Harry Potter Franchise (2001-2011)

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lord_clyde
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Harry Potter Franchise (2001-2011)

#1 Post by lord_clyde » Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:20 pm

Prisoner of Askaban is pretty good, but I still prefer the first two. Askaban was missing some important details near the end that only people who have read the book would be able to fill in. The first two films stood on their own and were true to the source material, not to mention featured moments that exceed the novels in terms of vision and well, magic.
Then again, I am a Harry Potter whore.

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#2 Post by Kirkinson » Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:56 pm

lord_clyde wrote:Askaban was missing some important details near the end that only people who have read the book would be able to fill in.
I hear this complaint all the time, but only from people who actually have read the book. Everyone I've talked to who knew Harry Potter only from the first two films picked up on all the "missing" details without any help from Potterites. Do I just have exceptionally smart friends?

I love The Prisoner of Azakaban, so much so that I find it impossible to watch even a few minutes of the first two films now without cringing. People say Columbus stuck slavishly to the source material, but I don't see it that way. He stuck slavishly to the plot, perhaps, but the films don't feel at all like the books. The world as Columbus sees it is far too happy and far too chewy. Two big cinematic taffies, and they have about as much imagination as an ABC Family telefilm. Moreover, Harry Potter is treated in Columbus's films like a noble, innocent bastion of purity, a far cry from the mischievous sort-of brat he is in the books. Columbus also didn't seem to me to have a very good grasp of the very British humor of the books. His comedy is very slapsticky and not unlike what you'd see on a Disney channel series.

Cuaron improved in all of these areas, making Harry finally into the outspoken devil that he is and preserving Rowling's whimsical narration through equally whimsical photography and design. I love that in some cases his ideas were so eccentric that they confused the hell out of people. I've heard so many complaints about Harry's scar being on the wrong side of his face in the boggart scene that it's gone past irritating and become a source of amusement for me - at the beginning of the scene, Cuaron pushes into a mirror, and stays there until the very end, when he pulls out of it again: the entire scene therefore is being watched through the mirror, so everything is reversed. It's the whimsical details like this, the sort of things Columbus would never think of, that really make the film special for me.

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Matt
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#3 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:42 pm

Couldn't find a better place to put this. If you like your Harry Potter movies, you'll want to pick up the DVDs soon:

Warner Bros to Pull All Potter DVDs

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#4 Post by malcolm1980 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:57 am

I don't know how many Harry Potter fans we have on this board but one of few summer blockbusters I'm actually looking forward to is this one.

I can't help but wonder how a director whose previous films have been made-for-television films and miniseries would fare being handed a huge franchise such as this. I've only seen The Girl in the Cafe which is a fine piece of work, a tad on the preachy side but still a good film.

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#5 Post by justeleblanc » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:18 pm

malcolm1980 wrote:I don't know how many Harry Potter fans we have on this board but one of few summer blockbusters I'm actually looking forward to is this one.

I can't help but wonder how a director whose previous films have been made-for-television films and miniseries would fare being handed a huge franchise such as this. I've only seen The Girl in the Cafe which is a fine piece of work, a tad on the preachy side but still a good film.
I'm a fan as well, and I'll even go as far as to say I enjoyed the first two quite a bit.

As for this new director, most of the decisions for the series as a whole have been made prior to filming and like a TV show, I assume most these directors do is work with the actors, something I enjoyed quite a bit from Cafe.

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#6 Post by patrick » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:19 pm

I haven't really followed the series so far (I saw the first two in the theater and have only seen bits and pieces of the others), but the trailer for the newest one is great.

I'm not that crazy about seeing movies at IMAX theaters, but evidently the last 20 minutes are going to be projected in 3D.

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#7 Post by malcolm1980 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:57 pm

The latter two is where the series really starts. Cuaron took the franchise out of the hackish hands of Columbus and made it into an actual film.

I got my first taste of IMAX today. I have to say I'm a tad disappointed. (More on the film itself rather than the experience of a big-screen 3-D movie). I don't know if I'm gonna see this new installment on IMAX.

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#8 Post by Cinesimilitude » Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:50 pm

today I will rent azkaban and goblet and see if I've been missing out on anything. the first two were good summer fare, but I never got around to seeing azkaban in the theater and I've pretty much forgotten about the Potter series since then...
Last edited by Guest on Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lino
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#9 Post by Lino » Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:57 pm

Ralph Fiennes' terrifying portrayal of Voldemort is the best thing about the Harry Potter movies by a long shot.

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#10 Post by DrewReiber » Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:29 pm

SncDthMnky wrote:today I will rent azkaban and phoenix and see if I've been missing out on anything. the first two were good summer fare, but I never got around to seeing azkaban in the theater and I've pretty much forgotten about the Potter series since then...
I felt the same way after the first one. My father tried to drag me back in after he saw Azkaban, but it took me someone I was dating to get me to sit and watch that and Chamber of Secrets. Once Cuaron takes over, the franchise sort of takes off. I enjoyed Goblet of Fire so much it made a fan out of me.

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#11 Post by lord_clyde » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:13 pm

The first two are decent adapatations of the novels (Chamber is about 20 minutes too long, and has a terrible ending to boot, though) but Azkaban and especially Goblet are very cinematic and satisfying. Both these films took novels packed with information and sideplots (that were integral to the novels) and somehow streamlined it into a solid narrative that gives the characters lots to do. Phoenix is my favorite HP book, so of course I'm psyched for the film.

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#12 Post by Cinesimilitude » Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:33 am

Both 3 and 4 were all rented out, so I'll have to wait a bit longer to see them, but I am more enthusiastic about it with the comments here.

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#13 Post by abuckley89 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:43 am

I'm a huge Potter fan but none of the films except Azkaban are satisfying. However, I will be there opening night for this.

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#14 Post by malcolm1980 » Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:23 am

A sample of the score by the new composer, Nicholas Hooper.

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Jeff
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#15 Post by Jeff » Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:24 pm

Pretty solid reviews overall, with The Hollywood Reporter and Newsweek being the only notable detractors. Several critics including Peter Travers, Richard Corliss, Colin Bertram, and David Edelstein are calling it the best of the series. I find Edelstein to be our most insightful and eloquent critic, so when he praises the depth of a Harry Potter film, I sit up and take notice. Here is the opening of Edelstein's take:
The bleak film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix smothers the final embers of the series's childish wonder, ushering in a climate of repressed sexuality, paranoia, Fascism, madness, death, and acne. (That last is not by design but comes with the territory.) This is not a family movie. It's not even a borderline gothic horror movie, in the manner of the third and fourth (scary) Potter installments. Directed by David Yates, Order of the Phoenix is Orwellian. The palette is grainy and dank, the faces dour, the hero's alienation beginning to fester. Hauled before a hostile tribunal to explain his use of magic in the presence of Muggles, the hormonal, beleaguered Harry recounts the attack of the swirling Dementors: As they drew the breath from his body, he says, "it was as though all the happiness had gone from the world."

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#16 Post by malcolm1980 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:36 pm

Though it does not reach the heights of The Prisoner of Azkaban, it is a bit of an improvement on The Goblet of Fire. For his first big Hollywood FX blockbuster, David Yates passed with a high grade (but only parts of it in flying colors). Some parts felt rushed and clunky. But still, as a Potterhead, I was satisfied immensely. The FX were, as usual, dazzling (Yates could tell and Radcliffe has grown as an actor. Staunton was superb as Umbridge. Perhaps the best performance from the adult cast in the entire franchise. It's also the best shot film, gorgeous cinematography from Slawomir Idziak. Overall, it's a very good film.

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#17 Post by Cinesimilitude » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:38 pm

I think I'll go see this in 35 minutes...

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domino harvey
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#18 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:43 pm

browsing thru RottenTomatoes, the response is either "This is the best Harry Potter yet" or "This is the worst Harry Potter yet"

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#19 Post by malcolm1980 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:52 pm

domino harvey wrote:browsing thru RottenTomatoes, the response is either "This is the best Harry Potter yet" or "This is the worst Harry Potter yet"
I'm neither. It's not the worst. It's not the best. Chris Columbus' films still look pathetic compared to this.

My rankings of the movies:

01. The Prisoner of Azkaban
02. The Order of the Phoenix
03. The Goblet of Fire
04. The Chamber of Secrets
05. The Sorcerer's Stone

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#20 Post by dx23 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:48 pm

I agree that Prisioner of Azkaban was the best, yet this one was real good also. The entire cast was fabulous and most of the new characters had proper developments throughout the film. I also agree that Radclife has grown up as an actor and really impressed with Yates directing.

The thing I was surprised was the 2 1/2 stars review Roger Ebert gave it . Apparently he doesn't like the new, darker direction where the films/books are going and even says that the Harry Potter character has lost the spark in his eyes when he is presented with the magic world.

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#21 Post by lord_clyde » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:33 pm

dx23 wrote:I agree that Prisioner of Azkaban was the best, yet this one was real good also. The entire cast was fabulous and most of the new characters had proper developments throughout the film. I also agree that Radclife has grown up as an actor and really impressed with Yates directing.

The thing I was surprised was the 2 1/2 stars review Roger Ebert gave it . Apparently he doesn't like the new, darker direction where the films/books are going and even says that the Harry Potter character has lost the spark in his eyes when he is presented with the magic world.
Always take Ebert with a grain of salt. ALWAYS. That 'Order of the Phoenix' review states that the movie is pretty good, but he doesn't like that the movies are growing up. Wouldn't that qualify 3 stars since the movie is good? Another great example is his review of 'She Hate Me' where he gives the film 3 stars because he is convinced Spike Lee cannot make a bad film. He obviously doesn't like 'She Hate Me' during the review, but it gets a good rating because he is willing to give Spike the benefit of the doubt. WTF?

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#22 Post by Via_Chicago » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:58 pm

Ebert's been off his rocker for a few years now (he's getting dangerously close to Peter Travers territory - i.e., total irrelevance). Check out this comment from his Transformers review:
Everything comes down to an epic battle between the Transformers and the Decepticons, and that's when my attention began to wander, and the movie lost a potential fourth star.
(Emphasis mine).

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#23 Post by lord_clyde » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:08 am

Via_Chicago wrote:Ebert's been off his rocker for a few years now (he's getting dangerously close to Peter Travers territory - i.e., total irrelevance). Check out this comment from his Transformers review:
Everything comes down to an epic battle between the Transformers and the Decepticons, and that's when my attention began to wander, and the movie lost a potential fourth star.
(Emphasis mine).
He should have said 'half-star', otherwise he's dangerously close to saying Transformers is better than The Rock (which I'm convinced was a fluke on Bay's part). Still, Ebert does champion the idea of a 'great entertainment' and that 'its not what a film is about, but how it is about it' which I like.

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#24 Post by patrick » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:24 pm

Just got back from seeing this and I really loved it, definitely the best blockbuster I've seen so far this summer. I agree with the people above who said that if people like Ebert are giving it bad reviews it's because they don't like the direction the series has headed in as opposed to not liking the movie itself. In fact, the moments that didn't work for me in this one were the parts where the sillier tone of the earlier films intruded (like Harry at the Dursley house).

Daniel Radcliffe is fantastic, and captures the gist of the character (someone accepting their role as a leader) perfectly. When he gets angry, he stalks and seethes with the best of them. The supporting cast is pretty much note-perfect as well, and Ralph Fiennes just oozes menace even through all the makeup and CGI.

I need to watch Azkaban again (I watched it on TV last weekend, but only halfheartedly), but it seemed to be that this was the most well-paced installment in the series (my main problem with Goblet of Fire was the fact it felt brutally slow). Yates did an exceptional job of making a film over two hours long that's paced like it's 90 minutes, especially when compared to all the other big films this summer, which all seem bulky and slow.

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#25 Post by Handsome Dan » Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:08 am

I'd put this right in the middle of all Harry Potter films. I've never read the books and don't intend to, but I've enjoyed the series for the most part - I think it smokes all the LOTR/Narnia-type competition out there. Phoenix caught me at the end of a busy 10-hour shift at work, so I may have been a bit out of it, but my main problem with this one was some sort of weird pacing. I would've gladly sat through another 30 minutes or hour if a bit more care had been taken to remind morons like me what had gone on in the previous films - I would have appreciated a little more expository dialogue, redundancy and other such peanut-gallery-reaching techniques. The significence of the Gary Oldman character had comepletely left me (I did remember that he was the prisoner of Azkhaban, but I couldn't really remember why that was important), and I had completely forgotten that David Thewlis had been in Prisoner at all, so that when he first appeared on screen, I said "hey, David Thewlis is in this one!!" I dunno, the whole thing felt a bit rushed. Things that wound up being important later on were zipped through early on, and it seemed to rely waay to much on the idea that, if you've come this far, you must have read the books and thus are comfortable with more narrative shorthand than a typical big-budget blockbuster might indulge in. On the way home, my old lady, after reminding me about Thewlis and calling me an idiot, admitted that she kinda felt the same way and explained that the book (which she's read) is probably the densest of the bunch, plot-wise, and so presented the greatest adaptation problems, and so we wind up with a movie that seems to rush through everything.

Despite all that, I certainly didn't hate it or anything, and if you liked the others so far you'll probably dig this one. The new score was swell, all the actors were excellent (especially Imelda Staunton (speaking of Mike Leigh vets (and hey, where was Tim Spall?))), most of the jokes were fairly amusing, Helena Bonham Carter was, as usual, hot as hell - I basically liked everything that everyone else liked about it.

I gotta say, though, what's with all the love for Azkaban? I thought it was alright, but hardly the best of the series, not even close (and I say this as someone who still has yet to see a 2007 movie that I liked as much as Children of Men, so I've got no particular problem with Cuaron). I liked the running gag with the tree a lot, but other than that I thought it was pretty generic. I know its fashionable to hate on Christopher Columbus - and he is legitimately one of the most boring directors in the universe, no question - but the first movie was one of my very favorite of that year. I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the Harry Potter series aside from the fact that it involved a character named Harry Potter and stumbled out as a newly converted fan of the whole mythology. The effects are great, the kid actors are great, the adult actors are great, all the scary stuff is scary, all the funny stuff is funny, all the stuff where you're supposed to go "whoah" made me go "whoah"...I dunno, see it again, I think you'll be surprised at how well it holds up. The second one is probably my least favorite of the bunch, Columbus having decided to make a bold return to form and direct movies while asleep. My fave of the bunch so far is still Goblet of Fire. I really loved its leisurely pace and its willingness to take time off from the more 'plot' type stuff and spend time on ancillary character development and remind us that Harry is going through puberty (as are all the kid actors; poor Rupert Grint - he's gonna get himself cast as the lead in THE BRIAN JONES STORY soon if he's not careful). Plus, the bit at the end with the first look at Voldemort scared the freaking PISS outta me - not like a typical movie scare where you get startled or, alternately, where you're held in suspense for a matter of minutes, but a constant fever pitch of terror that was somehow sustained for, like, the whole 15 minute climax. I've spent the last 25 years watching every single horror movie I can get my hands on, so hats off to director Mike Newell for that.

So I guess my ranking looks like this:
1. Goblet of Fire
2. Sorcerer's Stone
3. Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Order of the Phoenix
5. Chamber of Secrets

There ya go. I'm looking forward to the next one, although my wife says that it, in many ways, presents as many adaptation challenges as this one, although not in the same way. I have no idea what she means, but I can't wait to find out.

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