My Father The Hero (1994)


If I Tell Him I Made All This Up, He’ll Hate Me.

My Father The Hero (1994)Today, I received a review request all the way from Poland … wherever the Hell that is.  I had to use Google Translate to find out what exactly this “Booski” person was requesting of me, but after I finally figured it out, I found myself very disappointed.  The movie that Booski requested was a movie I was aware of, but a movie I never found myself interested in watching, even at the mere 11 years of experience I had when the movie was released.  As I got older and gained the ability to pick movies for myself, the lack of interest remained.  Truthfully, there’s absolutely no way I would ever watch this movie of my own accord.  But in accordance with a request, I will relent and watch My Father the Hero, based on the French film Mon père, ce héros, written by Gérard Lauzier, Francis Veber, and Charlie Peters, directed by Steve Miner, and starring Gérard Depardieu, Katherine Heigl, Dalton James, Faith Prince, Lauren Hutton, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Emma Thompson.

André (Gérard Depardieu) is a French divorcé who comes to New York to take his 14-year-old daughter, Nicole (Katherine Heigl), on vacation with him.  But it turns out that his daughter is a dirty bitch, obsessed with the idea of being treated like a woman and not a girl.  She also falls instantly in love with a local boy named Ben (Dalton James), who she desperately wants to impress.  For some reason, her idea of impressing a boy is to tell him that André is not her father, but actually her sugar father.  Meaning that she’s banging her dad because he helped her get off drugs.  But the fact that André is now a pedophile in the eyes of everyone at the resort starts to create problems for him.  And the fact that he agrees to go along with this bullshit creates a few more.

I hated this movie so much I can’t even put it into words.  But I’m going to anyway because this would be a strange review if I did it all with numbers and emoticons.  Part of me really wanted to like this movie because I’m pretty sure I hated the last movie Booski requested of me, but I could just not support this story.  It was so gundamned icky!  This girl tells someone that she’s banging her father?!  And why?  To impress a boy?!  Yeah, ‘cause there’s nothing does it for me more than a recovering addict with serious daddy issues.  And then the lies keep getting worse and worse, as does the movie.  I was getting more and more frustrated as André started actually going along with this nonsense, but it was worse when it had a happy ending.  My desire was to see this movie end with the guy finding out that Nicole was a lying bitch and being done with it, but then they rip off Cyrano de Bergerac and everything is all better with some lame confession of love for someone this girl has known for about a week.  And that doesn’t change the fact that she was only 14, making this Ben guy nearly as gross as he thought André was.  I really have no idea what makes Booski like this movie so much.  I didn’t find it funny as the only attempts at humor I could even see either made me feel awkward because they were kind of poking fun at pedophilia or they were simple silliness and slapstick.  As best I can assume, maybe there’s some understanding of this movie that I’m missing because I don’t know what it’s like to be a tedious, teenaged girl.

Technically speaking, the greater majority of the performances in the movie were fine, but the problems I had with most of the characters made it too hard to even concentrate on it.  Needless to say, the greater majority of the issues I took were with Katherine Heigl’s character.  Part of the problem was that she was only 16 in this movie, probably 15 when it was filmed, and 14 in the movie, yet the movie and almost everyone in it sexualizes her so much.  Granted, it would be very difficult not to as she was good looking, had a rockin’ body, and wore a bathing suit with zero percent coverage over her ass in one of the first times we see her, but even as I say those things I feel the need to take a hot shower to cleanse myself of the ickiness of sexualizing a 14-year-old girl, even though that girl is actually 4 years my senior.  These are the feelings that this movie should have had when dealing with her at the time instead of slutting her up and having every 40+ year-old guy in the movie have their tongues dangling out whenever she walked by.  But I started feeling less for her when it turned out her character was a crazy lying bitch.  I hated her for the greater majority of the movie, which probably hindered me liking the movie since she was one of its main characters.  First, why would she act like she doesn’t speak French anymore?  Is she worried that her friends would think she was too interesting and cultured because she speaks a second language?  But technically, the greater majority of my problems were with what was written for Heigl and not Heigl herself.  The only time I took issue with her acting was when she was trying to act scared for Depardieu on the boat.  She did not deliver that very well.

Not many of the people in this movie were likeable.  Ben (played by Dalton James) was fuckin’ stupid as well.  He starts off on the right track, hating Depardieu for the pedophile he thinks he is.  But when he is told that he was a veteran, he starts feeling bad for the guy?  That wouldn’t change anything for me.  That’s a great thing you did for your country, but that doesn’t make what you’re doing now forgivable.  And he sees André with his shirt off numerous times in this movie, so why doesn’t he realize that André has no scars whatsoever from all of these war injuries he’s received?  And then the douche is stupid enough to forgive her?  To Hell with this chick!  She’s told you next to nothing that wasn’t a lie!  And she’s leaving in about a day from when you find out the truth and forgive her.  Why even bother?  Also, you’re going to leave Nicole in the hands of a potentially abusive pedophile just because he can play piano better than you?  Of course, all the other guys in the movie were also awful, as they idolized André for being a pedophile.  I also hated André’s girlfriend, Isobel, until I found out she was played by Emma Thompson.  Isobel let André go through all the horribly challenging things that Nicole was putting him through because she wanted to get married?  What a shitty girlfriend!  André should’ve ended up with Faith Prince’s character, Diana.  She only started off a little irritating, but she got along well with Nicole and was actually there for André in these trying times.  Diana was one of two people in this movie I didn’t hate.  The other was André himself.  I felt bad for him for what he was dealing with, and Gérard Depardieu was very likeable as well.  I liked him from the moment he called Nicole a liar.  Someone had to say it!

I found myself really wanting to like My Father the Hero, but subsequently found myself completely unable.  The story was just so … icky!  A girl lying to say she’s a recovering drug addict that’s banging a man so old that he could be her father … because he IS her father?  Ewwwwwww!  And all this to somehow impress a guy that ends up loving this girl, despite her completely icky lies?  I’m not on board with any of this.  I may have been on board with Gérard Depardieu in this movie, but it was not enough to override the rest of it.  I can’t recommend this movie.  From what I have found, I suppose you would like this movie if you’re a girl from Poland.  But as far as I know, there are only two of those.  Everyone else can skip it.  My Father the Hero gets “Your life will not be ruined.  Mine maybe, but yours won’t” out of “Oh, you’re such a bitch.”

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Brave (2012)


I am Merida, and I’ll be Shooting for My Own Hand

Brave (2012)I have a very strong feeling that today’s movie was officially requested of me. I feel like my friend Christina Moscoscamosco did it. It may also have been my roommate Richurd. My interest was originally piqued in this movie because of Black Friday. Whilst working on Black Friday, this movie was playing in the break room. I only managed to catch about a half hour of it on my lunch before going back into the madness which is people for the most mediocre deals. Eventually, I borrowed it from my roommate with the intention of filling in the gaps I had from my brief viewing. It took up its perch in a pile of movies I had to watch and was promptly forgotten. At least until Richurd started pestering me to watch the damn thing already. And, since I’m terrified of his wrath, I present you my review of Brave, brought to you by the great people at Disney Pixar, written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi, directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and including the vocal talents of Kelly MacDonald, Peigi Barker, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Callum O’Neill, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Steven Cree, Sally Kinghorn, Steve Purcell, and John Ratzenberger.

In Scotland, the family of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) – Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and young Princess Merida (Peigi Barker) – are out on a picnic for Merida’s birthday. After giving Merida a gift of a bow, the family is attacked by a giant bear called Mor’du. Fergus fights off the bear at the cost of his foot. Later in life, now at age 17, Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is distraught to find that she is to be betrothed to one of the sons of the kings of the other three kingdoms. Merida and Elinor fight over it, ending with Merida slicing a tapestry Elinor had been working on with a sword and running away from the castle. Merida encounters a witch (Julie Walters) who has given up witchcraft for wood-carving. Merida pleads with the witch to give her a spell that will “change her mother and her fate,” having no care for the vagueness of the way she phrased that. The witch presents Merida with a cake to give to her mother. Blah blah blah, happily ever after.

I know the abrupt ending of that paragraph may have led you to believe I didn’t care for this movie. Not the case at all. This was a really good movie (as the greater majority of things that Pixar creates), but it was not without its problems. The story is probably the only thing I took issue with, but only because it’s so typical for Disney. It’s almost exactly the same story as every other Disney princess. Princess not getting along with her parents because of her responsibilities (Ariel, Jasmine, Pocahontas) and she’s a little tomboyish and a bit of a warrior (Mulan) and then her shit gets fucked up by a magician (Snow White, Aurora, Ariel) and it gets fixed when the beast gives its life for her (Belle). Also she hangs out with little people (Snow White) and she’s black (Tiana). Okay, I didn’t see the Princess and the Frog. But I wouldn’t call this movie derivative because I liked it. Let’s just call it “classic.” It has no real surprises, but I was happy with the slight modernization that Pixar added to it by not having the movie end when the Princess met the man of her dreams. Pretty much every Disney Princess movie ends with that, regardless of how free-spirited the character is supposed to be. After that, the only thing close to an issue I had with the movie was that the greater majority of the humor was slapstick, but that’s not even a complaint I’m that resolute with because it is a kid’s movie after all.

It’s a Pixar movie. Just saying that means that it looks fantastic. And this is one of the better looking ones too. They went cartoony with the characters, but they still looked good, and going too realistic with the characters runs you close to the danger of making them weird looking. I thought there was a chance that the bear Mor’du may have been a little too scary for children, and I base that mostly on the fact that it might have been too scary for me. They make those characters perform really well too. I really liked the body language that the momma bear has. That’s what gave me the most laughs in the movie. Also, the momma bear had a little shimmy to go with her shake when she was walking. Another thing worth mentioning is the music. It was kind of pop/Celtic musical stuff, but I really liked it. I wouldn’t be opposed to getting the soundtrack to this movie.

I never really know what to say about the performances in an animated movie. Most times the vocal cast does great jobs in these movies. They continued to do so here. And I love a Scottish accent. I wanted to fuck every accent in this movie. Especially Billy Connolly. I also thought the witch character was pretty amusing, and it amused me even more when I later found out that she was voice by Molly Weasley. I had a few issues with the Merida character though. Granted, there would not be much of a conflict and resolution in this movie without the enchanted cake, but how short-sighted was she to give it to her mom in the first place? Her wish was extremely vaguely worded in the first place. All you really asked was that the cake change your fate. Hell, I could do that for you without magic by putting a razor blade in the cake. That’d change your mom up but good! And you didn’t get much brighter when the witch gave you the solution to the spell. I figured that shit out right away. I am SO much smarter than you, Merida! Then later, when she gets trapped in the room and her father goes out to kill the bear, she tries to get out briefly and then gives up and starts crying. If you would just be a proper woman and get to sewing, that bear would turn back to human and your problem would be solved!

I managed to infuse a review of a Disney Pixar movie with cursing, mild racism, and sexism. I’m actually kind of proud of myself for that. Brave was a good movie, but they didn’t really bother to try anything that new in the story. If all Disney Princesses must have vaginas and share many common plot points, Merida will make a fine addition. But, even with that as the case, the movie is beautiful and the story is still charming. Perhaps most of the charm comes from those sweet, sweet Scottish accents, but I feel like the movie did a good job of it as well. This is a movie that you should definitely watch if you have kids, and probably should watch if you don’t. Brave gets “A princess should not have weapons at all in my opinion” out of “I think I could make you understand if you would just listen.”

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Men in Black III (2012)


I Promised the Secrets of the Universe, Nothing More.

When I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman, I decided that I had the time and the energy to make the day into a double feature.  There were about four movies available at the time that I had any kind of interest in seeing.  Having one taken down at the request of my readers, I decided that I would choose the next one and that I’d just take the one that had gotten the best reviews.  It was fortunate for me that it was also the one that I wanted to see the most.  Being the third part in a series of movies that I have liked so far, as well as being the movie that seemed the most fun, it was an easy decision.  The movie I chose was Men in Black 3, written by Lowell Cunningham, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve, Mike Colter, Bill Hader, Will Arnett, David Rasche, Keone Young, and Nicole Scherzinger.

An intergalactic criminal named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) is busted out of a prison on the moon by his girlfriend (Nicole Scherzinger).  He sets his intentions on killing an agent of the Men in Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), for shooting his arm off in 1969.  And, because he got that arm shot off in 1969 while trying to stop K from preventing his race of Boglodites from taking over the Earth, he decides he needs to go back in time and kill K.  The strange part is that he succeeds.  K’s partner, Agent J (Will Smith), wakes up to find that the space-time continuum has changed and K has been dead since 1969.  With a little help from the new Chief of the Men in Black, Agent O (Emma Thompson), he figures out what he must do to stop it from happening, so he too goes back to 1969 to stop him.  Of course, a time-travelling black man in 1969 gathers some attention, most notably from Agent K (Josh Brolin).  He must try to convince K that he’s telling the truth so that they can stop Boris and save the Earth.

Much as with the other movies in this series, I’m still charmed by Men in Black 3.  The story follows the same pattern that I remember from the other two movies, but adds interest and emotion to it with the time travel story.  All of the movies have been, at their core, a story of two guys trying to stop the destruction of the world.  The first one added the fish out of water part with J being brought into the Men in Black, the second one added the getting the gang back together thing with having to bring back K, and the third one adds time travel.  That adds for some decent emotion that they barely went for in the first movie and didn’t try for much in the second.  Not only is there the emotion involved in K’s temporary death, but something else that’s pretty sad happens near the end of the movie.  The problem with the thing at the end of the movie is that you can kind of see it coming.  It’s something that my roommate brought to my attention in the Avengers movie, but if they talk about something they’ve never really talked about before, seemingly out of nowhere, you know something’s up.  K defending the person that was being talked about cemented it in my mind, so when it happened, the shock was a little bit lessened.  But you don’t really come to a Men in Black movie for the emotional depth.  It’s more about the cool look and the humor, and both of those are well realized.  Every time J used the neuralizer on someone, the explanations he came up with afterwards were all pretty funny.  There was another point where J started drinking a little kid’s chocolate milk and the little kid said, “Mommy, the president is drinking my milk.”  That’s a solid joke, but it was so quiet I almost missed it.  J makes a joke about agents O and K, and I think you can figure what joke would be made there, but it was still a solid joke.  There were also two references for comedy that were a little obvious.  If you’d seen the other movies, you know that they often have eccentric celebrities on the screen in the background, implying that they’re aliens.  When I started the movie I knew that Lady GaGa would be one of them, and I was right.  Also, when they had Andy Warhol in it, I figured he’d be an easy target for an alien too.  I wasn’t entirely right, but I wasn’t entirely wrong either.

I liked almost all of the performances in this movie.  Will Smith is usually very charming and funny, and he’s also able to bring it with the emotional performance as well.  It’s no surprise that he’s able to do that in this movie, but it’s always a pleasure to watch him do it.  Tommy Lee Jones is also the perfect counterpoint to Will Smith, always able to be the consummate straight man.  He doesn’t bring it too hard with the emotional performances because that wouldn’t be right for the character, but he does have moments where you can see that it’s right under the surface, and it’s really well done.  I think the biggest surprise for me was Josh Brolin.  Not because I didn’t expect quality from him as I’ve seen him do both drama and touches of comedy before, but he does a fantastic impression of Tommy Lee Jones that deserves to be lauded.  I wasn’t really a fan of Michael Stuhlbarg in this movie though.  His character was kind of comic relief and never really worked for me.  Perhaps it was because he reminded me way too much of Justin Bartha’s character in Gigli.  Though their parts were small, I was also happy to see Will Arnett and Bill Hader in this movie, and both were pretty amusing in their small bits.

If you liked the other Men in Black movies, Men in Black 3 should be right up your alley.  It might even overcome those of you that didn’t like the other two.  It’s definitely a candidate for the best of the three, though perhaps the original still edges it out.  MiB3 is funny, interesting, and even has a few moments of emotion to get us more invested.  It still looks great and the greater majority of the performances remain fantastic.  I definitely recommend getting to the theater to watch this.  It’s worth your money.  Men in Black 3 gets “Sort of a surly, older gentleman.  Smiles like this…” out of “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010 and 2011)


Not My Daughter, You Bitch!

Home stretch, people! Two Potter films and one Potter book remaining. I’ve enjoyed watching the films up to this point, but I do admit that 8 films in just over a day has begun to take it’s toll. It’s probably also taken it’s toll on you, my readers. If you have the dedication to my reviews to read 4 reviews, several thousand words, and lots of story summation, I thank you. But it’s about time we tie this up with a nice little bow on it. Today’s two films are based on one book, but it was determined that it held too much to compress into only one movie. I smashed them back together into one review. That review is of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, unfortunately the final book and final movie of the Harry Potter series, and fortunately the final review of Harry Potter I’ll have to write and you’ll have to read.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Year Seven)

Part One (2010)

Based on the novels by J.K. Rowling, written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by David Yates, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Rhys Ifans, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Helen McCrory, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Bill Nighy, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Warwick Davis, Miranda Richardson, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Michael Gambon, George Harris, David Thewlis, Natalia Tena, Domhnall Gleeson, Clemence Poesy, Frances De La Tour, and Matthew Lewis.

Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has been doing lots of damage now that Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is out of the way. The Order of the Phoenix assembles at the house of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) with a plan to escape, using Pollyjuice Potion to make 6 decoy Harrys. The real Harry rides with Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), but shit goes down pretty quickly as the Death Eaters, and Voldemort himself, attack the group. Harry and Hagrid barely escape. Alastor Moody (Brendan Gleeson), does not survive. Back at the Weasley house, the family and Harry ready for the celebration of the marriage between Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson) and Fleur Delacour (Clemence Poesy), which is then interrupted by Death Eaters. Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) grabs Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Harry and apparates (teleports) to London. Here, they Pollyjuice their way into the Ministry of Magic and steal a Horcrux necklace from Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). The three barely manage to escape and Ron gets injured on the way. They find that they don’t know how to destroy the Horcrux, and Ron gets all pissy and leaves. Now, Ron and Hermoine spend the greater majority of the movie wandering around forests. Ron comes back and helps them destroy the Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor. They go visit Xenophilius Lovegood (Rhys Ifans), father of Luna (Evanna Lynch), who tells them about the Deathly Hallows, which is comprised of the Resurrection Stone, the Cloak of Invisibility, and the item Voldemort is looking for, the Elder Wand. But he was only stalling. They took Luna and giving Harry to them was the only way to get her back. Hermoine hits Harry in the face with a Stinging curse to disguise him and they’re taken to the dungeon of Belatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), where they join Luna, Mr. Ollivander (John Hurt), and Griphook (Warwick Davis). With the help of Dobby (Toby Jones), they escape, but Belatrix gets the last laugh by throwing a knife and killing Dobby. At the end, Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore’s tomb and takes the Elder Wand for himself.

Part Two (2011)

Written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by Chris Columbus and David Yates. Adding to the cast Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Miriam Margolyes, Kelly Macdonald, Gary Oldman, Geraldine Somerville, Adrian Rawlins, David Bradley, Katie Leung, John Cleese, and Zoe Wanamaker.

Harry, Ron, and Hermoine use Griphook to get into the vault of Belatrix to get another Horcrux. They get back into Hogwarts to get a Basilisk fang to destroy it, and to find another Horcrux. When they get there, all Hell breaks loose and Voldemort’s army begins to face off against the good wizards and witches of Hogwarts. Harry goes to the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw (Kelly Macdonald) to find another Horcrux. They get into a fight with Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) that ends in a huge ball of fire and Harry saving Draco’s life. They destroy the two Horcruxes and Voldemort begins to feel uneasy as he’s running out of Horcruxes and the Elder Wand isn’t obeying him. Harry, Ron, and Hermoine go to the docks where they watch as Voldemort kills Snape (Alan Rickman), having decided that the Elder Wand was obeying him because he killed Dumbledore. After Voldemort leaves, Snape tells Harry to take his tears and put them in the Pensive so he can watch them. The memories show Snape’s childhood and his undying love for Harry’s mother and how all he had ever done was to protect her. He also sees that Snape killed Dumbledore under Dumbledore’s orders, in order to gain Voldemort’s trust and because Dumbledore was dying from a curse anyway. In the dreams, Harry finds out that he must die if Voldemort is going to die. He goes to meet Voldemort in order to be killed by him, which Voldemort is happy to oblige. But the Elder Wand is Harry’s, who defeated Draco, who had knocked the wand from the hand of Dumbledore, and thus the wand would not kill him. Voldemort takes Harry’s body back to Hogwarts to crush their spirits, but Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) speechifies the joint and Harry pops up. The fight reignites. Neville cuts the head off of Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, destroying the last of the Horcruxes. Harry reclaims his wand from Voldemort and Voldemort disintegrates. Harry breaks the Elder Wand and throws it into a gorge. Cut to 19 years later and Harry and his wife Ginny are dropping their kids off at Platform 9 3/4. They see Ron and his wife Hermoine dropping off their kids. And that’s the end of that.

This is the first time I will say this: this Harry Potter movie didn’t need to be made. Not both of them, we as an audience needed an ending out of this series. But they acted like there was simply too much movie to possibly contain in one movie, even though it had been contained to one book. One might argue that they actually thought that there was too much money to be made from this audience to make it only seven movies, when 8 would give us so much more. I think these movies could have easily been cut down into one, epic, 3 to 3 and a half hour movie. But that’s not what they did, so you get two paragraphs here. The story of Part One was great in parts, but they spent a lot of time wondering around in the forest that I felt could have easily been left out. It opens up with Hermoine using a spell on her parents that make them forget about her completely and even wipe her out of the pictures on the mantle, not thinking apparently about the fact that the parents would probably look at the pictures of them sitting at opposite ends of an empty table with plenty of space for a daughter and cake. Oh, I guess we’ll ignore that because we’re apparently weird enough to have completely empty picture frames up. But that’s a sweet backdrop in that picture, isn’t it Honey? But the concept of this was pretty heart-wrenching. I wish they had shown some sort of closure to that at the end of the movie about whether or not she could go back with Voldemort dead. Shortly after that, I found myself confused about what a big deal it apparently was for Voldemort to ask for Lucius Malfoy’s wand. They all seemed to take it as being in such poor taste as to be equivalent to “Hey Lucius. Let me get a crack at that lady friend of yours.” They packed a good deal of action into the first half-hour of the movie, even going so far as to include a “car” chase on brooms, but they kind of jacked Men in Black by making Hagrid drive upside-down in the tunnel. Shortly after, Harry’s bird gets killed, which I was more bummed about than I should have been over the death of an owl. They had a nifty – albeit ineffectual – security device that created a cloud that looked like Dumbledore that charged at people entering the Sirius Black residence. It was cool, and would freak me out at first, but it just dissipates into dust when it reaches you. My heart would be pounding, but I’d continue to intrude. There was another kind of sweet little moment when Harry saw that Hermoine was sad about Ron leaving and he got her to stand up and dance with him a little bit to cheer her up. Though I feel like this movie fails a bit in story, it still wins in graphics and settings. Even though I thought the time in the wilderness was a waste of time, the settings were all great to look at. And when they got to Bathilda’s house, it was straight out of a horror movie. It was really dark and dilapidated, there was a creepy old lady that didn’t speak, and a dead body in a closet. When Hermoine read the story of the Deathly Hallows, the animation was pretty rad as well. It looked like the Corpse Bride, but it didn’t suck. And the part where a fake Harry and Hermoine were projected out of the Horcrux to keep Ron from destroying it, it was pretty good, mainly because Hermoine was naked and making out with Harry. It didn’t show anything, but it’s as close as I’ll get to Hermoine for a while, I’m sure. And I’ve already seen pictures from Equus.

Part Two pretty easily makes up for the shortcomings of it’s predecessor. Good story, coming from wrapping up the series, lots of action packed battles, plenty of cameos from almost all characters from the Harry Potter universe, and lots of good times. The opening shot was very well done. It was a slow push in on Hogwarts with a nice fog surrounding it and some really faint, Celtic-sounding singing going on. That Celtic music really gets at my emotions. I felt like they had to cram a lot of the Horcruxes into a small amount of time to wrap up the film, taking care of at least three of them in this movie alone. Getting to one of them, the encountered a Gemino curse that made things duplicate when they touched them and almost had them drowning in a sea of cups and bracelets. I thought this was cool, well done, and a pretty dangerous concept. Ron and Hermoine finally kiss in this movie, but at a strange time. It was right after destroying a Horcrux and water exploded up around them and they seemed to just be standing there, shrug, and say I guess we’ll do this now. There were a lot of good fights in this movie, though not as much as in Order of the Phoenix. I really liked when Maggie Smith threw down against Alan Rickman midway through the movie and, of course, there was Harry and Voldemort, but neither of them touched my favorite one, which was sadly built up more in my head from reading about it before hand. I had read that Belatrix Lestrange was fighting Hermoine, Ginny, and Luna when Molly Weasley, still grieving over the death of her son Fred, took over, threw down hardcore, and killed that bitch. She still fought Belatrix and called her a bitch, but I felt like they should’ve given that scene a lot more strength as it seemed to have when I read about it. It was still pretty badass to me, but I was expecting total epic status. I don’t know what Molly was so sad about though. Just like they said in Observe and Report, if one of the twins die, that’s why God gave us a spare. But speaking of disappointing death scenes, I felt like the defeat of Voldemort deserved a little more oomph than it got. Harry knocks his wand out and he just kind of dissolves. Shoot that asshole, Harry! Reducto that sumbitch and turn him into a red mist or some shit! When the Battle at Hogwarts begins, it is pretty wild. It made me think it was like Saving Private Potter or something. The way it looked with a lot of the color defused reminded me of Saving Private Ryan, actually. For another point on graphics, Part Two seemed to pay attention to the reaction to the new Tron movie and took the time to make young Alan Rickman look good. He doesn’t change drastically, but what they did worked. Contrarily, aging the four kids for the end scene where we see them dropping their kids off didn’t work too well. The guys were fairly convincing, but it seemed they barely touched Ginny and Hermoine. I guess they still want them to be attractive over all else.

The performances in these movies are at the peak of what we’ll see out of these kids in a Harry Potter setting. We’ve watched them grow, both physically and as actors, over the course of this series, and I think they’ve got this acting thing down by the seventh and eighth films. Eighth looks weird when typed. Anyways! All three of the kids have a couple of good angry moments that are caused by wearing the Horcrux in Part One, especially Ron who gets angry enough to leave his lady. I feel that Daniel Radcliffe deserves some kudos for the part where there were 8 Harry’s in the same scene, because he actually did act like the character who was supposed to be him. The part with him taking the bra off as Fleur/Harry was pretty funny, but Emma Watson’s face turning into Harry’s first was disturbing. When I eventually date and marry Emma Watson, I just know that I’ll have some flashback of Daniel’s face popping up mid-coitus. I won’t stop, though. Daniel Radcliffe ain’t that bad on the eyes. But Daniel also deserves some kudos for his scene at the end of Part One where he has to mourn the death of the puppet in his lap because of Dobby’s death. But that little shit deserved to die. I specifically remember you promising Harry that you would NEVER try to save his life again at the end of Chamber of Secrets. That’s what happens to liars! Part One temporarily added Bill Nighy into the series, which I liked, but then it made me think that the only British actors I love that aren’t in this series are probably just Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Part Two finally gives Warwick Davis a chance to have a meatier part, as Griphook and Flitwick didn’t have to do very much in the other movies. He has a good portion of the first part of the movie as Griphook, dies, and then shows up in the second half as Flitwick. I think it was Flitwick, but I’m not really sure. Helena Bonham Carter is still my favorite villain in the series, but I liked her so much more when she was playing Hermoine as Belatrix. Her portrayal was so much different than her normal portrayal of Belatrix. She actually seemed cute and adorable. Also, Ron looked badass with the beard and the bondage jacket that he wore as Belatrix’ backup. Kelly Macdonald shows up as Helena Ravenclaw in Part Two and actually kind of scared me. Them ghosts seem to be bipolar or something. But she was good, and I probably mostly paid attention because I was trying to figure out where I knew her from until I realized it was Trainspotting. I also like Draco’s parents, Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory, because they really cared about their son’s well being, even though at least Jason Isaacs never had shown it before.

Sadly, that is it, folks. I have completed the Harry Potter series. I’m pretty sure J.K. Rowling isn’t going to be writing any more and, even if she does, it may well be out of the time that the same actors could come back for it, and they probably wouldn’t want to be trapped in this universe forever. I’ll miss them, but I suppose I could read those books I own. Or, fuck that. I’ll just watch the movies again if I want. For the time being, I’m well Potter-ed out and will need a break. As for the final two movies, I liked them both plenty, though Part Two I liked a lot more. I still think they could have cut down a lot of wasted space from the first movie and just made this one really long final movie. It’s not like the Potter fans wouldn’t sit through it, and you could do an intermission if you were so worried. I still dig them though. I bought the 8 pack and, knowing myself, will probably do it again when the definitive collection (that was advertised on these very BluRays) comes out. Fuck you, movie makers. Haven’t I given you enough?! No? Then I will give you “Just keep talking about that little ball of light touching your heart” out of “Only I can live forever”. HAPPY NOW?!?!

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Harry Potter: Year Five and Six (2007 and 2009)


It’s Not How You Are Alike.  It’s How You Are Not…

Halfway done, peoples.  I would be sick of these movies at this point if they weren’t steadily improving with each set.  These two movies include the death of two main characters, a fact I had learned about well before the movies because of people talking about the books.  I learned about the death of one of these characters before I had even seen the character in the movies.  Damned book worms ruining these good movies for the rest of us.  Well, they were ruined for me, so I will spoil for you in my reviews of Harry Potter, Years Five and Six.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Year Five) (2007)

Based on the novels of J.K. Rowling, written for the screen by Michael Goldenberg, directed by David Yates, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, Gary Oldman, Bonnie Wright, David Thewlis, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Evanna Lynch, Brendan Gleeson, Natalia Tena, George Harris, Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Warwick Davis, David Bradley, Julie Walters, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Katie Leung, Robert Hardy, Harry Melling, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pattinson, and Matthew Lewis

After the events of the previous film, the Ministry of Magic has been launching a smear campaign against Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Professor Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) because they don’t want to believe that Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned.  In reaction, Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) is appointed to the Defense Against the Dark Arts position by the Ministry of Magic to keep order.  She does so by restricting the student’s use of magic and instituting brutal punishments on them for speaking about Voldemort.  Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) talk Harry into starting Dumbledore’s Army in secret to train willing students in how to defend themselves.  Obviously, Dolores Umbridge does not take kindly to this, but she’s unable to find where the training is happening.  She instead resolves to keep screwing things up around the school until she gets her hands on Cho Chang (Katie Leung) and administers a truth serum to make her confess.  Harry has also been having dreams about Voldemort looking for a prophecy made about Harry and Voldemort.  At first, the visions let him see that Ron’s father, Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams), is being attacked, allowing them to show up in time to save him.  Next, Harry’s visions show him his new father figure, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), being attacked.  Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, along with Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), new friend Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch), and Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright), go to the Ministry of Magic to find this prophecy.  They’re soon attacked by a group of Voldemort’s Death Eaters, lead by Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) and Belatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).  The kids manage to defend against them for a time but are captured and held to make Harry hand over the prophecy.  Then, the Order of the Phoenix show up, including Sirius Black, Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), Alastor Moody (Brendan Gleeson), and Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Teena).  They fight off the Death Eaters, but Sirius Black falls in the fight, killed by Belatrix.  Harry chases after her and knocks her down, and then Voldemort shows up, but so does Dumbledore.  The Ministry shows up at the end of the fight and sees Voldemort leave, forcing them to finally admit that Voldemort has returned.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Year Six) (2009)

Written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by David Yates, and adding Jim Broadbent, Helen McCrory, Frank Dillane, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Timothy Spall.

The Ministry now has to admit that Voldemort is back.  Voldemort has assigned a task to Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), but his mother, Narcissa (Helen McCrory), is worried about him, so she and Belatrix go to Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) and get him to take an unbreakable vow (which will kill him if he fails) to protect Draco.  Meanwhile, Dumbledore picks up Harry and takes him to trick Professor Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) into returning to Hogwarts, because Slughorn is a starfucker that wants to be able to say he taught the great Harry Potter.  Harry learns that Slughorn once told Voldemort how to do something, but Dumbledore needs to know what in order to stop it.  Harry needs to get close to Slughorn to find out, and he does so by using the Potions book of someone called the Half-Blood Prince to do really good in Slughorn’s potions class.  Harry eventually finds out that Slughorn told Voldemort about something called a Horcrux, a magical object infused with a piece of someone’s soul to make it so they’ll never die, but at the cost of someone’s life.  Apparently, Voldemort’s made seven.  Harry goes off with Dumbledore to find one of them and, when they return, Harry has to watch helplessly as Draco reveals that his task was to kill Dumbledore, but Snape shows up and does it instead.  At the end of the movie, Harry has resolved to find the rest of the Horcruxes and destroy Voldemort for good … but not until the next movie.

Order of the Phoenix is probably my favorite of all the Potter films.  The story and effects are as good as we expect from the Harry Potter films, but what sets this one apart is the epic wizard battles.  First, the kids of Dumbledore’s Army vs. the Death Eaters.  Next up, Dumbledore’s Army and the Order of the Phoenix against the Death Eaters.  Then, as the main event, Dumbledore vs. Voldemort.  These battles were pretty awesome, but I did think that Dumbledore would’ve been more dominant than he was, especially when he was using that wand we didn’t know about yet.  The story was good as well, but something happened early on in the movie that I had never realized before but it made me mad.  In the very beginning, Harry is put on trial for using magic in front of his Muggle cousin, Dudley, which he did in order to save their lives.  The Ministry of Magic chooses to inform him that he’s on trial for using magic in front of Muggles by sending a talking letter to tell him … IN FRONT OF 3 MUGGLES!  And one of them was Dudley!  We’re gonna do exactly what we’re punishing you for … times three.  See you at the trial, Harry!  I also kept hoping that they’d make a joke that they never made.  Let me illustrate with an example from the Order of the Phoenix’ discussion of the Voldemort situation.  Sirius Black: “We think Voldemort is looking for something.”  “Mad Eye” Moody: “Sirius.”  Sirius Black: “Yes, I’m completely serious.”  And don’t call me Shirley!  Dolores Umbridge is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher so, obviously, the evil professor is going to be Trelawny.  Oh wait, it’s actually gonna be like the other movies where she’s the evil one.  The relationships are progressing in this movie as well.  Ron and Hermoine are macking as hard as they can without actually admitting their feelings.  Harry hasn’t yet shown much for Ginny, but she begins to show her jealousy when she overhears talk of Harry and Cho Chang, if you know to look for it.  I also thought it was funny that the Room of Requirement seemed to know that Harry required some nookie when it made a mistletoe appear over the heads of Harry and Cho.  I didn’t think much of the Cho Chang character, so I was fine with them not ending up together.  I was one of the people that always thought Harry and Hermoine would end up together, but when I realized that they weren’t going to be together, I was kind of hoping that Harry would end up with Luna Lovegood.  I never saw Ginny coming until the next movie.

The Half-Blood Prince didn’t quite have the epic battles of Order of the Phoenix, but it did have a lot of emotion in the story and better performances.  The most significant thing about this movie is that we’re finally allowed to consider the cast hot.  Emma Watson was 18 for this movie!  Hooray!  A girl I’ll never meet, nor ever have a chance with, is now legal!  On a similar note, one thing I noticed about this movie is that poor Harry is twice cock-blocked in this movie: first with the black girl he got the jungle fever for in the coffee shop that Dumbledore showed up and ruined, then with Ginny in the Weasley house when Ron decided the best place to sit was in between them.  This is the worst thing that could ever happen to Harry, and I’m counting the death of his parents and his other two father figures.  The relationships are a bigger part in this movie than they are in the other ones, but I hear a lot of people complaining about that, saying Harry Potter is making a turn towards Dawson’s Creek.  But I like the relationship stuff.  It’s the inevitable progression to characters that have known each other for so long and gone through so much together.  Snape had been a good guy up until this movie, but in this one he appears to take a turn for the evil.  Why?  ‘Cause they made him Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher!  Why don’t they get rid of that job?!  The thing that makes the movie the most emotional is that it’s the one where Dumbledore dies.  Unfortunately, my book-reading asshole friends ruined it for me beforehand, so I wasn’t surprised.  It was still a very emotional scene, though.  I heard about the book’s ending, and that made me angry at the movie’s ending.  I was told that, in the book, Dumbledore freezes Harry and puts him under the invisibility cloak so that he wouldn’t interfere.  In the movie, he just tells Harry to go downstairs and watch as he gets killed.  The movie ending seems completely out of character for Harry.  I know that Harry respects and loves Dumbledore and would obey most commands from him, but if one of my best friends just told me to do nothing as they got killed, I’d get involved.  I think Harry would too.  The book ending, if it’s true, makes a lot more sense.  The graphics remain quality in this movie.  I liked what happened to the girl and the cursed necklace.  It was like the opening scene of Jaws but in midair.  There aren’t as many battles in this one, but the ones that are there are quality.  I liked the Draco vs. Harry battle in the bathroom, but it bothered me that Harry would use a spell that he didn’t know on an actual person, knowing only that it was “for enemies”.  The spell could have made Draco explode into a red mist, for crying out loud!  It could have made his entire body get sucked into his own anus.  Maybe you should figure this stuff out before randomly throwing spells around.  The other big battle in the movie is when Harry and Dumbledore are going after a Horcrux and then Harry is dragged into the water by pale Ethiopians and then Dumbledore solves it with a giant, badass fire spell.

The performances are at their best in these movies.  Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t do much in the relationship side until Half-Blood Prince, where he gets to kiss Ginny for the first time.  But he does have emotional moments at the death of Sirius and Dumbledore.  I did like some of his smaller performances, like when Ron’s crazy girlfriend was drawing a heart in the fog on the window and he was uncomfortably playing with the seat, but he does have a funny bit when he’s under the influence of the luck potion in Half-Blood Prince.  Emma Watson does a lot of legwork in the relationship department, also related to Ron and his new, temporary girlfriend, but hers was more resentment that Ron didn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings.  I feel like she misunderstood when she thought Ron was calling out for Hermoine when he was unconscious though.  He was clearly saying “Her.  My knee.” because his girlfriend was kneeling on his leg and it hurt.  Ron was pretty oblivious about Hermoine’s feelings still, but I did like the part where he had accidentally taken a love potion and was falling in love with everything.  I also liked that Ron was kind of acting like Harry’s muscle in Order of the Phoenix when the other students were getting on his case.  Gary Oldman was back for Order of the Phoenix and had toned down his crazy a lot.  This movie is also the introduction of Helena Bonham Carter as Belatrix Lestrange, who I am strangely attracted to, even with her teeth so fucked up.  She’s a great, creepy actress in this too.  Tom Felton finally gets a meaty role in Half-Blood Prince.  Before, he had just been a little shit getting on people’s nerves, but being relatively unimportant to the plot.  In Half-Blood Prince, he has to be so torn and mopey about the fact that he has to kill Dumbledore, but he’s not that into it.  He was, however, fully into curb stomping Harry’s face in the beginning.  But the best thing introduced in Half-Blood Prince was Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn.  His character was so funny throughout (especially when he got drunk), but had to deliver some real emotion as well.  I thought the story about the lily petal turning into a fish and disappearing when Harry’s mom, Lilly, died was especially touching.  Luna Lovegood showed up for the first time in Order of the Phoenix, which is great ’cause I love that character.  She’s so quirky and funny to me.  I especially liked in Half-Blood Prince when she shows up out of nowhere wearing a big, elaborate lion hat.  I also got a little hopeful that Harry would end up with her because he took her to the dance, but he was going more for Bonnie Wright, and I guess I’m okay with it.  I’ve got nothing against Imelda Staunton as a person, but Dolores Umbridge was a fucking twat.  I wanted to kick her in the vagina for the way she tortured the kids, and again for all the pink, all the cats, and her overly happy demeanor that only vaguely covered the fact that she was a cunt.  That’s 4 vagina kicks, or we can consolidate into 2 dropkicks.  No amount of vagina kicks could make up for her trying to kick Emma Thompson out of Hogwarts, though.  Trelawny was the best teacher, and when she was getting kicked out of her job and her home, my heart broke for her.  Nymphadora Tonks, played by Natalia Tena, first showed up in this movie, and became my new non-Hermoine love interest.  Well, Luna for her personality, Tonks for her looks.  Order of the Phoenix also introduces us to Kreacher, Sirius’ curmudgeon-y House Elf.  I liked him cause he seemed like a little racist, like Mel Gibson as a House Elf.   The two little kids that play young Voldemort, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane, were pretty appropriately creepy.

These movies are still awesome.  I like Order of the Phoenix better because there’s more action and a great climax with epic wizard battles, but Half-Blood Prince sets itself apart with a more emotional story and some great performances.  We’re almost done here, which is good because these reviews are really long and take a long time for me to type, but a little sad because I could watch many more Harry Potter movies and be fine with it.  Harry Potter: Years Five and Six get “I hope they have pudding” out of “But I am the Chosen One”.

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Harry Potter: Year Three and Four (2004 and 2005)


Mischief Managed

Today we continue through the story of Harry Potter, moving on to years three and four. The darkness and quality continues to amp up in these movies, finally reaching the darkness boiling point with the full introduction of the second greatest driving character of the Harry Potter universe, who until now had only been talked about or seen partially. So let’s get to it, with my reviews of Harry Potter: Years Three and Four.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Year Three) (2004)

Based on the novels of J.K. Rowling, written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Emma Thompson, Warwick Davis, David Bradley, Robert Hardy, Julie Walters, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Dawn French, Julie Christie, Mark Williams, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, John Cleese, Pam Ferris, and Matthew Lewis.

Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has more troubles with the Dursleys (Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, and Harry Melling) when Harry accidentally inflates Vernon’s sister (Pam Ferris), sending her flying off into the sky. Harry gets on a special witch bus which takes him to the Leaky Cauldron. Before heading off to school again, Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams) tells Harry that a murderer by the name of Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban prison. On the Hogwarts Express, Harry is attacked by a Dementor, a dark, ghostly creature that guards Azkaban and sucks the happiness out of people, but Harry is saved by the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Remus Lupin (David Thewlis). Things start going bad for Harry again, starting with Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane)’s Hippogriff, Buckbeak, being sentenced to death for scratching Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). Harry learns that Sirius Black went to jail for killing Peter Pettigrew (Timothy Spall) and betraying Harry’s parents, leading to their murder by Lord Voldemort. Harry gets a map from Fred and George Weasley (James and Oliver Phelps) that shows where everyone is in Hogwarts, and Harry sees Peter Pettigrew on the map. After seeing Buckbeak get put to death, Ron is dragged into the Whomping Willow by a black dog. When they follow it, it turns out that the dog is Sirius Black and Professor Lupin is working with him. Sirius reveals that Pettigrew was the one that betrayed Harry’s parents and has been hiding out as Ron (Rupert Grint)’s rat, Scabbers. While taking Pettigrew to jail, Lupin sees the moon and turns into a werewolf. Harry is saved by Sirius, and then Sirius and Harry get attacked by a group of Dementors, only to be saved by a Patronis charm from Harry’s father, or so he thinks. With Sirius locked up and Ron in the hospital, Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) drops some hints that Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) figures out and uses a charm she has to take Harry and her back in time. They’re able to rescue Buckbeak and Sirius Black from death, and Harry realizes that it was actually him, and not his father, that rescued himself and Sirius.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Year Four) (2005)

Written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by Mike Newell, and adding to the cast Brendan Gleeson, David Tennant, Robert Pattinson, Clemence Poesy, Stanislav Ianevski, Frances De La Tour, Katie Leung, Miranda Richardson, Shirley Henderson, and Jason Isaacs.

Harry starts having dreams that he’s overhearing a conversation between Lord Voldemort, Peter Pettigrew, and an unnamed man. He later sees the same man at an attack on the Quidditch World Cup event by Voldemort’s Death Eaters. Back to Hogwarts, two new schools show up for the Tri Wizard Tournament, being held at Hogwarts. Due to the attack, people under 17 are not allowed to enter. The Goblet of Fire chooses Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson) from Hogwarts, Fleur Delacour (Clemence Poesy) from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Viktor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski) from Durmstrang Institute, and what the ?! Harry Potter?! Everyone gets all mad at Harry for, in their mind, cheating and entering the tournament even though he’s underage, but the rules say he must participate. The first task is to fight a dragon to grab a golden egg that screams when you open it. Cedric gives him the idea to open the egg underwater to hear it’s singing message while Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson) tries to catch a look at Harry’s wang, apparently not realizing she can just go see Equus. The next task is to find a way to stay underwater for an hour and save a person that’s close to you. Harry comes in last, but gets bumped up because he also saved Fleur’s sister. Finally, the four are let into a maze and must race to the center. Cedric and Harry touch it at the same time and are transported to a graveyard, where Pettigrew kills Cedric and imprisons Harry, using Harry’s blood to resurrect Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Well, mostly. He forgot to resurrect his nose. Harry and Voldemort get locked into battle, but Harry gets away when the spirits of the people recently killed by Voldemort attack him, giving Harry just enough time to escape with Cedric’s body. When he gets back, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody (Brendan Gleeson) spirits Harry away in the confusion. It is revealed that Barty Crouch Jr. (David Tennant) has been masquerading as Moody the entire time, leading Harry through the tournament in order to get him into the hands of Voldemort. Barty is captured and the real Moody is set free, and Harry moves on to the next year of school, in which nothing bad could possibly happen.

Surprise! I still like Harry Potter. You will probably not see a lot of surprises in the “does he or doesn’t he like it” category here. The story is steadily on the rise in quality, but the effects have probably topped out at amazing by this point. There’s not a whole lot of new effects that have been added to Prisoner of Azkaban. The werewolves are new, but I was kind of underwhelmed by them. Lupin as a werewolf was scrawny and not that frightening. I like my werewolves in the form of huge, muscly beasts with huge fangs, but the werewolf was scrawny and made me more sad than scared. The Dementors, on the other hand, were pretty metal and scary. They were like black shrouded ghost/mummies I did like Buckbeak a lot too. They gave him a lot of personality and made him kind of cute and dog-like in how he would come up and nuzzle Harry, but he could be a bit of a badass too. It’s not a super good effect, but more attention was paid to the paintings in this movie and there was this knight that was hopping into different frames and hopping into a ready to fight pose that kept popping up in the background while scenes were going on, and this guy kept drawing my attention ’cause I thought he was funny. The story stays pretty well on par. They throw time-travel into the movie, which can be dangerous, but they did it alright. The weirdest thing was that the movies never explained why Hermoine just seemingly lost her little time-travel charm after this movie. I also thought it was weird that Hermoine was so against Divination. She got up in Trelawny’s grill about it and even knocked a crystal ball off the table. You trying to tell me that all this other magic shit is fine but when it comes to telling fortunes and reading tea leaves? Poppycock! Alright then, Hermoine. You ARE supposed to be the smart one.

Goblet of Fire takes a pretty big step forward in story, darkness, and graphics. The story is good because there’s a big focus on the characters and how Ron doesn’t like being in Harry’s shadow all the time. It bothered me that Ron was all angry at Harry, thinking Harry had put his name in the cup. Yeah, ’cause nothing weird and dangerous EVER follows Harry around. Plus, Harry’s never really been comfortable with being famous. It’s not like he’s me. If I were Harry, and I were in the class when Moody said “There’s only one person who’s ever survived the killing curse,” I’d have stood up and yelled “That’s right, bitches!” This is the one where they start getting into the romantic relationships between the characters. Ron and Hermoine are at each other’s throats because they don’t realize they like each other; they just realize that they get jealous when the other person is with someone. Harry kind of gets interested in Cho, but doesn’t really stick on anyone that heavily yet. We find out pretty quick that this is going to be the darkest Harry Potter yet because it opens with the Killing Curse, tells us all about the other two Forbidden Curses, and at the end, shows Voldemort for the first time. I still wonder what the idea was behind how the go-to magic word for us is “Abra Kadabra” and it’s so close to the Killing Curse’s “Avada Kedavra”. I wanna know J.K. Rowling’s idea behind that. I also thought it was pretty interesting that one of the series’ greatest driving characters doesn’t show up entirely until the fourth book/movie. I did like the way he showed up, though. I thought the three things that were called for (Bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the enemy) were appropriate, and that the cauldron caught fire and melted together, turning into Voldemort, and then the smoke creating his robes, was pretty awesome. The graphics didn’t so much improve for this one, but I liked what they did with them better. The dragon Harry fought was particularly awesome, but I thought it was strange that we didn’t get to see the other three contestants fight their dragons. Instead, we just watched Harry sitting in a room. This movie also made me wonder if Rowling described the big owl tower as being completely caked in owl shit as it was portrayed in the film. The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is the bad guy again. I don’t know what Rowling is trying to say with this. My Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was a great person!

The kids are getting pretty good at acting by this point. In Goblet of Fire, both Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have pretty convincing crying scenes, and a lot of good emotions. Both of their emotions are usually despair, though Harry’s is more about people dying and Hermoine’s is more about Ron not realizing he digs on her yet. Dumbledore looked really different in this movie. I think he must’ve come down with a case of deadness. Richard Harris was replaced by Michael Gambon in Prisoner of Azkaban. I actually prefer Gambon’s Dumbledore. He plays it a little more fun. Not as fun as Emma Thompson’s Professor Trelawny, though. Trelawny became my favorite professor instantly. She’s very quirky and funny. I was also happy to see Gary Oldman and David Thewlis. I liked them already from other movies, and they have great characters in these movies. Gary Oldman is pretty insane for the majority of these movies, but it’s understandable because I understand Azkaban isn’t a nice place. But that guy is good at being crazy. I also love Alan Rickman … in pretty much anything. But I think Snape is a great character for him. He made me laugh so hard in Goblet of Fire when Harry, Ron, and Hermoine were talking and Snape kept coming up and whacking them viciously with a book. Goblet of Fire introduces us to many minor characters from the other schools. I liked the French Academy girls for some strange reason, especially Clemence Poesy. I just can’t put my finger on it … but I’m willing to try! BOOYAH! Brendan Gleeson’s character was pretty awesome as well, although the character itself only appears at the end. Barty Crouch Jr. does a good job acting like him, apparently. David Tennant is Barty Crouch Jr. too, and he’s a person who I had not heard of the first time I saw the movie but, thanks to the Nerdist podcast and Chris Hardwick’s love of Doctor Who, I now know the name David Tennant. His character has a good look thought, but he appeared only briefly as himself. Also, Katie Leung made me laugh, ’cause I’ve never heard and Asian with a Scottish accent. And how could I not mention that Ralph Fiennes finally takes the reins as Voldemort here. He plays it so over the top, but it works. He looks frightening, he acts like a human/snake hybrid that needs a lozenge. Voldemort could’ve been ruined with the wrong choice here, but they got a good’n. This is also the only time I can recall not hating Robert Pattinson in a movie. Granted, it’s not his fault that Twilight is awful, but I associate him with it.

The movies and actors are steadily improving still. Prisoner of Azkaban is fine, but Goblet of Fire blows it out of the water. It moves a lot faster and has more action because of the tournament and, of course, finally introduces us to Voldemort. The story is on it’s way up, the movies are getting darker by the movie, and the kids are becoming better actors. I recommend watching and buying both, and that’s why I did it myself. I actually bought them twice, because I couldn’t wait another 6 years to buy the set. So, Harry Potter: Years Three and Four get “Your aura is pulsing!” out of “Priori Incantatem”.

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!