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Okay, so I don't get too down about things in the past that can't be changed or fixed, I'll talk a little about this weekend.

David did indeed get tickets to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Friday night. There were things I liked, and things I didn't.

Liked:
  • Liked the lighting in this one. No clear sunny day in any part of it. The way the train looked, the sky -- it all looked more authentically British.

  • Emma Thompson was utterly adorable as Trelawney. She didn't get much screen time, but she was very enjoyable during the time she had.

  • I liked Rupert Grint in this, and I don't think they should replace him. Indeed, his slight gawkiness due to his growth spurt adds that much more charm to Ron, and makes it less Hollywood and more realistic.

  • Also liked David Thewlis as Lupin.

  • Out of the youngsters, whoa, hello Tom Felton! I mean, I think they've all improved somewhat just with practice and getting a bit older, but he was really quite good! I felt arrogance and menace from Draco, accompanied by the complexity of living a very protected life hiding behind an influential father, and not having a name of his own. I don't know if the boy's had acting lessons recently or what, but I thought he showed real promise as an actor in this one.

  • Thought the CGI looked pretty good in this one, particularly Buckbeak.

    Not sure about:

  • I'm not sure about Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I got the distinct feeling he was holding back a bit, perhaps to allow the audience to transition comfortably from Richard Harris' portrayal to his interpretation of Dumbledore. I know he can do more with it; he's a classically-trained British stage actor who's a six time winner of the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, as well as numerous other accolades.

    I still can't help wondering what Bernard Hill or Derek Jacobi might have been like in the role. Wouldn't it be neat to be a casting director?

    Disliked:

  • I understand that the director was trying to show a bit of individuation in the characters as they matured, and getting them into casual clothes outside of classes was part of this, but for me, the casual attire kind of hurt my immersion. It made them look, well, too Muggle-like. It made the movie look more like a BBC tale with children in a more normal adventure, rather than feeling like they were on the wizardly side of things.

  • I know they're still trying to keep it watchable by kids, but I really didn't think they took the dementors to the level of creepiness depicted in the book.

  • I don't think they made it adequately clear to those who hadn't read the book that Trelawney was having a real prophecy at that point with Harry there, and as prophecies become more important in Order of the Phoenix, I kind of think they should've.

  • Neither Alan Rickman nor Gary Oldman got enough screen time for my taste. I'm keeping fingers crossed for some sort of extended edition, but I doubt that'll happen. I wanted more of Maggie Smith as McGonagall, too.

  • I really missed Nearly Headless Nick! I know he's a minor character, but he helps to add to the whole atmosphere of the school, and John Cleese is fun.

  • I don't think they adequately clarified the depth of the betrayal that occurred at Pettigrew's hands, with the schoolboy friendship between Lupin, Black, James Potter and Pettigrew, aka Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail.

  • A lot of reviewers have criticized the previous two movies as being cinematic readings of verbatim text from the book. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing at all, and the pacing of this one definitely felt a little too rushed for me. I liked the first ones for being truer to the books: found it quite refreshing.

    Nothing to do with anything, but in certain scenes, I thought Daniel Radcliffe's expressions made him look somewhat like Tobey Maguire. Not all the time, mind you, just here and there.

    Goblet of Fire is going to be directed by Mike Newell, who did Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mona Lisa Smile, and a few bits of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I think that's a good thing. Cuaron was probably a fine director for this particular chapter of the series, but I'm not sure I'd want him to stay for successive ventures.

  • Comments

    ( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
    goodjoan
    Jun. 6th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC)
    I haven't seen this one yet but a few things popped out at me. During a "the making of" promo I caught on tv the other day there was a short discussion about the "old Dumbledore" vs the "new Dumbledore" The "new guy" was saying that he was trying really hard not to be "Hamlet as Dumbledore" or even "Gambon as Harris as Dumbledore" he was really trying hard to make it his own protrayal of the headmaster in a sort of relaxed, hippie kinda way. What does it say when a classical actor is no longer trying to perfect his Hamlet, but to perfect his Dumbledore!

    The psychic vision by Trelawny was rather vague in the book. As a reader you got the impression that it was a little more "intense" than usual and possibly real, but the moment they leave the attic, everyone asks "So, who's going to die *this* year?" suggesting that she's always making doomful prohecies and this term Harry is an easy mark! You don't walk away with a real assurance that she was *really* having a vision. As the character develops you learn more that gives her credibility but I know my first impression of her was that she was a loon!
    mumpish
    Jun. 6th, 2004 04:40 pm (UTC)
    I think the new film reveals Chris Columbus to have been a dutiful but ultimately unworthy steward. The new film is still based on a children's story, but illustrates maturity in every other regard - cinematography, editing, score, everything. It's an order of magnitude better film than either of the first two. I loved the artful segues, the macro establishment shots, the overall darker, nastier tone. Even the film's sense of humor has taken a turn for teh sadistic, even in things as simple as the recurrent whomping willow scenes.

    Some nits:

    - Totally agreed about Radcliffe and Maguire. I had exactly the same thought.

    - Emma Thompson was *unrecognizable* as Trelawney. I share Hermione's opinions about the character, though, and didn't have strong opinions about what the character should be, anyway.

    - If you've heard anything about replacing Ron, I'd love a link. I think it would be a huge mistake to replace anyone unnecessarily. It's jarring (whether he's better or not, you were taken out of the story when Dumbledore appeared, were you not?) and I can't imagine what purpose it would serve. I thought all four of the major child characters had aged a lot, even though there was no more gap in the filming of this one than there'd been in the filming of the previous two. It's the next film that may have the most notable age changes, since they delayed producing it.

    - I like the new Dumbledore. Harris didn't much care about the role, and it showed. Gambon is at least professionally interested, and seems to have the internal spark to take the character where he needs to go as he becomes a less passive character in future films.

    - I agree that they made a total hash of the resolution of the story, in particular the relationship between James Potter's time at Hogwarts, the map, and Sirius' and Peter's final moments the day Harry's parents were killed. In particular I think Oldman overplayed his part - I never imagined Black as raving, even when he was furious.
    pointedview
    Jun. 6th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC)
    * Glad I wasn't alone in the TobeyDaniel-DanielTobey look.

    * I haven't heard anything more than fan gossip about replacing Ron. And I agree with you that it would be a mistake.

    * I agree that Gambon is better than Harris, I think I just feel like we still don't have the Dumbledore from the books, and maybe never will, at this point.

    * Yeah, I was a little surprised by the way Oldman portrayed Sirius, but I almost have the feeling that he needed a bit more time to play the part on screen, to show a bit more of the character. I sort of wonder what's on the editing room floor, and also how he was directed.
    ( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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