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Oh man, Harry Potter. Oh man.

I am going to rant about the new Harry Potter film. If I was a blog with a big readership (say, five readers), I would warn about spoilers. Luckily, I do not have said enormous audience, so I am going to talk about this bloody fucking film as much as I want. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was a disaster.

I love the Harry Potter books. I wouldn’t say they’re masterpieces, but they are fun. I was brought up on The Lord of the Rings. Really, raised on it. I could tell you about the enigma of the Entwives and Tom Bombadil when I was a wee lass. I could sing all the songs from the cheesy animated films from the seventies. I love silly wizards and beards. I like Harry, I adore Snape, I love Dumbledore. So when I criticize the new Potter film, I do it as a full-fledged dork who has a blue cape in her closet and is looking for a nice white beard to wear this Halloween.

What a fucking disaster.

Oh, thank you Mr. Yates for showing us that Harry and Friends have grown up and are now snogging one another. Yes, I noticed in the last film that romantic tension was a-brewing. But truly, if I wanted to spend several hours on teenage nonsense, I would go see Twilight. I want to see wizards. I want to see the storyline which began in the first novel continued. Holy fucking shit, you can’t show us a single Defense Against the Dark Arts class? Are you mad?

In this most recent installment, director David Yates and the absolutely mediocre screenwriter Steve Kloves utterly abandoned the plot of Half-Blood Prince. Interesting fact: Steve Kloves has written the script to every Harry Potter film except Order of the Phoenix. Another interesting fact: Order of the Phoenix is probably the best Harry Potter film (its story was not been fucked up by Kloves, while Azkaban at least had Alfonso Cuarón directing). Personally, I think the Harry Potter books, great works of philosophy they are, boil down to choices people make. Magic powers: neat. Human choices: much more interesting. As much as I love Gandalf, and while I find him a better-written character, I appreciate Dumbledore so much more. Dumbledore doesn’t make perfect decisions, and he’s not an arch-angel. He’s a human being, doing his best. He’s up against another human being, one who wants power and to escape death because he’s never known love, and is incapable of it.

The whole Harry Potter story revolves around whether or not you place your trust in a human being who seems wise and good, but who also is frequently silent about his reasons for many actions. Dumbledore trusts Snape, an extraordinary and often repulsive figure whose inner life is never as fully fleshed out as I’d like. Do we, the audience, trust Dumbledore? If we do, we trust Snape, and if we trust Snape then Harry’s mission is rather different then if we do not. The books are about the choices and the misunderstandings between people which arise out of our own prejudices, wants, needs, loves, and losses.

But don’t look for that in the new film.

The Half-Blood Prince is funny. It’s sweet. Radcliffe is much better here. But the story? Oh, forget about it. Where are all the characters you’ve come to adore? Where is Neville trying to sustain Dumbledore’s Army in the school, the near-Chosen One who is lonely, who has also lost family to Voldemort, who also needs a chance to fight against him? Where is Lupin, struggling with the burden of his condition, unwilling to accept love? Where is Snape, trying to prepare his students in his own way for what is to come, and yet still feeling the pain of his love for Lily and bearing the guilt of her death? Why the hell does Hermione chat up Harry about Ginny right after Dumbledore is fucking dead? I mean, come on. Hermione would never be all “Oh, I know Dumbledore is dead and that locket you’re holding is all mysterious, but Ron’s okay with you and Ginny because apparently Ron is a fucking nitwit  with nothing more important to think about than who his sister is making out with and Kloves is a moron who missed all the nuances in the story, a story written by J.K. Rowling who is not exactly subtle.” I mean, come on. What the hell.

Plus, they skipped the battle scene.

i wish i had a powerful beard and wand

i wish i had a powerful beard and wand

I just said a lot of stuff about purpose and meaning, but forget all that for a second. These books have magic in them, man. And the best magic I saw in this film were the little birds Hermione summoned up around her head in a scene, like nearly every other scene, where she is mooning around after Ron. Hermione, sweetheart, you have better things to do. Steve Kloves and David Yates, yes, Emma Watson is beautiful, and yes, we all feel a little bad for Hermione and it will be nice when she’s happily dating Ron, though I’ll never understand it myself. But for real, Hermione is a smart young lady with a huge upcoming battle on her mind. Why do you limit yourselves to fucking birds? Where is Fenrir ravaging through Hogwarts and where is the Order showing up and Neville and Luna taking the Felix potion themselves and charging in there? Ughhhh.

When Harry actually read the note from R.A.B. in the locket, I was shocked. Fucking shocked. At that point in the movie I had decided Kloves and Yates didn’t care about the story at all. Yeah, Dumbledore died for this Horcrux and all, and yeah, it’s a fake, but who cares, because we gotta show some teenagers making out. Don’t put stupid lines in Hermione’s mouth; have Harry say: “I’d like the woman I love to not be killed by Voldemort the way everyone else is, so I better stay away from her for awhile.” Is that so difficult? Four seconds, max. Damn you, Hollywood. Damn you, David Yates. I loved your last Harry film. But now, please go swallow a drought of living death and miss the next one. If you do come back, though, use some color. The moon over the drive-in was more attractive than your film, and Cape Cod is foggy tonight. I thought this was supposed to be just a teensy bit about magic. Instead this film resembles a bleak fluorescent light in a neglected corridor closet of an anonymous high school bathroom where the biggest threat is some birds might attack you because no one has anything better to do than sit around and fucking pine over other teenage geeks. Nice.

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