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Harry Potter and the Half-Book Plot 
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Post Harry Potter and the Half-Book Plot
I am not a Harry Potter fan. I've tried. I got about a third of the way into the second book. I've slept through all five prior movies - and understand that I can watch and enjoy anything from Casablanca and Citizen Kane to, well, One Million Years BC and The Brain Eaters. There's something about HP that is just stupor-fying to me.

So I let the family drag me to the new film. I actually stayed awake and enjoyed it. I don't think I'd recommend it on its own merits, but if you're a fan, or want to please a fan by going with them, it's worth it. Very well assembled and shot, much faster-moving plot than anything before, and even the vast gobs of obviously missing and stand-in material ("Oh, look, there in the corner - isn't that the guy who has four chapters of the book to himself? Too late...") aren't too distracting.

The obligatory Quidditch games seems... real and meaningful.

The menace seems... truly threatening.

And the teen-hormone stuff is honestly, truly, delightfully funny and touching and painful and (for a movie about a bunch of magicians) real. They even stay entirely PG with it, which is pure art given how much they portray.

The one thing the story doesn't have is much of, well, a story. It's the second movie of a trilogy - building on heavily from all that was presented before (and truly evolving the story, setting and characters for all but the first time), but clearly a setup to the big finish. But the cotton candy is lovely and tasty while it lasts.

Recommended... if you have any other reason at all to see it.

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Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:44 pm
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Post Re: Harry Potter and the Half-Book Plot
Full disclosure: I am a Harry Potter fan. I enjoy the books and do my best to enjoy the movies. I started out reading the books to my sons and read the first four out loud: Order of the Phoenix I read aloud twice, and I believe there should be a special Mom prize for that, I really do.

I read the Half-Blood Prince exactly once, and that was back when it came out--the boys were old enough to read the books on their own, sadly. So after seeing the movie with my 16 yo, 13 yo and 11 yo nephew who doesn't read much, I came home and re-read the book. I wondered as I was watching the movie if anyone who hadn't read the book would be able to follow the plot of the movie. The 11 yo said he didn't think he quite got it. Half-book plot is right. There is so very much that was left out--and frankly in a 652 page book--even one double spaced--that is inevitable. The movie was already 2-1/2 hours long, but as usual, the book is way better than the movie.

The Deathly Hallows is going to be a two-parter, it's rumored. And it would have to be unless they leave scads out. Besides, it's the last book--they've got to wring every last bloody cent they can out of this one unless they're planning to film Tales of Beadle the Bard .


Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:34 pm
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Post Re: Harry Potter and the Half-Book Plot
I have read none of the books, slept during a substantial fraction of each of the previous movies, and I stayed awake and liked this one. The fact that they spent so much less time in fight scenes was a big plus for me. I liked the character-driven nature of it and the teenage hormonal angst, for the most part.

For me, though, the biggest plus was the combination of sets, art direction, special effects, and cinematography. The environment of every scene, especially the towns and buildings and roads/paths, just seemed real somehow. I was pretty much in awe. There's one shot that starts out high and far from a building and tracks down and through a dirty window, when one moment you're outside looking in, and the next moment, without a hiccup or crash of glass, you're suddenly inside. Amazing work. I have no idea how they're accomplishing it, but the state of filmmaking has certainly progressed dramatically over the life of the franchise.

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:38 pm
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