The Harry Potter Movie

July 23, 2009

I know that others have already weighed in on the new (6th) Harry Potter movie, but I thought I would throw in my $.02 and see if it generates any discussion.  

I saw the movie with my daughters (14 and 10) and a friend of my older daughter (also 14).  The kids loved it.  I didn’t like it very much.  This was actually the second time my older daughter had seen it.  She went with a big group to the Midnight premier last week — several kids her age and two adults.  The kids all loved it.  The two adults didn’t like it very much.  I wonder if this is a pattern that others have noticed.

So, what didn’t I like about it?  For one thing, like the fifth movie, I felt that the movie had no discernible plot.  I’d read the book (I’ve read all the books, and enjoyed them very much, particularly the later ones), so I knew what was happening.  But if I hadn’t known the book, I think I would have been utterly lost.  I felt like I was watching the Sportscenter highlight reel from the book.  All the big events were covered, but there was no narrative thread tying them all together.  As I say, I felt this same way about the fifth movie, but the fifth movie ends with that magical battle in the Ministry of Magic, and it was so stunningly spectacular on the screen, that I was able to forgive a lot that came before.  I didn’t feel that this 6th movie had an effective ending to offset earlier flaws.  There is that one very cool battle scene earlier in the movie. (I won’t say more so as not to give it away to those who haven’t seen the movie yet, except to say that this battle isn’t in the book, so you will be surprised.)  But I would have preferred that they skip that battle and have the final fight at Hogwarts.  It was an effective climax for the book, and would have been for the movie as well.

There were other liberties taken with the book as it was translated to the screen, and while I’m usually fine with that (the changes Peter Jackson made to LOTR never bothered me), I felt that these changes detracted from the story.  Most of the changes I refer to revolved around the development of Harry and Ginny’s relationship.  I won’t say more.

The acting was no worse than it was in earlier films.  Alan Rickman is always good and Emma Watson remains the best actor of the three leads.  Daniel Radcliffe might have been less wooden this time around; Rupert Grint didn’t have much to work with in this movie, and didn’t do very much with what he had.

If I had to rate the movie on a 1 to 5 star system, I’d give it 2 and a half.  It had enough to entertain, but was, in my opinion, pretty mediocre.

Other opinions?

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10 Responses to “The Harry Potter Movie”

  1. kodyhackbusch said

    David,

    You aren’t alone, I’ve heard many people give similar reviews. I agree with you about #5, that was probably my least favorite something was lacking it felt a little rushed to me. But as far as the new one, my girlfriend and I both loved it. Now I have not read the books so maybe that is part of it. Maybe its an expectations game, I went into it pretty much blind, and since the last movie wasn’t great and overall this summer’s movies have been lackluster I suppose that my expectations were lower when I walked in, so Potter and friends didn’t’ have to do much to impress. Aka it was better than a poke in the eye.

    You mentioned that the kids loved it and the adults didn’t. There might be something to that. My dad refers to this phenomena as…the generational gap.

  2. davidbcoe said

    Ah yes, the generation gap. That might have been it. I prefer to think that I just have better taste than my kids… 😉

    I’m a little surprised that you liked the movie despite having not read the book. You weren’t lost or confused?

  3. Graham said

    We saw the movie this last week, too.

    The staring into the sunset a-la the “Shane” ending (the movie with Alan Ladd) I found grating. 🙂

    Sadly, with the loss of Richard Harris the foil of Alan Rickman is the sole high calibre performance I see in the series.

    On the bright side of things, and a must for all fantasy game devotees, WoW (World of Warcraft) is soon (?) to be a movie directed by Sam Raimi! 🙂

  4. Brian said

    I just it this weekend. I have not read the books, and I loved the movie. The lack of a strong plot didnt bother me, maybe because I enjoy long rambling stories with no real end (ie Wheel of Time). Anyway I thought there was a lot of humor, I laughed a lot, and I thought the drama between Hermione and Ron was weird, but funny, and I was a bit lost about the Harry and Ginny relationship. For some reason the fun of if caught me up early and kept me going.

  5. kodyhackbusch said

    I hate to admit this but at my girlfriends request (like how I blame her ha ha) we watched it again this past weekend. I enjoyed it just as much or more the second time. Granted they probably left out chunks of relevant information that were in the book but I wasn’t too confused. I think the biggest obstacle in translating a book to a movie is keeping people interested for 2 hours, especially in our super speed broadband society. People seem far more impatient today then they might have been say 30 years ago. Books on the other hand are meant to be digested slowly and the information oozes out in pieces. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that the confusion factor probably comes from those parts of the movie that were in essence a visual summary of longer more detailed passages in the book.

    Enjoy your vacation!

  6. Alex Pendergrass said

    I saw it at a midnight opening. It was probably among the top 3 of the Harry Potter films (Order of the Phoenix, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Half Blood Prince) for me.

    At first, I was extremely pissed off about the exclusion of the epic battle at the end of the movie and the inclusion of two non-canon fight scenes that were neat looking but took time from the film that could have been used for the big battle.

    Arguments I’ve heard in favor of this were that it’d seem redundant to have three straight films with big battles at the end but it seemed to have worked out alright for Lord of the Rings . . .

    But as a fan of books and a huge fan of these books in particular, I know that films will never be totally faithful and over the last week or so reading articles about the movie and watching interviews I’ve grown to accept it. Looking forward to seeing it in IMAX this week. 25 minutes of the film will be in 3D, too!

    And I am frothing at the mouth for Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2; the producers have said they expect 30 minutes of part 2 will be devoted to the epic battle. If they do it justice, all sins are forgiven. If not, there will be blood.

  7. alanbaxter said

    I saw the movie last week. I have to agree that it was filler for the most part – a movie to straddle the story between numbers 5 and 7. Why they need two movies for number 7 mystifies me though. The majority of the book was just interminable emo camping while Rowling dragged out the timeline to suit the plot twists, which I found really frustrating.

    Having said that, because I enjoy the stories I quite enjoyed this film. It did occur to me while watching, however, that a Harry-Potterthon watching films 5, 6 and 7 in one sitting would be really quite epic (assuming they make a good job of 7).

  8. Alex Pendergrass said

    I watched the first 4 films this past Friday, then the next night number 5. Will be seeing 6th again tomorrow likely in IMAX. So I came close to that marathon at least as much is available right now. I’ll definitely be doing that in the future.

    • alanbaxter said

      Haha – good effort! The real challenge will be watching all 8 movies in one sitting once the two part final film is done. That would require some dedication!

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