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Monthly Archives: August 2007

Because all the reviewers stumble over themselves for the most original praise. E.g.: "The 007 fan in me did wince a bit, though, when Bourne planned his journey from Spain to North Africa: "If we hurry, we can make the morning ferry!" The ferry? Good heavens man, where’s the collapsible helicopter that folds into your wallet? Where’s the F1-11 fighter plane that materialises when you drop a tablet into a glass of water? Call yourself a spy?",,2150073,00.html

The first comment is about technology: riding broomsticks looks still very crappy, even in the age of animated water and clouds and cave trolls and Naginis… for some reason, this one single bit of effects appears to be stuck nostalgically in the age of riding on Fuchur, the lucky dragon, as featured in the Wolfgang Petersen film based on Michael Ende’s Neverending Story.

At the same time, the 3D technology used in the last part of the film is stunning, and at times (in the big finale where two major wizard forces clash) nothing short of bloody amazing. The extraordinary amount of money that was charged as admission fee for the IMAX theatre was forgotten, and the embarassment about wearing those ugly and uncomfortable glasses was swept away. Mind-boggling scenes in the Ministry, with millions of prophecies tumbling down, rotating cameras in the midst of fire storms and the ultimate perfection of Dumbledore’s old-age beauty! Also a very dark build-up to the climax in the forbidden forest, where beautifully obscure centaurs face the Pink Headmistress.

The rest of the film is mildly entertaining, not regrettable cinema produce of the Spiderman 3 type, but also (as always) nothing near a masterpiece of narration. As we are deep in the series, it is clear that one thing will never cease to bug me: that the films in their best instances can work only as flashlights highlighting particularly interesting or thrilling moments of the books. None of the films has added anything interesting in terms of narration, and none has added drama. Actually, the whole finale of “Order of the Phoenix” is rather disappointing in this respect, because those who will remember the book will feel a sense of surprise when everything is over way to soon. The book rolled out not just a little fight, but a large-scale battle. The film’s interpretation seems like a shortcut to transport the main message. And a terrible thing happens – but somehow the film does not make it look too terrible, just happened, oops. At least in 3D.

One word needs to be written about the “age problem”: it’s a massive distraction to see those teenagers (probably twens, some of them) pretending to be 15 years old. Especially with the guys, who are all tall now, some of them are massive, only very few have retained any child / teenage-like features. You have to balance this irritation with the equally irritating prospect of introducing new faces for world cinema’s most established characters (changing James Bond actors should be much easier than getting rid of Potter’s or Weasley’s original cast) – at the end of the day, the decision to use the same cast to the end is probably right, but irritation lingers. Let’s just get it over and done with quickly, so that they do not need to worry about retrieveing Radcliffe and Watson from the Home for Wizard’s Elderly Citizens.

And on the final Installment of the Franchise: the Deathly Hallows. There is a nice analysis by Stephen King at, where he decribes why he is unsatisfied with the way literary reviewers have treated the Potter books, and why he thinks that at the end of the day, they (the books) are quite good.

A.O. Scott’s review includes a strange praise of the aforementioned crappy broomstick ride. Otherwise, he’s quite a clever guy 😉

"28 Days later" was a very enjoyable film for most of its running time, even though I slightly lost interest when thr group arrived at the soldiers’s camp outside Manchester (or was it Birmingham?) and the role of evil-doer was switched to feature the army from then on. While the twist as such was a very smart one, it was not too well executed, and the soldiers were left to be caricatures the slaughtering of which left nothing but cheers.

"28 Weeks later" is smarter than that. Apparently, the new director had the same impression from the first installment and tries to overcome it be allocating more shares of humanity to all the parties. The result is next to splendid. Starting with the opening sequence that puts all potential heroism to rest in a sequence of fierce survival instinct, to the shooting of the re-settlement, where the helicopter flights over the stark-naked, empty city of London bear resemblance to the troops getting into New York in "Escape from New York" – with all the uncomfortable feelings associated, this cannot be right…  brilliant photography also from the ground: be it in the blunt atmosphere of the Metropolis-like residential island they established, or in the still rubbish-drenched, corpse-filled old parts of the city, where the absence of traffic and people’s noise is maybe the most irritating thing.

There are flaws, certainly, in particular the costant presence of a father who is not supposed to be there anymore, but that is made up by atmosphere and action, with a gruelling scene of (justified) mass hysteria in a dark parking garage and the wicked realisation that the snipers on the roof are loose and are now as dangerous as the rabid infected.

Very nice to see good horror films now and again!

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