Archive for the ‘Robbie Coltrane’ Category

MOVIE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (2011)

September 2, 2011

Now that it’s finally over — all the books, all the movies, all the everythings — I just wanted to say one last time:

From the bottom of my deep story-loving heart, J.K. Rowling, I thank you.  Because that?  Was one HELL of a ride.

(For those of you who are afraid the last movie might be a disappointment, by the way:  it isn’t.  Good goddamn, it was grand. Fare thee well, Mr. Potter.  It was a pleasure getting to know you.)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Drama, Fantasy
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Robbie Coltrane

MOVIE: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

August 14, 2009

hphalfbloodI finally set aside the requisite 8 million hours (feels like!) it takes to watch a Harry Potter movie and got my butt to a theater seat for this one at long last Monday.  Now, before you get my tone wrong, it should be noted that I’m a big fan of the books, even the ones that sucked, and I’ve also really enjoyed all the movies so far, even the ones that sucked.  So, I was excited to see it; it’s just a big time commitment.  A two-and-a-half hour movie means no Diet Coke, after all, otherwise there will have to be a pee break.  And a movie without a Diet Coke is always a challenge for me, because those are two great tastes that just go so great together.  Kind of like peanut butter and cheese (hi, Dad!).

In any case, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe are absolutely incredible in this.  I thought I couldn’t get enough Hermione before, but after this movie, I want to move her into my spare room so I can hang out with her all the time.  There is a scene in which Herm (I can call her Herm now that she’s my roommate) and Harry sit on a step together while she cries about feeling unseen by the boy she loves (Ron, for the uninitiated) as Harry sits next to her and just exudes this insane amount of caring-for-her coupled with the sort of awkwardness that hits you when you get to be an older teenager and realize your best friend is someone of the opposite sex.  It’s everything you could ever want in a friendship – that expression on his face.  It’s perfection.  You two crazy kids — you killed me with that, srsly.

Now the bad news: the rest of this movie tooootally sucked.  I was stunned, actually, by how incredibly bad it truly was.  And I’m not referring to plot cuts — I’m one of the rare book lovers who doesn’t get all het up about movies in which half the content of the story is axed.  It has to be done, and I recognize that, even while I don’t always agree with the choices.  Tell your story — I’ll listen.  What I feel like you missed, I can always remind myself of with a reread of the (tome!) instead.

No, my problem wasn’t really with what got left out in terms of actual plot points.  Instead, it was about what got left out in terms of theme, and what wasn’t there at all in terms of inspiration or creativity.  First of all, it has some of the most subpar special effects I’ve ever seen, especially for a movie I know had a budget bigger than the GNP of half the world’s nations.  I could practically see the green screen this time, not to mention that stupid fake-looking bridge in the beginning that looked SO FAKE, MY GOD!  Plus, the scene with the horcrux necklace in the cave — what was up with the set for that?  It starts out like the Holy Grail cave in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade coupled with Superman’s 1978 movie version of the Fortress of Solitude (cheesy crystals and all), and then there’s this sudden influx of Gollums slithering around looking for their Precious.  What the. . .?  That was just bad, Mr. Yates.  BAD.  So bad.

But theme, lordy, theme.  The point of this installment in the series was to look at the impact or difficulty of making choices, right?  Harry is suddenly thrust into the same dilemma that wracked poor Spiderman — he’s got a lot of power and with that comes a lot of responsibility.  But at the same time, he’s just a kid, and he’s in love, and he’s confused, and everything he’s “supposed” to do as “the chosen one” seems to interfere with everything he wants to do as a kid.  The whole movie should’ve been framed around this central concept.

Instead, it all comes out completely disjointed and untethered, like everybody was working from an outline that only had Roman numerals.  It felt like they were trying to hit the parts they knew they had to hit to set up the next movie, bam bam bam check!, and then just threw in other stuff at random to fill the thing out.  But “setting it up for the ending” is not an acceptable excuse for sucking.  And this movie ended up having no emotional weight to it whatsoever, even when one of the most beloved characters in the series gets killed at the end.  Which, lame.

Also, where was Hagrid?  MORE HAGRID.

In any case, if you haven’t gotten your hiney in a movie theater seat for this one yet, I strenuously recommend waiting for DVD.  Now that I know the same director is in charge of the final two movies (they’re splitting the last book into two pictures, in case you hadn’t heard), waiting for DVD will also be my plan unless both films get a ridiculous amount of enthusiastically positive reviews that manage to convince me it’s worth the big screen committment and unpausable pee breaks.

Between now and then, though, let’s hope director David Yates is paying attention to the criticisms about this installment and taking them to heart.  Pay attention, Yates.  Pay it.  I beg you.

(Incidentally, this just in:  for 99 cents, you can download an iPhone application called RunPee that will tell you the best scenes during which to hit the loo in the most popular films playing in theaters.  It tells you what you missed when you get back, and also has a countdown feature that lets you know how much time you have to wait in line for a stall with a lock on it before you start to miss out on something important.  BRILLIANT!  Downloaded and installed, and Diet Coke, here I come!)

[Prequeue me at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Drama, Fantasy
Cast:  Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Helene Bonham Carter (HATE!), Jim Broadbent (LOVE!), David Thewlis

MOVIE: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

August 7, 2007

Hey, I finally saw a movie in the theater! Hooray for me! I almost never do this anymore, because I have suuuuuch a low tolerance for rude people these days and they’re always so much harder to ignore in settings like movie theaters. But my Mom was coming to town and she wanted to see it too so we went together, which was really incredibly super fun. Hooray for Mom, who is my best movie-watching buddy EVER!

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW, SO DON’T READ THIS REVIEW UNLESS YOU’VE READ THE BOOK OR SEEN THE MOVIE ALREADY:

Okay, so, all hooray-ing aside, I do have to confess both I and my Mom agreed that this one was our least favorite Harry Potter movie so far. Don’t get me wrong here — IT WAS A BLAST, AS ALWAYS. We still had a terrific time watching it and there’s simply no such thing as a bad Harry Potter movie, as far as I’m concerned. We especially loved Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge — she not only looked perfect for the role, but she was absolutely hilariously eeeeevil to boot (those kitty plates in her office were cracking us up constantly). Totally awesome.

That said, the movie itself was a bit of a disappointment — just a bit! For one thing, I really felt the director picked several wrong things to include in the film at the expense of several right things that either didn’t make it in at all or were barely mentioned. Some of the most important elements of the entire novel felt glossed over, yet several scenes in the middle just kind of slogged by. Sirius’s death scene in particular happened way too quickly and with so little sense of poignancy that it just felt almost casual, which was all, all, ALL wrong.

And I also felt like too much room was made for Luna Lovegood (an important character, I agree, but maybe not THIS important), when instead, I thought there needed to be more than just a few seconds of Snape’s backstory during the occlumency scenes. Snape’s history with Harry’s parents was not only my favorite part of the book version (because it finally made Snape into a truly complicated character instead of just your standard villain), but it’s also, in my opinion, absolutely vital to where his character ends up two books later.

I read an interview with director David Yates a few months ago in which he said he wanted to make this the shortest Harry Potter movie so far. A noble goal, I suppose, and of course, I think we all recognize that not EVERYTHING can make it into the films. But in my opinion, it would’ve a stronger movie, especially as a stand-alone for people who aren’t reading the books as well, if David had tacked on an extra ten minutes. Instead, I felt the middle was a bit sluggish, the ending was sappy and felt wrongly tidy to me, and lots and lots of truly emotional and intense stuff was kind of breezed past. This movie should’ve felt more like a turning point for Harry, as the weight on his shoulders really begins to intensify and with it his feelings of isolation and anxiety. It should’ve felt heavier than the other movies, more serious, more ominous. And I just didn’t leave the movie feeling that weight. Which is fine, I suppose — I mean, I love the whimsical elements of Harry Potter too. But I wanted more from this movie than I actually got. I got a lot — but I didn’t quite get as much as I’d hoped to.

Nevertheless, it was still one of the best Saturday afternoons of my entire summer. Thanks, Mom.

Genre: Fantasy

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Imelda Staunton, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes (sans nose).