Archive for Daniel Radcliffe

Victor Frankenstein

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a dynamic and thrilling twist on a legendary tale. Radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) and his equally brilliant protégé Igor Strausman (Radcliffe) share a noble vision of aiding humanity through their groundbreaking research into immortality. But Victor’s experiments go too far, and his obsession has horrifying consequences. Only Igor can bring his friend back from the brink of madness and save him from his monstrous creation.

What people are saying:

“Aiming to do for Victor Frankenstein what Guy Richie did for Sherlock Holmes, set in the past but with a playful, postmodern sensibility that zaps new life into Shelley’s 200 year-old Gothic masterpiece” 4 stars

“To avoid the accusation that it’s an unnecessary remake of an oft-told story, screenwriter Max Landis has reduced Mary Shelly’s cautionary tale to a bad comic book, bereft of soul and intelligence.” 1 star

“A different take on the Frankenstein franchise. This is more of a prequel than the typical Frankenstein movie. Like a lightning storm, some flashes of brilliance and a lot of wind and disaster. Radcliffe was pretty good and McAvoy does a good job of portraying the doctors spiral into obsession and madness. The movie is a bit long and has a completely worthless and misplaced love story. Could have been better, but it is imaginative.” 3 stars

“I expected too much I suppose. By the time we get to the monster, which was probably one of the better Frankensteins I’ve seen, he’s only there for a moment or two and then it’s over. I liked how Igor was more than just a bumbling idiot and how this was somewhat of a partnership, but it’s just a jumbled mess from bottom to top.” 3 stars

“Would have been really good if they kept with the buddy-cop-like-comedy instead pushing some of the dramatic elements. This dialogs between Igor und Dr. Frankenstein are hilarious and most times really good fun.” 4 stars

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Horns

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Ignatius “Ig” Perrish is the prime suspect when his girlfriend Merrin is raped and murdered. Despite his declarations of innocence, he is shunned by the community, and only his childhood friend and lawyer Lee seems to believe him. He stays with his parents and brother Terry, hiding from the press. After a vigil led by Merrin’s father, who believes Ig to be guilty, Ig drinks heavily and wakes up with a pair of horns protruding from his head. While at his doctor to try and remove his horns, Ig, under anesthesia, dreams of his childhood, when he first met Merrin after the death of her mother. A young Ig and his friends play with cherry bombs near the docks; Ig risks a dangerous dare to win a cherry bomb, and nearly drowns, but is saved by Lee. He later trades the cherry bomb with Lee in exchange for fixing Merrin’s broken necklace; however, Lee loses two fingers when the cherry bomb goes off accidentally. Ig and Merrin bond over the fixed necklace and fall in love, frequenting a treehouse in the woods together.

The horns are revealed to force people around Ig to tell him their darkest secrets and desires. Ig goes to visit his parents, but under the power of the horns his mother reveals that she doesn’t want him as her son, while his father tells him that he is worthless without Merrin. Ig goes to a bar, where he goads the reporters into a brawl and attempts to find evidence that he didn’t kill Merrin. Ig gets three people to confess their darkest secrets, leading the bartender to burn down his bar. From one of his confessions he also learns that the new witness for the prosecution is from the diner where Merrin had broken up with him the night she died. Ig finds the waitress, and discovers that she has been fabricating her stories to become famous. When Ig talks to Terry, he learns that Terry had driven Merrin from the diner the night she died. Touching Terry’s skin, Ig sees what happened that night: Merrin left the car en route to her home and ran into the woods; Terry passed out in the car, and woke up the next morning with a bloody rock in his hand before finding Merrin dead under the treehouse. Afraid that he would be implicated, he threw the rock away and fled. Infuriated, Ig brutally assaults Terry until he is arrested by a police officer, another childhood friend named Eric. The next morning Ig is released from jail with Lee’s help, discovering that Lee had been wearing Merrin’s cross necklace and as a result couldn’t see Ig’s horns.

Ig realizes that snakes are following him wherever he goes, and uses them to exact vengeance against the waitress. He also forces Terry to overdose on drugs, causing Terry to be tormented with memories of Merrin’s death. Ig meets Lee by the docks and pulls off Merrin’s necklace; exposed to the horns, Lee falls under their influence, admitting he killed Merrin. In flashbacks, it is shown that Lee was also in love with Merrin and was deeply jealous of Ig throughout their childhood. Lee followed Merrin into the woods, thinking that she had broken up with Ig to be with him, and in a jealous rage he raped her, killed her with a rock—which he planted on Terry—and stole her necklace. As Ig sees all of this, Lee overpowers him and lights him on fire in his car, causing Ig to drive into the bay. To the authorities, Lee claims that Ig confessed to the crime and committed suicide. In reality, with the power of the horns, Ig survives, horrifically burned and disfigured.

Merrin’s father, who now believes Ig’s innocence, gives Ig the key to Merrin’s lock box. When Ig puts on Merrin’s cross, his body is restored and his horns disappear. In the box, he finds a note from Merrin that explains that she knew he was going to propose and wanted to accept, but she was dying from cancer and didn’t want him to suffer through what her father did, so she pushed him away under the pretense of loving someone else. Ig confronts Lee, who does not remember their earlier fight, and leads him into the woods where Merrin was killed. Meanwhile, Eric and Terry arrive, intent on arresting Lee. Lee confesses to the murder, but then gleefully kills Eric and injures Terry. Ig tears off the necklace, sprouting a pair of wings and bursting into flame, transforming into a demonic monster. Despite Lee mortally wounding him, Ig impales Lee on one of his horns and telepathically orders a snake to slide down Lee’s throat, fatally suffocating him. Stating that his vengeance was all-consuming, Ig dies from his injuries and his smoldering corpse slowly cools and turns to hardened ash, and appears to be reunited with Merrin in the afterlife.

REVIEW:

A first glimpse at Horns and one would think this is perhaps a retelling of a Shakespeare work, at least that’s what I thought until I read what it was about. Now that I’ve watched the film, I can say that my initial notion could not have been further from the truth. I’m sure there are those out there, the few that have even heard of this flick, thinking various things about it. Well, how about we find out what kind of film this really is, shall we?

What is this about?

Not only is Ig Perish accused of murdering his girlfriend, he’s sprouted a set of horns in this horror-fantasy starring Daniel Radcliffe. The affliction quickly becomes an aid when Ig realizes his budding knobs compel people to reveal their sins.

What did I like?

Potter, no more. Daniel Radcliffe has been trying to escape the stigma of being Harry Potter. I think he is now in his late 20s/early 30s and people are still calling him Potter. Every non-Potter role he has taken has been something very adult, such as his stint on Broadway in Equus, where he had to bare all. As this character, Ig, I feel he has made even further strides to distance himself from “the boy who lived”, as he gives an outstanding performance, nuanced with pain, suffering, hate, and a thirst for vengeance, as well as hurt and confusion from a town and friends that have turned on him.

Nothing to see here. As much as I hate to admit this, if I were to see someone walking around town with a full grown pair of horns, I would wonder wtf?!? Human nature is to inquire, I suppose. The filmmakers decided to go against that, though, and the horns were about as much of an issue as someone in a wheelchair and/or missing limbs. Yes, people look, but then they go about their business. The horns don’t become an issue until he begins to use their power, be it on purpose or accident, to get people to spill the beans, as it were.

Progression. This is not a slow moving film. As a matter of fact, it actually progresses at a decent pace. I was expecting some sort of slow, indie drama type of movement, but that wasn’t the case at all. I can really appreciate how this faster tempo keeps the audience interested because, let’s face it, had this been one of those indie dramas, we’d all have fallen asleep in one of those flashbacks and not awakened until the credits, or maybe that would just have been me.

What didn’t I like?

Tone. There is a question of which genre this film wants to take. Does it want to be a horror movie? Drama? Comedy? Fantasy? Some combination of genres? Once it figures out the genre, then we can talk tone, because this is a film that actually does a good job of keeping a steady tone throughout, but in places it just wanders off into light or dark territory and we just don’t know what to think. Had the filmmakers settled on which parts of the film need to be lighter and which parts need to be darker, stuck with that, and then maybe inserted a joke or two in for comic relief, we may have had a better idea of what they were going for, instead, it is all over the place.

Language. In the second half of the film, people are cursing, we see Juno Temple naked, and there is a flashback of boys looking at a Playboy. In the first half, though, I felt like I was watching a Saturday morning teen show where they want to get across the idea of cursing, but not actually do it. What is the difference between the two halves of the film? Had one been when they were kids, I would totally understand, but both instances were when they were adults! It kind of goes back to the inconsistent tone, if you think about it.

Play that thing. Ig’s brother is a musician of some sort, a trumpet player to be precise. In movies, when it comes to playing an instrument, there are those that take the time to learn the instrument, those that can at least fake it, and then there are those that just seem to hold a horn and mimic what they’ve seen in a couple of videos. That is what I feel the actor playing Ig’s brother did. As a trumpet player myself, I can pick out a faker, and this guy wasn’t even close to playing. It was like they changed his character to a musician at the last minute and told him to do what he can. WTF?!?

Final verdict on Horns? I have had this on my streaming queue for a while now and everytime I get ready to watch it, I decide to go with something else for fear this would bore me to death. I almost did the same thing tonight, but gave it a chance. I am not sorry I took that chance. This is a film that is not what it seems. Apparently, it is based on a book. I need to track that down and read it. I’m curious as to what differences there are. Do I recommend this? Yes, while it my not be everyone’s cup of tea, this is an enjoyable film that not many people know about. Check it out sometime.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

December Boys

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

This film is a coming of age picture for the four main characters, and how their lives change over one Christmas holiday. The film is set in late 1960s Australia. Four orphan boys from a Roman Catholic orphanage in the outback of Australia – Maps, Misty, Spark and Spit – were all born in the month of December, and for their birthday, they are sent on a holiday to the beach to stay with Mr. and Mrs. McAnsh. While there, they meet Fearless, a man who claims to be the risk motorbike rider in the nearby carnival, and his wife, Teresa. Misty, Spark and Spit instantly become closer to Teresa, but Maps, eldest of the four, is still reluctant to talk to her. He instead finds more fun in spending time with an older teenage girl named Lucy, who had come to the beach to stay with her uncle. He often goes up to a place with strange rocks, and meets her there.

A few days later, the orphans peek through a window in Fearless’ house to see Teresa undressing, but Misty, being the most religious of the four, throws a rock at the wall to make them go away. Misty runs back to Mr. McAnsh’s house and looks through the small opening of a door to see someone in the shower, only to find that it is the sickly Mrs. McAnsh. They soon discover that she has breast cancer.

One night, Misty overhears Fearless talking to his friends about the possibility of adopting one of the orphans. Excited about the opportunity to finally have parents, he keeps it to himself until he decides to reveal it to a priest who has driven to the beach for the orphans’ confessions. The other boys realise that he is taking too long, and once he is finished, they force it out of him with the threat of Spit spitting on him while he is pinned to the ground. Misty, Spark and Spit are eager to compete for the love of the seemingly perfect Fearless and Teresa, but Maps is less than excited, even saying to Lucy, “What’s the big deal about parents, anyway?” Maps experiences his first kiss with Lucy, and soon loses his virginity to her in one of the caves of the Remarkable Rocks.

There, she tells him to promise that he will always remember her as his first. The next day, he goes up to the Remarkable Rocks, only to find Lucy is not there. Her uncle tells him that she’s left the beach to return to her father, and will not likely be back until next summer. Heartbroken, he goes to the carnival to find Fearless and talk to him, but discovers that he is not a motorbike rider there, and instead cleans up after the animals. Furious that he’d lied all along, he finds a painting made by Misty of him as the son of Fearless and Teresa, and destroys it. Misty attacks him and hits him with the fragments of the frame he’d put the painting in, and the bond between the four orphans is broken.

Fearless finds Maps in the cave of the Remarkable Rocks, and explains to him what had really happened. It is revealed to that Fearless was formerly a bike rider, and did all of the stunts with Teresa riding on the back of the bike. Then, there was an accident that kept Teresa in the hospital for nearly a year, making her unable to have children. That was the reason they had wanted to adopt one of the orphans.

Maps returns to the beach and finds out from Spark and Spit that Misty has gone into the water, and is drowning. Maps goes after him despite the fact that he cannot swim. Both he and Misty nearly drown. Underwater, they open their eyes to see a vision of the Virgin Mary, possibly meaning that they are dying. Before they can reach out to it, the two boys are grabbed by Fearless and brought back to the shore. Maps and Misty reconcile with each other and the four are friends again.

The next day, the boys are called to Fearless’ and Teresa’s house for an announcement. There, they reveal the couple is going to adopt Misty. He takes leave of his friends and he watches on the front porch with Fearless and Teresa as the other three orphans walk away and begin playing on some rocks down the beach. Misty realises that they are his true family, and asks Fearless and Teresa if he can stay with them instead. They accept, and he returns home with the orphans.

Many decades later, Misty, as an old man, drives to the same beach along with the ashes of Maps, who had recently died while working as a priest in Africa helping refugees, and Lucy’s ring that she gave to Maps on that holiday long ago. He meets up with Spark and Spit, and they toss the ashes & ring loose into the wind from the hill above the beach, remembering Maps and their time there, with a cheer to “The December Boys

REVIEW:

There was a time, not that long ago, that audiences were wondering if Daniel Radcliffe could do anything in his career besides play Harry Potter. He answered this question not only with this film, December Boys,, but also with a turn on Broadway in the play Equus, which saw him totally disrobe. I think it is safe to say that he can do more than play Harry, wouldn’t you?

What is this about?

After living together for years at a Catholic orphanage, four teenage boys must face the likelihood that they’ll never be adopted. But while on vacation, the boys become rivals as they compete for the affections of two prospective parents.

What did I like?

Coming of age. Look back to films such as The Outsiders, My Girl, Stand By Me, etc. Those were flicks that showed us a period of time where the characters were…”coming of age”. This film does the same thing and, from what I can recall, is the first of its kind in quite some time. I wonder why they stopped making films in this subgenre.

Characters. Anytime you take a story that involves multiple characters, you need to give each of them decent amounts of screentime. For the most part, this film does that and also throws in a few other characters. Is this a study in character study? A little bit, but that isn’t the main reason for being, if you will, for this film. Or is it?

What didn’t I like?

Dull. I really hate to say this, but this film is just plain dull and boring. I was fighting dozing off the whole way through it. The only time anything interesting happened, such as the super cute Teresa Palmer appearing, it doesn’t last long and we go back to having to sit through the equivalent of a lecture.

Horse. Perhaps I missed something regarding it, but there is this horse that randomly shows up. I’m not sure if it is really there or if it is some kind of hallucination, but it sort of makes no sense for it to be there, especially given the tone of the film. At the same time, though, it was a nice change of pace and lightened things up. Still, I believe it was misplaced.

I applaud Daniel Radcliffe for taking the chance and stretching out from the Potter universe with December Boys, but this was not a film that worked for me. My goodness, I hope the book isn’t this boring! Sure, there are those out there that will enjoy this, and that’s fine. More power to you, but for me, this is one of those films that exists for the artsy-fartsy crowd. Obviously, that isn’t me. If you’re into tis kind of flick, though, give it a shot.

3 out of 5 stars

The Woman in Black

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Edwardian era, in a small British town, three little girls playing tea party suddenly walk in a trance-like state to the window where they jump to their deaths. In London Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer and the widowed father of four-year-old Joseph, is charged by his office to obtain the paperwork with which to sell a large manor – Eel Marsh House. Though he is hesitant to leave his son alone with a nanny, Arthur’s boss warns him that should he fail to complete his duty he will lose his job.

Arthur is treated coldly upon his arrival and is barely able to get a room for the night, but he meets a kind local man named Sam Daily (Ciarán Hinds) and his wife Elisabeth (Janet McTeer) who allow him to stay at their home. Arthur visits his legal contact, Mr. Jerome, who hurries him off with a stack of papers, telling him to return to London. Instead, Arthur bribes the coachman to take him to Eel Marsh House, where he feels he will be able to more thoroughly complete his work. While there he is distracted by odd noises, footsteps and finally a brief appearance by a woman dressed in black. Arthur then hears a commotion in Eel Marsh, and runs out only to find his coachman waiting for him. As Arthur reports the incident to the police, three children come into the station; two boys carrying their little sister who had drunk lye, who collapses in Arthur’s arms and dies. That night, Sam reveals that he and his wife lost their son in a drowning accident, and Elisabeth etches a figure into the table of someone being hanged before she is sedated by Sam and their butler.

The next day Arthur decides to stay the night at Eel Marsh House to finish his work, and discovers letters from Alice Drablow, the homes recently deceased owner, and her mentally disturbed sister Jennet Humfrye (Liz White). Jennet claims Alice stole her son Nathaniel away from her and demands to let her see him. In subsequent letters it is revealed the boy drowned in the marsh and that Jennet blamed Alice before killing herself. Toys begin making noise upstairs in Nathaniel’s room, where Arthur witnesses the spirits of the Woman in Black and a mud-covered Nathaniel. The next day, Arthur learns that the deaths are the work of Jennet Humfrye, the Woman in Black, who cursed the town after her child was taken from her. Elisabeth then indicates that Joseph, who is being brought to the town by his nanny the next day, is a target for the Woman in Black. In an attempt to lift the curse, Arthur decides to reunite Nathaniel and Jennet by finding Nathaniel’s body in the marsh with Sam’s help. They place his body in the Eel Marsh House, where Jennet finds him and then leaves, as it is appears she is satisfied. They then locate Jennet’s remains and place her son in the grave with her before covering it back up.

The next night, Joseph and Arthur are reunited and intend on immediately returning to London, but Joseph slips away while Arthur and Sam are busy talking. Arthur soon notices Joseph walking along the train tracks and it becomes apparent that the curse will never be lifted. Arthur leaps onto the tracks in an attempt to save Joseph from an oncoming train as Sam looks on. Once it passes, Joseph asks “Who’s that lady?” Arthur looks and smiles before responding “That’s your Mummy”. A glowing Stella Kipps takes the hands of her husband and the family disappear into the fog and darkness.

REVIEW:

I was reading something the other day that questioned whether or not the child cast of the Harry Potter films would be able to get past being typecast. It appears, by pictures I’ve seen of Emma Watson in some upcoming film where she’s playing some kind of slutty TV star, and other films she’s been in that her career is in the right direction. The jury is still out on Rupert Grint, though. As for Harry, well, he’s made a name for himself on Broadway with How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and his popular naked scene in Equus. Not to mention he’s been slowly making a nice little career for himself by appearing in films that are far removed from Hogwarts. The Woman in Black is one such film.

What worked?

Creep factor. I wasn’t really a fan of the jump scares they kept trying to foist on the audience, but the creepy titular character made really sold me, especially when we learn of her origin. She still wasn’t scary, at least to me, but I can see how some people may have lost some sleep after seeing her.

Toys. We’ve all seen films that use toys in a creepy way. Well, this is another one of those flicks. On their own, monkeys, dolls, and clown toys aren’t exactly creepy, but when they randomly start playing music in a house that hasn’t been inhabited since the last owners killed themselves, then there is just something disturbing about that, don’t you think? While I’m thinking about it…is it just me, or did they just make creepy toys back then? With the exception of Furby, I can’t think of any toys in the last 20 years or so that are comparable.

Danny boy. It can’t be said how much we have seen Daniel Radcliffe grow, both physically and as an actor. Earlier this week, I was watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and now I see this. No longer is he the tiny little boy, now he’s a short man with a family and bills that need to be paid…not to mention some peach fuzz on his face.

Screenwriter. Just a small sidenote, but if you ever get the chance to look at the woman who wrote this screenplay, Jane Goldman, you should. She’s not half bad-looking, and has a nice pair of…eyes.

What didn’t I like?

Alienation. Ever go someplace new and everyone stares you down and gives you the evil eye, and for no other reason than you’re new. Well, that is the reception Radcliffe gets when he arrives in this town. The thing is, unless I missed it, it is never explained why they are so standoff-ish.

Remake. It would appear that this is the 3rd or 4th version of this film. Why one earth can’t they just leave the original alone? I really wish someone would let me know, because the question has me dumbfounded.

Ending. I’m actually a little torn on the ending. Not to spoil it for anyone, but basically something happens and it makes for a sort of bittersweet ending. You are not sure whether to be happy or sad, let alone have this uneasy feeling about some of the things that are seen right before the credits start rolling.

The Woman in Black was up for some debate in this household when it came out.  Ultimately, we decided to wait until it came out on DVD (opting instead to go to New Orleans Comic-Con). I think this was a good decision. I honestly don’t think I could have fathomed wasting the money to see this in theaters. Yes, I recommend and liked it, but I just don’t think it would have been worth giving up the chance to go to a con, I’m just saying. If you so choose to check this out, be warned, there is some gore, but they decided to go more with the old school horror style of chills, and it is very effective, maybe even the best (modern) horror flick I’ve ever seen!

4 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After giving Dobby a proper burial at Shell Cottage, Harry speaks with Griphook the Goblin about breaking into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts, as he believes that a Horcrux is hidden there. Griphook agrees to take Harry, Ron, and Hermione to Bellatrix’s vault if they give him the Sword of Gryffindor in return. Harry then asks Ollivander, the wandmaker, to identify the wands they took from Malfoy Manor. Ollivander says they belong to Bellatrix and Draco Malfoy, but Malfoy’s wand has changed its allegiance to Harry. Harry then reveals that he knows Lord Voldemort has stolen the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand to ever exist, from Albus Dumbledore’s tomb.

After using Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Bellatrix, Hermione manages to slip past the Gringotts goblins along with Ron, also disguised, and Harry and Griphook, who are under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. Griphook safely guides them past the dragon guard and into Bellatrix’s vault where Harry discovers the next Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. When Harry manages to obtain the cup, Griphook takes the sword and runs. With Gringotts security on their tail, the three heroes jump onto the back of the dragon guard and fly far away from Gringotts. During their escape, Voldemort enters Harry’s mind and discovers that they have been destroying his Horcruxes. He then begins keeping his snake, Nagini with him at all times. During the vision, Harry sees that the next Horcrux is something that belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw and is at Hogwarts.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione arrive in Hogsmeade, they unknowingly set off a Caterwauling Charm, and have to hide. They are rescued by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus’s brother. Aberforth seems to have lost all hope, but Harry convinces him to let them into Hogwarts so they may find the Horcrux. Aberforth instructs a portrait of his younger sister, Ariana to fetch Neville Longbottom, who leads the three friends through a secret passage back to Hogwarts. Severus Snape, now headmaster of Hogwarts, has heard of Harry’s return and gathers all students and staff in the Great Hall to inform them of their punishment should they aid Harry in any way. Harry steps forward and confronts Snape, but Professor McGonagall defends Harry by firing her own spells at Snape. Snape retreats to Lord Voldemort and McGonagall gathers all beings in Hogwarts to prepare for the final battle. Luna Lovegood finds Harry and introduces him to Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of Rowena and ghost of Ravenclaw house. Helena reveals that she knows of Voldemort and the dark magic he had performed on her mother’s lost diadem. When Harry tells her that he wishes to destroy it, she tells him it is hidden in the Room of Requirement. While Harry is talking with Helena, Ron and Hermione go to the Chamber of Secrets and Hermione destroys the cup Horcrux with a Basilisk fang. After being engulfed by a torrent of water caused by the destruction of the Horcrux, the two share a brief kiss. Harry goes to the Room of Requirement where he finds Malfoy, Goyle, and one of their fellow Slytherins. Goyle attacks Harry, but Ron and Hermione arrive and defend him. Goyle casts a Fiendfyre curse in the Room of Requirement, forcing the three heroes to retreat. Before leaving, Harry saves Malfoy and his companion, but Goyle and the Room of Requirement itself are destroyed in the fire. Once outside the room, they destroy the Ravenclaw diadem with a basilisk fang and Ron quickly kicks away the destroyed Horcrux. The trio go on a search for Voldemort so that they may kill Nagini, the final Horcrux, but when they discover him, he has Nagini kill Snape to make the Elder Wand truly his. Before he dies, Snape passes Harry memories via a tear to be used in the Pensieve in Dumbledore’s office.

As Voldemort gives Hogwarts a reprieve, Harry looks into Snape’s memories and learned that he and his mother, Lily Potter, were close friends and that Snape defected from Voldemort after Lily’s death. From the memory, Harry learns that he himself is a Horcrux, as Voldemort’s soul was very fragile at the time he killed Lily and James. Due to the fragile state of his soul, a result of creating numerous Horcruxes, and his attempt to murder an innocent child, a part of Voldemort’s soul broke away, and attached itself to the only living thing in the house, this happened to be Harry. Harry then goes into the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort, where he is hit with a Killing Curse. Harry enters a state of limbo, where he meets the spirit of Dumbledore. He then returns to the world of living and his reappearance re-ignites the fighting. As he and his friends try to kill Nagini, they lose their basilisk fangs, until Neville decapitates the snake with Gryffindor’s sword, destroying the last of the Horcruxes. Voldemort is then killed by his own Killing Curse as the Elder Wand falls into Harry’s hands. With the battle over, Ron suggests that they keep the Wand, because it would make them invincible, but Harry wordlessly snaps the Elder Wand in half, thinking it would be too much power to have.

Nineteen years later, Harry and Ginny Potter, along with Ron and Hermione Weasley, see their children off on the Hogwarts Express. But Harry’s middle child, Albus Severus, reveals his fears to Harry about the possibility of him being sorted into Slytherin house. Harry confides in his son regarding his namesake and assures him that the Sorting Hat will allow him to choose his own house. Albus gets on board the train, and both married couples watch their children leave to have their own adventures at Hogwarts.

REVIEW:

Every generation seems to have that one franchise that changes everything. For my generation, we have the Holy Trilogy (the Star Wars films for those not familiar with the terminology), the next one had the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this current generation has literally grown up with the actors in this franchise, and have cemented Harry Potter in the echelon of great, moneymaking franchises.

The plot of  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II picks up right where the previous film left off. I’ll discuss the separation later. Harry, Ron and Hermonie are still in search of the horcruxes so that Voldemort can be defeated. Meanwhile, at Hogwarts, Snape has been promoted to Headmaster and the school grounds are guarded by Dementors.

Before returning to Hogwarts, the trio makes a stop at Gringott’s bank to explore Bellatrix’s vault, where they find one of the Horcruxes. Of course, in there, they have to deal with this multiplicity spell and a double cross by Griphook, not to mention have to evade and escape the dragon guarding it.

After their daring escape, they apparete to Hogsmeade, but set off some type of alarm, which sets the Death Eaters on their trail. Before they can be detected, a mysterious figure pulls them aside. It is discovered that he is Dumbledore’s brother, Abeforth, and he helps them get back in the castle, with the help of the painting of his sister and Neville Longbottom.

This leads to the scenes we’ve been waiting 10 yrs for, the final battle between good and evil. Some of the character we’ve been waiting to see actually use their magic show what they can do, some characters die, and others slither away into the darkness.

The film is definitely the ultimate payoff for those of us that have been around since the beginning. Sure, when you think about it, this is kind of a sad day, but hey, it was a good run, and with the exception of the previous film, there are no real complaints.

Let’s talk about that for a bit, shall we. This film, which is based on the final book, was split into to films. If you will recall in my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I, I wasn’t necessarily giving a ringing endorsement of the split. However, as much as I complained about he previous film being nothing more than an overpriced drama, there were some parts of it that were done well because of it being a separate film. Had both of these films been merged into one, I believe there would have been lots of things left out that really deserved to be seen on film.

I was convinced to see this in 3D. I don’t really know why this was released in (and converted to) 3D. I believe it would have been just as spectacular without it. I just didn’t see anything that warranted me spending the extra $$$. I can’t believe I was coerced into supporting this gimmick.

This might very well be the most special effects laden entry in the franchise. There isn’t anything wrong with that, either. If you read the book, it plays out as if it were meant to be seen on the big screen rather than in someone’s imagination.

For the most part, the film stays true to the source material. There are some things cut here and there, as well as some additions that I believe weren’t necessary, but we can all rejoice in how this film proves you don’t have to change someone’s work in order to create a great story for the big screen.

In an interview earlier this week, I heard Daniel Radcliffe say something about how he wanted to keep some of the lensless glasses. That’s great, but if you will watch in nearly every scene, he has on a different pair of glass, some with lenses and some without.

Personally, I think a film of this high caliber should be able to film something like that. Don’t you agree?

It was good to see some of those that have been nothing but background characters, mostly, get their chance to shine here, such as Professor McGonagall , Molly Weasley, and especially Neville.

Speaking of Neville, I know that we’ve watched all of these characters grow up over the years, but think about what he was like in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and compare that to how much of a force he was in this film. It really is a shame we didn’t see more of him over the course of the series.

Speaking of characters, I do believe, with the exception of the first film, that this is the first film to feel like it is truly about Harry and not some other character or event.

I also belive this to be the shortest of all the Potter films, at 2 hrs 10 min. With the exception of the beginning and a bit of a slowdown heading into the climax, this film is right up my alley in that it is not stop action.

Make no mistake, this is not the happy-go-lucky kiddie flick that first two films were. Someone even pointed it out the other day that when the opening logo is shown, you don’t hear th whimsical “Hedwig’s Theme” anymore, but instead its som dark, sinister chord, with maybe a modulated version o it underneath.

Speaking of the darkness…and this goes back to the 3d, in a way…this film is very dark. Part of the reason for that is that it occurs mostly at night, the other has to do with wearing those 3D glasses.

The epilogue was actually very well shot, but I couldn’t help but wish they would have gone one and made the trip to Hogwarts so that we could see what changes have happened there in the 19 yrs.

Well, the Harry Potter franchise comes to an end, and boy does it go out with a bang! Two things are going to happen to films now. There will be plenty of book series that are going to be positioned to be the next Potter, but pretty much all of them will fail. Just think of  The Golden Compass, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief or Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant for examples. While Twilight may be raking in some serious bank right now, truth be told, it doesn’t appeal to both sexes, but rather tween girls and gay men.

So, should you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part II? I have to say yes, especially if you’ve seen the other films. On top of that, think about how often a worthy franchise comes along. Do you really want to miss out on a satisfying conclusion like this one has? So, stop reading and go out and see this right now!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Severus Snape arriving at the estate of Lucius Malfoy to deliver his intelligence about when Harry Potter will be moved from Privet Drive. The Death Eaters are gathered at a table, with Voldemort at the head. They argue about tactics, and Voldemort feeds a Hogwarts professor to Nagini.

After the title card, the camera reveals Hermione Granger in her room. After packing her things, she casts an “obliviate” spell on her parents to make them forget her. At Privet Drive, Harry’s foster family packs up their things and leave the house because it has become unsafe. The Order of the Phoenix arrive, and Mad-Eye Moody unveils the plan to move Harry. The team splits into groups of twos, with one member of each pair drinking Polyjuice Potion in order to look like Harry. As the decoys fly off, Harry leaves in Hagrid’s sidecar, just as he arrived at Privet Drive 17 years ago. The Death Eaters immediately attack, resulting in a mid-air battle in which Harry’s owl is killed. Voldemort attacks Harry with Lucius’ wand, but Harry shatters it. The Order rendezvous at The Burrow, the home of the Weasleys. They realize that Mundungus Fletcher is the traitor in their group, and that Mad-Eye did not survive.

During the night, Harry tries to slink off during the night, unwilling to risk anyone else’s life on his behalf. Ron stops him and explains that the Order’s work is about more than just him. The next day, Rufus Scrimgeour executes Dumbledore’s will, bequeathing a deluminator to Ron, a copy of The Tales of Beelde the Bard to Hermione, and the Snitch that Harry caught in his first Quidditch match. He also bequeaths to Harry the sword of Gryffindor, but Scrimgeour says it is not Dumbledore’s to give and also the sword is missing. Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour are married in a tent at The Burrow. Harry learns of Dumbledore’s dark past at Godric’s Hollow during the reception and meets Luna Lovegood’s father, Xenophilius, who is wearing a pendant with a mysterious symbol. The reception is attacked by Death Eaters. Harry, Ron and Hermione apparate to London, and they are attacked again in a coffee shop. They take refuge at 12, Grimmauld Place where they find Kreacher, who reluctantly helps them deduce that the locket of Salazar Slytherin, which is a horcrux, is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge.

The trio infiltrate the Ministry of Magic using Polyjuice Potion. Harry stupefies Dolores and Hermione snatches the locket from around her neck. During their escape, Ron is grievously wounded. Since Ron is too ill to apparate, the trio have to move on foot during the day. Unfortunately, Dumbledore never told Harry how to destroy a Horcrux, and all their attempts to destroy the locket fail. They take turns wearing the locket, as it makes its wearer brood on negative thoughts. As they walk through the countryside, Ron listens to the radio for the names of missing wizards, hoping not to hear the names of his family. He grows suspicious of Harry and Hermione, especially as they conference with each other. Eventually, Hermione realizes that the sword of Gryffindor will destroy the horcrux since it has been dipped in basilisk blood. Feeling useless and unwanted, Ron decides to leave. Frightened even more by his departure, Harry and Hermione listen to Ron’s radio and do a silly dance to “O Children” by Nick Cave in an effort to relieve the unbearable tension.

Harry convinces Hermione to travel to Godric’s Hollow, where they find the grave of his parents. They are followed by Bathilda Bagshot who takes them to her home. As Harry peppers her with questions, Hermione explores the house. When Bathilda finally speaks, she does so in parseltongue, just as Hermione discovers the body of the real Bathilda. The pair fight with Nagini, whose Polyjuice Potion has worn off, and barely escape. During the fight, Hermione accidentally breaks Harry’s wand.

As he keeps watch one night, Harry follows a patronus in the shape of a deer onto a frozen pond. The patronus disappears under the ice, revealing the sword of Gryffindor at the bottom of the pond. While trying to retrieve it, Harry is almost drowned by Slytherin’s locket, which takes on a life of its own, nearly strangling him. He is saved by Ron, who has returned. Harry insists that Ron destroy the locket with the sword. After Harry opens the locket, Voldemort’s voice taunts Ron about his insecurity. He creates an illusion of Harry and Hermione having sex, and a terrified Ron manages to smash the locket with the sword.

Together again, the trio decide to investigate the pendant that Xenophilius Lovegood was wearing, because the symbol keeps appearing in books Hermione is reading. At his home, Xenophilius tells them the story of the Deathly Hallows, and reveals that the elder wand will make its bearer the most powerful wizard in the world. As they try to leave, Xenophilius blocks their exit, explaining that the Death Eaters have kidnapped Luna and Harry is his only ransom. The Death Eaters descend on the house, and during the attack, the trio apparates to a forrest.

They are immediately set upon by a group of snatchers, who eventually catch them. During the chase, Hermione disfigures Harry to protect his identity. They all lie about who they really are, and the snatchers take them to Lucius’ estate, suspecting that they might actually have captured Harry Potter. At Malfoy Manor, Bellatrix imprisons Harry and Ron in the cellar, where she has also imprisoned Luna, the wandmaker Ollivander, and the goblin Griphook; meanwhile, Bellatrix tortures Hermione to try to find out how they acquired the Sword of Gryffindor, which she had believed to be safe in her bank vault.

Dobby apparates into the dungeon, and Harry formulates an escape plan. As they rescue Hermione from Bellatrix, Dobby is killed. The trio bury him on the top of a sand dune. The film closes with Voldemort opening Dumbledore’s tomb and removing the elder wand from the dead wizard’s grasp.

REVIEW:

 Continuing, or rather, concluding the Harry Potter franchise is a challenge, which is probably why the filmmakers decided to split the final book into two parts (combined with making more money). However, after watching this film this afternoon, I’m not so sure that was a good idea.

Before you all start jumping down my throat for that statement, let me explain. This is not a bad film. It is beautifully shot and very faithful, from what I recall, to the book. However, there was no real climax at the end. It just ended.

Now, there are films that are split that end on a down notes, The Empire Strikes Back, comes to mind, but the plot just doesn’t allow itself to be split into two parts this way. The whole time I was watching this film, I was hoping that something would happen to really catch my attention. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The special effects here are on par with the rest of the franchise, which isn’t bad, but seeing as how this is part of the finale, I was kind of wishing they would up the ante. Maybe in part II, they will.

As I said, the plot is about a close as you can get to the source material. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, then you are more than aware of how much I detest those that stray too far from said material, so this was a breath of fresh air.

This is a dark film. Some of you out there are going to love this kind of thing. Personally, I prefer lighter faire, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Having said that, the darkness that each film has garnered is reflective of the books, so I won’t jump on them for making this flick so dark, however, I can still say that I miss the, for lak of a better term, magic and whimsy from the first couple of films.

Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are the focal point of this film. Occasionally we see Voldemort and a couple of other characters, but the trio is the entire film (as they pretty much have been the entire franchise). It is obvious the actors have grown, not only in terms of aging, but as actors and the chemistry between them is amazing.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort is just itching for a final showdown with Harry. It’s coming…just hang in there.

Helena Bonham Carter returns as the psychotic Bellatrix Lestrange, as proven with her torture of Hermoine near the film’s end.

This entry into the franchise contains more action than all the other’s combined. While I love my action, I just sort of felt like some of this was just stuck in there for the hell of it. Of course, when I was reading the book, I said that it felt like it was written with the intent of being a movie, so I guess this is the result.

I have to mention this random animated scene that explains what the deathly hallows are. While Hermoine is telling the tale, we get an animated sequence to her words. Not to take anything away from it, but the animation was show pointed that the characters reminded me of the Primes from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It didn’t work for me. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but this was just so random and they didn’t bother to put oddly animated sequences in the previous films, so why start now?

Final verdict on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part I? Well, it is a pretty good film. I’m sure many will go so far as to call it great and put it on their best of and favorite lists of the year. Chances are it may make one of those lists of my own, but to be honest with you, I didn’t love it. It just felt like something was missing. It plods along and you sort of feel like they’re pushing towards something. If that something is the epic confrontation that will happen in the second film, that’s fine, but there should have been something more in this one. If you can get past leaving the theater unfulfilled, then I highly recommend this, otherwise, I suggest wait until the summer, rent it before part II comes out and watch it then.

4 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie opens with the Death Eaters wreaking havoc in London and sinking the Millennium Bridge. They also succeed in destroying parts of Diagon Alley and kidnapping the wandmaker Mr. Ollivander. Later, Harry is taken by Dumbledore in order to recruit Horace Slughorn, a former potions teacher, to return to Hogwarts. Slughorn is at first reluctant but then changes his mind when he realizes Harry’s fame and plans to "collect" him. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow where he reunites with his friends, Ron and Hermione. Harry also starts showing feelings for Ron’s sister Ginny.

Meanwhile, Bellatrix Lestrange and Draco Malfoy’s mother, Narcissa, go to ask Snape for help. Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco while he attempts to fulfill a task for Voldemort, and if Draco fails, to carry out the deed himself.

After visiting Fred and George’s new shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione start following Draco and Narcissa as they go into Borgin and Burkes, but are forced to pull back after Fenrir Greyback, a savage werewolf and Death Eater, closes the shades. On the way to Hogwarts, Harry uses his Invisibility Cloak and some Peruvian Darkness Powder from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to spy on Malfoy, but ends up getting no new information. Draco realizes Harry is there and immobilizes him, breaks his nose, and leaves him hidden under his Invisibility Cloak. Shortly after, Luna Lovegood finds Harry using her Spectrespecs and gets him off the train in time.

Professor McGonagall informs Harry that since Snape is teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, he and Ron can take N.E.W.T. Potions with Professor Slughorn. The boys use spare textbooks for the class, and Harry sees his very old copy is filled with footnotes and revisions that allow him to excel in Potions. This eventually leads to him winning a vial of the luck potion, Felix Felicis. Hermione, still envious of Harry’s success, looks to see who the book belongs to, finding only the alias of "The Half-Blood Prince".

In a private meeting in his office, Dumbledore shows Harry his memory of when he first met a young Tom Riddle. They learn from this that Voldemort likes to collect “treasures” from others. Dumbledore reveals that Slughorn has information valuable to Voldemort’s downfall and asks Harry to get to know Slughorn better.

One day in the winter the trio witness Katie Bell being cursed by a necklace she was carrying up to the school. McGonagall and Snape learn that Katie was under the influence of the Imperius Curse; She was originally told to bring the necklace to Dumbledore. Harry is convinced that Malfoy is behind it.

Ron is a bundle of nerves at breakfast before a Quidditch match against Slytherin, where he is set to play the role of Keeper. Harry passes him some pumpkin juice. Luna sees that Harry had slipped something into Ron’s cup and Hermione is incensed that Harry would use Felix Felicis when it is banned from organized sports. Gryffindor wins the game against Slytherin after Ron saves every goal, and he is a hero and the centre of attention at a party to celebrate their success. Harry explains to Hermione there that he only made it look like he slipped something into Ron’s drink. After Lavender Brown kisses Ron, Hermione runs from the room, crying and Harry goes after her. He finds her crying in a corridor and consoles her. Hermione tells Harry that she knows how he feels when he sees Ginny with Dean Thomas and admits to having feelings for Ron. Later in the Library, Hermione and Harry discuss Slughorn’s Christmas party. Hermione warns Harry to be wary of who he goes with: Romilda Vane has been trying to slip Harry a Love Potion all year because she believes that he is "The Chosen One." Harry goes to the party with Luna and Hermione goes with McLaggen, who proves to be an unwise choice. Snape comes to deliver a message to Harry from Dumbledore (he is traveling) and escorts Malfoy from the party after he "tried to crash the party." In the hallway, Snape berates Draco for not coming to him for help with his task.

At Christmas, Harry joins the Weasleys at the Burrow. He, Lupin, Tonks, and Mr. Weasley discuss what Harry overheard during Snape and Malfoy’s conversation at the party. Remus adamantly insists that Dumbledore trusts Snape implicitly. Later in the night Harry and Ginny share a brief romantic moment where they almost kiss but is interrupted by the arrival of Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback who set a fire around the Burrow. As they intended, Harry, who still holds a vendetta against Bellatrix for killing Sirius Black, breaks through the fire and chases Bellatrix. Ginny manages to get past the fire and chases after him. Both Harry and Ginny are surrounded by the ambushing Death Eaters, but Tonks, Lupin, and Mr. Weasley arrive in time to block the attack in the field. Outnumbered, the Death Eaters leave; after Bellatrix sets fire to the Burrow.

Back at Hogwarts, Harry, in another private meeting with Dumbledore, is shown another memory in the Pensieve. It is a memory from Slughorn when a teenage Tom Riddle asks him about a rare magic. The memory turns out to have been tampered with by Slughorn, who is ashamed of the answer he really gave Riddle. Dumbledore tells Harry that he is the only one who can get the true memory from Slughorn, and he must. All of Harry’s attempts to get the memory fail. Frustrated, he heads back to his dormitory. Once there, he finds that Ron is in a swoon, obsessively saying that he’s in love with Romilda Vane. Apparently he ate some chocolates on Harry’s bed, which were meant for Harry, laced with a very strong love potion. Harry brings Ron to Professor Slughorn to cure him. After Ron is cured, Slughorn offers the boys a drink of mead. Immediately Ron falls unconscious, poisoned. Harry manages to save him by shoving a bezoar down his throat. Later, in the hospital wing, it is revealed that the poisonous drink was intended to be given to Dumbledore. Lavender rushes in to be with Ron, but becomes outraged to see Hermione there. She and Hermione get into a yelling row until Ron mumbles Hermione’s name in his sleep. Distraught, Lavender leaves. Everyone else decides to leave and let Hermione to tend to Ron.

In the Great Hall, Ron has been released from the hospital wing and Hermione is thrilled that Ron’s relationship with Lavender has ended, but is crestfallen that Ron doesn’t remember any of it. Harry talks to Katie Bell, who has recovered from being cursed, but doesn’t remember anything useful for him. He notices Malfoy leaving apprehensively, and follows him into a bathroom where he finds him crying. Harry accuses him of cursing Katie Bell. They duel; Harry casts the Sectumsempracurse he found in the Half-Blood Prince’s book. Harry sees the curse caused severe slashes on Malfoy’s body. Snape sees Draco lying in a pool of blood and heals him.

Later, in the Gryffindor Common Room, Ginny suggests that Harry get rid of the book. He and Ginny go into the Room of Requirement to hide it. Ginny tells Harry to close his eyes so he can’t see her hide the book and before he opens his eyes again, Ginny kisses him.

After Ron mentions Harry’s bad luck on getting the memory from Slughorn, Harry remembers that he still has the Felix Felicis Harry takes the potion and meets Slughorn on his way to Hagrid’s hut. Slughorn decides to escort Harry down to Hagrid’s and they find him about to bury a recently deceased Aragog. They hold an impromptu funeral. After a few hours and several drinks, Slughorn again reminisces about Harry’s mother. Harry goes on to tell Slughorn about his mother’s sacrifice, that he accepts his role as The Chosen One and to not let Lily Evans’ sacrifice be wasted. Slughorn gives in and hands Harry the memory.

The memory shows Professor Slughorn telling Tom Riddle about a dark piece of magic called a Horcrux. A Horcrux is an object used to keep safe a piece of one’s soul that has been split away from the body. If one’s body is destroyed, one does not truly die, as a piece of their soul is still alive. This explains why Voldemort survived the killing curse that rebounded upon him the night he killed Harry’s parents. Dumbledore tells Harry that he believes that Voldemort split his soul and created six Horcruxes with the seventh piece being in his body. Two have already been destroyed: one being a ring that belonged to Voldemort’s mother; the other being Tom Riddle’s diary. Dumbledore reveals to Harry that he thinks he has found another Horcrux and that he cannot retrieve it alone.

Dumbledore and Harry apparate to a seaside cave to find the third Horcrux. Within an inner cavern, Dumbledore takes Harry to the middle of the lake where he thinks the Horcrux is hidden. On the island there is a basin filled with potion. In order to get the Horcrux Dumbledore drinks it. The potion causes him to experience unbearable pain. On Dumbledore’s orders, Harry administers the rest of the potion to him and retrieves the Horcrux, which tuns out to be a locket. Dumbledore says he needs water. Harry attempts to fill the now empty bowl magically with water, but in such a dark place, no container will hold water conjured by magic. Dipping the cup in the lake Harry is pulled in by an Inferius. Dumbledore saves him by conjuring rings of blazing fire, protecting them and driving off the hoard of Inferi.

The two apparate back to the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts. Dumbledore tells Harry to go find Professor Snape, but Dumbledore hears someone coming and makes Harry go below and hide. Draco ambushes Dumbledore in the tower. He tells Dumbledore that Death Eaters breached Hogwarts by using the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement. He explains that he repaired it and that there is another in Borgin and Burkes. He goes on to say Voldemort has chosen him to kill Dumbledore, and that if he doesn’t, Voldemort will kill him. The Death Eaters arrive to the tower and goad Draco to kill Dumbledore. He manages to convince Draco that he doesn’t need to kill him and that he can keep him safe; Draco begins to lower his wand.

However, Snape appears and fulfills his vow to Narcissa by casting the Avada Kedavra on Dumbledore, killing him. The Death Eaters and Snape immediately escape Hogwarts; as they leave, Bellatrix destroys everything in the Great Hall and sets Hagrid’s hut on fire. Harry catches them up and attempts to duel Snape, but Snape easily overpowers Harry. Harry tried to use the spell "Sectumsempra" before Snape leaves and join the other fleeing death eaters, and he reveals to Harry that heis the Half-Blood Prince. Harry returns to the base of the Astronomy Tower and cries over Dumbledore’s body while Ginny consoles him, as the staff and students of Hogwarts raise their wands in respect to Dumbledore.

The next morning, Harry and Hermione discuss that the locket is a fake and there is a note inside it:

"To the Dark Lord, I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more" signed by R.A.B.

Harry then says that he will not be returning to Hogwarts, but instead he will be looking for and destroying the rest of the Horcruxes. Hermione says that he will not be going alone, as Ron and herself will help Harry on his quest rid the world of the Dark Lord once and for all. As they finish their talk they see Fawkes flying over the school, after one final turn the phoenix flies away from Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione watching him fly in to the Sunset.

REVIEW:

Ok, let me make it clear that I’m not a Harry Potter fanboy, but I do like the books. Having said that, I believe the volume that this film comes from I’ve only read once or twice, but even those couple of times allowed to me to know that this film could have been better had certain things not been left out.

Let me start this review by saying that although the previous film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was good, I felt it was a bit too dark, but then again, I’m not fan of dark film for the most part. As I was sitting in the theater watching this, I was pleased that the director, David Yates, decided to bring back the, pardon the pun, magic that seemed to disappear after the first two films. The humor and fun is part of what has made the series of books, along with excellent writing by J.K. Rowling (she has a cameo in the film, btw).

We have watched Harry, Ron, and Hermoine grow up on screen right before our eyes. It seems like just yesterday they were wee little tykes hanging on to Hagrid’s robes causing mischief, and here they are today on the cusp of saving the wizarding world. What I find intersting is how that has the actors (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively) have grown with their characters. Although, they need to hurry and get the last one..well, two films out before they end up old and gray playing teenagers.

Draco Malfoy has been more of an annoyance to Harry than anything over the years, excluding the duel they have in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Here he seems like a total different character, as in the book, and we get another Harry/Draco duel, this time no Snape or Lockhart to break it up. I do have to wonder about the state of Hogwarts’ bathrooms, though. Those things have taken so much abuse, its a miracle they are still standing!

Another thing that was missing from the last film was Quidditch. There was quite literally an outcry for it to be included in this film, and, while some may argue it does nothing to move the story along, I disagree. Not only does it set up Ron and Lavender’s relationship, it also keep the light-heartedness of the first half of the film going.

In all the previous films, Dumbledore has been nothing more than a wise figure who seemingly watches over Harry (and all of the Hogwarts students, for that matter). Here, we actually get to see him do a bit of action, though it still isn’t much. I did notice that he reminded me of Gandalf in a later scene where he isn’t wearing his hat.

Jim Broadbent was a welcome addition to the cast and, though he may not have the perfect body type for Slughorn, he captured the mannerisms of the character just as I imagined him. Just as Dolores Umbridge stole the show in the last film, Slughorn does the same here. It is a shame that they took out a good portion of his better scenes.

As I’ve mentioned, there are many scenes that were not in the film that should have been. Yeah, I know some of you are out there saying that they can’t very well put the entire book on film. This is true, but a couple of the scenes are so important, it leaves one scratching their head as to why they took them out,especially when you consider how impressive they could make them look on film. With a running time of just over 2 1/2 hours, it is a bit long, but every film in this series has been, so its just continuing the tradition. I just think they could have done a better job with the editing and deciding what parts of the book to include and which to cut out.

Teenagers are just plain horny creatures, but seriously, is it really necessary to have just about every scene with them "snogging"? Maybe I just led a sheltered life during my high school days, or I’ve become a old fuddy-duddy over time, but that just seemed a bit much. One or two here and there is fine to establish that they aren’t kids anymore and whatnot, but good grief! There is such a thing as too much.

I didn’t particularly care for the young Tom Riddles. Critics are gushing over these boys, but I just wasn’t impressed. I think they would have done better with the boy from Chamber, or they could have found better actors. I’m not sure what it is about them, but something just rubbed me the wrong way, and not in that evil, creepy way, but rather in the way that they just weren’t likable or believable.

So, what do I ultimately think fo thid film? Well, I liked it, didn’t quite love it, though, but that’s only after one viewing. Ask me again after I have the DVD and see it a few times if I love it or not. I still maintain that my favorite Potter film is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. As I said earlier, they seemed to bring back the lighter tone that the earlier films had, which really made this much more entertaining for me, and I don’t want to hear this mess about it being a dark book and whatnot. There is only so much moody, morose-ness one can take.  I’m disappointed n the ending, though, but rumor has it that they are going to have a very important key scene start off the next one. We’ll see next year (unless they postpone it in lieu of the third Twilight). So, while I always say these reviews are just my thoughts and you need to make your own decision, I can’t say it enough. Critics oft times don’t know what they’re talking about. This is a very good film, despite its deviance from the source material and you should see it , especially if you’re a fan of the series. Unlike with the other films in the series, I actually left looking forward to the next film, of course, this is the only one that leaves the viewer with a feeling of there being another film.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars