The Films of 2016


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59.  That is the number of movies that I saw that Wikipedia says were released in 2016.  …I go hard in the paint.  Last week, I posted the video where I picked my best and worst 5 of the year (view it here on my YouTube channel), but many people might be wondering what I thought about the other 49 movies I watched this year.  Well wonder no more!  Now, if you have the balls and the stamina to read 10,558 words and 20 pages worth of reviews, you need only scroll down from here to find out my thoughts on them all!  …Or you could just find the ones you specifically want to know my thoughts on.  You do you.

 

JANUARY

THE FOREST

I can’t say that I had any major problems with The Forest.  Except that it wasn’t scary.  That’s probably a fairly major problem for a horror movie though.  The premise was a fairly interesting one since I didn’t know about this suicide forest before this movie, but it kind of falls apart after that.  Like, I certainly hope it’s not actually the police’s policy to not even bother looking for someone 2 days after entering the suicide forest and just assuming they killed themselves, but if it is, maybe if you’re going in there, let the cops know that you’re going in there to look for someone and definitely not to kill yourself, so come looking for me if I don’t come back.  And if the person you’re looking for is your twin sister, why bother bringing a picture?  Just point at your face and say, “With dark hair.”  But this movie at least has Natalie Dormer going for it, who is good and pretty.  And technically it has two of her, ‘cause she’s twins.  But that’s about it.

 

THE BOY

Two in a row with the mediocre horror movies, eh?  And along with the Forest, another mediocre horror film with good, hot actresses from very good, very popular TV shows I love.  The big thing that sets this one apart is that it’s reeeeeeally weird.  You think it’s all about some super crazy old people that want to pay a hot lady to watch a doll they act like is their actual son.  …Okay.  Fair enough.  Then the movie starts seeming like it’s a little more subtle and psychological version of Chuckie from Child’s Play, and then it’s even weirder than that!  Somehow, ghosts would be more feasible (and probably scarier) than the way they ended up going.  Lauren Cohan was good though, and she was hot.  I did not care for Brahm though.  His performance was a bit stiff and wooden.  …GET IT?!?!?!  ‘Cause he was the doll!!!  …You get it…

 

THE WITCH

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say The Witch is a scary movie.  It’s certainly unnerving though.  It’s kind of weird and creepy and there’s old naked women and ravens eating women’s nipples and talking goats and creepy children.  It creates quite a mood and an atmosphere though, so that probably counts for something.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find much about the movie that would lead me to recommend it either.  But most other critics seem to like it, so maybe check it out or whatever.  Just not really my cup of witches brew.

 

FEBRUARY

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

This is certainly a silly premise for a movie.  Take an old classic book and toss some zombies in there.  But for me, it works.  ‘Cause I’m not reading a book.  And I also am not watching Pride and Prejudice as a movie…unless you add zombies and sword fighting.  So I enjoyed the movie well enough AND I can now tell people I’ve read Pride and Prejudice.  …I turned on the subtitles.

 

DEADPOOL

Coming from a longtime fan of the character, I would have a hard time finding any fault to Deadpool … so I won’t!  I loved this movie!  The action was great and the comedy delivered practically nonstop all the way to the end of the movie and starting from (and including) the opening credits.  How many times would you tell someone that they better not miss the opening credits?  Once!  The whole cast was fantastic; Morena Baccarin and Gina Carano were really hot and so was Ryan Reynolds…  Everyone delivered exactly what they needed to.  And my favorite part?  Not only did they not completely ruin the character of Deadpool, they made fun of the previous time when they did completely ruin the character of Deadpool!  Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you just don’t like Deadpool, because this movie is, to me, a perfect capturing of the character.  To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and the only thing that makes me nervous about the sequel is that they won’t be able to recapture what this movie had, but I’ll certainly be in the theater as early as possible to find out.  But as long as they don’t take the mouth off of the Merc with a Mouth, then it couldn’t possibly be THAT bad.

 

ZOOTOPIA

At first glance, Zootopia seems like it’s just another cute Disney movie.  And it is, but there’s also a lot more to it than just that.  On the surface, it’s cute, beautiful, funny and charming, all the things that kids will enjoy in a movie.  And things get hit in the head a few times, and that is a child’s pinnacle of comedy.  But it also bases itself on a message of trust and friendship overcoming prejudice and fear.  That shit’s deep for a Disney movie!  And pretty topical too!  It seems like it’s all about the cute little prey bunny overcoming everyone else’s prejudice against her to make her dream a reality and become a police officer, but even she has to come to the realization that she (and other prey) also jump to conclusions about the predators being prone to violence.  And the best thing about this message is that it’s there and it’s obvious, but it also doesn’t beat you over the head with it to the point of annoyance.  The voice cast also kills it, especially the two main characters that carry the movie (Goodwin and Bateman) and also Shakira who sang the great song for the movie and made me feel weird things while looking at a gazelle.  I cannot find fault in this movie, and I have no interest in trying to.

 

ZOOLANDER 2

I feel like Zoolander 2 didn’t hurt my feelings too badly because I don’t hold the original Zoolander in high enough esteem that I went into this movie expecting much.  And I also can’t say that it hurt me too drastically because I barely remember seeing it.  I know I did, and I’m pretty sure I own it on Blu-Ray around here somewhere, but that’s about it.  Maybe that’s because the closest to funny this movie gets is by rehashing the vaguely funny things from the first movie, but that’s not going to be good enough.  And the movie has a ton of cameos, which is great if that’s more important than humor out of a comedy to you.  The best things that happened in this movie were some kinda funny moments from Kyle Mooney’s hipster character Don Atari, and the fact that they killed Justin Bieber in the beginning.  But if I can’t say I like a movie that kills Justin Bieber in the first 5 minutes, that movie is probably not very good.

 

GODS OF EGYPT

Gods of Egypt did not do well with either the critics or the people in general.  Many people condemned this movie before its release because the cast was a bunch of white people acting like Egyptians.  I don’t really care about that personally because I would rather have a better actor in a role than one that looks right.  It probably helps that most times it’s white people taking roles from other races and I’m white, so why would I be offended?  I think what’s more offensive about this movie is that it’s just not very good.  But where I would take critics to task on this one is my “what were you expecting?” argument.  This movie was exactly what I assumed it would be based on its poster.  Decent visuals and passable action, possibly some pretty ladies scattered about, and everything else was not a concern.  So whether you have seen this movie or not, whether you are making an educated decision about this movie or not, you are probably right.  There’s no reason to see it really, but it’s not awful.

 

MARCH

LONDON HAS FALLEN

London Has Fallen is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which is a movie most famous for being often confused with that other movie about the president being kidnapped.  You probably don’t need me to say more, which is good because I don’t have much more to say.  This time, a whole city has fallen, so I can only assume that next a whole country, then a continent, then a planet, and maybe even a solar system will fall as well, and only Gerard Butler can stop it because he’s super dedicated to his job and an inexplicable badass that single-handedly takes down armies.  So what is there to say about this movie?  It’s dumb, but lots of things explode, and the cast is maybe 10% better than standard action movie casts are.  So watch this movie next time you want to shut your brain off and watch things go boom.

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a little more drama than comedy to me, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience.  It didn’t seem to hit too heavy on anything I was thinking it would go for.  There were funny moments, but nothing was incredibly laugh out loud funny.  There were serious moments, but nothing too depressing or tragic.  Some action moments, but nothing terribly thrilling.  Overall it was just a long, moderate enjoyment that I felt.  Nice little love story in there that wasn’t really the focus, but Tina Fey was enjoyable as usual, as was Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie.  And I especially enjoyed Fey’s relationship with her fixer Fahim.  So it’s a solid movie, but as it doesn’t really feel like a spectacular version of any type of movie, I don’t know if I’d call it a must.

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

10 Cloverfield Land certainly wasn’t what I expected going in, but being a psychological thriller about 3 isolated people that’s a sequel to a Godzilla-esque giant monster movie will have that effect.  But after the initial shock of that wore off, I found myself able to enjoy this movie for what it was.  It was a very well done, tense, and psychological movie that was also very well acted.  Not typically the type of movie I go for, but I felt like it carried the flame from the first movie pretty well.  I just hope to get a little more info and a little more Godzilla if they do another one.

 

THE BRONZE

I think what mostly drove me to want to watch The Bronze was how often I stumbled across it.  I came across the movie in RedBox many times and saw the mildly amusing trailer for it many times.  Finally I stumbled across it on the list of movies that came out in 2016, and figured I might as well give it a shot.  Once I did, I found it acceptable.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it had a decent amount of humor sprinkled around to make it enjoyable, especially the gymnast sex scene near the end.  The cast was good too.  Melissa Rauch wasn’t very likeable until the end, but that’s what she was going for, and I’m always happy to see Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan.  Haley Lu Richardson was pretty enjoyable too.  The Bronze has some things going for it that I would say bring it dangerously close to being worth your time.

 

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

I don’t really know why I watched Allegiant.  And I don’t know why I watched Divergent either.  And more than that, I don’t know why I watched this one when I apparently forgot to watch Insurgent, which is the second one.  So maybe fans of the movie would argue that the reason I didn’t like this one is because I wasn’t able to follow the deep, cohesive storyline.  Well that may be the case.  Also a possibility: it was boring and dumb.  When I watched the first one, I barely understood what they were trying to go for.  Then this one adds more stuff for me to be confused by.  Perhaps, had I seen the second one, it would’ve been the appropriate level of confusion for my brain to shut down and enjoy the movie.  But I found myself completely capable of realizing that they had some fairly big ideas and stopped right about there.  But they threw some pretty computer pictures around to make it look fairly nice, and then threw a few great actors in and surrounded them by pretty actors that could pass as moderately acceptable actors, and then that was a trilogy.  Skip it.

 

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

I would never have been classified as a fan of the DC Universe, and with movies like they put out when Christopher Nolan isn’t behind the camera, they are doing nothing to help that.  Now, I didn’t despise Batman v Superman as much as other nerds I have heard discuss it because I’m not as close to the source material, but the movie still mostly sucked.  Y’see, I’ve actually read the Dark Knight Returns.  Zack Snyder should’ve too.  It’s pretty good.  Instead, I think he might’ve read the Wikipedia article about it, or the Cliff Notes if they do that for comics.  What he understood was that Batman fights Superman at some point.  Didn’t really get why.  He also didn’t really get the character of Batman and his whole “One Rule” thing he talked about it The Dark Knight.  You know, how Batman doesn’t kill, like even if blowing up that car with enemies in it would look REALLY cool and get those bad guys out of his hair for a while.  Like not even if there was a 1% chance someone could be a bad guy, since y’know EVERYONE has about a 1% chance of being a bad guy and he specifically never killed the Joker who has about a 147% chance of being a bad guy.  And if you thought his reason for fighting Superman in the first place was stupid, wait until you find out why he stops fighting him.  Also, I did not like Eisenberg’s over the top Luthor weirdness.  He was super annoying through the entire movie, but then a little bit good and intimidating at the very end of the movie.  On a positive note, I liked Ben Affleck a lot and look forward to what he’ll do in the future, and he had some great action scenes that felt straight out of one of the Arkham games.  And Gal Gadot was great and every Wonder Woman scene was awesome … and would have been much more so if every one of those scenes wasn’t in the trailers.  So this was not a painfully bad movie to watch, but where it hurt itself was being a movie about well-established characters that it didn’t seem to understand … and not being very good.

 

APRIL

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

I absolutely loved Civil War.  I’m sure that’s no surprise coming from a hardcore Marvel fanboy, but I think the movie was fairly universally loved.  Full of the fun one expects from Marvel movies but with the serious moments when they were needed and a great plot where all the characters had clear motivations.  Interesting concept, eh Batman v Superman?  Obviously they couldn’t make this movie exactly the same as the comics (which I had heard complaints about), but of course they couldn’t because they don’t have the ability to use the word “mutant” or use the X-Men.  So shut the fuck up, nerds!  The whole cast was great, especially new characters of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man, and also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, and everyone had a great moment in their wicked awesome fight at the airport, which was only one among many great action set pieces.  Marvel is killin’ it, as always.

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

I had no interest in The Jungle Book for a long time.  I saw the cartoon.  I thought it was okay.  Later on they made it again with one real person and some computer stuff and that guy that made Iron Man.  That would probably be fine, but I know what’s gonna happen.  Eventually, the media talked me into it as podcasts I listened to talked it up.  Then I watched it and they were right.  It is really good; better even than the cartoon.  The story is roughly the same, but the new visuals really help to tell that story, and those visuals combined with the voice acting makes me have to say a statement like, “That wolf gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes.”  I don’t recall actually crying because I’m so manly and all, but it worked very well.  And they had all the musical numbers that they should have and though only Scarlett Johansson really had much of a singing voice; it was still nice to hear them again.  This was a really entertaining and touching movie that everyone should enjoy.

 

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

Though I would not be bold enough to call The Huntsman: Winter’s War a good movie, I would certainly say it was better than the original.  Is that because this one didn’t have Kristen Stewart in it?  Possibly.  But I would say I had no major problem with the sequel too.  The story was fairly bland and not much more than good guys versus bad guys followed by credits, but I also wasn’t really expecting much more than that.  The actors can probably take most of the credit for this movie being watchable.  I liked Theron and Blunt and their interactions, and I really liked Chastain and Hemsworth and their chemistry together.  I even liked the dwarves, even though they really had no real reason to be there save for mild comic relief.  But the movie was fine.  You don’t need to see it, but at least Kristen Stewart isn’t in it.

 

KEANU

Keanu was cute.  The cat, I mean.  Not the movie.  The movie was fine.  I’ve never seen Key and Peele’s show, but I’ve enjoyed the clips of it I’ve seen, so I expected a fair bit from this movie.  It was somewhat funny, but not uproariously so.  Just kind of enough to make me smile throughout and chuckle at a few parts.  The story premise can keep you smiling because it’s just so silly, but not very many jokes really got me.  The cast was enjoyable too.  Key and Peele are very likeable, and Anna Faris was probably my favorite part of the movie.  Besides Keanu, that is.  He was slightly cuter than she is.

 

RATCHET & CLANK

My main goal in watching Ratchet & Clank was to see if I could learn the story of the games without bothering to play them, which I had never bothered to get around to even though I typically heard good things.  Was this movie successful in this endeavor?  How should I know?  I had nothing to compare it to.  So instead, I’ll say if it was successful as a movie.  Probably.  I’m sure it made a lot of money.  As for its quality, I would say it was fine.  It looked great and its story was the basic dream-fulfillment, zero-to-hero thing.  Kids will probably like it, but as far as I can tell, random shapes and colors moving on a screen will be enough for most children.  Disney and Pixar have probably set the standard for movies too high for parent to be entirely thrilled by this movie though.

 

MAY

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

I might actually surprise you all with my review for X-Men: Apocalypse.  I didn’t actually love this Marvel movie.  I would say I just really really liked it.  Number one thing it had going for it: there were X-Men in it.  It also had Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in it, as well as a killer subtle gag where they used Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” in the movie.  And it also had an awesome Phoenix moment.  I liked the greater majority of things about the movie with only few minor problems.  First, I think Xavier should really be portrayed as stronger than he was on the Astral Plane.  I also really didn’t care for the kid playing Cyclops or the look of Archangel, but I did like all the returning cast and the new people like Apocalypse, Sansa Stark, Olivia Munn, and Nightcrawler.  The Weapon X sequence was also cool, but their attempts to make the Weapon X gear look less goofy for camera didn’t really go that well.  Overall, I found it quite enjoyable, but I’m also an X-Men nerd.  I may not be trustworthy.

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

I have no particular love for the previous Alice in Wonderland movie.  It looked pretty and computers made wonderful fantasy things look somewhat realistic.  And there was probably a story, but damned if I remember what it was.  Cut and paste for Through the Looking Glass.  It was fine.  Pretty computer things and a story about time-travel or whatever.  Nothing too mind-blowing.  It has some pretty good actors giving mixed performances though.  Depp and Carter are a little over the top for my taste, but I like Wasikowska and Hathaway, and I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a really enjoyable part of the movie.  Probably not so much as I’d really recommend the movie, but I’m sure kids would really get a kick out of it, and the parents probably won’t hate it while watching with them.

 

THE DARKNESS

I didn’t even know this movie existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia list, and then out of nowhere it gets to be on my list.  Congratulations!  Anyway, I know we’ve all sat around and thought to ourselves about how much we’d like to see a boring and cliché version of Poltergeist, right?  And then we watched the remake of Poltergeist, and after feeling like that wasn’t quite bland and obvious enough, we started demanding to see The Darkness.  It’s Poltergeist with the burial ground replaced by 5 rocks an autistic child found in the desert.  And the family’s biggest concern for most of the movie was with the dry cleaning from getting black handprints off of everything.  And the funny weird lady from the Poltergeist is now a Mexican lady and her granddaughter…who for some reason are the experts you call in when having troubles with Anasazi demons.  I guess as long as their skin is brown, they can probably do it.  They all look the same to us anyway.  So what I’m saying is, instead of bothering with this movie, just go watch Poltergeist.  …Either one is better.

 

THE NICE GUYS

For a long time, I could not imagine a reason for me to watch The Nice Guys.  A comedy on the backs of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling?  Sounds like a pretty terrible idea.  The only funny thing I can think of involving either of them is a series of videos where someone tries to feed cereal to one of them.  But it turned out that this movie was almost as funny as feeding cereal to Ryan Gosling.  The story was the buddy cop movie basics, but with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, making it feel like that Starsky and Hutch movie but funny.  And you gotta give credit where it’s due: Crowe and Gosling delivered.  I doubted them and they shut me up.  …No I mean it.  I’m gonna shut up now.  Watch the movie though.

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

What can one really expect when going to see a movie like TMNT: Out of the Shadows?  …Yes.  That is the answer.  You should be looking for a dumb, roughly pointless story with as much fan service as they can muster (Hey, we added Krang this time!).  Then you should expect a visual extravaganza, and I guess they kinda get there.  I still hate how the turtles look, but can’t change that now.  One of the actors is Megan Fox, so you can’t expect much there, but the turtle voices are pretty good, and I like Will Arnett and Stephen Amell, and I liked Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop and Rocksteady.  So what can one expect out of this movie?  Yes.  Exactly what you think.

 

JUNE

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

The first thing I would clarify about seeing Popstar is that I didn’t want to.  Someone had to suggest it to me.  The reason I didn’t want to see it is because I really don’t care for Andy Samberg very much.  He’s occasionally acceptable to me in small cameo roles, but the only time I’ve seen him in a starring role was Hot Rod, which was talked up as the greatest comedy in years to me by one of my friends and was instead something that made me want to kill myself.  Also, I think I thought it was that movie where Adam Sandler is Samberg’s dad for a while.  But even though it was an uphill battle to overcome my general disinterest in Samberg, I feel like this movie pulled it off.  It’s like This is Spinal Tap for the new generation … but not nearly as good as that.  But that’s a high bar to reach and one shouldn’t necessarily expect it to be able to reach that.  Basic story, decently funny, pretty well acted, Samberg was enjoyable, and tons of cameos from the comedy and music world for those that would find that interesting.  Popstar was pretty solid though.  A decent watch, and probably more so if you’re a big Samberg/Lonely Island fan.

 

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

I thought the first Now You See Me movie was fine.  Didn’t blow minds, but was entirely watchable.  The sequel was roughly the same, and perhaps took a step down for losing much of the surprise of the movie to its predecessor.  And the biggest problem of both movies is that it bases itself on magic and illusion which is impressive when watching someone do it in person, but much less impressive to watch when it’s the skill of a computer and not of a person who spent their life mastering the craft.  But the story of the movie seems fairly well planned out, had a few nice twists, and some of the magic stuff was interesting to watch.  I also still like how they use magic tricks for fist fights and heists, and the actors are all good.  The movie’s a decent watch, but not a required one by any stretch.

 

THE CONJURING 2

So many of these movies come out that I have a hard time remembering which is which sometimes.  The first Conjuring was about the Amityville stuff, right?  …Or am I thinking of Amityville Horror…  Well, this one is about this English family that claimed to be haunted in real life and the Warrens are back to kick ghost ass and chew bubblegum, but their bubblegum didn’t make it through customs!  And this movie was pretty successful.  I like the use of “real life” hauntings as a basis for a movie because, if nothing else, it’ll make me read about the “real life” stuff and be entertained by that, but the movie entertained pretty well too.  It pulled off jump scares pretty successfully and creepy build up decently.  The old guy ghost was somewhat scary, but that old nun lady was downright chilling.  All the living actors did very well too.  I’ll call this one worth a watch.

 

WARCRAFT

My idea to watch Warcraft came from a discussion on a podcast (Shout out to Just2Pals Podcast!).  My friend (a big Warcraft fan) loved the movie, while his partner (less of a Warcraft fan) did not.  My history with Warcraft puts me somewhere in the middle of those two, as did my enjoyment of the movie.  I played and loved the original RTS Warcraft games, and even played a little of World of Warcraft, though I lost interest fairly quickly.  And since my time with Warcraft pretty much ended around 2003, my knowledge of the lore of Warcraft has mostly dispersed.  I know humans don’t like orcs.  And this movie does enforce that.  And pretty much covers the story of the movie as well.  The action was decent, but it’s hard to make very impressive action when it’s technically a guy swinging a plastic sword at air, but the computers did some good work on this movie.  I especially liked what they did the orcs, especially with Paula Patton.  It’s hard to feel for (and be attracted to) a big green lady with tusks, but nature finds a way.  So what it seems to come down to with this movie is that my recommendation is dependent on your involvement with the Warcraft lore, sliding up from “don’t bother” if you know nothing of Warcraft to “you’ve already seen it” if you’re a huge fan.

 

FINDING DORY

Sequels to animated movies (especially in Disney movies) can be hit and miss.  Finding Dory at least had the benefit of not being straight to DVD, which typically means better, but Cars 2 hit theaters, so it’s not perfect.  And neither was Finding Dory (long way to go for that one, I know), but it was really good.  It’s a nice emotional story about Dory trying to find her family and overcome her memory problems, and it’s pretty well assembled.  I feel like Dory works better as a secondary character generally, but she’s more fun to be with than Marlin, so it’s okay.  I also really enjoyed Hank the octopus and Becky the bird, who pretty much stole the whole movie for herself.  And the story did tug at the heart strings, but I don’t recall being overwhelmed by emotion at any point.  So the movie is good, and probably met my expectations, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly what it needs to be.  If you went into this movie expecting it to absolutely brilliant, you might be stupid and I pity you.  Before going to see this movie, I remembered the good times of things exploding a lot, Bill Pullman dropping a killer speech, and Will Smith and his patented way of welcoming someone to our planet.  So when seeing the sequel, I expected roughly the same thing except someone else would be on our planet’s welcoming party.  But I enjoyed the experience of the movie.  What was the story?  …That wasn’t a set up to something.  I really don’t remember.  Something about aliens coming back with bigger and angrier ships but we found this white sphere that helps somehow.  And the cast was solid, even if they weren’t Will Smith.  But who is?  Besides Will Smith, of course.  But none of that stuff really matters, does it?  I went to this movie to see aliens blow up as much stuff as they could before America whooped that ass.  This movie delivers on that.  It’s not smart; it’s big and spectacular.  That’s what it was supposed to be.

 

THE SHALLOWS

I was surprised I liked this movie too!  But this movie has it all: thrills, chills, suspense, and Blake Lively in a bikini.  This is what I expected from The Shallows and this is what I got.  I would say it takes a little long to get to the heavy stuff, but since that time is spent watching Blake Lively be super-hot, it felt like a productive use of my time.  But then when it gets going it is pretty damned edge of your seat stuff all the way through to the end.  And that shark was a dick!  I mean, I understand you gotta eat, but if you’re just looking for food, there’s this huge dead whale like 20 feet away that they used to explain why you showed up in the first place.  There’s a lot more meat on that thing than on Blake.  So really you’re just doing this to be an asshole, right?  And he was.  Fuck that shark.  And even not counting her ridiculous hotness, I thought Blake Lively was fantastic, and I’d be willing to kick that up to amazing since the only other thing I’ve seen her in was Green Lantern, so I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her.  I thought everyone did a really good job with this movie, and think it’s worth watching.  Just like Blake Lively is.

 

JULY

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

There wasn’t much memorable about The Legend of Tarzan.  I could say that I remember that Margot Robbie is hot, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the movie.  It’s Margot Robbie.  When is she not?  And then I remember Christoph Waltz stole Tarzan’s lady and he must return to his Tarzan roots to get her back, and he does.  And there’s some black dude that wants to kill Tarzan too.  Don’t remember much about that.  The Legend of Tarzan was a perfectly fine movie that just wasn’t special enough to dedicate any space in my extremely limited memory to.  I think I might just prefer my Tarzan animated.

 

THE BFG

Growing up a fan of the Doom series as I did, I was very disappointed when starting The BFG.  It wasn’t about a Big Fuckin’Gun at all!  It’s about a Big Fuckin’ Guy and his friendship with a young girl.  After I was able to get over my disappointment (and realize that most movies that have been released based on Doom haven’t really worked out too well), I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was.  And it was surprisingly enjoyable.  The story was as simple as a little girl befriending a giant and then helping him take care of the bad giants, but it was the world that was created that was impressive.  Visually stunning and well planned out, it can be really immersive.  And the performance of the little girl and the giant really get you attached to them pretty quickly.  A very nice little movie to take kids to.

 

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

Holy hell!  There was a second Purge movie?  Oh well.  I missed that one, and I don’t care.  I haven’t particularly cared to see any of the Purge movies.  The first one was standard and unimpressive unless you have a phobia about red corn syrup, which I do not.  The third was roughly the same, maybe made slightly more interesting by some story elements, but really it just comes down to different ways to make people shoot corn syrup around.  But this time people are trying to protect a candidate that wants to stop the Purge.  So that should count for something.  But that something isn’t a recommendation.  It’s just also not a warning.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

The Secret Life of Pets is also a simple story of pets.  There’s no real surprise to the story of this movie.  Happy, content dog has his world turned upside down by the addition of a new dog that he fears will take his owners love like a child when a new baby arrives.  But the real surprise about this movie for me was how enjoyable it was.  It seemed so cookie cutter from the trailers and seemed like something only kids might fall for, but I fell for it too, based mostly on the excellent and often adorable animation and the quality of the voice acting cast, especially Jenny Slate, who I adored in this movie.  I was so happy every time Gidget showed up so I could hear her again.  The movie also had some solid funny moments.  Definitely a good movie.

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

Talk about the new Ghostbusters movie was as mixed after its release as it was before.  “How could women do funny things?” they asked.  I wasn’t one of those people.  I looked at the cast and found Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon sufficient to believe comedy was possible (I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy and I wasn’t familiar with Leslie Jones).  And after seeing the movie, I decided that they succeeded in realizing that comedy.  This was a very funny movie.  Was it as good as the first two Ghostbusters?  No.  Not much is.  And that’s why I didn’t expect this movie to surpass the first two Ghostbusters.  It’s not the same kind of dry, subtle humor that made those Ghostbusters brilliant.  It’s a different thing.  This movie probably would’ve been very well received had they chosen a different title, but these women busted ghosts, so they must’ve felt the need.  Sure, it wasn’t the Ghostbusters we fans wanted, but since that’s never going to happen, this one will do.

 

STAR TREK BEYOND

Star Trek Beyond was fine, but a bit ridiculous in parts which held it back from greatness.  The story was solid and included a nice twist surprise at the end that worked very well.  And the movie had no real shortage of blockbuster action, which is also enjoyable.  And all the returning cast as well as the new additions of Idris Elba as Krall and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah were all enjoyable.  So what was the problem?  Their determination to make sure there was a moto cross scene that barely makes sense and the fact that the music of the Beastie Boys saves the day.  Having the anachronistic music playing is fine because I like the songs and they work well as soundtrack music, but having it be their main weapon against the enemies is a little silly.  Still an enjoyable movie though.

 

JASON BOURNE

Though I don’t necessarily think that the movie world needs to leave this Jason Bourne guy alone, I would find it acceptable since it would make sense in the story of the movies that the government would finally decide that they should stop fucking with the guy that just wants to be left alone, but will happily destroy you and everything you have if you don’t leave him alone.  Plus, the latest couple of movies haven’t been that good and eventually there’s going to be more mediocre ones that great ones.  This is one of the mediocre ones.  It’s fine, but it doesn’t really add anything to the world of Jason Bourne, and it also didn’t really need to exist.  It’s a fine basic action movie that fans of the series will want to watch, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to recommend.

 

AUGUST

SUICIDE SQUAD

I would say that I really wanted to enjoy Suicide Squad.  DC’s movies have been so disappointing that, even not being a big DC fan, I was hoping they would get a surprise Deadpool-esque hidden gem movie out sooner or later.  This wasn’t it.  I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I really didn’t enjoy it.  It felt to me like they were trying too hard with their moments of freezing and throwing up title cards for their characters and their “cool” music, but it couldn’t quite come together.  The story was just an origin story with a somewhat secondary and forgetful story about a bad guy and the “good” guys have to stop it.  The action wasn’t impressive either, but it was okay.  And the characters were mostly disappointing.  I didn’t care about most of the characters going in, and not much changed on leaving.  I liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Rick Flag and Katana were kind of bland and forgetful, El Diablo and Enchantress were fine, Captain Boomerang was fairly funny sometimes, and I didn’t care for Killer Croc at all.  He just felt like his performance should be him saying stupid things and licking things a lot for no reason.  And he looked strangely emaciated for some reason, even though the character and the actor portraying him are pretty big and buff.  And the biggest problem with the whole movie in my opinion was Jared Leto’s Joker.  You could tell he really had a character choice in mind, but I didn’t like the way he went at all.  I just found him annoying.  And worse than that, pointless.  It felt like everything involving the Joker was a waste of my time and he could’ve been not involved at all, or at least only involved in the flashbacks.

 

PETE’S DRAGON

Pete’s Dragon is … I don’t know, man.  It’s whatever.  I don’t remember the original well enough to compare them, and I already don’t remember this movie well enough to care.  The kid has a dragon, a family takes him in, bad people try to catch the dragon, happy ending.  It looks really pretty and the dragon is fairly well done, but I didn’t feel like I cared enough to pay attention while watching it and it couldn’t pull my attention.  I say skip it, but if you have kids it’ll perform as background noise fairly well.

 

SAUSAGE PARTY

I would give this movie some credit.  It almost lost me in the first 5 minutes with the musical number that opened it which I found completely devoid of humor and just trying too hard to be offensive.  And though the trying too hard to be offensive continued throughout the movie, some humor showed up making it more worthwhile.  It’s a silly movie that hides a strange religious argument meaning in between some of the lowest comedy that sometimes works.  I had a hard time in the movie weighing the jokes that were just too dumb or too gross with some actually well-written and funny jokes, but I’d say I warmed up to it, and I enjoyed the cast, particularly Nick Kroll doing his character Bobby Bottleservice as Douche.  I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended because you probably wouldn’t make it very far into the movie, but if you can deal with that, you could actually enjoy the movie.  Or wind up somewhere in the middle of enjoying and despising it.

 

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

This movie blew my damned mind!  I had a mild desire to see it based on its interesting style and Asian feel, but never bothered to get around to it until my friend Maggie raved about it.  I rented it, watched it, and went out to purchase it in full immediately afterwards.  It succeeds on every level.  The story is new, funny in parts, touching in others, and interesting to all ages throughout.  The animation is beautiful and engaging.  The cast also knocks it out of the park.  I don’t have much to say beyond saying I loved this movie and recommend you watch it post haste.

 

BEN-HUR

Even if it’s not necessary, every movie will probably be remade eventually, even if the original holds up just fine and the new one has nothing to bring to the table.  Granted, I probably don’t remember the original Ben-Hur well enough to say what the new one brought in or left out, but I do remember liking the original and being bored of the remake.  It’s not bad.  The race at the end is cool and some of the Jesus stuff is interesting and the cast tries their best, but it all seems futile.  Just go watch the original.

 

DON’T BREATHE

I found myself pretty surprised by Don’t Breathe.  Not so much by the quality.  The premise seemed interesting and the trailers sold the movie pretty well to make me think there was some quality to be found here, and there was.  I liked the premise of the kids breaking into the blind guy’s house and then he turns out to be a badass, and they were able to milk this for some really tense scenes.  My concern going into it was that the kids were supposed to be our protagonists, but I wondered if they would be able to make me feel bad about the blind war veteran killing the little shits that broke into his house, and they did that with the real surprise in this movie: all the stuff going on in the basement.  It made it so we didn’t like the blind guy a whole bunch more than we didn’t like the thieving kids, and led to some real weirdness and at least one super grossness.  But besides that, it was a very interesting movie, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.

 

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

If you like Jason Statham action movies, this is one of them.  It’s not particularly special in any way, and it’s more than a little silly, but I didn’t hate it.  It’s a standard action movie that seemed like they had 3 ideas for interesting set pieces for and then just figured out some way to slap them all into the same movie.  They are also going to need A-Team-style ‘prepare for hit’ montages before each one.  Heaven help you if you don’t have that.  Then they added in a corny love story with Jessica Alba who this hardcore, lone wolf killer guy falls for way too quickly even though he knows she was sent by the bad guy.  But there were some cool action scenes and some cool fight scenes, also Jessica Alba is hot and Jason Statham is shirtless a whole bunch for anyone who may be into that sort of thing.

 

SEPTEMBER

YOGA HOSERS

It is known that I am a fan of Kevin Smiths.  I listen to his podcasts, I enjoy his TV shows, and I enjoy the greater majority of his movies.  When I listened to the creation of the term “Yoga Hosers” on Smodcast, I thought it was hilarious.  Sadly, I didn’t feel the same about the movie.  Smith goes back to the convenient store in this movie, this time replacing Dante and Randall with his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter, and also replacing the witty conversations with slapstick silliness.  Smith said he was going for a cheesy 80’s buddy movie with this one, which is probably fine but I just didn’t get any laughs out of it, which is less fine.  It was just too goofy and seemed like Smith just wanting to put friends and family in a movie and see them do things that amuse him, like having Ralph Garman’s character do impressions for no reason other than Kevin knows Ralph can do them and they make Kevin laugh.  And they make me laugh too when listening to Hollywood Babble-On, but not so much here.  Perhaps this movie is better suited for Smith’s target audience of preteen girls, but it just didn’t do it for me.  I haven’t been a preteen girl for years.

 

SULLY

I liked Sully, but I have to say I found the movie a bit implausible.  There’s no way that could actually happen!  Silliness aside, I realize that a certain amount of the credit for this movie goes elsewhere because it’s probably pretty easy to make an interesting movie about this just by following the real life events of a hero, but the movie was deftly handled.  I saw some complaining about how they handled the NTS board that was actively trying to prove that Sully fucked up and saying that this wouldn’t be how it would’ve happened in real life, but screw that.  They need a bad guy and they have to build it up so the audience would be amped when Sully proves that what he did was right.  That wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if they were just like, “Yup, you were right.  Just as we all thought.  Good work, Captain.”  He needs to teabag them with knowledge.  After that stuff, you’ll be shocked to find that Tom Hanks was fantastic in this movie and carried the movie well.  Whoda thunk it?  Great movie and worth watching.

 

BLAIR WITCH

As another addition to the Blair Witch mythos, I found that this sequel raised more questions than it answered.  Like why is that black dude being such a dick to the two stoned weirdos?  They’ve been perfectly civil and helpful so far.  And why did the stoned weirdos fake those wooden doll things?  Like, you wanted others to believe in this stuff, but you wanted to stay in the woods longer and those things just made everyone want to leave.  And when they were leaving, why not just admit you faked it?  And why was faking it such a big deal to everyone else?  And why would our heroes tell them they had to leave because of it?  They could get lost and die in those woods … because they hung up their arts and crafts?  And why are the “heroes” still terrified after finding out that stuff was faked?  And why does everyone in horror movies think it’s okay to sneak up behind people that are already dealing with a scary situation?  These are the kinds of questions Blair Witch raises.  But the biggest one is why did they make this?  It really only rehashes the original Blair Witch movie, but now they have better and cooler technology.

 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

There are two things that need be expressed in my review for this movie.  First, I have a predisposition towards enjoying Westerns.  Second, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare it to.  That being said, I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven.  Granted it’s a super standard movie in that a bad guy is terrorizing a town and the good guy must assemble a team of misfits to save the day.  And then a lot of bullets, a lot of explosions, a lot of death, and then the day is saved.  Who can’t name at least 5 movies to compare that stuff to?  Especially if you count the original Magnificent Seven, which I assume is similar.  But this movie is a solid western with good action and good acting.  Definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Westerns.

 

OCTOBER

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie pretty well, but not well enough to bother seeing the sequel in theaters until it was time to start watching movies for this review.  I had to go to the Dollar Theaters for it.  And that’s about the right price to see this movie.  It’s fine, but formulaic, and generally unnecessary.  The action’s okay and the fights are fine, but the story leaves something to be desired.  Mostly I just desired something not easy and obvious.  And probably desired (without knowing it) that they not have a completely pointless subplot about a daughter.  She only served the story as a damsel in distress, and was even more pointless because she wasn’t even his daughter.  They just sort of thought she was for parts of the movie but wasn’t, thus rendering her pretty pointless to the movie in general.  But it’s not a bad movie and I liked the action, so I would say it’s not necessary to see, but not painful to see.

 

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

I’ve seen so many Ouija movies that I can’t even tell if any of them are supposed to be connected or not.  And if any of them are, I’m not sure why I watched this one because all the rest of them I’ve seen are just awful.  According to Wikipedia, this is a prequel to Ouija, which was garbage.  But Origin of Evil was inexplicably pretty damned good.  Pretty well-paced and nerve-wracking, with a solid story and some good scares, and pretty good acting to bring it all together.  One of my favorite things that they did in this was that they had scary things standing in the background a lot, but didn’t make a big deal out of them.  There would just be a silhouette back there with glowing orange eyes, but they wouldn’t zoom in on it or hit it with a music sting to make sure everyone saw it.  You don’t need to see it for the movie to work, but once I saw one I was nervously checking the background in every scene.  And when they looked through the lens in the planchette it made me want to hide until it was over.  This movie brings in a fair amount from The Exorcist and Poltergeist to help it be effective, and that’s just what it was.  Great horror movie.  Worth watching.

 

INFERNO

I didn’t think Inferno was nearly as bad as most critics seemed to, but I didn’t think it was good either.  If nothing else, a Tom Hanks movie has Tom Hanks in it and he can hold any piece of crap fairly well by himself.  I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn’t feel like it had anything in common with the Da Vinci Code, which it should because that movie is the reason I watched this one.  The other movies didn’t really feel like full on action movies.  They felt more like Zelda.  Some action, but a lot of puzzle solving and interesting ideas about how Jesus had children or whatever.  Because of how this movie was set up, Tom Hanks’ character didn’t remember anything, which meant that he was pretty much being dragged from scene to scene until he finally got his shit together.  And the big reveal that the person you thought was good but was in fact bad was only a surprise because I thought they were being so blunt and obvious about it that it couldn’t possibly be the way they were going.  But it was.  And the black guy cop was hunting this bad guy for years but didn’t know he had a girlfriend or what she looked like?  So there’s not much going for this movie to make it worth watching.  I would say Hanks and their cool Hell imagery is about the only thing, but it’s not enough.  You can skip this one.

 

NOVEMBER

DOCTOR STRANGE

Never having been a big fan of Doctor Strange, I wasn’t sure how well this movie would work out for me.  That of course is stupidly forgetting who I am as a person and how I generally feel about Marvel movies.  Of course I loved this one.  But, in my defense, critics seemed to as well, so I feel justified.  This was a fantastic origin story movie that really worked on every level.  You can’t expect too terribly much from the story because it’s going to be an origin story and a small bad guy that probably sets up a bigger bad guy, but mostly serves as proof that he’s finished his origin by the end of the movie.  And that is what it was, but it also had some surprises and cleverness and humor in there to make it feel different enough.  The most obvious difference that sets this apart from other Marvel movies is the imagery.  Obviously I don’t mean that the CG was great, because it was and most Marvel movies are, but the jokes that it seemed like Marvel’s Inception I had heard before seeing the movie were apt.  But also, who cares?  It looked great and no one would need to guess that something magical was happening when you’re in a Kaleidoscope world.  Also, Cumberbatch was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Swinton, McAdams, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen, and Wong.  Which is pretty much everyone, but that’s because they were all good, and only surpassed by the amazing performance of Doctor Strange’s Cape.  That was my favorite character by far.  Great movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with the character.

 

ARRIVAL

I hadn’t heard of the Arrival until someone suggested I watch it.  I typically don’t expect much when watching a movie I’ve never heard of because I’m so damned hip that I’ve always heard of everything worth hearing of.  And while that might not be true, it was also not applicable to this movie.  Definitely a solid movie.  I don’t give it quite the acclaim that it gets from other critics just because I found it boring in chunks of the movie, but it was generally worth sticking it out.  The movie felt a lot like Contact with a lot of sciencey stuff and aliens and whatnot, but very few explosions.  This movie was less about engineering and math and more about language though.  What it shares with other alien movies is the stupidity of so many people getting bored of trying to communicate so fast and deciding what needs to happen is we need to wave our gun dicks at the super advanced alien civilization.  Great idea, guys.  But since there’s a very good chance that would happen in real life, I can’t hold it against the writing.  And the writing was good anyway, even though the ending was a little confusing and hard to follow.  Still an enjoyable movie.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

I’m a fairly big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … mostly because I didn’t know they were related.  I believe I mentioned how hip and well-informed I am.  Well, once I figured it out, I went to see it fairly quickly.  And it’s good.  Not great, but good.  Story was interesting, but not mind-blowing.  I like what it adds to the mythology of the Harry Potter world and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future.  The graphics are of the quality that should be expected from Harry Potter and were really awesome.  And the cast was mostly great, at least in what they were going for.  Dan Fogler seemed to be the comic relief and largely unnecessary for most of the movie, but he performed it well.  And he had a great little love story with Queenie, so it made it worth it.  So there really wasn’t anything wrong with Fantastic Beasts, it just didn’t really resonate with me like the other Harry Potter movies did.  Maybe I just require a little more Emma Watson in my Harry Potter movies.

 

MOANA

I loved Moana far more than I expected.  It looked like a fairly average Disney movie, and it was.  But one forgets that the standard Disney formula has worked for a very long time for a good reason.  And Moana is a Disney-ass Disney movie.  It’s straight Disney as fuck.  The story is a classic follow your heart type of story as well as a save the day movie.  It also has something that I like in movies that wasn’t as big for other Disney movies: a strong female heroine.  Sure, Disney movies have had strong female characters, but most of them are the prize of the hero or the damsel in distress.  This movie doesn’t even waste it’s time with a love story.  Moana loves the sea and exploring, but she’s probably not shacking up with Maui afterwards.  He’s a big dumb oaf for most of the movie, and not worthy of Moana until the end, but that’s not what the point of the movie was anyway and I like that.  The movie also looks beautiful as one would expect it to.  The songs were good and “How Far I’ll Go” was great, and Dwayne Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” was a decent song, but showed that The Rock actually has some pipes.  Great movie for kids and adults alike.

 

DECEMBER

ROGUE ONE

I don’t know how much weight one can put behind my opinion of a Star Wars movie, but suffice to say I enjoyed Rogue One.  It was not my favorite Star Wars movie and I thought it paled in comparison to last year’s offering, but I am typically going to be pretty happy to go back to the Star Wars world.  I think what I enjoyed most about Rogue One was the gaps that were filled in the mythology of Star Wars, like how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, what powered the Death Star, can they pull off CG young Leia, etc.  I also like the greater majority of the performances.  I especially liked the robot K-2SO for being a straight up funny asshole (and apparently voiced by Alan Tudyk, which makes me love it more), and Donnie Yen as Space Zatoichi.  I really wish I could’ve seen that guy use a lightsaber.  He was rad.  I thought the movie was great, just not really great enough to make my top films of the year, but it had stiff competition.  Heck, it has stiff competition amongst Star Wars movies.  I would also like to say that I’m super glad I saw this movie when I did, because if I had waited longer I would’ve broken down in a blubbering pile of tears when Leia showed up.  RIP Carrie Fisher.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED

What was it about the Assassin’s Creed movie that caused me to ignore history and actually have hope that it would be a good movie?  It’s a video game movie!  That’s a pretty big hill to climb.  It was probably mainly the inclusion of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  They wouldn’t do a shitty movie, would they?  Well yeah, apparently.  One of the criticisms I have for this movie is the same that I’ve always had for the games that they are based on: No one cares what happens outside of the Animus!  I want to be an Assassin!  I don’t want to be Desmond Miles!  The parts inside the Animus seemed like they could’ve been a fairly cool movie on their own if they spent a little time with it.  Heck, the time out of the Animus probably could’ve too, but together it just kept slowing the movie down.  At least the games know to make us spend the majority of our time as an Assassin.  Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated this movie.  The CG was cool and Fassbender and Cotillard were good, but it was just kinda boring and lackluster, and nowhere near what I was hoping for.

 

PASSENGERS

I respect a movie that can do so much with so few cast members.  Of significance, there are like 4 actors in this movie.  Sure, Andy Garcia shows up at the end, but I don’t even think he says anything.  But I enjoyed Passengers, based mostly on some interesting story ideas and the strong chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.  I saw a lot of criticism of one really big decision that Pratt makes in the movie, and I get that, but I don’t know why people are saying that takes away from the movie.  The characters in the movie treat the decision fairly appropriately, and it’s also hard to say it wasn’t justified.  Dude thought he might have to spend the remaining 60 years of his life completely alone.  And did a year of it already.  It’s a hard decision to make, but one I think most would’ve made sooner.  Especially for Jennifer Lawrence.  Also, the movie looks fantastic.  And I also thought Michael Sheen was surprisingly charming for an android.  I wouldn’t say Passengers is one of the greatest movies ever, but I’d certainly recommend it for a rental.

 

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0050 – Dungeons & Dragons: Episode 4 – Gettin’ Lucky at the Shrine


0050 - Dungeons & Dragons: Episode 4 - Gettin' Lucky at the Shrine

CLICK ON MY FACE TO LINK TO THE VIDEO!

 

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

0027 – UNLV Fall of 2013 Review


0027 - UNLV Fall of 2013 ReviewCLICK ON MY FACE TO LINK TO THE VIDEO!

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

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”.

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Harry Potter: Year One and Two (2001 and 2002)


Amazing! This is Just Like Magic!

Ah, Christmas time. No better time, as far as I’m concerned, to start my reviews of the Harry Potter series. Now that all of them are available on DVD and BluRay, I decided I should do all 8 movies back to back, in sets of two. I remember exactly when I first saw Harry Potter. I was still in college and my mother came out to visit and we decided to see a movie. She suggested that we see Harry Potter, but I was hesitant. I was just 18 and that, as I saw it, was a kid’s movie. But we saw it anyway, and I was instantly drawn in by it’s engaging story and amazing effects. From there, I was pretty well hooked. So hooked that I actually purchased a VHS copy of the second movie because it came out while I was visiting my grandma and she didn’t have a DVD player. Needless to say, I didn’t need my mom to drag me to the subsequent 7 movies, nor was her recommendation necessary to get me to buy the books (which I still haven’t read). But enough setup, let’s review some movies! Today’s review is of the first two years of Harry Potter. As with the Star Wars movies, heads up for spoilers. But if you still haven’t seen these movies by now, you never will and also are a fuck.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Year One) (2001)

Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by Chris Columbus, and starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Hart, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Tom Felton, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, John Cleese, Warwick Davis, John Hurt, Zoe Wanamaker, Sean Biggerstaff, David Bradley, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, and Matthew Lewis.

The story of Harry Potter starts long before the films, when a giant douche bag leaves his wife. In her despair, she starts writing books with such imagination and compelling stories that they turn into a series of 8 books, 8 films, numerous video games, and billions of dollars. The giant douche bag kills himself, and the world is better without his stupidity in it.

Harry’s actual story starts with him as a baby. His parents were recently murdered by He Who Shall Not Be Named (Lord Voldemort … yeah, I break the rules). Baby Harry is delivered by the giant Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) to the wizard Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris) and witch Professor Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith). They leave young Harry to be raised by the only family he has left, the Dursleys: father Vernon (Richard Griffiths), mother Petunia (Fiona Shaw), and son Dudley (Harry Melling). Turns out that wasn’t the best idea, ’cause they’re super shitty to Harry. We join back up with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), now living under the stairs. He starts getting mysterious letters, delivered by owls, but Vernon refuses to let Harry have them after seeing a seal on the back of them. The letters keep coming and coming, finally forcing the Dursley’s to pick up and move. Hagrid shows up to personally deliver the letter to Harry and inform him that Harry is a wizard and he’s to go learn magic at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Entering through the wall to platform 9 3/4, Harry boards the Hogwarts Express. Here he meets, and quickly befriends, Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson). Once we reach the school, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are sorted into Griffindore, while the boy who makes terrible first impressions, Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton), is sorted into Slytherin. We also get to meet the obviously evil Professor Severus Snape (Alan Rickman), the innocent stutterer Professor Quirrell (Ian Hart), and the Charms teacher Professor Flitwick (Warwick Davis). The three kids start finding strange things around the castle that seem to be linked to something called the Sorcerer’s Stone. First, they come across a cave troll which they defeat only to realize a strange cut on Snape’s leg. Then, Harry is almost killed when his broom goes crazy during a Quidditch game and Snape is seen speaking a curse. The kids determine that Snape is trying to use the Sorcerer’s Stone to resurrect Lord Voldemort and they follow to stop him. But, it turns out it’s the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell, with Voldemort partially resurrected into the back of his head. Harry defeats Quirrelldemort with his touch, which hurts him because Harry’s mother sacrificed herself to save him, infusing Harry with her love. Thus ends Year One.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year Two) (2002)

Written for the screen by Steve Kloves, directed by Chris Columbus, and starring the same plus Christian Coulson, Jason Isaacs, Kenneth Branagh, Shirley Henderson, Toby Jones, Mark Williams, Miriam Margolyes, Gemma Jones, and Julian Glover.

Harry gets locked in his room and told that he cannot go back to Hogwarts for the minor offense of dropping a cake on the head of Vernon Dursley’s guests. But it wasn’t even him! It was a house elf named Dobby (Toby Jones), trying to keep Harry Potter from going back to Hogwarts. Ron, with the help of his mischievous twin brothers Fred and George (James and Oliver Phelps), rescues Harry and takes him back to the Weasley house. Here (only because I had no place to introduce them in the last description) we re-meet mother Molly Weasley (Julie Walters), father Arthur Weasley (Mark Williams), and youngest daughter, starting this year to Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright). Back to Hogwarts we go! Again, strange things are happening at Hogwarts, this time surrounding something called the Chamber of Secrets and someone called the Heir of Slytherin. Also there’s a new Defense Against the Dark Arts, a pompous buffoon by the name of Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh). These strange events take the form of people (and one cat) being found petrified all over the school. Harry finds an empty diary in a bathroom haunted by a ghost named Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson). As Harry writes questions in the book, the ink disappears and answers his questions, and then shows Harry what happened. The vision implicates Hagrid in the death of Myrtle because he brought a giant spider into the school, named Aragog. When Hermoine gets petrified as well, they find out from a note in her hand that it is a creature called a Basilisk. Harry goes down to face the Basilisk alone, but first finds an unconscious Ginny Weasley and a guy Harry had seen in the diary’s vision, the diary’s owner Tom Marvolo Riddle (Christian Coulson). By rearranging the letters of his name in the air, he reveals that he’s a projection of the teenager that would later become Lord Voldemort.I.Am. Riddle sics the Basilisk on Harry as he continues to draw the life force out of Ginny, but then Dumbledore’s bird brings Harry a hat. Oh come on, Dumbledore! It would’ve been nice if you put something useful like a sword in the damned thing. OH WAIT! YOU DID! STAB! Basilisk dead, Harry stabs the diary with a Basilisk fang, killing the book and Riddle. Then it ends with Harry tricking Draco’s father, Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs), into giving Dobby a sock, setting him free.

There is so much damned typing involved in writing a synopsis for multiple movies. Although, I did manage to compress two novels into under 1000 words, so I guess that’s pretty good. And speaking of pretty good: these movies! Perhaps slightly better than pretty good, actually. The story of these movies is very entertaining with only a few hiccups. I understand that Harry needs a reason to not want to be with the Dursleys anymore, but they go pretty far over the top with their amount of abuse towards him. He’s living under the stairs, tortured by a fatty, may or may not be fed with any regularity, and plenty of other things. It also got on my nerves how people kept getting surprised that Harry didn’t know anything about the magic world in the first movie, even though he had just found out about it. There was one part when Snape was quizzing Harry about different things in potions class just to show how little Harry knew. I would’ve said “I just found out that magic was real (and that I could do it) like three days ago, so why don’t you step off my nuts!” These people let magic go way to their heads anyways, like when the Broom Flying teacher Madame Hooch told them to step up to their brooms and command it with “Up”. How about walk up to your broom, lean over, and pick it “Up”. Yelling at it wasn’t doing that well for most of them. This movie sets up a couple of staples that these movies go back to a few times. 1) The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher will range from douche bag (Lockhart) to evil (Quirrell), and 2) The movie will try to mislead you with the obvious evil person (Snape or Malfoy) and it will actually be the person you should expect least (Quirrell or Ginny). I caught on to these things pretty quick, but it didn’t ruin any of the other movies for me. I also found that the movies do a lot of misdirection throughout, which causes them to have to do a lot of tying together of loose ends at the very end of the movie, and some of the things that wrote you into a corner can be easily explained away with “Magic did it”. For a couple other things that got to me, if Platform 9 3/4 is between Platforms 9 and 10, that makes it Platform 9 1/2. When McGonagall calls the kids up to get sorted into their houses, what order is this list in? It was like Ron, Draco, random girl, Hermoine, Harry, the end. I guess that makes it in order of importance to the movie with a random girl thrown in, then to Hell with the rest of the students. Also, with owls delivering the mail over the table, how man times has that hall heard the statement “Aww, man! The mail pooped in my breakfast!”? When the kids defeat the giant troll, why did Hermoine take the blame for it? She said that she decided to try to fight the troll and Ron and Harry rescued her. How is that better than “I was in the bathroom, they came to warn me because I wasn’t there for the announcement, and they saved me.”? It also made me laugh when Harry got a package that was shaped like a broom and everyone crowded around to see him open it to find out what it was.

Moving on to the second movie, it’s also great. Once you’ve watched more than one of the movies, you can already see them slowly begin to head down dark paths. The first one was pretty light throughout, with a couple moments of darkness. The second movie gets a little bit darker, having a lot of people (including major characters) nearly die. This movie had another big “tie things up for the audience” thing at the end. I also noticed in this movie that our three little detective kids get a lot of their information from people (mainly Hagrid) outright saying it and then saying “I shouldn’t have said that.” It kind of takes the impressiveness away from it because they’re kind of just getting aimed and being used for the footwork by Dumbledore. For a couple things about this movie that stopped me: I understand telling broken-wand Ron not to try to stop the rogue bludger from attacking Harry, but why was the World’s Greatest Wizard Albus Dumbledore just sitting there watching his student get attacked by a lead ball? I also didn’t understand the character of Lockhart. I understand he was not meant to be a likeable character and that he was not as good at fighting as he acted like, but why does he volunteer himself for all of these fights when he knows he’s so bad at it? He volunteers to take out the pixies and fails, he signs up to fight Snape and loses, he decides to take out the snake Malfoy conjured but only serves to piss it off. Why not just let the other people do the stuff you can’t instead of showing everyone you suck? The biggest thing that got me was at the very end. Harry puts his sock in a book that he gives to Lucius Malfoy, who then gives that book to Dobby, freeing the elf from his slavery because that only happens when the master gives clothing to the elf. Malfoy’s reaction? He starts to cast the killing curse at Harry right outside of Dumbledore’s office, but is stopped by Dobby. Fer reals? The proper reaction to putting a sock in a book is to kill him?

The effects on these movies is another huge reason to come see them, but the first movie does sort of show the movie’s age. The sets are all huge and beautiful, and the CG creatures even worked very well, but I found that some of the CG effects involving people were noticeable. This was most clear in the broom-riding scenes. The people could tend to look a little fakey. The goblin creatures from the beginning of the movie were pretty convincing except for their hands. The way they would grab things really caught my attention with how obviously they were gloves. But those are two minor gripes in a typically extraordinary movie effects roster. The sets alone are reason enough to forget the few under par spots. I loved Nearly Headless Nick though, mostly because he was John Cleese, but when he showed how he got his name, that’s when I first started getting confused about these movies. They are clearly movies that are great for kids, but there are also some bloody and (as in this case) gruesome parts that seem a bit dark for kids movies. They get away with it though. By the second film, the CG effects have improved. Not drastically because they were already so great, but the parts that caught my attention as being a little fakey had improved significantly.

The performances are hit and miss, but excusably. The kids of the movies weren’t that convincing in parts of the first movie, but they had improved some by the second. I give them a pass on this because they were all around 11 to 13 years old in the first movie and most of them had never been in a movie before, and certainly none had been in a movie of this size before, and the main kids had some pretty heavy acting on their plates. But they had already started to improve by the second movie, and they get better with each passing movie. The biggest thing I got to thinking about was that (knowing what I know now), how did the people that did the casting for this movie know that these 11 year old kids were going to be hot when they grew up? The main characters all got to be pretty good lookin by this point in their life, but how do you look at an 11 year old and say “They’ll be hot one day”. And, if you think that, are you a pervert? The adults were all pretty phenomenal too, but that’s also to be expected because they are a collection of some of England’s best. I really liked Maggie Smith. She’s such a motherly type in the movie. She’s obviously looking out for the kids, but also has to get mean and strict on them from time to time. Alan Rickman is so evil in the movie that it makes you pretty sure he’s the main bad guy, then he turns out not to be. This would be novel if they didn’t go for this same thing with him in every subsequent movie, even though he’s never really a bad guy. John Cleese doesn’t do much in the movies, but I’m just glad he’s there. I’m happy any time that guy is around. Robbie Coltrane is great as Hagrid too. He’s this big, tough guy with a really warm and emotional side to contrast it. You don’t see much, if any, of the Weasley parents in the first one, but when you get to hang out with them in the second one they’re great. Julie Walters plays it super sweet to Harry, but really strict with her kids. Mark Williams was just funny. Jason Isaacs was great as Lucius Malfoy because every word out of his mouth was just spit at people with such disdain. That dude doesn’t seem to like anybody. Moaning Myrtle kinda worked the nerves a bit in the second one, and she was a pretty decent sized part. The same could be said about Toby Jones as Dobby.

No surprises here, I’m recommending these movies. I love the whole series so you won’t be getting any surprises in that regard. They get a little predictable in the story, and try so hard to misdirect you that they need long parts at the end to explain it all, but overall they are just great fantasy stories with a lot of imagination and emotion. The graphics in the first one got a little spotty, but I probably won’t be able to say that about any of the other movies in the series. The cast was awesome, but the kids are doing a lot of catch up to their heavy hitting adult counterparts. I already said I own all these movies on BluRay, and I think you should too, even if you don’t have a BluRay player. Time to get with the technology already, people. Harry Potter, years one and two, get “It’s LeviOsa, not LeviosA” out of “If you die down there, you’re welcome to share my toilet.”

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