Archive for Hermoine Grainger

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 Order of the Phoenix

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter and his cousin Dudley Dursley are attacked by two Dementors, but Harry manages to drive the Dementors off with a Patronus charm. Shortly thereafter, the Ministry of Magic detect the act of underage wizardry and attempt to have Harry expelled from Hogwarts immediately, but this is modified to a trial later in the summer. After experiencing horrible nightmares depicting the evil Lord Voldemort’s return, Harry is awoken by the arrival of an advance guard of wizards who escort him to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization founded by Dumbledore. It is only now that Harry discovers that under the Ministry’s influence the newspaper The Daily Prophethas launched a smear campaign against anyone who claims that Voldemort has returned, leaving Harry feeling isolated and betrayed by the Wizarding community. Harry and the other members of the Order fly to 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of Sirius Black, where they meet with Sirius, Remus, Ron, Hermione and others. Later, Ron and Hermione express concern about Harry’s situation with the Ministry.

Harry and Arthur Weasley head to the court where Harry’s trial will take place, briefly spotting Lucius Malfoy speaking with the minister on their way. With the help of Dumbledore and Harry’s neighbour, Mrs. Figg, Harry is cleared of all charges at the Ministry and is allowed to return to Hogwarts. However, during Harry, Ron and Hermione’s fifth year at Hogwarts School, the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge appoints a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, a Senior Ministry official who refuses to teach practical magic to her students, as the Ministry fears Dumbledore will organize his own personal wizard army. One day during class, Harry is punished for claiming that Cedric Diggory was killed by Voldemort, which according to the Ministry’s official policy is a lie. In Umbridge’s office, Harry is forced to write “I must not tell lies” repeatedly as punishment. However, the sentence is magically imprinted on his hand instead, causing scarring. Meanwhile, as Umbridge’s control over the school increases, Ron and Hermione aid Harry in forming a secret defence group, calling themselves “Dumbledore’s Army” or DA for short. Harry, Ron and Hermione start teaching at Hogwarts, training students in defensive spells to become part of the Army. Draco Malfoy and other Slytherin students are then recruited by Umbridge to try to uncover the secretive group, creating the Inquisitorial Squad. Meanwhile, Harry officially begins a relationship with Cho, as they kiss one day after training. In an attempt to tighten her oppressive grip on Hogwarts, Umbridge dismisses Professor Sybill Trelawney and tries to have her banished from Hogwarts, which is only prevented after Dumbledore’s intervention.

Harry’s nightmares continue, including a dangerous attack upon Arthur Weasley in the Department of Mysteries involving Nagini, Lord Voldermort’s snake, which happens to turn true. Harry’s anger starts to get out of control, as his mental connection to Voldemort grows stronger. Fearing Voldemort will exploit his connection with Harry, Dumbledore immediately instructs Professor Snape to give Harry a crash course on Occlumency lessons in an attempt to block Harry’s mind from the Dark Lord’s influence.

Meanwhile, Bellatrix Lestrange escapes from Azkaban along with other Death Eaters after one of the prison walls is damaged by lightning flashes. At Hogwarts, Umbridge, Filch and her loyal Inquisitorial Squad, uncover Dumbledore’s Army after interrogating one of the students, Cho Chang for whom Harry had developed intense feelings. Dumbledore is questioned and makes an impressive escape as Fudge orders his arrest. With Dumbledore gone, Umbridge becomes the new Headmistress, and her sinister dominance over the school continues. Later, Hagrid introduces Harry, Ron and Hermione to his half-brother giant, Grawp. Later, Harry reverses Snape’s spell by glimpsing into Snape’s mind. It is then that Harry learns that Harry’s father used to bully Snape when they were students at Hogwarts, which appears to be the real cause behind Snape’s resentment towards Harry. Meanwhile the Weasley twins, Fred and George formulate a plan of their own.

During an O.W.L. exam, the Weasley twins execute their plan, launching a firework display in the great hall causing chaos for Umbridge, Fudge and the students of Slytherin house. As the students cheer joyously outside, Harry suffers a vision of Sirius trapped within the bowels of the Ministry being interrogated about the Order. Harry, Ron, and Hermione rush to search for Sirius, but Umbridge, soon after, catches the trio attempting to use the Floo Network, and begins interrogating Harry. She calls for Professor Snape to bring Veritaserum for use during her interrogation, as she has for all of her previous interrogations, but Snape tells her that the supply has been exhausted. Hermione then tricks Umbridge into entering the Forbidden Forest along with Harry and her in search of a faux weapon, really leading her to the hiding place of Grawp who has since freed himself from the tree he was latched to, when a herd of centaurs, who have their own issues with the Ministry, emerge and carry the Headmistress into the darkness. Hermione and Harry head back to Hogwarts to find Ron and other DA members, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, and Ginny Weasley, the group decided to fly to London by way of the Thestrals (winged horse-like magical creatures) to the Department of Mysteries of London City in an attempt to save Sirius.

The six enter the Department of Mysteries, where they uncover a prophecy involving Harry and Voldemort, but are soon ambushed by Death Eaters, including Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius’s deranged cousin. After a brief battle and a failed escape attempt, the Death Eaters, manage to take Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville, and Ginny as hostages threatening to kill them if Harry does not hand over the prophecy. Sirius appears, with the other members of the Order of the Phoenix, and attacks the Death Eaters causing Lucius to drop the prophecy, which then shatters. A battle erupts as the Death Eaters try to stop the students from escaping, resulting in Sirius’s death at Bellatrix’s hand. Back in the Atrium, Harry corners Bellatrix, where he struggles with his desire to enact the Cruciatus curse. Voldemort himself appears, ready to kill Harry when Dumbledore emerges to face his battle against Voldemort.

A brief but furious duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore takes place, in which Bellatrix escapes through the Floo Network. When Voldemort disappears, and the battle seems over, Harry suddenly finds himself possessed by Voldemort– recalling images of his past, of his family and his friends—but throws off Voldemort’s influence, stating that he is stronger than Voldermort through his friends and his ability to love. Ministry officials, including Fudge, hastily arrive via the Floo Network moments before Voldemort disappears.

In the aftermath of the battle, the Ministry is forced to end their smear campaign and Umbridge is removed from Hogwarts, awaiting a formal investigation. Dumbledore explains that he had attempted to distance himself from Harry all year, hoping it would lessen the risk of Voldemort discovering and using the connection between the two. While the students head home from Hogwarts at the end of the academic year, Harry tells his friends that they have one thing Voldemort does not: something worth fighting for.

REVIEW:

Of all the Potter movies so far, this is my least favorite. Part of the reason for that is, for my taste it’s too dark, and, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, it’s a cliff-notes version of the cliff notes version of the book.

Umbridge is one of the creepiest villains I’ve ever seen, though. She’s ruthless, yet nice about it. Totally conflicting and freaky, not to mention her blind devotion to the Minister of Magic. Imelda Staunton does a fine job bringing her to life, and is actually the best part of the film.

The lack of Quiddich left me with an empty feeling. I’ve said in previous Potter reviews that the fun level has been steady dropping since the first movie. Part of that is because the books are that, and others have to do with different directors who more or less want Harry to be very emo. One thing is for sure, Quiddich would have brought some fun into the otherwise very dark film.

I really don’t have much to say on this one. They really took all the good stuff from the book and cut it out replacing it with stuff they felkt would be a suitable replacement. My recommendation is, don’t watch this if you’re a Potter scholar. Everyone else should be ok to watch it. Chances are you’ll enjoy it, not love it, but enjoy it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley enter their fourth year at Hogwarts school. First, in a graveyard attached to an old country house; the gardener Frank Bryce awakes in his cottage to see a light on in the house. He investigates the light, and finds Lord Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew discussing plans with an unidentified man; Voldemort kills Bryce. Harry awakes at The Burrow before departing with the Weasley family and Hermione for the Quidditch World Cup. After the introduction to the game, there is a temporal jump to that evening, when the camp is attacked by Death Eaters, who disperse when the Dark Mark is shot into the air by an unknown man.

Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive at Hogwarts, where they find that the school will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament, a legendary event in which one wizard each from two rival schools and Hogwarts compete in three dangerous tasks. Dumbledore reveals the Goblet of Fire, a magical cup into which potential champions must drop a piece of parchment with their name on it. The goblet acts as an impartial judge to select candidates and reveals its results by shooting the relevant pieces of parchment into the air: Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang and Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons. The goblet then unexpectedly announces a fourth champion, Harry, although he did not enter his name and is in any case under the age limit set by the Ministry of Magic. Harry’s entry into the Tournament incites jealousy and suspicion from his fellow students, including a breakdown of friendship with Ron, which lasts until after the first task. Dumbledore asks the new Defence against the Dark Arts professor, Alastor Moody, to keep an eye on Harry.

In the first Triwizard task, the four champions each battle a dragon to retrieve a golden egg. Harry casts a summoning charm to bring his broom into the arena, but the dragon breaks free of its chains and chases Harry through the Hogwarts grounds. Harry retrieves the egg, which is said to contain a clue about the second task, though only a horrible screeching emerges when he opens his egg. Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion, advises Harry to open the egg underwater. Harry does so in the prefects’ bathroom and hears the clue clearly; it informs him that the merpeople will take something of Harry’s and that he must retrieve it from the lake in the Hogwarts grounds.

In the second Triwizard task, each champion must find and save someone close to them who is now chained underwater. Harry swallows Gillyweed which allows him to breath underwater, then begins searching for the merpeople village. While following the mermaid, he sees Fleur attacked by Grindylows. This forces her to withdraw from the task. When Harry arrives at the merpeoples’ village, he sees Ron, Hermione, Cho Chang, and Gabrielle Delacour catatonic and chained to a rock with thousands of merpeople guarding them. Harry cuts Ron free, hesitates, and then moves to cut free Gabrielle realizing that Fleur will not be able to save her sister. When he does, the merpeople threaten him with their spears with one mermaid poking her spear into Harry’s throat. He is saved when Viktor, in the shape of a half-man/half-shark swims by to break free Hermione. This scatters the merpeople. Harry frees Gabrielle and begins swimming to the surface, pulling Ron and Gabrielle with him. On the way, Harry is viciously attacked by a herd of Grindylows. He pushes Ron and Gabrielle upwards, draws his wand and scatters the Grindylows. He then propels himself to the surface using a spell, but still finishes outside the task’s one hour time limit. Despite this, he is awarded second place in the trial because he was delayed by his decision to risk himself to free Gabrielle.

A traditional part of the Triwizard tournament is the Yule Ball; Harry is especially concerned since, as one of the champions, he is expected to open the dance. Cho turns him down, as Cedric Diggory has already asked her, and Hermione declines, though Harry does not find out until the Yule ball that it is Krum himself who has invited her. Eventually, Harry asks Parvati Patil, who accepts; her sister Padma partners Ron. Although Hermione greatly enjoys the ball, Harry and Ron do not; Ron, who is particularly jealous of Krum, accuses Hermione of “fraternising with the enemy,” leading to a serious row between the two characters.

For the third task, the Triwizard cup is placed inside a large maze whose magical hedges are capable of attacking the champions as they attempt to reach it: the first champion to touch the cup will be declared the winner. Harry and Cedric reach the cup together and decide to claim a draw, both touching the cup at the same time. The cup turns out to be a portkey which transports the two to a graveyard, where Pettigrew appears carrying Voldemort. Upon Voldemort’s command, Pettigrew kills Cedric and traps Harry against an enchanted tombstone. Pettigrew takes blood from Harry’s arm and mixes it with other ingredients to restore Voldemort. Voldemort tortures Harry as he explains the story of “The Boy Who Lived” to his assembled Death Eaters. The two duel, but Harry escapes when his wand unexpectedly caused Voldemort’s to disgorge the spirits of the people Voldemort has killed, who protect Harry as he escapes and takes Cedric’s dead body back to Hogwarts. Moody takes Harry to his office and starts interrogating Harry about what took place in the graveyard, Harry reailzes something is wrong when Moody asks, Harry never said where the cup sent them. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall burst in the room and stun Moody; he begins to change shape as they watch and quickly transforms into Barty Crouch Junior, who has been impersonating Moody all year in order to ensure that Harry was entered into the Triwizard Tournament as part of Voldemort’s plan to regenerate himself using Harry. The school year ends as the foreign schools depart after Dumbledore exhorts them to stand together against Voldemort.

REVIEW:

Each of the Harry Potter movies has gotten progressively darker, this one is no exception, although it does seem to have a lighter tone that its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

While this is a pretty good film, its not my favorite Potter flick. It falls in the middle somewhere. This is mainly due to the amount of material that was removed in the transition from book to film. I realize that some things had to be removed, but this just seemed to be a watered down version of the book done on film.

There are plenty of good things about this picture. The cast seemed to have fully gelled and hit their strides in terms of their characters. The introduction of Raph Fienes as Lord Voldemort is inspired casting and a welcome addition. The special effects are nothing short of spectacular. If I didn’t know better, I would have said the dragons were real!

With good, comes bad, though. The movie, which is 2 1/2 hours long, seemed a bit rushed in parts, while others were well executed and though out. In other words, scenes the film is inconsistent. When Harry talks to Sirius in the fireplace, you can barely tell that’s who it is. They could have done a better a job with the puppetry or what have you to give him a better appearance.

Having said all that, this is a good film, and no Harry Potter fan should go without seeing it. If you’re not a HP fan, then go see it, just because it’s a good film.

4 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter is with Dursleys for the summer, learning to do more spells, and awaits an imminent visit from Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge. Harry loses his temper when Marge insults his family, and unintentionally causes her to inflate and float away. Harry flees, as he expects to be punished for performing magic outside of school. The Knight Bus appears and takes Harry to the Leaky Cauldron where Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge tells Harry he will not be expelled. Harry learns that Sirius Black, who is said to be a supporter of Lord Voldemort, has escaped from Azkaban and that Black will likely come after him.

Harry journeys to Hogwarts with his best friends Ron and Hermione. On the train of Hogwarts Express, they share a compartment with the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin, who is sleeping when they enter the compartment. Abruptly, the Hogwarts Express is stopped and a Dementor boards, searching for Black. Harry faints when the Dementor enters their compartment, but Lupin awakens and repels the Dementor after hearing a woman-like scream. At school, Albus Dumbledore informs the Hogwarts students that the Dementors have been set as a guard around the school grounds as a protection against Black. In addition to Lupin, Hagrid is announced as the new Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Lupin’s lessons prove enjoyable; he teaches useful spells and helps less confident students like Neville. However Hagrid’s class does not go to plan; on the first day, Draco Malfoy deliberately provokes the Hippogriff Buckbeak into attacking him. His father successfully has Buckbeak sentenced to death.

During a Quidditch match, several Dementors approach Harry, causing him to fall off his broomstick. Because of this Lupin teaches Harry to defend himself against Dementors with a Patronus charm. A Patronus is the opposite of a Dementor: as Dementors feed on depression and darkness, so a Patronus must be created with a happy memory. As Harry was unable to get permission to visit Hogsmeade from a Parent or Guardian, Fred and George give Harry the Marauder’s Map so that he can sneak out of the castle. At Hogsmeade, Harry overhears that Black was his godfather and his parents’ best friend. Black is said to have divulged the Potters’ secret whereabouts to Voldemort and murdered their mutual friend Peter Pettigrew. Harry vows to kill Black, but is later astonished when he sees Pettigrew’s name on the map.

In Divination class, Professor Trelawney enters a trance and predicts that the Dark Lord’s servant will return to Harry that night. Harry, Ron and Hermione visit Hagrid to console him over Buckbeak’s impending execution and discover Scabbers, who had been missing earlier that year. Just then Fudge, Dumbledore and an executioner visit Hagrid’s to carry out Buckbeak’s execution (which the trio watch sadly), when Scabbers suddenly bites Ron and escapes. While the trio is chasing Scabbers, a large dog drags both Ron and his rat, Scabbers, into a hole at the base of the Whomping Willow before Harry could get to them. The Whomping Willow attacks Harry and Hermione but Hermione uses the swinging willow branches to their advantage. Harry and Hermione follow, to the Shrieking Shack. It turns out the dog is the Animagus form of Sirius Black. Harry attacks Sirius and takes him to the ground, but before he can do anything, Lupin arrives, disarms Harry, and embraces Sirius as an old friend. After being confronted by Hermione, Lupin admits to being a werewolf. And at this moment Snape appears, planning to catch Black and Lupin and hand them over to the Dementors, but is knocked out by Harry. Lupin and Black explain that Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew, who is also an Animagus, and that he is the one who did for what Black served time in Azkaban. Lupin and Sirius force Pettigrew back to his human form and then prepare to kill him, but are stopped by Harry, who tells them that it was not what James would have done. Instead, he wants to turn over Pettigrew to the Dementors. As the group head back to the castle, the full moon rises; Lupin transforms into a werewolf, which allows Pettigrew to escape. Lupin and Sirius fight in their animal forms, until Lupin is distracted by the sound of another werewolf and Dementors attack Sirius and Harry. As Sirius is about to have his soul removed, Harry sees a figure in the distance cast a powerful stag-shaped Patronus, scattering the Dementors and saving their lives. Harry believes the mysterious figure to be that of his father James.

Hermione reveals that she possesses a time-turner, which how she has been taking multiple classes at once. She and Harry travel back in time three hours, watching themselves go through the night’s events. They set Buckbeak free and return to the Whomping Willow. As the Dementors are about to attack the “other” Harry and Sirius, Harry realizes that he is the person who cast the Patronus, which gives him the confidence to do so now. Harry and Hermione rescue Sirius, who escapes on Buckbeak. At the end of the year, Lupin resigns, knowing that people will not allow a werewolf to teach their children. Later, Sirius sends Harry a Firebolt, an extremely fast racing broom.

REVIEW:

This is the first installment of the Harry Potter series that explores his dark side. However, unlike the later films, this one still manages to keep the fun.

The dementors are totally creepy. They remind me of the ghost of Christmas future from A Christmas Carol.

It is apparent that the cast has grown up a bit, and with each other, as they feel more comfortable with each other in this film than in the previous entries.

Quite a bit was omitted in translation from the book to film, and Harry Potter purists I’m sure will not be happy about that, but putting that aside, this is still a good film.

If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll love it!

4 out fo 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film begins with the Dursleys preparing for a visit from Uncle Vernon Dursley’s boss. When Harry is locked in his room during the visit, he first encounters Dobby, a house elf. Dobby warns him not to go back to Hogwarts because there are rumors of dangerous things being plotted. When Harry refuses to not return to Hogwarts, the house elf, in a blackmail attempt, hovers a cake over the head of Uncle Vernon’s boss and drops it. Thinking that Harry did it, Vernon puts bars on Harry’s windows so he cannot make an escape to Hogwarts. All of Uncle Vernon’s efforts fail however, when Ron, Fred, and George Weasley arrive in their flying car to rescue Harry and flee the Dursley home.

The four arrive at the Burrow, the family home of the Weasleys. Mrs. Weasley catches the four coming in, and while ensuring Harry that she is not blaming him, yells at her three sons for their carelessness. She tells the boys that they could have been seen by Muggles” (non-magical people) as they flew through the air. As wizards are strictly forbidden to perform magic in the presence of unknowing Muggles, their stunt could have easily resulted in their expulsion from Hogwarts.

Harry then meets Ginny, the youngest Weasley child and the only girl, and Ron’s father, Arthur Weasley, during a typical Weasley family breakfast. Upon meeting Harry, Ginny becomes wide-eyed and runs off. Ron claims she doesn’t always act that way, and that she’s “been talking about Harry all summer”.

The five student-aged Weasleys—including Percy Weasley—receive letters from Hogwarts from their owls. Booklists in hand, the Weasleys soon leave for Diagon Alley. Harry has never used Floo Powder—the Weasleys’ chosen method of transportation—and is unsure of himself. In his nervousness, he accidentally pronounces “Diagon Alley” as “diagonally”, landing himself in Knockturn Alley. Fortunately, Hagrid happens upon him, leading him to Diagon Alley and reuniting him with the Weasleys and Hermione Granger.

Harry meets Gilderoy Lockhart, a famous wizard and author, who is signing copies of his new book inside a crowded Diagon Alley bookstore. Lockhart, recognizing the famous Harry Potter, pulls him out of the large crowd and announces his presence to the excited on-lookers. Lockhart announces that Harry will be receiving a copy of his new book about his encounters with dark magic and dangerous creatures. The Daily Prophet, a newspaper in the wizarding community, takes a picture of the two famous wizards for the front page. Mrs. Weasley is extremely excited because she is a big fan of Lockhart. After Harry escapes the sudden spotlight, he and the others purchase their school books and prepare to leave. Harry runs into Draco Malfoy’s father Lucius, who could not help but see Harry’s scar. There appears to be tension between Lucius and Mr. Weasley due to Lucius’s seemingly haughty attitude.

The next scene begins September 1 in King’s Cross Station. The entire Weasley family, excluding Ron, cross through the magical barrier to Platform 9 3/4 with ease. Harry and Ron then try, but they cannot go through; as a result, they missed the Hogwarts Express. Mr. Weasley had brought them all to the station in the flying car, so Harry and Ron steal it and follow the train to Hogwarts. They land in the Whomping Willow, where the car is wrecked and Ron’s wand is broken. They are ejected from the car with their luggage and the magical car takes off, leaving them behind. Harry and Ron are caught by the Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch, and brought before Professor Severus Snape to be punished. Before Snape can expel the pair, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall arrive. As head of Gryffindor House, only McGonagall has the authority to punish the boys, not Snape. She gives the two detention not just for arriving after the feast and having missed the train, but also for having been seen by “no less than seven Muggles” whilst leaving the station in the flying car. Later Ron receives a howler from his mother, screaming at him for taking the car, but also congratulating Ginny for being sorted into Gryffindor.

During the school year, Harry begins to hear voices, find people Petrified and find writing on the walls in blood. Harry, Hermione and Ron try to figure out about how the Chamber of Secrets was opened and who opened it. They decide to make a Polyjuice potion to disguise themselves as Crabbe and Goyle and talk to Malfoy to find out if he is the Heir to Slytherin. Soon the whole school finds out Harry can talk to snakes, and thinks that he opened the chamber. Harry finds a book in the girls’ bathroom with no writing into it. It belonged to Tom Marvolo Riddle, who came to the school fifty years ago. He is then sent back in time and learns that Hagrid had opened the Chamber fifty years Ago.

Things get much worse when Hermione is found petrified and Tom Riddle’s diary goes missing. Harry and Ron turn up at Hagrid’s hut in the middle of the night and Cornelius Fudge (the Minister for Magic) shows up to take Hagrid to Azkaban (the magical prison). Lucius Malfoy arrives to suspend Dumbledore from the school on behalf of the governors of the school. Before Hagrid is taken away, he gives the two twelve-year-olds a clue to follow the spiders into the Dark Forest. They meet Aragog, a famed giant spider, whom they thought killed a Mudblood (a witch or wizard with non-magical parents) fifty years ago. Hagrid was innocent, but Aragog turns on them and send his children spiders to attack the two wizards for fresh meat. The flying car magically shows up and they make a fast escape.

Now knowing that Hagrid was innocent, Harry and Ron find out (from a piece of paper in Hermione’s hand) that the monster responsible for the petrification attacks is a basilisk. But they also find another message from the heir and the teachers say that a student has been taken into the chamber. It is then revealed that Ginny Weasley is the victim. Gilderoy Lockhart, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, was chosen to go down into the chamber to save the unfortunate first year girl, but he tries to make an escape until Harry and Ron catch him. This was because it turns out Lockhart’s famous past was false. The three find the chamber entrance in the girls’ bathroom and they enter to find a giant snake skin. Lockhart tries to stop Harry and Ron using a memory charm but it backfires because he tries to use Ron’s broken wand. Lockhart ends up losing his memory and the spell causes a rock fall, which separates Harry from the others. Harry goes on alone and finds Ginny’s body. Tom Riddle shows up telling him that he is beginning to get much stronger. Then Harry learns that Tom is the Heir to Slytherin House and is Lord Voldemort in his teenage form. Riddle sends the basilisk to kill Harry but ends up losing the giant snake because Dumbledore’s phoenix Fawkes attacks the Basilisk’s eyes. Harry finds the Sword of Gryffindor and pierces the snake’s head. Unfortunately, a fang also pierces Harry’s right arm.

Harry, who is dying from the fang’s poison, defeats Tom Riddle, by piercing the diary with the fang retrieved from his own arm. Ginny comes round and finds Harry hurt but Fawkes answers Harry’s loyalty to Dumbledore and heals Harry’s wound with his tears. (Phoenix tears are a very potent healer) Then Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lockhart leave the chamber pulled by Fawkes. Dumbledore gives Ron the task to send a letter to Azkaban to release Hagrid, and Harry discovers that Voldemort has transferred his parseltongue (snake language) powers by accident into his scar. In addition, the fact that Harry had used Godric Gryffindor’s sword means he must belong in Gryffindor House. Harry soon finds out that Dobby serves the Malfoys and tricks Lucius Malfoy into giving the house elf a sock thereby freeing him from servitude. Everyone who is petrified is re-animated and before starting the end-of-year feast, Hagrid returns (late as is usual, due to some ‘ruddy owl called Errol’ getting lost while delivering his release papers), and everyone cheers his arrival.

In a post credits scene, Diagon Alley is shown. In the window of the bookshop is Lockhart’s new book, “Who Am I?”, with the cover image being Lockhart in a straitjacket.

REVIEW:

Another excellent Harry Potter film. After this one, they take a dark turn and lose the fun that I really think makes them appeal to everyone.

Sadly, this is the last appearance of Richard Harris as Dumbledore. He passed away shortly after this was released.

As with any movie that is based on a book, there are things that are left out and liberties taken. I’m not going to get into all of those with this one, but I can say that this is pretty much dead on with the book.

The flying car scenes were a treat for me. I wish there would have been more of them. Other than that, there really isn’t much I can say that is wrong with this film.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you’ll love this movie.

5 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Harry Potter is a seemingly ordinary eleven-year-old boy, living with his negligent relatives, the Dursleys. On his eleventh birthday, Harry learns from a mysterious stranger, Hagrid, that he is actually a wizard, famous in the wizarding world for surviving an attack by the evil dark Lord Voldemort, when Harry was only a year old. Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, but his attack on Harry failed, leaving only a lightning bolt scar on Harry’s forehead. Harry is invited to begin attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry defies his aunt and uncle, and attends Hogwarts where he begins to learn magic and make new friends, as well as enemies, among the Hogwarts students and staff. Voldemort has been near death, and in hiding, since the attack on Harry ten years earlier, but a plot is brewing for the dark lord to regain his power and strength through the acquisition of a philosopher’s stone, which grants immortality to its owner. Harry and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, discover the plot and seek to prevent the theft of the stone, which is hidden in a protected chamber at Hogwarts.

REVIEW:

This is my favorite of the Harry Potter films. I’m not really sure why, possibly because it’s actually fun to watch and not dark and emo like the latest one (at the time I’m writing this, that would be Harry Potter and  the Order of the Phoenix).

As with any other move that is based on a book, there are obvious liberties that have been taken, but, I can honestly say that for this film, they are barely noticeable unless you’re a purist.

The music does an excellent job of setting the mood for each scene. John Williams is a genius.

When this movie first came out back in 2001, I almost didn’t get to see it because the girl I was dating thought that all things having to do with magic were evil. Ironically, she couldn’t wait to see the Lord of the Rings films.

I can fully recommend this one if you’re looking for a fun movie that all will enjoy! It is the most fun of the Potter franchise. I wish Chris Columbus would have directed them all, but that’s just me.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars