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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Harry Potter!

I love Harry Potter and am not ashamed to admit it. I've read all the books and seen all the movies -- although I've never gone quite as far as camping out a Barnes & Noble to be the first reader of the newest book. 

As soon as a July release date was announced for the sixth movie adaptation (pushed back seven months from the original November release date), I began looking forward to this latest installment.

Wizard hats for sale!

It didn't disappoint. Although many scenes from the book were cut out or heavily edited, that's to be expected when turning a 600+ page book into a 2-and-a-half hour movie. The movies improve every time, mostly because the main kids evolved into actors with some real talent.

What was great about this film was that it was fast-moving -- besides having a slighty sore bum from so much sitting, I hardly noticed how long the movie was -- and allowed some of the talented supporting actors (Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman) more screen time and lines. It was less the Harry-Hermione-Ron show and a more ensemble piece, which definitely improved things in my mind.

Cool promotion for UP, another movie on my to-see list.

Random observations:

- The crucial end scene from the book was gone! Definitely a loss, although someone told me it will instead be the opening scene of the first part of the seventh movie.

- Although many of the supporting characters saw an increase of screen time, others either disappeared (what's a good Brit film without Emma Thompson?!) or only had two lines and a couple of reaction shots (poor Julie Walters).

- Did anyone else notice that Draco was in a lot of scenes but only had about three lines? It was strange, eh? He was also dressed throughout as some sort of child mafioso. And I remember hearing a lot about Helen McCrory being cast as Mrs. Malfoy (she was originally meant to be Bellatrix) but she also only had a handful of lines and a couple of scenes. 

- Oh yea, and did Neville have any lines? He was in the back of a lot of shots... Ah well, I'm sure Matthew Lewis (had to look that one up!) still got his pay day. 

- Hermione's clothes were fantastic in absolutely every scene. Seriously, I sometimes stopped paying attention to the plot and was just thinking about where I could find a sweater like hers. 

- There's a reason books are usually better than their films -- with a book, things like tone and inflection are all in your head. So a crucial line like Dumbledore's final "please" to Snape can be interpreted a number of different ways. But on film, it's confined to one interpretation which (I thought) gave a lot away to an observant viewer. 

Of course, nothing beats a good parody and this 2003 Comic Relief sketch, with an all-star cast to rival the actual film, is the best. 

We had lunch at COEX before the movie (at Tomatillo, naturally) and I loved this stand advertising "fresh, healthy food" and serving a variety of fried pork and meat-on-a-stick products.