The Lone Ranger (2013)


Justice is What I Seek, Kemosabe.

The Lone Ranger (2013)The amount of awful things I heard about today’s movie made me desperately want to see it.  Not quite enough to see it in theaters, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see it.  The studio seemed to try to hide the movie under the rug after that, keeping it off the shelves for about 6 months.  Did they not know I was waiting to make fun of it?!  By the time I finally got the opportunity to see it, I had already watched the people over at Schmoe’s Know report that it was the worst and second worst movie of the year, depending on which host you asked.  But you people are here to find the opinion of the host that really matters: ME!!!!!  So what did I think of The Lone Ranger?  You’ll just have to read more words and find out.  Some of those words will be the people that wrote it, whose names are Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, and Terry Rossio.  Gore Verbinski directed it.  And the movie also starred Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson, Helena Bonham Carter, James Badge Dale, and Barry Pepper.

A young boy at a circus goes into a Wild West exhibit and sees a statue of an elderly Comanche that seems to come to life to tell the boy a story.  The Comanche reveals himself to be Tonto (Johnny Depp), and starts to tell the boy a story about how he met a lawyer named John Reid (Armie Hammer) while trying to exact his revenge on a man he calls a “wendigo,” but is more commonly referred to as Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), notorious outlaw.  Butch escapes and John joins his brother Dan’s (James Badge Dale) search party to try to bring him to justice, but a betrayal leads the slaughter of the entire team.  Tonto arrives and gives the bodies a proper burial, only to realize that John survived, if only just.  Tonto decides that John is a “spirit walker” and unable to be killed, which will be very useful in future fights.  Slightly less useful in future fights is a mask that Tonto gets John to wear.  Even less useful is the moniker of “The Lone Ranger” for someone that is eternally accompanied by a partner and a horse.

This was not a great movie, but I would argue that the amount of hatred received by this movie is unjustified.  It’s just a dumb fun movie.  I might be prodded to say that I enjoyed the experience.  For obvious reasons, it felt like a worse version of the worst Pirates of the Caribbean movie (That would be easily the fourth one, On Stranger Tides) set in the Wild West.  It had some simple story, an odd love story, some funny moments, and some okay action.  Not a whole lot to say about the story in general because of its simplicity.  It’s kind of just a double revenge plot and not much more.  I can say some things about the love story though.  John is in love with his brother’s wife and can move in on her without regrets because Dan’s been killed, instantly proving them both to be shitty wife and shitty brother simultaneously.

There were some pretty interesting and spectacular action scenes that I enjoyed in this movie.  The big train scene at the end was pretty interesting, like in the parts where Tonto was climbing up the ladder on the moving train.  The thing that did the most damage to this action sequence was the fact that they used the Lone Ranger music, the William Tell Overture, during the whole scene.  Look, I understand why they did it.  It was an appeasement to people that loved the original … whatever it was.  TV show?  Radio program?  Both?  Who cares?!  I’m not nearly old enough to give a shit.  But I do know that this music sounds a little goofy and dated by today’s standards and I would’ve been much happier with some random metal or orchestra music in that scene.  You could’ve thrown those old people a bone by playing it during the credits or something, but the people old enough to know that music had probably fallen asleep by then.  4:30 pm is way past their bed time.

One of the things that the Schmoe’s boys hated about this movie was Johnny Depp, comparing his goofy characterization to his performance in Pirates of the Caribbean.  I may be way off base here, but I liked his performance in both movies.  I find them funny and entertaining.  So sue me.  You can have all the money I make doing these things for you.  In fact, you already have it all.  I also found his interactions with Silver the horse to be pretty funny.  And Silver was my second favorite character in this movie!  That horse had a good amount of funny moments, like when it licked the scorpions off of the Lone Ranger’s face and when they found Silver standing in a tree for no good reason.  Of course, another part of the problem with this movie is that my second favorite character was a horse and not the person riding it.  Armie Hammer didn’t really make any impression on me.  His portrayal of the Lone Ranger was not nearly as badass as I wanted him to be, and not nearly as badass as someone being portrayed by someone named Armie Hammer.  With a name like that you should be eating lightning and crapping thunder!  Instead he won most of his victories by accident and dumb luck.  He was starting to come into his own as the Lone Ranger in that last action scene, but I had already written this down in my notes by the time I got there.

The Lone Ranger was beaten up pretty hard, but I feel it was unjustified.  Sure the story was unimpressive and the love story seemed all wrong, but there was some okay action scenes and I found Johnny Depp amusing enough to overcome Armie Hammer not living up to the awesomeness of his own name.  This movie would never really warrant a purchase, but I would feel confident recommending that you rent it from RedBox.  It’s worth a dollar.  The Lone Ranger gets “That was supposed to be a warning shot” out of “Something very wrong with that horse.”

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Les Miserables (2012)


Now Prisoner 24601, Your Time is Up and Your Parole’s Begun.

Les Miserables (2012)My friend Ashley Janet is not very good at requesting movies.  She told me I should watch this movie a while ago, and I told her (as I tell everyone) to make sure to request it on my Facebook Fanpage.  27 years later, lying on my deathbed, I received a request.  I had very little time – as the Reaper grew near – to meet this request.  I had my great, great grandchild run to a RedBox and pick up a chip that I installed in my futuristic eyeball player (I assume that’s what’s going to happen in the future).  Thankfully, after watching the movie, I welcomed the sweet release that the Reaper brought, so everything seemed to work out.  Did I want to die after watching the movie because it was so depressing, or because it was bad?  Or are they one and the same?  Let’s find out as I review Les Misérables, from a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, which is itself based on a novel by Victor Hugo, written for the screen by William Nicholson and Herbert Kretzmer, directed by Tom Hooper, and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, Samantha Barks, Isabelle Allen, and Aaron Tveit.

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is a slave in a prison where he’s serving a 19-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving child.  He’s released on his parole by the prison guard Javert (Russell Crowe), but finds it impossible to find work or shelter because of his criminal background, but he finds sanctuary with the Bishop of Digne (Colm Wilkinson) and in doing so adopts Christianity and changes his identity to start a new life.  Javert devotes his life to bringing Valjean back to justice.  But he’s not that good at it because eight years later, Valjean is a factory owner and mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer.  A young lady named Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is working at his factory, but is fired by Valjean’s foreman because she has an illegitimate daughter named Cosette (Isabelle Allen), who is in the care of the unscrupulous  Thénardiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen).  Fantine eventually resorts to prostitution, where she is found by Valjean, who then learns that he is (kind of) the cause of her predicament.  Then she dies and Valjean collects Cosette to raise her in her mother’s stead.  Nine years later and Javert still hasn’t caught Valjean.  Cosette is now Amanda Seyfried, and she falls in love with Marius Pontmercy (Eddie Redmayne) at first sight.  He loves her back … and her front, I assume.  The daughter of the Thénardiers, Éponine (Samantha Barks) is in love with Marius.  Marius is also in love with France, and is a member of a group of revolutionaries that blah blah blah sad things.  The end.

Man, I was beginning to get bored of my own summation there.  I was not a fan of this movie, but it’s not to say there are not things within this movie that are to be respected.  I was not really surprised by any part of the story.  There is a chance I’ve seen this in musical form before, but if I have, I have no recollection of it.  I think I was more able to predict the story by just thinking about what the most melodramatic thing that could happen was, and then that would usually happen.  It was comforting, at least, that the ending was vaguely happy, at least in comparison to the rest of the movie.  Well, Cosette probably wasn’t too fond of the way it ended, but it was a bit of a relief for me.  Of course, I may not have really realized what was going on half the time because they sang 98% of their dialogue, making it much harder for me to just listen to what they’re saying.  One thing I did understand is when Valjean asked the young Cosette what her name was and she responded, “I’m cold Cosette.”  I asked your name, bitch.  Not for your name and temperature.  You think you’re updating your Facebook status or something?

The biggest problems I had with this movie was with the directing and the singing, which is not a good sign because this is a movie and a musical.  First off, they sing way too goddamn much.  I’ve generally hated musicals, and this is usually the reason.  They have to sing everything!  They have small talk in musical form!  Like the song that the poor people sing after they jump forward 8 years in the story where they sing about being poor and downtrodden.  I can see that.  You’re all dirty and diseased.  You could just pan the camera over those people and I’d know what that song laid out for me.  I really do feel like I’d like this movie much more if they just sang the few songs that didn’t just sound like people were chatting while autotuned.  Of course, then I had the problems with the director to deal with.  Every time someone in the movie was singing, he seemed to forget that he had the ability to move the camera or make something happen on screen.  You wouldn’t really even need a camera operator for most of this movie because you could just set up a camera mount on the actor’s belt and let him or her film themselves.  They were all just shots of the people’s faces anyway.  And I understand why he did it in some ways.  I heard lots of stories about how the people in this movie actually sang live on the set and didn’t get dubbed over later.  First off, I don’t care.  Second off, you don’t need to prove it to me by just focusing on their faces whenever they were singing at the detriment of your movie.  And since most of your movie is people singing, you’re going to have a pretty visually boring movie.

I liked the greater majority of the performances in the movie, so it does have that going for it.  Hugh Jackman did a great job.  Not only did he have the singing chops, but he played Jean Valjean throughout the 17 years of the movie very successfully.  From all I had heard of the movie beforehand, I kind of thought that Anne Hathaway was going to be a bigger part of the movie, but she actually dies fairly early on.  On the other hand, she was a motivating factor for the majority of the movie.  And she still kind of managed to steal the movie with her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”, which was a good song delivered with a lot of passion and emotion.  I’m sure everyone already knows what it looks like because it was most of what I had seen of her part of the movie before I watched it.  If it hadn’t been filmed so boring, I probably could’ve been brought to tears.  I’d definitely say she deserved the accolades she received for that song alone.  I didn’t really understand what people were complaining about with Russell Crowe, though.  I didn’t think he was a mind-blowing singer or anything, but I expected him to be awful from what everyone was saying about him.  He did fine.  I doubt I could do better, and I’m pretty sure you couldn’t either.  And I thought the performance was a good one as well, because I could never tell how I felt about the character.  He was clearly the antagonist of the movie in that he chases the story’s hero to the end of … well the town, because Valjean never seemed to really try to get that far out of Javert’s jurisdiction.  But you also can’t really blame him because dude’s just really good at his job.  On the third hand, maybe there are people that deserve your attention more than a guy that stole a loaf of bread 30 years ago to feed a starving child.  And he’s rich now!  He’s not stealing bread anymore.  There were also some dumb people in this movie.  First, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, who is so dumb and in love with Cosette that he’s oblivious to Éponine’s obvious love for him, so much so that he is totally content to sing about how much he loves Cosette right in front of her.  But he did do an almost Hathaway-esque job performing “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” near the end of the movie.  Also dumb is Gavroche, played by Daniel Huttlestone.  What is his motivation for crawling over the barricade and collecting ammo as he sings a song about how badass he is while he gets shot to death?  Possibly the most stupid thing is that Sacha Baron Cohen did this movie instead of Django Unchained.

I didn’t hate Les Misérables, but I didn’t like it either.  I’m just not into musicals, and I’m also not that into depressing movies.  I guess I should’ve known that the movie would be depressing as I was going in, but my French is just so rusty.  I still think the basic core of the movie would’ve worked a lot better on me if they didn’t sing every single menial line in the movie as much as the important ones, and if the director didn’t film most of those singing scenes in a really boring way because he was so impressed with himself and his actors that they were all singing on set.  The performances in the movie were either good or phenomenal, so I’d be impressed too, but I still would’ve recommended moving the camera from time to time.  I would say this movie is worth buying for people that are really into musicals, but for people like me a rental will suffice, if you get so inclined.  Les Misérables gets “You have only done your duty; it’s a minor sin at most” out of “Empty chairs at empty tables, where my friends shall sing no more.”

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Dark Shadows (2012)


Reveal Yourself, Tiny Songstress!

Today’s movie was requested by my roommate Richurd. When he requested it, I suggested that he may have to wait until November for me to review it since it didn’t really feel like a horror movie. “It has vampires, witches, and werewolves in it!” he exclaimed, and then proceeded to beat me savagely. Once I awoke, I relented and agreed to review the movie as part of the October Horrorthon. The movie itself was one I knew about when it came to theaters, but had exactly zero desire to watch it. I didn’t know the source material and every commercial for the movie I saw fell flat on its face by way of comedy as far as I was concerned. But it’s a request and so I bring to you my review of Dark Shadows, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, and Alice Cooper.

In 1760, the Collins family moves from Liverpool to Maine to set up a fishing industry, naming the town Collinsport. They make lots of money and all is going well … until their son Barnabas (Johnny Depp) seduces the maid Angelique (Eva Green). She confesses that she loves him, but he does not feel the same. Also, she’s a witch. She takes it out on his family, getting them killed by a falling statue. Barnabas eventually falls in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote), but the jealous Angelique bewitches her and makes her leap from a cliff. Barnabas tries to follow her, but finds that Angelique has turned him into a vampire. She then gets a mob to lock him in a coffin for 212 years. That’s when a group of construction workers inadvertently frees Barnabas, allowing him to return to his family – matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), her 15-year-old daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), Roger’s 10-year-old son David (Gulliver McGrath), David’s psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), and the manor’s caretaker Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) – just in time to greet David’s newly-hired caretaker Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote), who is Josette’s reincarnation. But Barnabas will soon find that Angelique is still very much alive, and still very much scorned.

The best thing I could say about this movie is that it lived up to my expectations. The worst thing I could do is define those expectations. But I’ll do it anyway. I can’t say that Dark Shadows was a bad movie, but it’s very far from a good one. If its intentions were to be a horror movie, it was too goofy. If it wanted to be an action movie, it was too boring. If it was to be a mystery & suspense movie as Rotten Tomatoes claims it to be, then I probably shouldn’t have been able to go into the movie knowing exactly how it would turn out. Sadly, I think it wanted to be a comedy, but it also wasn’t funny. It tries to go for a lot of wordplay and dry wit that I’m sure made the British version of this stuff popular (assuming that it ever was, which I have not looked into), but the jokes used in this movie were too dry and lacked wit … or were just stupid. A lot of the movie after Barnabas returns to the 70’s just feels like the pitch for the movie was, “What if Austin Powers … wait for it … were a vampire!” Oh look at him as he doesn’t understand things because he’s been away for a long time! He thinks Alice Cooper is a lady! HILARIOUS! And on top of all that, the movie just wasn’t interesting. The family wasn’t likeable until the very end when they finally became more interesting, but I was long lost by then. All that being said, this is a Tim Burton movie, so the look of the movie is generally worth notation. It has a cool, creepy, dark look to the whole movie, but at a certain point I’m going to require more out of Tim than that. Also, I don’t know if it was intentional because they wanted to pay homage to the British version, but Johnny Depp looked goofy the entire movie. I was not buying that look.

The cast in this movie was filled with amazing names … who didn’t seem to want to try that hard. This is not a surprising performance for Johnny Depp. It’s a little bit like Captain Jack Sparrow without a drinking problem. Michelle Pfeiffer did not seem altogether invested in the movie. Eva Green was a little over the top, but so was her hotness. Chloë Grace Moretz was never interesting to me until the very end where she turned into something interesting … and then did nothing with it. Jackie Earle Haley came close to being funny a few times. I also didn’t like Gulliver McGrath, but more for the way he was written. How the hell is a kid going to see ghosts for his entire life, but freak out when he finds out the guy that’s been living with his family for a few months while being perfectly nice to him is a vampire?

I kind of feel like I wasted a bit of my time by watching Dark Shadows, but hopefully you don’t feel that you wasted time reading my review. This movie was not funny and not interesting, the actors didn’t seem into it, and I wasn’t either. I had/have no interest in the source material, so I have no idea if it holds up, but I do know that there’s not a lot of reason to watch this movie. It’s not an awful movie, but there are better ways to spend your time. Dark Shadows gets “It is with sincere regret that I must now kill all of you” out of “They tried stoning me, my dear. It did not work.”

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Fight Club (1999)


I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can

Yeah, I couldn’t actually let you go an entire day without giving you a review proper.  I also don’t care what any of you think, the previous Fight Club review was hilarious to me.  Fight Club was recommended to me at one point, but I no longer have any memory of who actually supplied the recommendation.  It doesn’t really matter though.  Fight Club is an immensely popular movie, but I don’t recall being that enthralled with the movie as most people were.  But it’s also been a very long time since I last saw the movie, so I don’t have a whole lot of memory of it.  Now that I’ve watched it again, my memory is a lot clearer.  So let’s see what I thought of Fight Club, based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, written by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, and starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, and Eion Bailey.

Our narrator and star was never given a name (although I never realized that about Edward Norton’s character until I started writing this review).  What we do know about him is that he’s an insomniac.  Based on a doctor’s recommendation, he starts going to support groups so that he can see what real suffering looks like.  Being able to release his emotions at these meetings finally allows him to get some sleep, but his bliss is interrupted by another imposter at the support groups named Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter).  After stewing over her presence for long enough, he finally confronts her and reaches an agreement so that they’ll never have to go to the support groups simultaneously.  On a flight home after a business trip, he meets a soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).  When he returns home, he finds that his apartment was blown up in a freak accident.  He calls Tyler to find a place to stay and the two go out for drinks.  At the end of their bar visit, Tyler asks him to hit him as hard as he can.  He finds the fights that he and Tyler have help him see the world in a different way and, over time, they start a fight club.  This is also ruined by Marla, who starts banging Tyler.  Also, Tyler starts recruiting people from the fight club into a cult-esque organization bent on causing mayhem.

I admit that this is a good movie, but I still don’t find myself nearly as enthralled as many of the people I’ve talked to about it.  There’s nothing really wrong with the movie, it’s just not the revolution that most people would have me believe.  Perhaps it’s the story that enthralls some people.  It’s a very interesting look at the world with a message about finding value in something immaterial.  It’s very anarchic when it comes to Tyler Durden, but the narrator is just confused and whiny throughout the movie.  The big reveal at the end of the movie is cool and surprising, but it’s lost some of it’s steam after watching it knowing the big secret of the movie.  But it is a pretty cool story that probably never connects with me because I’ve never been in a fight, so I obviously can’t know that much about myself.  I’m also not super keen on anarchy, so I can’t really watch this movie thinking, “He’s right!  Let’s burn this mother down!”  I did like the humor in the movie as well.  People could find themselves interested in the look of the movie, and I’d tend to agree with them about that.  It opens up with a cool little animation (that I’m starting to find David Fincher is very fond of) that reminded me of the opening of the X-Men movie.  The rest of the movie does some really cool things with the direction and the look.  I liked when the narrator was telling the audience about Tyler by standing in front of the camera and speaking directly to us as Tyler was going about his business, but occasionally stopping to interact with Norton directly.  It was an interesting manipulation of the fourth wall.  Other interesting style choices came up in the movie, like the brief, one frame’s worth appearance of one of the characters during the scenes early in the movie, pointing out the cigarette burns on the film, and having the film warp and look like it was about to tear.  The music was also very good.  Most of it was a mix of metal and electronica, provided by the Dust Brothers.  It was also my introduction to the song “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies, which I am now pretty fond of.

The thing I definitely connected with in the movie was in the performances.  Everyone in the movie knocked it right out of the park.  Edward Norton did a great job, losing a lot of weight and playing it really beaten down in the beginning, switching it up to a lot more confident and secure, and winded up being really manic and crazy near the end until the resolution.  I found Brad Pitt a much more interesting character, and that’s what he was meant to be.  He represented the man that most of us want to be: he’s strong, good looking, intelligent, funny, apparently very good at sex, but he kind of loses me when he wants to cause mayhem and anarchy.  I don’t want that part, but I might accept it if I can have all the rest of that stuff.  I also liked Helena Bonham Carter in the movie.  She was the one that allowed us to see what was actually going on when you watched it for the second time.  She was the one that showed the confusion in the situation.  She also got them boobs out.  Carter’s got a unique look that I can figure most people wouldn’t like, but I dig on it.  I’ve found her attractive more often than not, so I’m happy to see her in this movie.

Fight Club is a great movie that never really connected to me on the same level as it does with most people, but it’s a movie I respect and admire anyway.  It’s an interesting story that is kept from being a bummer by some real funniness, the look is fantastic, the music is great, and all of the performances are fantastic.  I’ll still recommend this movie to you as a watch because the chances are much higher that you’ll find this movie more significant and important than I did, and even if you’re more like me, it’s a good watch.  I still own this movie on DVD, after all.  Fight Club gets “Ah, flashback humor” out of “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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”.

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

Alice in Wonderland (2010)


You’ve lost your muchness.

I had no time to do my review of the 6 Star Wars movies today, so I dipped back into my DVD collection and routed out Alice in Wonderland. Not the animated one, the Tim Burton one. I decided to do this movie in case my friend Loni had lost interest in my reviews. You put Johnny Depp on the end of a hook and Loni will bite every time. So lets get into this here movie. This version of Alice in Wonderland stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas X 2, as well as the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, Barbara Windsor, Christopher Lee, and Stephen Fry.

I shouldn’t have to tell you too much about this movie. Who doesn’t know the story of Alice in Wonderland? This doesn’t just remake the classic Disney animation with wacky scenery though. It mashes up two of the classic Lewis Carroll novels: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and it’s sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Now 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska), is an eccentric girl who has been set up for marriage behind her back. When the proposal comes, she jets. She sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat and follows him into a hole, falling down into Underland. Here she meets Nivens McTwisp the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), Mallymkun the Dormouse (voiced by Barbara Windsor), Absolem the Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman), and twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both Matt Lucas). They tell her she’s the only one that can slay the Jabberwocky and save Underland. She’s not thrilled. Then, the conversation is interrupted by the Red Queen’s army, including the Bandersnatch and the Knave of Hearts, Ilosovic Stayne (Crispin Glover). Iracebeth of Crims, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter with a giant head), is not happy at the return of Alice because she’s come back to slay her beloved Jabber-baby-wocky and she’s looking to separate some heads from some shoulders. Alice escapes and soon comes to meet the Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry). He takes her to meet the March Hare and brings about the moment Loni had been checking her watch and waiting for, the introduction of the Mad Hatter, Tarrant Hightopp (Johnny Depp). Together with the Mad Hatter, Alice makes her way towards the Red Queen to find the Vorpal Sword, then off to meet Mirana of Marmoreal, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), to try to get her reelected as Queen of Underland. And, yes, I did look up all of their full names because they were wacky and I wanted them written in my review.

So the story doesn’t really require very much commentary. Of course it’s great. It’s Alice in Wonderland. This movie can’t really take much credit for that. I absolutely refuse to read without a weapon of some sort pointed at me, so I have no idea how closely they stuck to the source material. I don’t much care either. The movie was interesting all the way through so, much as the Harry Potter series, I don’t care if it’s nothing like the book at all. I’m not sure if it was a choice by Burton or if it was in the books, but parts of this seemed pretty dark for a movie aimed more towards kids. The Bandersnatch get’s it’s eye ripped out, there’s a bird that get’s stabbed in the eye and then gets it’s head crushed by a rock, and there’s a river full of decapitated heads. Hey kids, you wanna watch Alice in Wonderland? No, the one that will give you nightmares. Well then you probably should’ve eaten all of your vegetables at dinner. Now get in here and watch the movie!

As with most Tim Burton movies – and also Guillermo Del Toro movies – the story takes a major backseat to the visual effects. I’m pretty sure both of those guys are probably insane to be able to come up with some of the visuals they use. And it’s okay that they’re crazy because I can just enjoy the visuals of their movies without having to deal with them personally. The movie was in 3D in theaters, but I’m pretty sure no one made me sit through that gimmicky bullshit, and I certainly didn’t watch it like that at home. The landscapes were all rich with imagination; whether it was the lush, colorful forest area or the ruined town, all of it was a pleasure to look at. Some of the visual effects they went with were interesting but occasionally poorly done. I’m talking mainly about the morphing of the people. Tweedledee and Tweedledum were CG fat boys with Matt Lucas’ face plastered on there. The Red Queen had HBC’s head made gargantuan on a tiny body and Cripin Glover was made slightly more tall and lanky than he really is. These effects usually worked but I felt like, on occasion, it looked weird to the point where I noticed it and that’s not a good thing. But it was few and far between. Alice’s size was in a fairly constant state of flux in the movie because of a potion and a cake. This worked well through the movie, but that must’ve been one flexible dress. Also, the Jabberwocky is freaking metal. I wanna make an album and put that guy on the cover.

The performances in the movie were mostly wacky but all pretty good. Anne Hathaway was the stand out for me. Not just because she’s smokin’ hot and I want to make babies in her, but her portrayal of the White Queen was pretty freaking funny as well. She’s got a darkness to her that she’s always suppressing and compensating by going over the top with the prim and proper. Just the way she walked made me laugh. I don’t really know what to make of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter though. It was good and interesting, but totally wacky. There were parts where you could really connect with him on an emotional level over the tragedy that befell his town and drove him to madness, but then he’d break into a Scottish brogue out of nowhere. And that Futterwhacken thing? Yeah, I could’ve done without that. I also could’ve done without the scene where Johnny said it in a way that made me think he was talking about regular whackin’ … of the penis … vigorously … HBC’s Red Queen was pretty funny as well. She was like a child given power and murderous intent. The funniest characters were Matt Lucas’ Tweedle twins. I liked their crazy way of making words.

All in all, this is still a good movie. There were parts that lost me, either in wacky performances or slightly askew VFX, but the rest of the visuals kept me pretty riveted throughout. The biggest thing holding this movie back is that it refused to tell me how a raven is like a writing desk. I NEED TO KNOW, DAMNIT!! …sorry. I give this movie “You’re almost Alice” out of “Um.”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.