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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movie Review

Harry Potter V
So, the new Blade Runner recut comes out in a couple of months. The 10000bc trailer looked kinda cool. Fred Claus looked horrendous. Oh, right, Harry Potter. So here's the thing. Fans of Harry Potter will probably love this movie. I've seen all V, and yes, am the only person in the western hemisphere who has not, check that ,will not read the books. It's a matter of principle. Anyway, it's not that I have anything against Potter. I liked most of the franchise so far, and really liked the last one. And really my problem here isn't with David Yates, the director, he does a great job. The actors are good, they got lucky when they picked those kids. And it has every British actor there is. The cinematography, production design is the best of the series so far.
The first problem is not Yates' fault, or really anyone involved in this film. It's that when you have multiple directors on a series you have different people with different priorities. And this is most noticeable with there are characters who reappear and disappear between films, and those who are supposed to mean something that don't. People who read the books may be able to fill in the gaps, but there were several times a character seemed to be a standing in as a plot device. The failure to fully establish Mr hunk guy that died in the last one really really hurts this film. It's not Yates' fault but it really hurts the film. Why should I care about a guy that was in the last film for 20 minutes? Now I know he was huge in the book, but I don't read the books now do I? There is way too much exposition and nothing really that happens. And since the characters don't get room to breathe there really isn't any satisfaction at all, except for the look of the film. The plot feels phoned in.
And that Potter Plot is so predictable. Something strange happens in the real world in the summer right before the new school year, making things tense at Hogwarts, there's a creepy new teacher, someone appears bad but is really good, or vice versa, strange a doings transpiring, some strange creatures, and a confrontation that doesn't resolve anything. I kept waiting for a subversion of this but it didn't happen.
And I suppose that leads to my next problem, which is with Rowling and the screenwriters. The character arcs have become so tiresomely used and derivative that it feels unfair to us and the characters. I mean the whole good vs. evil thing, destinies to fulfill: the scene with the protagonist looking at the prospect of revenge, but choosing the nobler way and letting them live is in every summer movie. And the get by with a little help from my friends deal, I've seen that scene at least 20 times. The schmaltzy montage at the end was the final injustice. For the first few movies I cared about these kids, but the plot seems just forced into conflict, an inevitable conflict that can't come soon enough. I mean really, the next one is gonna be worse than this one, just buying time until the big showdown we all know is going to happen. This film marks the point in the franchise where Plot is now dictating character, not the other way around.
This film chronicles Harry's teenage traumas, ( btw why do the kids still not like him he's like won all sorts of stuff, and saved the school hasn't he?), and that is a good parallel to perhaps the most blatant of the films faults. It doesn't have enough darkness to make it have significant weight (I really don't see how it got a Pg-13). And it doesn't have the whimsy of the earlier films to make it fun. It, like Harry, is experiencing adolescent angst.

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