Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HP Manic

Work is totally kicking my ass right now, so please forgive the lack of posting. It's not even that I don't have anything good to talk about right now! So first things first, the latest movie review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
I have to tell you, I was not super-excited about this movie until I saw it. I hadn't watched any of the trailers, and though Goblet of Fire was good, it wasn't that good. Frankly, Michael Gambon seriously turns me off as Dumbledore. I've had the debate several times where people say that if he'd tried to play it as Richard Harris did, he'd get accused of aping Richard Harris. Well, I get that, I guess, but the thing is, Richard Harris was the absolute physical manifestation of what my mind sees Dumbledore as. In the two movies he is in, he shouts exactly one time, when the cave troll is let into Hogwarts, and that's to get the students to be calm and quiet. Other than that, his voice constantly sounds like he's having a conversation with one person, even if he is speaking in front of everyone in the Great Hall. Harris's eyes sparkled in the exact way I've imagined Dumbledore's, and the quieter moments he had with Harry really gave off that sweet, grandfatherly vibe that I think is key to the character. Albus Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in the world, but he's also remarkably gentle, and has shown compassion to everyone, including Tom Riddle. Gambon is just so abrupt and harsh in comparison. In the Great Hall in Prisoner of Azkaban, his establishing scene at the opening banquet immediately turned me off. He sounded like was shouting immediately, and that's just not in character from the books. Yes, they're separate entities, but the character is who he is. My other big nits to pick is his absurd little wink near the end of PoA when he's telling Harry and Hermione to use the time-turner. It's so skeazy and not in character. It didn't come off right at all to me. And the last thing I'll bitch about was the Champion selecting scene in GoF. The way he shouted Harry's name, then ran up and grabbed him? No. Sorry, wrong number, not Dumbledore. So anyway, mostly because of that and the complete wussification of Ron Weasley, I wasn't the biggest fan of the last two movies.

Pleasant surprise, though, this was actually one of the best yet! So much stuff ended up working. Imelda Staunton could not have been a more perfect cast for Dolores Umbridge, nor could Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. They were both fabulous editions to the cast. Also, it was good to actually get to spend some time with the character of Sirius Black, since he really didn't have much at all to do in GoF. I think Gary Oldman really got it right with the warmth and penned up energy Sirius has in the book. It was really nice to get to see that character fleshed out in movie form. Rupert Grint, Dan Radcliffe, and Emma Watson were all really good as well. Ron was less of a wimp! Huzzah! Their interactions were really solid and probably the best I've seen them yet.

Some of the special effects were stunners, too. Sirius speaking from the fire place was SO much better than it was in GoF. If you recall, GoF has his face basically animated in the coal bed of the fire. OoTP has his head as a form in the flames, which is so much closer to what I saw in my head, and much more satisfying. Tonks's transformations were great fun, but she was barely in the movie, which is a bit of a bummer. The Veil also looked awesome. It was a little more ethereal than I think I had pictured it, but it really worked, I was quite impressed. The thestrals didn't really fit my mind's eye picture. They looked more like dinosaurs to me. But they still worked, overall, and the scene with Harry and Luna was a nice one. The Wizard Duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort looked a bit too much like a light saber fight for me at first, but it moved away from that, which was good.

The best part to me was the training scenes for the DA. Those completely embodied to me what the book showed. Harry is a really good, really warm teacher, and the class is excited and eager to learn. The only omission I really missed was Harry seeing Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom at St. Mungo's. Seeing Mrs. L give the gum wrapper to Neville and to see Neville's reaction really changed that character for me. I actually really started to care for and about him as a main character at that point. The movie handled it fairly well, but I did miss the scene a lot.

Anyway, that's my two cents on that. The book comes out Saturday! And I have to go to a concert Saturday night! D'oh! Oh well. I'm sure I'll have more to say on that subject soon.


might be an illusion said...

I loved it too. I can't believe the book is finally almost here!

Marc Fishman said...

Dumbledore isn't the same, and yes, the new one does yell an awful lot. I think they didn't let the Snape backstory fill entirely as much as needed. I hated the wizard duels... Way to much camera shaking. Also, having not read the books, I don't know how entertaining it is to just see 1000 castings of "Stupified" with everyone flying about. Kinda bleh. The single greatest moment for me really was when harry admitted that thus far, the only thing that made him what he was... was nepotism and luck. All cool.