Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Weekend: Swimming, Harry Potter, and Lots of Phone Calls

So, although most of our weekend was spent calling friends and sweeties and relatives to tell them our news, we did manage to accomplish some other things over the weekend as well.

Saturday we went swimming, and then went out to Asia Garden for a lunch of Chinese food. I really like the food there, and they have the added bonus of delivering to our apartment when we want takeout. (And are, amusingly, faster to deliver than the place that’s right across the street). We then did some necessary shopping and came home to watch TV, hang out on #filkhaven, and call everyone we needed to call.

Sunday was more swimming, after which we ordered some pizza and then went down to Medlock Crossing to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Overall, I really liked the movie, even if it was a bit streamlined from the book. There were only a few nitpicks that we found very annoying.

  • Harry is supposed to be a reasonably bright kid. After getting caught walking with his invisibility cloak through the snow once, you’d think that he’d exercise a bit more caution. The bit with the lollypop was just plain dumb.
  • I don’t think the film did a very good job establishing how close James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew were in school, nor did they manage to convey any real sense of what an animagus was or why it was important….it was mentioned in passing, but you never got firmly established that it was being shapeshifters the four of them had in common. This might be forgivable, but I can’t belive they blew it on….
  • The MAP. For heaven’s sake, the map is a huge, major plot device in both the book and the movie. In fact, the resolution of the plot largely depends on it. Would it have *killed* them to at least give a nod to Mssrs. Mooney, Padfood, Wormtail, and Prongs, and why those four names were important? There was a perfect time to do so in the scene where Lupin says goodbye to Harry, if not before then.
  • The importance of the stag avatar in Harry’s patronus spell is likewise glossed over. This is important stuff, guys. The little details matter.

Having said all that, what a fun film. I think that Alfonso Cuarón did a great job of capturing the feel of the HP universe…there are few missteps in terms of tone. The three main actors are (ahem) growing up nicely, and I was especially glad to see that Daniel Radcliffe has settled into his voice…in Chamber of Secrets I was expecting it to crack at any moment.

The supporting cast was likewise marvelous. Michael Gambon did a fine job stepping into the enormous shoes left behind by the late Richard Harris, and Alan Rickman was….well, Alan Rickman, Despite not getting as much to do in this film as in the previous two. I thought that David Thewlis made a very good Lupin, although I’ve had at least one person express to me that they didn’t think he was handsome enough. I thought he did a great job of capturing the “weary man-with a secret” that is the center of Lupin’s character in the third book.

I didn’t much care for Tom Felton’s Draco Malfoy in this film…I recall Draco being a bully, always, but I don’t recall him being such a whiny snivelling coward at the first sign of resistance in the books, and I’m not sure the characterization works for me. This may be more Cuarón’s fault more than Felton’s, though. We’ll see how they play it in the next one.

Overall, I give this film a B+, and if they fix some of the above in the DVD release I’ll upgrade that to a solid A. Very much recommended, but make sure you read the book to get the details they left out or glossed over.

Once we got back from the movies, kitanzi called her dad (and left a message) and her brother, both to wish them a Happy Father’s Day and to tell them about the upcoming wedding. We ended up going to bed early, because Kit had to be up early in order to report to jury duty on Monday. I’m sure she’ll tell you all about that later over in her journal.

This weekend upcoming is Atlanta Pride, and then the weekend after that we’ll be travelling up to North Carolina for a family gathering, so the days are just full. 🙂 I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend as well!

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18 Comments

  1. HP3 comments

    I don’t recall being bugged by the snow/cloak bit…but YES I’m so glad someone else saw that “Mooney, Padfood, Wormtail, and Prongs” wasn’t explained in the least, could have been, and should have been. And animagus could have been explained as well. Easily enough in the scene where Snape is teaching about werewolves (as opposed to animagus no less!), and yes where Lupin is saying goodbye I expected Harry to perhaps say “Goodbye, Mooney” (as a nod to the fact that by that point in the book he does understand it’s Mooney) at the end of the scene.

    Despite these omissions (though huge) I’m really glad this film came out. The directing was so much better than the first two and I loved some of the creative cinematography. There’s no way with the next few books that the movies can come close to the whole depth of the series…I guess I just wish that certain themes had been grabbed upon over others to focus upon.

    I explained to my older daughter, who commented on Malfoy’s snively cowardice as you did: Well, it’s a movie and they have to pain broad swaths for some of the less important things; so we get the idea that he’s not a good person and it’s still entertaining in movie form.

  2. I gather they’re planning to reveal the origins of the map in a later movie; they decided it fit better there. (Although I agree that it really should have been in this movie. *grin*)

    I think Lupin looks about perfect; I never thought he was supposed to look handsome.

  3. As you note, the map, animagi, the stag patronus, and “messers padfoot, mooney, wormtail, and prongs” are all connected. The rumor I heard is that they decided to do all those explanations together in the next movie.

    • I suppose that would appease me a bit, but I felt like it NEEDED to be in this film. People who haven’t read the books at least will be left in the dark on something that’s fairly important.

  4. Your 4 bullet items are almost exactly the same nitpicks that the GI and I discussed after we went to go see the movie a week or two ago.

    I haven’t heard much, if anything, about a 4th movie. But, at the slow rate they’re being released, it’s going to be horribly difficult to convince the viewers that a bunch of 18/19 year olds are supposed to playing parts 4 years their junior. As it was, I had to try to look past the fact that they were supposed to be 13 in the 3rd movie.

    • I’ve had this conversation with others…my own thoughts on the matter. First of all, film 4 is being filmed as we type. So, they will be 15-16 year olds trying to look 14. Not so bad.

      Also…IMHO it’s not a terrible stretch. I see 10-11 year olds all the time looking like jail bait (this would be for Hermione). The boys could similarly have such a growth spurt, though admittedly less authentic looking.

      • Hermione is 13-14 in the third book (since the books correspond to British secondary school years, they start the first year at 11 so by the start of the third year they are at least 13), Emma was the same age during filming. She’s actually even more jailbait in Real Life(tm), I’ve seen pictures of her…

    • They started filming on the 4th film in April. If they can stick to a one-a-year schedule, they can pull it off. Emma Watson is 14, Radcliff is 15, and Grint is 16, so they might can JUST pull it off. At least the characters are SUPPOSED to age one year with each book, along witht he actors, so that will help.

    • Well, Emma Watson (Hermione) was exactly the right age when they filmed the third movie (she turned 14 in April this year). Daniel (Harry) is a year older, but now that his voice has broken both in persona and in character there shouldn’t be much problem (lots of TV and film characters are older than the characters, especially with minors where there are laws about how much they can do). Rupert (Ron Weasley) is the oldest of the three, but doesn’t look it IMO.

      However, if they start splitting the movies (and I don’t see how they are going to get the next two large books into one movie for each) it could well be a problem…

    • Yeah. In Chamber… I thought all the boys were looking too old for their parts, and in Prisoner… it was even more marked. However, I think it’ll probably be less obvious in later films, unless the actors mature markedly. My gut feel is that trying to film all the books with the same principal cast may turn out to have been a mistake.

      • That’s interesting, because I don’t get that feeling at all.

        The character’s don’t stay 11. They get older. And if the actors are just a bit ahead of their character’s, I’m willing to suspend my belief for it.

        Really, I think it would be a terrible mistake to NOT try and make them all with the same actors. Having the same actors from film to film creates a strong sense of continuity; without that, you’d have to basically re-establish everyone in each film, and that would be tiresome.

        • They needed to take more trouble to make the films (and the scenes within) sequentially to avoid the jarring sudden maturing of the boys between Philosopher’s… and Chamber…, and the extended gap between Chamber… and Prisoner… has come at a bad point in the ongoing story.

          A youngish 13 year old boy can maybe just about pass for 11, but the average 15-year-old boy just doesn’t make a convincing average 13-year-old, at least to my eye.

          Almost, I’d rather they’d chosen to make some sort of TV series rather than movies. At least that way they’d have had to film more in sequence and they’d have probably been kept to a strict year-per-book schedule…

          • But….so far they HAVE. The third movie was delayed by 6 months.

            Philospher’s Stone was released in November 2001
            Chamber of Secrets was released in November 2002
            Prisoner of Azkaban was released in May of 2004

            Goblet of Fire is filming now.

            Once the characters are supposed to be 15-16, it won’t really matter if the actors are 17-18. Short of actually filming the first and second movie at the same time, I don’t really see how they could have done a better job.

          • Up to a point. They certainly havn’t managed to get the children to age convincingly through each movie. Harry and Ron don’t look any older at the end of Philosopher… than they did at the beginning (excepting flashbacks). Then, in the gap between that and the beginning of Chamber… they mature by a good year’s-worth in a month or two of plot-time. Same effect between Chamber… and Prisoner….

            The problem is that, though the production takes a year (to 18 months), they’re only filming for a portion of that, and in between the filming the kids have done a lot of growing-up. I found that jarred quite a bit both times. A lot of this comes down to my own mental image of the characters clashing with the image on film, but they don’t seem to have made any effort to make the kids look the best part of a year older in the last scenes than they look in the first…

            As you can tell, this bugs me way more than is reasonable. 😉

  5. >I was especially glad to see that Daniel Radcliffe has settled into his voice…in Chamber of Secrets I was >expecting it to crack at any moment.

    In fact, Radcliffe’s voice did break during the filming of Chamber, and some of his dialogue had to be looped by another actor with an unbroken voice.

    • Ah. I did not know that. I’m not at all surprised. He seems to have settled into it nicely this time around.

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