Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Potter Phenomenon

The Potter Phenomenon

The year was 2001 when the critically and commercially succesfull film 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' (Philosopher's in the UK) was originally released to the public,an hat it offered was a ticket for an enormous magical ride that would take us through the life of a young boy who discovers he is a wizard and his struggle against the man who murdered his parents, and it has taken us to the moment we are right now. Its been 10 years since then (hard to believe, huh?), and while many of the fans (including me) are sad to see this series leave, we are all very excited to see the final conclusion to this wonderful series. In less than 24 hours I'll be attending the theater to watch the film, though there are even many people who are attending the midnight screening. While it may not mean as much as older or younger generations (I mean several years younger) for the people who grew up watching this films, like myself, this is the decisive moment of one of the most unforgettable film series we've seen in years.

This little blog might just run a little longer than my usual ones so please bare with me ;)

Ranking the Harry Potter movies:
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: As I said, with this one we boarded the Hogwarts express into a magical and jawdropping world. It was a very fun and ineresting ride back when it was released, but after the years one cannot help but compare it to its predecesors, and unforunately it does pale a little while at that. The fact that this film is much less dark than the rest, including the second one, and also that this film doesn't contain the thrills and emotions from future films make it fall low in this list. But that does not mean that this is a bad film. While a little thin and its character lack development, its magical themes and a very good cast of child actors who can belivably play their roles capture the viewer and hold them tight into the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: I think that the book flows with more thills and emotion, and the film kind of lacked many of the great stuff in the book. However, the film is still a nice adding to the franchise. With much darker and more mature elements than before, and with the safety of Hogwart's students facing great dangers, this film is still very exciting. The performances from the whole cast aroutstanding, and the screenplay, despite lacking some of the intrigue from the book, does capture the book's heart.

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Considered by many the weakest of the Potter films. I myself don't think its the best, but it is still a very good one. I applaud the film for its darkness and how they portray Harry's trouble with his connection with Voldemort. I liked how they made him face his fears and his anger, because up until then he had appeared like 100% good. The cast do a terrific job with this one too, especially Helena Boham Carter as the pychopathic Bellatrix Lestrange. The problem with this film is that it sacrificed the last films' heart for making a much darker adaptation, and that's basically what killed it for many people. Also, many chumps of the book were cut out, so yeah, it is evident why the fans of the book would get angry as well.

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I debate with myself if I should have put this one spot higher, but I guess it is good here. This film, darker than the first but lighter than the second, used to be my favorite up until I rewatched them all before the sixth one came along. The mystery of the chamber and Slytherin's heir, added the Basillisk and the attacks on the muggle borns, makes this film is a very interesting film to watch. True, it still misses the character development like in the previous one, but it is still pretty good.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1: This one danced around quite a bit. I wasn't really sure if I should rate it as one film or wait for the next one to do it as a whole. The fact that it ends on a cliffhanger made me lean on the latter option for a while, but frankly I am more tempted to review both films separately. While I was expecting a mre epic, verging on apocalyptic, story (though I am sure we'll get that in Part 2) I was satisfied with this film. The three main charcters have developed quite nicely, and the actors all turn in very good performances. David Yates also delivers a very good direction, and any second thoughts regarding him may jst go away thanks to this.

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: People consider it the very best of the series, and no wonder, but for me it comes in second. It delivers very good dosis of suspense and intrigue, and as its mysteries are revealed it becomes more exciting by minute. Here is where it basically went dark, and I think that it is the right moment too. Just as Harry and his friends turn teenagers. Gary Oldman's performance is definitely the best one, but the rest of the cast also turn in very good acting.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: I am sure a handful of people will disagree with me here, but please put away your torches and hear me out. First of all, the Triwizard tournament is a delight to see. The effects are very good and added in the tials they work just fine. Voldemort's new body makes his debut on the film, and while he may look like a snake, he is very scary. The intrigue and suspense build up to an exciting climax, where we get to see Harry's first fight with Lord Voldemort. And while I know that these aren't enough for some people, they were for me


Now, I am going to run down a couple of "Harry Potter's Best" in the series:

Best Battle:
Harry Potter vs Lord Voldemort, Graveyard Battle (Goblet of Fire)
Albus Dumbledore vs Lord Voldemort, Ministry (Order of the Phoenix)
Harry Potter vs Tons of Dementors, the Woods (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Harry Potter vs Basilisk, Chamber of Secrets (Chamber of Secrets)
Harry Potter vs Dragon, Triwizard Tournament (Goblet of Fire)

Best Quidditch Match:
Griffindor vs Slytherin (Sorcerer's Stone)
Griffindor vs Slytherin (Chamber of Secrets)
Griffindor vs Hufflepuff, with added Dementor presence (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Irland vs Bulgaria, World Cup Final (Goblet of Fire) -I know this hardly qualiffies as a Quidditch match but the intro was pretty cool :)
Ron vs McLaggen, try outs (Half Blood Prince)

Best Ron and Hermione Moment:
Ron says Hermione's name unconcious (Half Blood Prince)
Hermione holds Ron's hand for a second (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Ron getting jelous over Viktor Krum (Goblet of Fire)
Hermione getting jelous over Lavender Brown (Half Blood Prince)
Ron saying "they wouldn't last two weeks without Hermione" and then adding "don't tell her I said that" (Deathly Hollows Part 1)

Best Polyjuice Potion Use:
Harry and Ron to sneak into Slytherin's dorms (Chamber of Secrets)
Barty Crouch Jr to sneak into Hogwarts as Mad Eye Moody (Goblet of Fire)
The Seven Harrys (Deathly Hollows Part 1)
Harry, Ron and Hermione to sneak into the Ministry (Deathly Hollows Part 1)
-Some sneaky potion isn't it?

Best Creature:
Buckbeak, the Hippogriff (Prisoner of Azkaban)
The Dragon Harry has to face (Goblet of Fire)
Thestrals (Order of the Phoenix)
Fluffy, the three headed dog (Sorcerer's Stone)
Dementors (Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, Deathly Hollows Part 1)

Best Battle: Harry vs Voldemort (Goblet of Fire)
Best Quidditch Match: Griffindor vs Hufflepuff (Prisoner of Azkaban) (its in spanish)
Best Ron and Hermione Moment: Hermione Holds Ron's Hand for a Second (Prisoner of Azkaban)
Best Polyjuice Potion Use: The Seven Harrys (Deathly Hollows Part 1)
Best Creature: Buckbeak, the Hippogriff (Prisoner of Azkaban)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2
For those who have read the book, we all know what's going to happen. To see it on screen will be somethig fantastic. For those who haven't read it, I won't spoil it for you ;)
I just can't believe its reaching an end now. Its been 10 years of my life. Basically my childhood ends tomorrow. Film after film, we all had something to look forward to, and that's the next one. But now there isn't any of that. It all ends tomorrow. One can just hope its a good film to one of the biggest phenomenons in recent history. :'(

Finally watch this last video that shows clips from all 7 movies and the upcoming one in preparation for it :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Little Notice

In the past week or so I send a message saying that I had had some internet problems that had prevented me from blogging and logging into the site. I thought I had that solved. Nevertheless, the ever-so-annoying problem returned and I have been almost the whole week without internet access. I have logged in for a couple of minutes on other computers and such, but I haven't been able to consistently reply, review, blog and comment on everything that's going on. I think I have that covered now. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I am sure you're all aware that a 10 years series is coming to a close on Friday, and the films that defined a generation are finally ending. I can't believe it, really. Back in 01 who would have thought it would come as far? I've been rewatching the films right from 'Sorcerer's Stone' up to 'Deathly Hollows: Part 1', and I am getting ready for Part 2, the epic conclusion, on Friday. I was first planning on going to midnight screening, but then decided against it. I think I'm not able to go due to a tight schedule. But I am going on Friday afternoon, and damn I hope the film is as good, or even better (hopefully), than every other Potter film we've seen ( :D ). Its like my childhood is finally coming to a close. So I am plannng on blogging a little something about the series tomorrow. And I hope to have for Friday, or maybe Saturday if I can't on that day, a review of the last Harry Potter film. I hope I can get that done, and my problems sorted out in order to do that.

More stuff to come too: I think I'll be doing, if this crappy internet connection lets me, to blog something about the Emmys (though we'll know how flawed that can be), and maybe a couple of more reviews of other films, a 'My Favorite Directors' edition, and probably a book review which I haven't done in a long time.

So there it is, I just wanted you guys to know that I will try to log into this much more often, and definitely expect to hear from ;)
Best wishes, your friend, CACB

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Director: Michael Bay
Year: 2011
Country: USA

I know I said I probably wouldn't see this, but I ended up watching it anyway. To tell the truth, the film wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but it wasn't good either. What I regret te most is not watching but rather paying the overpriced 3D tickets (thanks to my little brother, but I don't really blame him, this type of stuff and in 3D appeal to younger children) for a film that paying a normal ticket was expensive anyway.

While the plot of the film is very uneven and hard to really explain, I'll try my best to do it. At least it has a more concise and solid plot than Revenge of the Fallen. Anywa
y, after number 2 the Decepticons haven't been seen in quite some time, and the Autobots now help the humans to work their own conflicts. Sam Witwicky, recently graduated from college and in a new relationship with yet another super hot girl, is currently looking for a job, and his girlfriend's boss sends a recommendation to a company for hiring him. But when the Decepticons attack Sam in his new job, he discovers an ultra secret that ha been guarded by the humans since 1969 that would play a major role in the war of the Transformers. That's basically it, but you have to understand that, as in the second one, things start moving and by the end we get something much different than from what we started.

Well, I have to say that I was (at some level) impressed with this film. I was expecting something worse than what was the first two films, but we actually got something much better than the second one at least. Again, I'm not really saying its good, just better than what I was expecting.
Anyway, for the acting part we get some average to lousy acting. Shia LaBeouf plays Sam Witwicky just like he always does, but his character has been tired down and now he isn't the same we've seen throughout the whole series. He might have matured, but he isn't any bettter
than what he already was. As always, the good performance is delivered by John Turturo. Unfortunately, much like with Sam Witwicky, his character has been tired down and, frankly, overused that he ins't funny nor clever to watch anymore, so his good performance is practiclly wasted. Sam's parents are like always the unnecessary and annoying part of the film, especially Sam's mom, and we get incredibly ridiculous scenes when the world was coming to an end. Rosie Huntington-Whitely does a better job than Megan Fox did, but her empty and flat character doesn't really help her. Her performance isn't awful, but she still isn't convincing enough. Patrick Dempsey, who plays the human villain, did an ok job, but his one sided, two dimensional and silly character wasn't good either.

The film's biggest flaw is its script, as always. The script has dozens of plot holes, just like Revenge of the Fallen. We also get some very stupid things happening all along, and some very very unbelivable stuff too. For example, Carly (Rosie Huntington) goes through an almost apocalypse, and in the final scene she doesn't have a single scratch, her white dress is as clean as it was before
it all started, and her high heels permitted her run and escape all those robots and near death situations. Ridiculous. Her character had no purpose in the movie whatsoever, other than just being eye candy for the male audience. And while many people can argue she was the motivation for Shia LaBeouf's character, the climax would have gone down exactly the same way without her. Other characters had no purpose either, just like Sam's parents who weren't needed in the film at all, or the two little Autobots who were just adding the "comic-relief", but they ended just being annoying, though one can argue that at the end they served their purpose. Also, how many times can the bad guys die and come back? I mean, Megatron before this film had been already killed once and badly injured as well. Come on, seriously? Wouldn't he just give up after two times his plan didn't work? And I have something to say too about the climax: how can they create a climax that lasts around 45 minutes of non stop action? Come on seriously, for the last 45 mins of the film it was just pure explosions and shooting and crashing etc. I had a headache after watching the film.

The film has its good parts despite its bad ones. The most obvious can be the special effects. The effects are some pretty good one, with the explosions, shooting and Transformers looking quite impressive. The action is entertaining for a while, just until it gets too long and then we get tired. And we get some new cool Autobots and Decepticons as well, and while they might have no shred of character development in them, its fun to watch them in action.

When you get an unnecessary (and awful sequel) for a little over average film then by no means we should get a third film. While it may not be as bad as the second one, I still think that probably it was left undone. Some flashy special effects and some cool action aren't enough to save the film from its lazy and depth-less script, its flat and useless characters and some crappy acting. I know it is no surprise that this film is this way, but seriously, they could have done it much much better with another script and a better director.
My recommendation: Don't watch it, but if you have to then I would trongly advice you to wait for the DVD. Much cheaper and you won't feel guilty for wasting your money on the cinema.
My score: 38% (probably high from what you'd gather from the review, but yeah, I think it pretty sums it up).