quasi in rem

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Washington Intelligencia Loves Harry Potter!

Went to see Harry Potter last night at the Washington D.C. premier. Lots of Senators, Congressmen, Agency Heads and elite Washington Press Corps were there too, and their kids.

I hate reviews that spoil any part of the movie so just know this:

1. If you have never read or seen any Harry Potter based film or book, you will enjoy this movie.

2. If, like me, you have read all of the books and seen the first two movies, you will really like this movie.

3. Compared to the first two movies:

a. Prisoner has a much better score, less John Willimas orchestration, more subtle hints and tones.

b. Prisoner has much better cinematography. Less sweeping vistas, a wide variety of camera effects, handheld digital video just great.

c. The effects are really very seemless (with one or two minor exceptions), and there are lots are really neat background effects that add to the overall movie but do not take away from the action at hand. Just alot of wierd crap going on in the background that does not phase any of the characters because it is completely normal.

d. It is darker and scarier than the other two without even trying to be.

So overall I would give it a hearty thumbs up and suggest that if you go see it. You will not be dissappointed.
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Ok I can't help myself, here are some more details that were just great. Stop reading if you want a clear movie going experience.

Just fantastic use of the clock imagery. I had read the book several years ago and so I forgot several major plot points. At the beginning of the movie the kids enter the school and there is a huge clock tower and massive swinging pendulum that was not in the prior movies. Once the movie played out and the issue of time became importantant, I understood why it was there.

The dementors were truly scary and the effect used to demonstrate their torment was very frightening.
Why they were tormenting Harry Potter was not completely explained but that is a nit.

The new Dumbledore was just fine.

The two effects that were not always seemless were Buckbeak adn the invisibility cloak. Sometimes Buckbeak looked very much not real. And sometimes they would pan away from Harry when he was taking off or putting on the cloak to save effects money no doubt. Those pans seemed forced especially since you really want to see him putting it on and taking off. Otherwise it is just a blank space on the screen.

Hermione is really the hero of this movie and she handles that responsibility quite well. Of the three main kids she seems to be growing up without any odd teenage type facial problems.

I loved the way they used the willow to mark the passage of time.

Once again Snape was underused, but less so in this movie. I wish they had more scenes with Snape, Lupin and Sirius, those will be coming up in future movies I hope, if they make more.

The next movie will not be coming out for a year and a half. I am not sure who will be directing it but they will have difficulty in topping this one. Also they may need to get new kids. These three are getting a little long in the tooth.

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