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Screw the haters, I'm here to talk Potter (spoilers) 
 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 6:43 pm
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Okay, so me and a small crew went to go see the new Potter movie the other night. First a disclaimer - I used to be a hater. I had to read the first Potter book for AP English 12 back in high school, and I thought it was a joke. I refused to get into them until this past year, when my cousin had me watch the movies, and I decided to give the books another try, and I enjoyed them. They're charming, even if the prose is stiff at times.

Anyhow, this is the first movie I saw AFTER reading the book, and even though I liked it, I have some complaints.

Positives - Plot stayed pretty true to the book
-The sense of humor is awesome. Weasley twin walking in on Harry and Ginny is awesome. Ron trying to hold a 'vote' to go see Lovegoods is awesome.
-Adults continue to shine as actors with, unfortunately, very little screen time (Lupin, Voldemort)
-The kids have a few real high points too (Hermione erasing parents' memories, Ron leaving)
-The scenery is great, as should be expected
-The atmosphere is, for the most part, spot on

Negatives - Plot is only half a plot, and is somewhat disjointed with the constant apparating about (barely works in the book, honestly, and suffers a bit more on screen)
-Harry's feelings for Hermione are unnecessarily vague, and this AFTER it was supposed to be clear that he loves Ginny and, furthermore, is supposed to be understanding of Ron+Hermione. The dance scene could have been a charming attempt to uplift a friend, but ends up ambiguous. This really hurts some of the strongest moments of the books, especially:
-Ron's return, the highlight of the first half of the book to me, is botched. This one scene (actually 2 - Harry's reaction, then Hermione's) in the book to me defines what these 3 all mean to each other, but the movie can't handle it. I can take or leave the Horcrux portrayal, but the character reactions? Harry sees Ron's Horcrux torment and says nothing? Hermione sees Ron return from his betrayal and controls herself, like it's just another stupid-Ron-screwup?

Okay, enough of my BS. What are you slimes thinking about it?
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 6:59 pm
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I love Harry Potter and all haters probably haven't read the series.

Seventh movie was absolutely the best so far in my opinion, and I almost wish they had split the last four in to two parts, or at least had intermissions. My complaints about it are extremely minor compared to anything in the last sixth films; I don't expect mirror accuracy so I'm fine with letting a lot of little details that you mention slipped, such as "Harry didn't react properly to this one scene." I respect this film for not taking the extreme liberties that the last two did.

I am willingly to discuss almost anything about the series. Unlike some monocle-bearing elitists, I think it is very rich in themes and depth, certainly far beyond what one would expect in a children's series.

My favorite books are the 5th and 7th, and I think Goblet of Fire is somewhat overrated.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 8:19 pm
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Alright, it's on!

I agree that minor details aren't usually important to recreate. But in a movie that supplies only half a plot, it's the character interaction that HAS to carry the movie. And the one scene that I thought had the most potential was the one that was, I feel, mishandled. Together with Harry and Hermione's little dance and some emotional moments at Godric's Hollow, there's ambiguity where I feel there shouldn't be.

It's aggravating to me because it wouldn't have been hard to fix! They take the time to play up Ron's destruction of the Horcrux, but they can't find the time to have Harry sit down with him afterwards and explain that Hermione is Ron's? They take the time to show Harry looking at Snape on the Marauder's Map, but don't show him look at Ginny? A 5 second scene of her name on the map, and Harry staring at it, would have done a world of good for the movie, I feel. Especially after the dance.

Okay enough of that. Let's talk the series as a whole for a moment. My favorite book was 6, and even though I think 5 has a lot going for it (best foreshadowing, especially for Harry+Ginny and for Snape), it's just too long. It takes her like 200 pages just to get them back to school. I think she really learned from that and kept both 6 AND 7 a bit more economical.

I think book 4 is just a small bit too long and convoluted, but I think it's my favorite movie. The 3 tasks lend themselves well to pacing the movie, and the scene of Mad-eye showing the students the 3 curses is one of my favorites on the screen. Plus, the kids are at their best, I feel, acting out teenagers. The Yule Ball LOOKS and FEELS like a high school dance full of high school problems, and Grint and Watson nail it 100% in my opinion.

As opposed to the slightly more adult tension that I wanted out of Ron's return in the new one, that either the script or Watson can't handle. In the books Hermione was devastated that Ron could leave her, and it shows when he returns. In the movie Watson looks pretty convincingly distraught when he asks her if she's staying or going as he leaves, but just acts pissy when he returns.

I don't want to keep sounding so damn negative. Let me say that even though Radcliffe is probably my least favorite of the trio, his scene in the Hogshead in 5, explaining what it's actually like facing death, is probably my favorite scene in all of the movies this far. The delivery is great, the response is great, the atmosphere is great, just like (fake) Mad-eye explaining the Unforgivables, but even better because the content here is uplifting and moving.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 8:27 pm
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Watson is the worst of the three main actors, I think. She doesn't fit the role well at all, and overacts constantly. I will say that she didn't bother me in the 7th film, though.

I have always thought Rupert Grint is an amazing Ron.

Daniel Radcliffe has improved a ton since doing his stage work. I kind of fear he won't be able to land many roles after this, though.

I like the fourth film, but its pacing is just insanely fast. I have to wonder if anybody but fans knew what was going on in it.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 8:51 pm
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Being a person who actually never read the 4th book, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie. I think it was the best one in fact. My favorite at the very least. I was never really sure as to when the moody was suppose to have been switched out though. If you go by the movie, as I have, then it seems like he was never the real moody for his entry teaching career as the dark art's teacher, which makes harry's and his interactions in future books really odd, since they had never actually known each other very well according to the movie.
I did read The order of the phoenix and the half-blood prince before watching the movies and I did experience a "I have to wonder if anybody but fans knew what was going on in it" feeling.
I really hated how they changed the ending of Half-blood prince, soo dumb.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 8:58 pm
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Spoonweaver wrote:
Being a person who actually never read the 4th book, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie. I think it was the best one in fact. My favorite at the very least. I was never really sure as to when the moody was suppose to have been switched out though. If you go by the movie, as I have, then it seems like he was never the real moody for his entry teaching career as the dark art's teacher, which makes harry's and his interactions in future books really odd, since they had never actually known each other very well according to the movie.
I did read The order of the phoenix and the half-blood prince before watching the movies and I did experience a "I have to wonder if anybody but fans knew what was going on in it" feeling.
I really hated how they changed the ending of Half-blood prince, soo dumb.


He never met the real Moody until the end of Book 4. However, I never thought their relationship seemed off. It was implied that Crouch Jr. was such a good actor that Harry practically knew Moody just from interacting with him. I mean, he even fooled Dumbledore.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 9:08 pm
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Awesome, I'm really glad someone agrees with me on Grint being the best of the trio. Granted, he's probably got the least asked of him, but he does a great job of it. I don't know what to think of Watson. She has some great moments, but I can see what you mean about over-acting. Plus, like it or not, she's just a bit too pretty to be the Hermione of the books.

I've found, from watching the Lord of the Rings, that I too often think that things would seem too fast and/or confusing, when in fact people who haven't read the books get by just fine. As a person who watched the 4th movie without reading first, I didn't really feel lost at all either. Except for the issue of Crouch Jr's escape - everyone knew right away when Sirius escaped, how did Crouch Jr get out and no one says a word? I felt better when I figured out that they don't bother to explain it at all in the movie.

What are some of your favorite aspects of the books? Snape's story is one of mine. Note: I'll spoiler tag anything that hasn't been revealed yet in any of the movies thus far, just in case. It's heartbreaking that he dies without even knowing what's going on. Dumbledore told him even less than he told Harry!

I love the fact that the books can have some adult themes going on in the background, but at the same time remind me of pretty much all of the good/funny things about high school in the foreground. I think that that is why I like 6 the best - it does both most consistently well out of all 7, in my opinion. Now that I think about it, I think it's also partly why I like the 4th movie the best - I think it's most consistent with both of these things as well. The 6th movie is pretty good with this too, but there are some parts of the 6th that either fall flat (Harry getting memory from Slughorn) or just don't make sense (Bella and pals attacking Burrow...? Even without reading the book, I looked at my cousin and asked if there was a point to that scene, only to find it wasn't in the book at all).
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 9:18 pm
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There are lots of things I love, especially all the metaphors for oppression, dictatorship, bullying, and how all of those are interrelated. Draco is basically poised to become just like the Dark Lord until Harry shows him mercy. The elf subplot is fantastic, and I wish JK Rowling had resolved it a wee bit better toward the end.

I love the whole structure of Deathly Hallows. Particularly, how it's the story of Harry losing his faith in Dumbeldore, then regaining it after facing his doubts. This theme is mirrored with Ron and his Deluminator. He walks away from the path that the trio had been on, then comes back to what he knows is right by trusting the artifact Dumbledore had given him. There are lots of similar little touches throughout the novels.

I also like all the references to past books in seemingly small ways that end up being really important. For instance, Hagrid tells Harry that the safest places in the world to hide things are Gringott's and Hogwarts. Guess where the two missing Horcruxes are? And even though I reread the series twice before DH came out, I never guessed that one conversation would be so important.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 10:46 pm
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Sorry to leave you hanging for a bit, haha. I agree with a lot of what you've said. I'm not certain about Draco - I think he's a coward at heart, but not truly thoughtless enough to become like the Dark Lord; more like his father, really. Having to really confront Dumbledore is the real shaking moment for him, I think, and Fulton does a dang fine job of showing it in the 6th movie.But I agree, it takes Harry risking his life to save him to really turn him fully around.
I like the structure of DH too, but I found the coup de grace a little counter-intuitive. I just really wish there was some earlier example of someone taking a wand, and gaining ownership of ALL of the victim's wands, before Harry works out that the Elder Wand is his just because he took Draco's OTHER wand earlierThat's a minor complaint though. The deluminator symbology is awesome, but it does bring up another example of my issue with the movie. In the book, it's Harry who points out that Dumbledore knew not only that Ron might leave, but that he'd WANT TO COME BACK. This is because Harry loves Ron. In the movie this is lost. Ron gives the necessary insight, but Harry's love for Ron as a brother is lost.

And yeah, I never would've thought of Hagrid's bit about Gringotts and Hogwarts as the key clue, but I'll admit I had a suspicion that something was at Hogwarts. Not sure why, just a feeling that they'd have to end up going back there.
For me, the best moment of inter-book relations was discovering that the diary had been a Horcrux, and no one but Dumbledore had the know-how to figure it out. That or the running thread of Snape's actions and motivations, only fully brought to light at the end, but clearly visible to the knowing re-reader every time he's on the page.

I'm also a huge fan of the psychological consistency of the trio. There's a great essay I found a while back that really pinpoints what makes them tick and how they interact. It was written between 5&6, and apparently all people argued about at the time was who would end up with who. So the essay is sort of a "Harry won't end up with Hermione" essay, but luckily it avoids banality by offerring some really great insights into just how carefully worked out Ron's, Hermione's, and ESPECIALLY Harry's emotions operate throughout the books:
http://www.hplex.info/essays/essay-hh-suited.html
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 11:06 pm
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Yay essays!

Here are some other things that are worth reading:

http://hpcompanion.com/
Harry Potter Companion.
It has details, observations, fanart, and JK Rowling quotes concerning events and themes chapter by chapter. There is also a section on essays which is very fascinating.

http://markreads.net/reviews/2010/11/complete-mark-reads-harry-potter-archive/
Mark Reads Harry Potter
This just ended a few weeks back, and it's a guy reading the series for the first time in varying review formats. It was a blast re-reading with him, and personally I like his style a lot. He's very in-depth in some chapters, doing full-blown sociological analysis at times. Uses lots of internet jokes though, if that's not your cup of tea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUoS58emWF4
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Claymation version. Yes, it covers the entire book. It's a lot of fun.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 11:36 pm
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Quote:
I just really wish there was some earlier example of someone taking a wand, and gaining ownership of ALL of the victim's wands, before Harry works out that the Elder Wand is his just because he took Draco's OTHER wand earlier


It wasn't that you gain all a person's wands when you take A wand. It's that whoever defeats the owner of the unbeatable wand becomes it's owner. It didn't matter that Harry took Draco's wand, it's that he defeated him.
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 PostMon Nov 22, 2010 11:43 pm
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Right. To me it was more like the wands follow their own brand of sportsmanship, which Voldemort likely didn't believe because he thought he was so bad-ass.
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 PostTue Nov 23, 2010 5:03 am
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Hm, I don't think the wand thing, if you guys are right, was entirely clear within the book. Which is okay really, as the whole situation comes off as unprecedented in the Potter world of magic, and that's fine.

I'm gonna check out that Mark reading tonight, I think. Sounds entertaining, at least. So I've talked to a couple other people who've seen the new thing now, and there seems to be a decent amount of variety amongst my friends. My Potter cousin was not a fan of the Deathly Hallows story animation, which I thought was fine. And he was disappointed in the shallowness of Dumbledore's past. That doesn't surprise me, because he was disappointed in the incompleteness of Riddle's past and psyche in the 6th movie, as opposed to the 6th book where it's clear that Dumbledore has made a pretty exhaustive case study out of Riddle.

On the whole though, people seem mostly positive, and as I look back on it, I think I'm positive on it too. Mostly because of the atmosphere, which the movie captured really well. And even though the emotional emphases were not where I wanted them to be, it's not like they don't work.

I'll think of more to discuss later.
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 PostThu Nov 25, 2010 4:04 am
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I read all the books and I really like The Half Blood Prince.
What ticked me off was that so many people died. I think Rowling did this so she wouldn't have to make another book. People still would like an eighth, me included, and unfortunatly with a ton of um dead (Sayanara, Dumbledore...) it would be hard.

Slightly off topic, I'm making a Harry Potter game (Temporarily post poned) and feed back would be appreciated!
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 PostTue Dec 07, 2010 7:43 am
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Hey JSH, I just finished reading those Mark Reads things! Pretty fun, and usually pretty funny too. I liked some of his formats more than others, and definitely disagreed with a couple of things, but overall I found we had pretty similar thoughts in a lot of places, and regardless, it's always interesting to hear someone else's take on something! Thanks for that link.

Voltire:
First off, I can't remember a character named Sayanara. But more importantly, it's tough for us to give much feedback on a postponed Harry Potter game without some other info...
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