Chewing my keyboard

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Harry Potter and Gollum's twin brother...

...starring as a werewolf (the CGI was so bad I can't find a picture). Werewolves, so far as I gather, are SUPPOSED to have hair. As it was, it did have a strange resemblance to the bro or sis of gollum who was mighty annoyed at appearing suddenly in the wrong movie bang in the middle of a balding chap wearing tweed.

Out of the three movies I've seen this summer so far, this was the best. An added bonus was the fact I managed to pick a subtitled screening which meant that NOT ONLY did I not have to watch the trailers and adverts (instead, the lights didn't go out for 20 minutes during which time I was reading Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) but also the subtitles wrote out ALL the script including remarks mumbled at the back of the set. This meant I got to enjoy, for example, the whole of the conversation occurring between Minister Fudge, the Executioner, Dumbledore and Hagrid about tea whilst the main trio were conversing behind some pumpkins. This was otherwise inaudible. My only objection was that birds do NOT witter... They twitter (grrrrrr)... [yep, all background noise was also helpfully subtitled].

So to the movie. Well, it misses out about 3/4 of the book. Fortunately or unfortunately, I read all the books last summer in Chamonix since they were the only things I could find in English translation in the town bookshop. As such, I don't remember which bits were missing. All I did remember was that Sirius Black was the good guy which pretty much scuppered any sense of suspense. That said, Harry Potter isn't really big on suspense. You know that at the crucial, terminal moment a hitherto unmentioned or unmastered magical spell or artefact will miraculously appear and save the day. Thus, Harry on the verge of death brings about nothing but mild curiousity as to what plot device J.K. Rowling is going to conquer up next.

Putting aside for the moment that the only good actors were the ones playing Professors Lupin and Snape, and possibly Dumbledore, and that Malfoy had become so wimpy that he gave me cause to do nothing but shake him vigorously, give him a kick up the ass and then take him to the hairdresser... Putting aside for the moment that Hogwarts had moved location from the previous film, translocating the whomping willow and Hagrid's cottage in the process... I loved the hippogriff

I also loved the clock face on the tower, and the gyroscope and solar system model that appeared whilst Lupin was teaching Harry the Patronus charm. A friend liked the rollerskating spider which was faintly amusing if you like black widows wearing pink rollerskates, that is. I preferred the Monster Book of Monsters myself.

I'm sad to say that the Dementors weren't very scary, rather like wrapping the end of a vacuum cleaner in strips of dirty linen before sticking a few twigs on the end and plunging the whole ensemble into liquid nitrogen.

"Oye, washing-face... Think you can suck out my soul, you son of a lamprey!"

Maybe if I was 6 or 7 years old I'd have been scared but if I remember myself at 6/7, I could think up far worse things than the Dementors all by myself. It was supposed to be rather dark but it was as menacing as Riverdance performing on the forecourt of a 1960s shopping precinct during a rain shower. However, it was based on a children's book and I've just been reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman so go figure:

I don't think a nightmare with teeth in its eyesockets "the eyes are mine" really goes with the territory. In conclusion, mildly entertaining but don't expect profound revelations about the life, the universe and everything. I'm waiting for Shrek 2.


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