumbledore at the Dursleys and why Snape called himself as the Half-Blood Prince,etc. Added material were included like the lady in the cafe, etc.
One that called my attention is the improvement on cinematography. It was like Cuaron is there. How the camera works is Cuaron’s signature. Various areas of Hogwarts present in the previous 5 movies were revisited such as Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse in Chamber of Secret. Colombus’ ceiling at the Great Hall is replicated once again in this movie. However, the flow of the movie is flawless and I couldn’t help myself to think that the finale is coming. I don’t want the movie to finish… yet.
Hormones are very high in this movie. Students seduce each other, kissing in the halls, in the bar and at the Room of Requirements, just like in the book. The lead actors aged a lot, particularly Emma watson. Daniel Radcliffe remain as stiff as he was in the previous movies and filled harry’s character with blank stares. The supporting cast did remarkably well. This includes Helena Bonham Carter’s deranged Bellatrix, Alan Rickman’s sinister Snape, Maggie Smith’s Professor MacGonagall but most the most notable performance are Jim Broadbent’s Horace Slughorn and finally, a calmer and poised Dumbledore portrayed by Michael Gambon.
The finale, which is the death of Dumbledore which spanned from the Battle at the Cave to the top of the Astronomy tower, Gambon’s Dumbledore feels so human, so fatherlike that his death feels like you have lost your own father. A drop of tear or two commenced as I realized how great his love for Harry and for the entire school was realized. This has been a definite Potter movie to keep. It makes me look forward to its end on 2010 and 2011 which is not a very far future at all. This 6th installment turned the Potter series an epic to watch and helped David Yates go back on his feet after the disappointing Order of the Phoenix. I can say, David Yates, you may proceed to direct Deathly Hallows as long as Screenwriter Steve Kloves is with you.
By far, the best Harry Potter film following Prisoner of Azkaban just right behind it.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Revisited

1 week before the movie was shown in theaters, I read the book for me to refresh my mind of what were the significant events of the book. July 11, 2007 marks the beginning of the end of the Potter series, and sad to say that there will be more deaths in the upcoming movies. The book was by far the longest book of the entire series and focused more on the individualization of the chaacters - there was character development - there was an in-depth look of the emotions of the characters concerned.
OOTP, the movie, was supposed to exceed my expectations. But then...

Again, we are brought back to Potter’s world, a world where magic is both a delight to those who view it so, and a horror to those who were maligned by it. The Dursleys are back after being absent from Movie 4. We see Dudley once more and the Dementors. Ms. Arabella Figg makes an appearance - and her cats as well. The whole plot of the movie is how would Harry and the Order to convince Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic, that You-Know-Who, aka Voldemort, is back, literally. That was the whole essence of both the movie and the book.
OOTP is now directed by David Yates, this is his first Full-Length Movie. This is the biggest mistake Heyday Films has committed: Putting a neophyte on a such grand movie. Yate’s resume only extends to a made for TV movie which was shown on HBO, thats it. He wasn’t able to capture the feeling of Harry Potter which was present in all of the 4 previous films. Instead, he resorts on using all the techniques used by other directors: 1.) The glass transitions which was used first by Alfonso Cuaron; 2.) The scenic shots by Michael Newell; 3.) and the aerial shots of Christopher Columbus. These were all used but then, the results are disastrous. There was no originality behind it. Nothing.
Many of the readers of the books may have watched the movie to see how would they translate the events that took place in the Department of Mysteries; the duels of the Order against the Death Eaters; the death of Harry’s godfather, Sirius; and most of all, Dumbledore’s fight with Voldemort and the disclosure of the Prophecy, which is the most important part (supposed to be!) in the movie. The Finale, though filled with amazing special effects is very bland. Everything just went through that a non-reader would find himself completely lost.The death of Sirius Black was reduced to a silent scream from Harry, mostly, it would work, but not with this one. It worked in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where Galdalf dies, but not with this one. There were no vanishing acts with Voldemort and Dumbledore’s fight; no interference from the statues, no duel from Sirius and Bellatrix, she just scream Avada Kedavra and Sirius went though the veil and dies. There was no drama in his death.
Screenplay plays a vital role in making a movie. It is the blue-print which guides the director on what to shoot at. This is the first movie in which Steve Kloves was not the one who wrote the screenplay for the Potter series. There was a new man for the job and I believe that he has made a very rought script. I can forgive the alterations and I feel sorry for Cho Chang for getting the blame of revealing Dumbledore’s Army (in the book, it was Marietta, Chang’s friend, who told Umbridge about the DA meetings). What I could not forgive is that the movie is made out of clusters of events that are not well-crafted. Yes, the 4 previous movies are also made of these clusters, but then, there is coherence behind it, and in OOTP, it seems that there are events that just jumps one into another. It is a good thing that Steve Kloves will be back for Half-Blood Prince.
The acting improved for the Trio, but we see less of Ron though. I commend for the portrayal of Professor Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange, these are exactly what I pictured out of who they are. I certainly hoped that Umbridge has more bitchin’ in the movie, she was certainly more "hatable" in the book than in the movie, in which I view her more like a comic character than hateful. Harry’s character has only 1/4 of the anguished and anger featured in the book, but then, who can we blame if this is what the producers want.
The questions remains unanswered. How could JK Rowling leave her marvelous book to these mongrels who has not have any Potter blood flowing through their veins? Couldn’t they make a new movie for this, just for its sake? Rowling, don’t let this happen to Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. I still have little faith left in the movies. Don’t let it end up in the garbage.