Monday, October 8, 2007

Harry Potter And The One Hundred Thirty Eight Minutes

I got in a little early to LaGrange tonight. I headed up to Walgreen's, walked up the seasonal aisle to trigger all the cheesy motion-sensor Halloween decorations, then picked up some plain M&M's.

There being no school tomorrow due to Columbus Day, there were gangs of giggling teens out and about. On my walk to the theater, I witnessed a LaGrange cop use his car's loudspeaker to tell some teens to pick up some garbage. I realize you may worry about my safety as I venture into this cutthroat neighborhood of ice cream establishments and clothing boutiques, but I assure you safety is my number one priority. I walk with my hand on a cellphone in my pocket, with the numbers "9" and "1" pre-entered.

It was another embarrassment of riches at the LaGrange Theater tonight. Here were my options:

The Brothers Solomon
I really like the director Bob Odenkirk from his Mr. Show days, and I really like writer/star Will Forte on SNL, but the reviews for this film weren't very positive, and I find that seeing an unfunny comedy, particularly one from people I respect, kinda puts me in a funky mood.

I'm actually kinda excited about seeing this second outing from Brad Bird and Pixar, starring one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt. Unfortunately, I watched The Incredibles with the kids earlier the same day. I feared that if I saw two Brad Bird movies so close together, I would somehow will his corporeal form into my life, which would then start haranguing myself and my family for not being compelling enough.

The Simpsons Movie
I saw this already and would like to see it again, but I guess not tonight.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix -- Ooh, a fantasy movie, with Halloween approaching. Let's go!

This movie actually favorably compares to the other Harry Potter movies. I strongly disliked the first two, directed by Christopher Columbus (wow, two distinct and unrelated references to Christopher Columbus in one post!). He has directed many cheesy kind-of-okay movies in his long career, including a childhood semi-favorite of mine, Goonies. Where was the Cyndi Lauper title song for these first two Potter movies? Where?

The third Potter film was (and still is) the best of the bunch, directed by the magnificent Alfonso Cuarón.

The fourth was craptastic.

The biggest enemy of all the Harry Potter movies (as well as the later Harry Potter books) is long-windedness. They just go for too damned long. Order of the Phoenix was made well enough, but it just went on and on and on.

I agree with all the other movie reviewers that Imelda Staunton was great as Dolores Umbridge. She could have shown a little cleavage, though. I don't really mean that, but I feel like I have to make my review stand out in some way.

Helena Bonham Carter was sufficiently wacko as Bellatrix Lestrange, but she could have showed a little more cleavage. I didn't mean that either.

Lastly, I liked Natalia Tena as Nymphadora Tonks. Women with pink hair are cute! I don't have anything to say about her cleavage. I don't want a pink-haired girl miffed at me.

So, despite the godforsaken length of this film, what else can I bitch about? Hmmm. I actually enjoyed the climatic battle between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death-Eaters, as well as the battle between Voldemort and Dumbledore. I had disliked the look of Voldemort in Goblet Of Fire, but it didn't bother me so much in this film.

There was the occasional clunky dialogue, where plot points had to be conveyed quickly and succinctly in order for a non-reader of the book to have a clue as to what the hell was going on. I realize that for the most part this kinda crap is probably a necessity when you are condensing a meandering, overlong novel into an overlong film.

The few supernatural creatures in this movie looked kinda cheesy, whether it was Sirius Black's house-elf Kreacher, Hagrid's half-brother Grawp, or a group of pissed-off centaurs in a forest.

Especially regarding the centaurs, who not only were rendered kind of poorly, but they didn't look remotely like they are supposed to, as clearly indicated by the cover to the original Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.

I mean come on, people, do you need a D&D dork like me telling you how centaurs, trolls, owlbears and whatever-the-hell-that-upside-down octopus-looking-thing-is are supposed to look?


jin said...

I do.
You are the only D&D dork I have ever known... unless there were others that hid it from me. Which could be. Because it's not normally something one freely admits to, is it? So why did you? Huh?
I'm watching you! If that parting sentence of yours is gone in the morning... I'll... I'll... well, I'll do something!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

A sure way to start a fire storm on the internetz is to diss anything Harry Potter.

I actually really liked this movie, particularly Neville and Luna - they are both so adorable yet hard-ass.

dguzman said...

You're so awesome, Splotch. I myself psychotically LOVE Harry Potter, and I agree with you that Prisoner of Azkaban was the best movie by far. I'm hoping good things for the last two, especially that they incorporate more of the books' storylines into the movies. I realize the movies are for kids, but gees I hate that "one sentence of dialogue=entire storyline" approach of the Order of the Phoenix movie. I like the way the books meander, and I miss that in the movies.

I love Neville too, Barbara!

Of course, I'm also secretly in love with Hermione. Emma Watson is Purrrrrrfect.

Moderator said...

I used to have that book. I have no idea where it is now.

Seriously, I don't.

Splotchy said...

jin, for more of the gory details, check out this post.

barb, yeah I liked them as well. They were good representations of the characters, I thought.

d, if you haven't seen Y tu mamá también or Children Of Men, also by Cuarón, you should.

grant, I imagine wherever it is it's sandwiched between the Player's Handbook and the Dungeon Master's Guide.

lulu said...

Dolores Umbridge was so much like my old vice principal that I felt sick to my stomach the entire time I watched the movie.

Matthew Hubbard said...

My name for the most recent installment was "Harry Potter and the Allegory of the Bush Administration".

Maybe it's just me.