Monday, November 4, 2013

I Saw This!! All About the Magic

I will subscribe to Graig's new theme and clear out some outstanding films.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 (2010, David Yates) download
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 (2011, David Yates) download
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, Peter Jackson) cinema
Now You See Me (2013, Louis Letterier) download

It may have been only a few days after watching ...the Half-Blood Prince that we watched the two part finale for the Harry Potter series but it has been almost two years since then. Part 2 is now on Netflix, so I was able to half-heartedly watch it again, while doing housework, inspiring this cleanup. Not sure why they only have Part 2.

The final two left the most impression on me of all the movies. It is easier to think about them as one long long movie. Easily the darkest movies of the series, they carried a heavy melancholy The weight of the prophecy Harry has been experiencing since the first movie is overshadowed by Voldemort's nasty campaign to make sure Harry fails.  Everything is dull and grey, from the dull streets of London to the cold, narrow streets of Godric's Hollow. Wizard society is falling apart around them and the trio of old friends have to flee like criminals into the dark. And death is all around Harry. Real death, not alluded to or far away death. These are not kids movies but movies for the kids grown up.

The Hogworts kids are pursuing the horcruxes, seeking to destroy Voldemort and the journey brings them back to Hogworts where the place is preparing for war.  This is rather heart breaking, to see that place of wonder and magic resorting to outright battle against a rabble of goth wannabees.  Even more heartbreaking are the deaths that inevitably have to happen once the battle is in full swing. And its all about Harry; if they give him up Voldemort promises lenience. Of course, heroism and sacrifice win over everything.

My favourite scene is the ending, seeing the aging Harry and Ron with their kids heading off to Hogworts. It must be nice, almost twenty years later to send their own back to a likely rebuilt and healed place that not only educated them but changed their life and that of the world.

So, The Hobbit finally on the big screen. The book that established my love for swords and sorcery, dwarves and dragons, is finally created. Even more than The Lord of the Rings, I wanted to see this movie brought to life. And as much for the meet-the-dwarves scene as for anything else. But I was so so so so disappointed with the production of this movie that I held back from any attempt to do a review, with intentions of watching the movie again to pick out what I did enjoy about it. I will do a proper review when I do get around to that.

What didn't I enjoy? Well, basically because it was a retrograde recreation of the LotR movies. Structure, style and even format were recreated to make this movie attractive to the non-reader fans of the earlier movies. Its not the additional content to extend to three movies that bothered me but the fact these added elements seemed so familiar. There had to be a Big Bad orc, there had to be a chase scene underground and there had to be flashback scenes with grand battles and the sweeping grandeur of Middle Earth. I wanted more faerie tale The Hobbit and less The Lord of the Rings, Pt 4.

In our final focus on magical movies, we have Now You See Me.

I am not sure of what I really thought of this movie. I rather dislike the premise, a bunch of Las Vegas, reality-TV type magicians and street cons brought together by a shadowy organization doing seemingly impossible real magic. Their first act robs a bank in Paris and gives all the money to the audience. From there its a crime caper as two cops try to bring down the magic gang and figure out how they are doing it at the same time.

The movie smacks of the interest in (real) magic that was shown in The Prestige and The Illusionist but with the modern charlatanism we see on TV. It is kind of fun to see them blow up the faux magic and there is an even more fun twist to the story and I rather like Leterrier as a director. But it is not a great movie, more a pop-corn-burp rental.