Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and The JK Rowling Kills Everyone

Other options for titles:

Harry Potter and The Worst Camping Trip Ever

Harry Potter and The Everything Sucks Forever

Harry Potter and The Shit Gets Real

Harry Potter and The Villain Who Looked Like An Idiot

"Oh no, guys!! Watch out, it's...*snicker*"

He looks like a noseless cancer patient. The Dark Lord Voldemort was the scariest fucking antagonist I had ever read in my tiny nerd life back when I was little and reading the books, and now he looks less threatening than...than,

Than this, really

But I'm getting ahead of myself, I suppose. The reason this post is so late is because I just got back from the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! FOR FREE. How? You might wonder. Well maybe I'm just that cool and super-special...or maybe the school was giving away free tickets. Shut up. Either way, I got to see it tonight, so nyah nyah!

It's weird to think this is the next to last one, I mean, I was nine years old when I read the first book, that's eleven freaking years ago! And the first movie is nine years old. I have literally grown up with Harry Potter so it's pretty crazy that this is it. And no matter how hit or miss the movies have been over the years, no matter how cheesy certain bits are or how overplayed the Potter Universe may have become, when the movie started and logo flashed and the quiet chiming theme music started up, all the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and I felt like I was eleven years old all over again, going to the see first movie, beyond excited to see the books come to life on the big screen.

And then we actually saw the Death Eaters. Voldy's issue is obvious, Snape for whatever reason has extra long and bouncy tresses and really heavy eye-liner. Go figure. Meanwhile Bellatrix looks like a strung-out crackhead and the usually-fabulous Lucious Malfoy looks like the aftermath of an all-night bender. Are these the bad guys or a support group of some kind?

Anyway, Harry Potter 7 Part 1 wants you to know right away that shit gets real. Remember in those early movies, when little Harry was learning all about magic and wonder? FUCK THAT. JK Rowling has decided to lose what was left of the whimsy and start killing bitches, and does she ever. I won't ruin it for you if you've never read the books, but no one is safe: minor characters, major characters, beloved characters, family pets. No one is safe from the murderous will of JK Rowling.

"HEDWIG!! ...And I thought I was ruthless!"

(ok so I spoiled one. The owl dies. Sorry.)

Anywhoo, even though it was an obvious money-grab, I was glad that the last movie was split in two, now it had time and space to breath and tell the story properly, get in all the action and...what was in the 7th book anyway? (flips through pages) Camping, bickering, camping, being sad, camping, destroying horcruxes, bickering some more, camping...well shit.

And the movie does not skimp on the camping. When Voldemort's influence spreads to the Ministry of Magic, nowhere is safe for Harry and he's on the run from the entire magical world while at the same time trying to find and destroy all of the horcruxes, pieces of random crap Voldemort hid bits of his life-force in. And to do this, it is incredibly necessary for Harry, Ron and Hermione to camp in various picturesque forest locales and snip at each other about every little goddamn thing. Because it's SERIOUS and junk.

You can take your whimsy and shove it

For the most part, the movie does do a good job of keeping things tense as the gang hides out, trying to flee from the very Third Reich-ish evil wizards. There's a really great scene where they infiltrate the Ministry of Magic disguised as adults and the actors playing the random adults they turn into are really funny and do a good job of imitating Harry Ron and Hermione's facial tics and such. Another really neat part is this scene where Hermione tells an old bedtime story type thing about three brothers that relates to this wand Voldemort is trying to find, they do it as her narrating this really fantastic-looking animated sequence. It's kind of jarring because it's Harry Potter and so you don't expect it, but it looks all kinds of cool. The best I can do to describe it is a mix of:

The silhouette-style animation from The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello

And the puppet fairytale scene from the beginning of Hellboy 2

It comes the hell out of nowhere but it's totally awesome. As our heroes flee to evade capture, characters are rushed in and out at breakneck speed, most you know, some you don't but were supposed to but the movies never really bothered so you see them now for about ten seconds and then they die horribly but you don't really care because you met them ten seconds ago AND WHY DID IT TAKE YOU TO MOVIE SEVEN TO INTRODUCE RON'S BROTHER BILL FOR CRAP'S SAKE HE GETS MAULED BY A WEREWOLF IN BOOK 6 AND YOU JUST TOSS THAT INTO THE CONVERSATION FOR HALF A SECOND AND PRETEND IT MEANS SOMETHING, sorry, Half-Blood Prince Dangling Threads flashback.

So, let me sum up:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Deathy-Death is more of the same movie-wise. It's not awful or anything, but it's hugely compressed as well as overpopulated. Visually it's quite nice and sometimes the drama works and sometimes it's a bit silly but if you've made it this far through the films you might as well just go see it. It's super-dark and has the scariest old lady I have ever seen, there's rather a lot camping and bitching though, but the movie really didn't feel like it was dragging. All in all, Harry Potter earns three and a half catapults out of five, but I think a bit of that is it taking advantage of my childhood fondness.

Also, can I just say a bit about Dobby the house elf? Remember in the early movies, when he was a wrinkly pink bit of CGI? Kinda like Yoda but not green? Well the technology of today has transformed Dobby into a creature that sits right at the apex of my Uncanny Valley and creeped me the hell out every time they showed him:

It's Dobby!...Kill it!!!

Still, not nearly as Uncanny Valley disturbing as Tron 2's CGI Young Jeff Bridges:

If you need me, I'll be over here, whimpering with fear

This is Sugary Cynic saying "What's that ticking noise?" 'Night!


  1. I want to thank you Sugary Cynic for finally bringing to light a very important issue; Voldemort really does look like a weak, nose-less cancer patient. Even Ron looks more intimidating than him.

  2. How have I never seen the Potter Puppet pals before?! Awesome.

  3. If you have an Uncanny Valley, it should be the nadir, not the apex. Valleys are deep and mountains are tall.

  4. But then Dobby gets really badass.

    And what are the Deatheaters but a bunch of whiny little girls?

  5. Zia: Seriously, when the ginger kid is more threatening you know you're doing something horribly wrong.

    Jess: How indeed?

    Anon: Duly noted, in my defense, it was three in the morning and I hadn't slept all that much the night before.

    Simon: He DOES get super Dobby-badass. But his eyes were so CREEPY.

  6. Voldemort's awesome! It's all in the performance, not the makeup! Oh, and I done do a review too:

  7. I just can't bring myself to fear him at all (shrug) And the sill faces he makes when he says menacing things really isn't helping either


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