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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 EW.com, 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 😉

One Comment

  1. I liked the movie much better than the book, actually. I’m so glad they cut out most of the whiny Harry teen self pity that I am willing to overlook crappy broomstick SFX.


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