Skyfall (2012)


Less of a Random Killing Machine, More of a Personal Statement

Skyfall (2012)Today’s review is an admission of guilt on my part. I saw this movie in theaters about three months ago and, even though my sister indicated that she was intrigued to find my opinion about this movie, I completely forgot to give it. And, after three months, the drink and drug affected my brain so much that I completely forgot I had a sister. Oh wait, I mean I forgot to review this movie. And it was even more important because old what’s-her-name wanted to hear my opinion. Well, it turns out I had waited long enough to review this movie that it’s already been released on DVD. And so I am finally able to bring you my review of Skyfall, written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan, directed by Sam Mendes, and starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw.

A MI6 agent on his Majesty’s secret service by the name of James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on assignment with another agent named Eve (Naomie Harris). They’re in pursuit of a mercenary that has stolen a hard drive containing the NOC list from the first Mission Impossible movie, containing the identity of all the undercover agents in the world. While trying to get the hard drive back, Eve inadvertently shoots Bond, allowing the mercenary to escape. The death of James Bond sends shockwaves through MI6. Eve is suspended to a desk job and Chairman Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) suggests that it’s time for the head of MI6, M (Judi Dench), to retire. On her way back to her office, M finds that someone has hacked her computer, sending her a taunting message and blowing up her office. James, who has been banging women and drinking a lot, learns of the attacks and returns to duty, regardless of his injury. M approves him for duty even though his test results do not, and Bond sets about finding out who was behind this. Psst! It was Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).

Now, I’m not really sure what old what’s-her-name thought about this movie, so I don’t know what her opinion was. Not that it would change mine, but I would at least have bullet points to argue with her if I knew. I liked this movie, I like the greater majority of the Bond movies, and I like the Daniel Craig ones most of all. I know a lot of Bond fanatics probably wouldn’t be down with that sentiment, but I like action movies more than I like suave spy movies, and the Daniel Craig ones meet that description much better. But that’s not to say this movie didn’t have its share of problems. The first thing that occurred to me was that the bad guy could post his video of the undercover agents on YouTube. One of my videos is still not allowed to be monetized because I infringed on copyrights in their opinion! And that didn’t get anybody killed! YouTube needs to get their shit together. Also, I know these new Bond movies want to set themselves apart like the Batman Begins of the Bond movies, being darker and more realistic. And, though I appreciate the shout outs to things that Bond fans would appreciate, they had a couple of “fuck you” parts that they shouldn’t leave in. It’s like in the first X-Men movie when Cyclops joked about how dumb they’d look if they were wearing yellow and blue tights. In this one, Q jokes about not having exploding pens because that would be so dumb. You know the Bond fans that are supporting your movies are probably not going to enjoy you saying that the things they liked were stupid, right? The name of the movie was also an annoyance to me. I had no idea what they meant by Skyfall when I saw the title. I didn’t know what it meant when it came up in the psychiatric evaluation. And when I found out it was Bond’s house, I was really let down. Especially when they go all Kevin McCallister with it, setting up traps like it’s Home Alone. I see this too often in movies that are trying to take themselves seriously recently. I heard a lot of complaining about this movie about how it was too M heavy, but I didn’t really see that. I understand the complaints that everyone always thinks what Bond is doing is reckless and crazy, but he also has saved the world about 23 times already and people should just get off his sack. But with the M thing, I assume Dench was ready to get out of these action movies since she’s pushing 80 now, and they wanted an emotionally resonant way to do that. I feel they accomplished that.

I was cool with the action and the look of the movie, but I could’ve used some more action. It made me laugh that they started the movie with Bond being visually obscured and then revealing only his eyes at first, as if we were supposed to not know who he was when you played the music score when he walked into frame. But that didn’t make me laugh as much as when this super spy was in a car chase with these bad guys and they pulled their car up right next to the villain in his car, and Bond’s big idea was to ram his car instead of maybe grabbing the gun that we know he has and shooting the guy with it. He could’ve put it point blank against the guy’s temple they were so close! Instead he chose the equivalent in effectiveness of reaching over and flicking his ear, which he could have done because he was so close to the guy. I also liked that they had a chase through a bazaar in Istanbul because I’m pretty sure I recognized it from one of the Assassin’s Creed games. And no, I don’t think it’s at all pathetic that I can only recognize famous global landmarks because I’ve been there in video games. I know what the Eiffel Tower is because it was in the fourth Alien movie and one of the National Treasures too! …Also I’ve been there. I liked the opening though. It was action-packed and a great way to start a movie. Then they go into those classic Bond-style credit sequences with that cool Adele song playing. How do they still come up with those crazy credit sequences when LSD isn’t as popular anymore?

The cast was all pretty good in this movie. Daniel Craig is a pretty awesome Bond, and I’m told he’s attractive as well. I felt like his one-liners weren’t nearly as good in this one as they have been in the past, but that’s not really his fault as much as it is the writers fault. Another thing they did with his character was only use the fact that he wasn’t as good of a shot anymore when they needed it. Twice in the movie they show him not being able to hit anything with a gun, but you put a shotgun in his hand and take him back to Skyfall and he’s a champion skeet shooter. Javier Bardem made a strange choice for the villain. I don’t think they’ve had a flamboyantly gay villain before. Besides Nick Nack. And sure, he didn’t SAY he was gay, but come on… At first I thought he was kind of laughable as a villain, and then he did that William Tell thing with the sexy chick and the shot glass. That was pretty fucked up. Even more so because she was hot. And then he pulled out his dentures and told his sob story and I was kind of in with his performance. Naomie Harris also did a good job in the movie, and was nice to look at throughout (although I still maintain that she hasn’t topped her hotness in Pirates of the Caribbean yet), but was it really supposed to be a surprise when she said her last name? Could people not have guessed that when they had her in the secretary’s office? I’m not even the biggest Bond fan and I figured that one out.

Skyfall was a good movie with its share of problems, but not enough that it would hinder my enjoyment. Solid story, decent action, and good performances. They had some things that didn’t make sense, and some of the one-liners fell short, but I enjoyed the experience. I saw this in theaters, bought it post haste on BluRay, and will look forward to Daniel Craig’s next outing as Bond. Skyfall gets “Enjoying death” out of “I say ‘Day’ and you might say …’ ‘Wasted.’”

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?!

Advertisements

Wrath of the Titans (2012)


You’re Sweating Like a Human.

I shouldn’t have wanted to see today’s movie, but I inexplicably did.  I saw the original movie a really long time ago and absolutely loved it.  Then they remade that movie, and it was disappointing and dumb.  Then they made a sequel to that, and the response was pretty consistently that it was worse than the first.  Whether it was my love of the subject matter or just the expectation of the fun that can accompany a big dumb action movie, I really couldn’t say.  But I wanted to see it.  Not enough to make me go to the theaters for it, and not enough to make my buy it on DVD when it was released.  But, when my roommate Richard showed me a selection of 5 movies he had purchased digitally to watch, I instantly picked this one.  How’d it go?  You’ll find out in my review for Wrath of the Titans, written by Dan Mazeau, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Édgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy, and John Bell.

Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), is trying to live the quiet life of a fisherman with his 10-year-old son, Helius (John Bell), after his famed defeat of the mighty Kraken.  Zeus visits Perseus to warn him that the power of the gods is weakening and the walls of Tartarus that contain Zeus’ father, the mighty titan Kronos, are breaking down.  Perseus tells Zeus where he can cram it.  Zeus travels to Tartarus to meet with his brothers, Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseidon (Danny Huston), and Ares (Édgar Ramirez) and Hades jump Zeus and Poseidon, capturing Zeus and mortally wounding Poseidon.  As Ares and Hades set Zeus up to have his powers drained by Kronos, Poseidon travels to Perseus to tell him what happened.  With Poseidon’s trident, and Poseidon’s son Agenor (Toby Kebbell), as well as Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Perseus sets out to meet with Hephaestus (Bill Nighy) to find a weapon powerful enough to defeat Kronos.

Yet another disappointing outing for Greek mythology.  I’ve had a love for Greek mythology since my childhood which makes it even more disappointing that I haven’t seen a good movie about that era in a while.  300 was in 2007 and Troy was 2004, and neither of those was actually a mythology thing as much as it just happened around that time, and those gods were mentioned in passing.  Since then I’ve seen Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, and Immortals, and none of those movies made a good run at it.  But, one thing this movie does have going for it that the Clash of the Titans remake did not is that this movie isn’t shitting on a movie I love.  This is a somewhat original idea that wasn’t very good.  It’s only loosely based on any kind of mythology, and pretty much the only thing that makes it Greek mythology is the name and relationships of the characters.  Since it has nothing at all to do with any Greek mythology, I probably would’ve been happier with it if they had just made it their own story and not included Zeus and Perseus and all the rest of them.  But, if they just made this exact movie about the demigod Steve and his father, the god Mike, I probably wouldn’t have been interested anyway, so fuck me I guess.  Well the story wasn’t great either way.  It’s mainly just about a couple of people wandering through various green-screened settings until they find a stick that kills the big bad thing.  Also, my recollection of the Clash remake is that it was mostly about how humans didn’t need the gods to achieve something.  I recall Perseus refusing to use his fancy god weapons because of this, but this one goes exactly opposite that.  Perseus can’t do shit without the fancy god weapon in this one, so he spends the entire movie looking for it.  The more human Perseus also tries fighting the more god Ares multiple times during the movie, but humanity certainly isn’t good enough this time around.  ::SPOILER ALERT::  Also, the defeat of Ares is super disappointing, as Perseus beats him with a rear naked choke hold.  Which means, for the audience, that Perseus jumped on Ares’ back and wrapped his arm around Ares’ neck and it just became a race to see if Ares or the audience would fall asleep first.  The conclusion of the entire movie was also very disappointing.  First, the defeat of Kronos felt like not much more than Perseus dropping a shiny toothpick down Kronos’ gullet.  ::END SPOILERS::  The very ending of the movie was just kind of confusing and lame.  The god’s have a big walk off into the sunset kind of thing, the humans celebrate Perseus’ victory, something about training Perseus’ son to be a soldier.  I don’t really know what happened because it was rushed and confusing.  All I really know that happened was that I was disappointed.

In the movie’s defense, the look and scale of the movie was all pretty damned epic.  They have a cool looking chimera that was probably in God of War, a giant lava guy that was probably in God of War, an epic Labyrinth that I’m pretty sure was in God of War, and a bald white guy with red symbols painted on him and swords chained to his wrist, but I didn’t recognize him.  The look of the movie seems to owe a lot to the God of War games, but there’s a chance that it wasn’t just a straight rip off.  But if Kronos wasn’t ripped off from God of War, it’s entirely possible that it was just a slightly altered remake of the Balrog from Lord of the Rings.  I also liked the guys with two torsos that were fighting in the last battle.  They worked pretty well.  Also, when Zeus and Hades teamed up to kick some ass, I thought that was very exciting.  Though most of the stuff in the look of the movie felt like I had seen it before, I don’t mean to take away from its scale and grandeur.  It was possibly the only thing in this movie that was actually well done.

The performances were about as hit or miss as you can get.  Sam Worthington has never impressed me.  He’s been in good movies before, but he’s never been what’s made them good as far as I’m concerned.  He’s not so much a bad actor, but he’s certainly not a good one.  And I guess it runs in the family, because the kid who played his son (Yes, I know that John Bell is not his real son.  The last names kind of gave it away for me) got on my nerves.  His biggest performance requirement was just to stand in the background of scenes and stare, dumbfounded.  It’s no surprise that Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes can bring it in the performance department, but it might be a surprise that they actually bothered to bring it for this movie.  They both did good jobs, but every time I saw them I just kept thinking about how the last time they were together before these movies was for Schindler’s List.  That’s fuckin crazy!  I would also count myself as a fan of Bill Nighy, but it occurs to me that this man does not do subtle.  It usually works for him though.  Also, that Bubo, the golden owl from the original Clash of the Titans, shows up in this movie was very exciting to me.  Not that it did anything, but it was there, man!

It didn’t come as a surprise for me that Wrath of the Titans was disappointing.  I was right in assuming that the story would have nothing to offer and I was right to assume that the only performances I’d like would be Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, but I at least hoped that the action in this big dumb action movie would be satisfying.  Imagine my surprise when it was also disappointing.  The only things I really enjoyed about this movie were the visuals, but I feel like I can get most of that by playing God of War, and I’d enjoy myself more.  Wrath of the Titans isn’t bad enough that I would say don’t watch it, but it’s also not good enough that I’d recommend it.  If nothing else, get it from RedBox for a day and go in with low expectations.  Wrath of the Titans gets “Hades, I am so sorry for having done this to you” out of “Because I forgive you for this.”

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 and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Hurt Locker (2008)


This Box is Full of Stuff That Almost Killed Me

Today’s movie had a lot of buzz going for it when it came out. I remember hearing about it, but never wanting to see it. I saw it as an action/drama set in the middle of a war and there was something about bombs in it, and I decided “I don’t really wanna see that.” I like a good action movie, but the combination of it being a drama and it being a drama set in a realistic, present day war situation made me think it would take a lot out of me to watch it. I’ve seen enough war movies to know that I am too much of a coward … I mean pacifist … to want to go there and do that, so why would I want to watch a movie about it? Well it came time for me to do it anyway, and so here is your review of The Hurt Locker, written by Mark Boal, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and starring Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Christopher Sayegh, Ralph Fiennes, Christian Camargo, David Morse, and Evangeline Lilly.

In the beginning, Staff Sergeant Thompson (Guy Pearce) is out to disarm an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) with his teammates, Sergeant Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Eldrich (Brian Geraghty). Someone in the area with a cell phone sets it off and kills Thompson. Shortly after, Thompson is replaced by Sergeant First Class James (Jeremy Renner). The rest of the movie follows these three through various situations that test their abilities and their patience. Sanborn and Eldrich don’t get along with James’ eccentric and renegade ways through each of them. They have to disarm a bomb in the trunk of a car next to the UN and James decides he would rather work with his radio and bombsuit removed, they detonate some explosives in a remote desert and Sanborn talks with Eldrich about “accidentally” setting off the explosion as James goes to get his gloves from the kill zone, they find the body of a boy that James had befriended on the base filled with explosives, and other situations as we count down the days until their tour of duty is over.

This is a pretty awesome movie, but not quite perfect. It has great action, fantastic tension, superb performances, but the story gives me a little bit of difficulty. The movie is mostly about disarming bombs, which is usually a really slow, but super tense situation, and the movie captures that brilliantly. I was captivated by the movie practically all the way through. I would say the pinnacle of the tension was the scene where they had a super realistic sniper battle after meeting Ralph Fiennes and his crew of mercenaries. The building was really far away and none of the trained snipers were still alive and they kept missing because of the range of the enemies and things kept going wrong like the bullets jamming because the sniper’s blood was in the clip and other enemies were creeping up behind them, but it was really tense and enthralling. It ended on a bit of a low note, but it was still really good. It was also filmed really well, and this was best illustrated in the very beginning when Guy Pearce dies. It exploded, causing the dirt to pop up off the ground and the rust was shaken off of a nearby car. It was really cool to look at. The problem I had with it was that it never really explained to us how Guy Pearce actually met his end. He was running away from the explosion in a bomb suit and blood exploded onto the visor of his helmet. Not being a bomb expert (as I’m sure most viewers aren’t), I wondered what it was that killed him, but never found out. Was it the shockwave that killed him? Shrapnel from the explosion? I have no idea. It didn’t take me out of the movie, but I feel like they should have dumbed it down a bit for the non-veteran audience. The real problem I had with the story was that it practically didn’t exist. It was just following around three guys going to various, somewhat unrelated situations and resolving them as best they could. There was never any story arc or resolution. It was kind of about how people get addicted to war, and they showed that at the very end when Renner returns to his wife and kid for a short time, but then returns to the service for another year of service. It feels like a bit of easy writing because you just put the same three guys into real-life dangerous situations, but you instantly get the emotional response from American audiences because we all love our troops and watching things that they actually have to deal with while we’re relatively comfortable and safe over here gets our attention. But you didn’t have to write this, so it seems a bit lazy without some kind of story arc. It didn’t actually occur to me until right after the movie though, so obviously it wasn’t that big of an issue because the things they did right overcame the lazy writing. One other thing that occurred to me as strange in the writing was what happened with Christopher Sayegh’s character “Beckham”. He was a little boy that Renner had befriended at the base and then later they find him dead and packed with explosives. This is deeply troubling to Renner in the movie, but what is deeply troubling to me is that it later turns out that this was some other random boy and Beckham was still alive. Not only does this strike me as kind of “all these people look the same” racist, but it takes away that scene’s emotional impact for the audience and for no good reason. Why not just leave it as that boy and we would all still be bummed about it? Instead Beckham just comes back later and we think “Oh, sucks for that other boy, but at least the one we knew was still alive. But James might be kind of racist, right?” I mean I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t him that was dead, but I acknowledge my racism!

The performances in this movie are fantastic all the way through. Renner was unrealistically a maverick in the field – which is something that they would not tolerate in the actual Army – but his performance was great. He kept his cool relatively well in tense situations, but really showed what he could do when reacting to finding Beckham’s dead body. And, though the movie shat on that later, his performance remains fantastic. Anthony Mackie also gave a great performance. He was the more realistic character in the group, trying to follow the proper protocols when Renner was doing his own thing. The problem I had with his character is the part where he was discussing killing Renner. I don’t know if that stuff goes down in the real Army, but I’m sure it’s not doing good things for their recruiting numbers. I like to think of my Army as the guys that are practically a family and leave no man behind, not the guys that may cause the guy to get left behind because he’s kind of a dick. Brian Geraghty is also very good, but I felt like his character was a little melodramatic at times and depressing. After Guy Pearce died in the beginning, he just kept talking about death nonstop. I understand it being a devastating thing to go through, but it’s not helping you get home to just be waiting to die yourself. He did have a lot more of the emotional performances in the movie because of it though. Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce were really good in the movie as well, but they go by so quickly, even though they’re the biggest names in the movie.

Finally watched it and very glad I did, The Hurt Locker combines great visuals, great tension, and great performances to make a pretty amazing movie. The only thing that struck me as off in the movie is the lack of any cohesive story to tie the awesome situations together. But this is still definitely a movie worth watching. I never felt like the real life drama took anything out of me, but it was super entertaining and demands your attention. You can find it on Netflix, but I’ll probably be purchasing it soon. The Hurt Locker gets “There’s enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus” out of “”Support your troops, and whatnot.”

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!

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?!?!

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!

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!