Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Posts Tagged ‘movies’

My review of The Dark Night: A / 9.6

Posted by Patrick on 23 Jul 2008

As always with my reviews, I first need to say that I will probably dive into some spoiler territory with this review, so please don’t bother to read this entire post if you don’t want to encounter any spoiler material, even if I include it accidentally without forewarning. If you don’t want to read this post, you should know that:

* I ultimately rate this movie an A on the education scale
* a 9.6 on the 10-point Richter scale
* There is a lion’s share of violence (weapon-based violence) in this movie. If you’re one of those parents who wants to shield your kids from this kind of stuff, leave them at home.

and with that, if you don’t want to encounter any spoilers you may safely stop reading this article.

If you’re expecting something that includes a funny scene just because it has the Joker, you’re misguided on this movie. If you’re expecting a continuation of Nicholson’s Joker character, you’re also a fair bit off center with where this movie goes. It is a very, VERY knife-edge serious movie right from the opening scene, and it does not let up in the least until the credits roll.

Now, on to the review. First and foremost, I loved this movie. I thought it was beautifully executed in nearly every way. Even the color timings and the vividness of the scenery, despite being mostly filmed in Chicago, was great. I think Chicago was the perfect setting for this movie – it’s gritty, urban, and has that aura that naturally makes it great for this kind of movie. I should say, it is the best Gotham City that we have seen on the screen (in my opinion).

***SPOILER ALERT*** I may bring up some things that happen in the movie. If you want to avoid that possibility, you probably don’t need to click. No refunds.

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What the hell was THAT all about? HP:OotP movie feedback

Posted by Patrick on 11 Jul 2007

If you check the harry potter category tag from my blog you’ll see that I’m relatively unhealthily in tune with this story line, and that I was greatly anticipating the release of this movie as the one which would redeem the not-so-good GoF movie which preceeded it. I’m going to write this review because it needs to be done. As a story purist and movie enthusiast, I am borderline appalled at what I just sat through. Let’s discuss the movie from 2 perspectives: first, the good parts and the relevant inclusions for future movies; then, secondly, about what my personal disappointments were from the movie/screenplay.

!SPOILER ALERT! THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST ADDRESSES SCENES, PLOT LINES, CHARACTERS, AND THE GOOD AND BAD FROM THE HP:OOTP MOVIE. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE MOVIE NOR READ THIS BOOK AND YOU DO NOT WISH TO EITHER LEARN THE STORY OR BECOME BIASED TOWARDS EITHER, I SUGGEST AGAINST CONTINUING WITH READING THIS POST. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED; NO REFUNDS NOR EXCHANGES FOR STORE CREDIT ACCEPTED BELOW THIS LINE.

First, the good parts. If you peep tag surfer under Harry Potter, you’ll come across a few good posts (especially this one) that I’ve already read on how the movie lays foundation for the final 2 movies in this series. I’m going to address a few of them myself, not to hijack anyone’s thunder, I’m just not the first to post.

1) The HP love life subplot is marginally well-done in this movie. Though there is some weak buildup in the attraction between Harry and Cho — especially on Harry’s end, though they were merciful enough to leave in Hermione’s line about Cho not being able to take her eyes off of Harry — this culminates in a pretty clumsy teenager kiss that links them as a couple. However, the movie is quick to crush this relationship (as it should) and doesn’t begin to overtly play up the Harry+Ginny subtheme, and we assume that this is left for the HBP movie. We don’t even see Cho after the scene where Dumbledore flees Hogwarts.

2) The darkness of the movie was more than appropriate. I thought the isolation of Harry’s character was well done, even if we were browbeaten with it. The movie needed to show that Harry felt alone in his fight so that the DA could be his outlet of normalcy, and I think that was done very well.

3) The death eaters. I will have a good and a bad here, but on the good side I think visually they carried the appropriate amount of evil in their characters, and the effects for them and for the Order members were very well done.

4) Dolores Umbridge. I really did like how her character was portrayed. I mean, in the story I really do hate her character, as I should, but it was equally vicious watching her on the screen. Icing on the cake = her pink cat cameo lapel button and collectible cat plate set.

edit:
5) Evanna Lynch was amazing as Luna, though she was limited in her frame time. I don’t think it was significant that she took Harry’s hand at the end of the story other than to provide some reassurance and some sympathy for his loss.

6) It was subtle, but I really liked how the movie begins a subtle playing of Ron and Hermione getting together. The director is just using blocking here to separate them from Harry in the frame to both play up Harry’s isolated feeling but also to note that they are becoming closer. It’s only in a few scenes of the total that Harry is actually between them.
/edit

Now, what’s in the movie that’s relevant for later because it had no other purpose? And what wasn’t in the movie that probably wasn’t because it doesn’t matter later?

1) Kreacher. This was already known before the release of the movie from JKR’s interviews, but we see Kreacher now because we will see him again later. Otherwise, his bit scenes were pointless except to show that Sirius is his master.

2) The relationship between Tonks and Lupin was omitted. Most of Tonks’ lines were cut. So why was she there except to show off her ability.

3) Harry’s conversation with Nearly Headless Nick at the end of the story was omitted. Instead, we have a very poignant line from Luna that carries the weight of the entire movie. This whole conversation was changed to fit the plot at the time — in the book this is also where we find out that Luna saw her mother die and therefore can see the thestrals. AND, this is where Luna tells Harry about the voices behind the veil, which was very, VERY much downplayed in the movie almost to the point of omission had Sirius not needed to fall through it. In the movie, Luna indicates that she can also hear the voices when Harry is staring at it. But this is more than relevant here — none of the others could hear the voices or at least none of them said they could. If the logic holds true, Neville should have been able to hear them as well, since he says in the book he could see the thestrals. That would make the veil a sort-of repository for dead souls, so to speak, that could only be communicated with by people who’ve seen death.

4) They left out St. Mungo’s completely. This means there’s no revival scene for Gilderoy Lockhart and no seeing Neville’s parents. Instead, we hear from Neville (and not Dumbledore) about his parents and only to Harry, where in the story Ron and Hermione also know. So, the important part of that is Neville’s mindset and motivation to continue fighting.

5) Petunia’s knowledge of the wizarding world was omitted. I was absolutely floored by this, and I mean I was really upset that this wasn’t in the movie. It doesn’t lend itself to her having any “real” involvement in the last book.

Lastly, here’s a list of 20 things I wanted to see in the movie which I didn’t, and in no particular order. It probably isn’t everything, but it’s the first 20 I can think of without going back to the book for reference.
1) Dumbledore’s howler to Petunia and Petunia’s blurting out of what a dementor is, just so I could see Vernon’s reaction.
2) No quidditch — not even a mention of the word. I wanted to see this, but I think it was cut to downplay Harry and Cho’s relationship. “Weasley is our King” is a strong theme in the book that works towards Ron and Hermione’s relationship later (remember she has a thing for quidditch players a la Krum)
3) No classroom lessons except DADA. I wanted to see Harry getting bad grades in potions class, as this is absolutely relevant for HBP.
4) McGonagall’s trip to St. Mungo’s was omitted, not even mentioned. McGonagall was downplayed except for her famous spat with Umbridge.
5) Not once did I hear anyone awarding or subtracting house points. It breaks the students-at-a-school theme, if you ask me.
6) Mrs. Weasley and the boggart was omitted.
7) Tonks explaining what a metamorphmagus is and Harry’s inquisitive nature about it. Probably cut to keep showing him as feeling isolated from everyone else.
#8 Moody cleaning his magic eye. Just wanted to see that for the sickening factor.
9) Harry’s temper tantrum when he arrived at Sirius’ house was nearly absent. I wanted to see him go off full-bore.
10) Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott. We are only left to assume that it was Madam Bones asking questions at the hearing. We never heard “a corporeal patronus?” so we don’t know.
11) Marietta Edgecombe’s SNEAK pimples. She was in absentia.
12) Ron and Hermione being made prefects. Or any of the others for that matter (Ernie, Hannah, the Patil girl, Malfoy, etc.)
13) a huge omission: The sorting hat’s soliloquy
14) There was no mention of Hogsmeade.
14a) No Harry and Cho date to initiate the breakup.
14b) NO INTERVIEW WITH RITA SKEETER
14c) No Mundungus Fletcher dressed as a woman
14d) No Ginny’s impersonation of Umbridge
15) Professor Grubbly-Plank was mentioned in the opening feast but then omitted. This probably means Hagrid is there to stay.
16) Dobby was omitted
17) SPEW was not mentioned, nor did we ever see Hermione knitting anything.
18) The department of mysteries
18a) Hermione’s flagrate spell.
18b) the brain room
18c) the time room with the bird in the bell jar
19) Snape’s Worst Memory had about 0.0005 seconds of Susie Shinner as young Lily Evans and was cut ridiculously short.
19a) no Lily defending Snape
19b) no Snape calling Lily a mudblood
20) no Weasley-created swamp. I really wanted to see that and see Peeves salute F&G as they departed.

What are your thoughts? I’m interested to hear them.

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