Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some Thoughts on Harry Potter

So, the Harry Potter series is half-way through the finale. I'm not going to write a review, just some thoughts on the movie. I don't think I'm including any spoilers that aren't in most reviews.

First, this isn't exactly a Harry Potter movie. True, it features Harry and most of the characters from the other movies but it abandoned the formula. All of the other movies followed a year at Hogwarts. Not this one. Harry never gets near it. The closest the movie comes is when some Death Eaters search the Hogwart Express. So, there are no classes, no moving stairways, No talking paintings, no Quidditch, not even Harry on a broom. We only see a few of the teachers and not for long. On the other hand, this movie refers to the other movies more than most - things like "the wand chooses you" and the composition of the wand.

This is not a kid's movie, either. Parts of it are scary. The rest would be boring to small kids.

Harry and company spend more time in the modern (muggle) world in this movie than in all of the others put together. It is a bit jarring having Harry and company order cappuccinos. An opening scene in Hermione's house underscores how different muggles live than wizards. Wizards tend to live in ancient houses in remote areas. The one exception is an ancient townhouse.

Wizards are also decades behind on technology. They use candles and other flames for light. Newspapers are printed on 19th century presses or by magic. The Hogwart Express is a steam engine. The most modern technology we see them use is at least 50 years out of date - the Weasley's flying car, Hagrid's flying motorcycle, and Hermione's transistor radio. Even the elevators at the Ministry of Magic and the toilets they use are pre-WWII. Harry's uncle's family is more modern but even they seem a couple of decades off.

For something really scary, think of what the movie would have been like if Chris Columbus directed it instead of just the first two.

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