This is my review of the latest, and supposedly the last, of the Harry Potter movies, which I couldn’t remember the name of and was too lazy to look up. I should probably note that I haven’t read any of the books and I think magic is stupid. It’s probably also worth noting that I had only seen one other Harry Potter movie before this. At least I think it was a Harry Potter movie – I couldn’t make a whole lot of sense of it and then a blue yak showed up at the end. I’m told this was the third one. Also worth mentioning is the fact that I drank a bit during the movie. It’s probably best for me to note that I am using a unique definition of “a bit.” Most people would say I drank a lot. Actually, it would be a real disservice of me not to bring up the fact that the only reason I found myself in a theater with a bunch of giddy twenty-something year-olds on opening night of the new Harry Potter film is because I was cunningly tricked into being there (by cunningly tricked I mean I was told I’d get free beer out of it).
Okay, there might be a few problems with the set up for this review but I don’t think it’s anything I can’t overcome. Yes, I may have been drunk, but it’s not like I was so drunk I’d think it was a good idea to name a character Dumbledorf (or something to that effect). I can totally do this. Here we go…
The Warner Brother’s logo is dark and metallic. A great storm is brooding amidst shadowy blue hues. The buildings look dirty and decrepit as the camera ascends towards the sky. A man is shown traversing a cold and desolate landscape as a familiar voice narrates for us. Ideals. Devotion. Legend. I feel the tension building. The music resonates through the theater at just the right moments. The buildings loom. We see the sky. Debris is falling. He’s climbing up out of a well, towards the light. Our hero was gone but now he is back. The Dark Knight Rises.
Oh, wait, fuck. That was the teaser trailer for the new Batman movie. Damn it. I wanted to stand up and cheer but nobody else seemed to care. The brief shot at the end of the teaser made my insides tingle. Batman is standing in the rain and…
Shit. Harry Potter. Right. Okay, here we go again.
The movie opened without any recap of what had happened previously, which everyone would later agree was a good thing, except for me because I had no fucking clue what was going on. It started with Harry, the ginger, and that hot girl (I hope she’s old enough now for me to say that) moping around some beach house, where they apparently have been spending their time entertaining a senile old man who smells sticks. The actors all did a wonderful job of looking and talking like their pet turtle just died. A rather unsavory goblin character was in their midst as well. He said some spooky stuff and Harry looked scared, constipated, and confused all at the same time. The director really captured the flare of being bored at a beach house.
After they talked about some shit that didn’t make any sense to me, they decided to go to a bank wearing a magic invisibility cloak to find a goblet that contained, from what I could gather, a piece of Sauron’s soul (I know that’s Lord of the Rings but I can’t remember Ralph Fiennes’s character’s name so I’m just going to call him that). For some inexplicable reason there is a cavern the size of Kentucky underneath this bank that they have to take a Temple of Doom inspired trip through – this ride seriously made me question the practicality, and outright feasibility I must say, of a gyroscopically balanced railway vehicle. And then for absofuckinglutely no reason whatsoever, there’s a dragon in front of the vault (had more of a dungeon sex chamber flavor to it but what do I know). I’m told the reason for this chained dragon’s existence is it acts as an indentured warden, forced to safeguard the bank’s most precious items.
Well, if that’s the case, then why are there a bunch of rattles (this lizard has been classically conditioned to fear a rattling noise) conveniently located right by the door to keep the creature at bay? Surely this creature is not a very good sentinel if you can walk right past it with the use of a children’s toy. In fact, that qualifies as being shit at your job, though I think the real person to blame here would be the head of security at this establishment. Why you would choose to have a slave with a bad attitude and an authority problem watch over your client’s most valued possessions is beyond me. That’s like hiring John Wayne Gacy as your babysitter.
Seriously, if this thing was kept here to protect the place, it’s officially the worst fucking guard dragon in any fantasy novel ever. It ends up killing almost all the security guards, destroying the bank, and torching most of the chamber it was there to protect. Somebody needs to give these assholes the number to Brink’s Security because their shit is about as secure as my anal virginity in a prison shower. Their descent into and subsequent escape from The Lonely Mountain (sorry, all I know are Tolkien references) had the same sort of plot progression I’d expect from a coloring book.
Overall, I enjoyed everything with the dragon.
Eventually our teenage trio made it to the castle where all the other wizards live. Things started to get even more interesting here. Right away, Hans Gruber gets threatened with some shiny blue light from one of the other wizard’s wands. I strapped myself in for what I thought was going to be a kick-ass duel between two veteran sorcerers, but I think it ended more anticlimactically than my first time having sex. Some magic spewed forth for all of about ten seconds before Hans turned into a wisp of smoke like a little bitch and ran away (or whatever smoke does when it leaves a place in a hurry).
Despite my ignorance of the Harry Potter universe, I legitimately found myself interested in the characters and what would happen next. It was a well written and acted movie, no doubt. But, I think the overall set-up is flawed – you really put yourself in corner directorially if every swinging dick in your movie knows magic. It’d be like if you made every character in Star Wars a Jedi. One of the things that makes Lightsabers so cool is their exclusivity. If everybody and their fucking dog owned a diatum powered, crystal focused, arc-wave sword, their beautiful hum and intimidating power would be lost upon us. Ergo, if everyone in your movie knows magic, it’s not magical anymore.
And it makes your special effects a problem. You never get a sense of anyone’s powers, or what their magic is even doing half the time. Light and smoke shoots all over the place but you have no idea what the bloody hell it is. The kids appear to just be hitting everything with some sort of nondescript telekinetic magic, while the fire spells they cast don’t seem to obey any of the laws of thermodynamics whatsoever. But I guess that’s because it’s all fucking magic, right?
Another victim of special effects – Helena Bonham Carter had probably the worst death scene I’d ever seen in a movie. She and this other lady threw some grey stuff back and forth at each other until I guess one of them was just too much for poor Ms. Carter and she turned to stone and exploded. In other fantasy movies, they do things I can follow, e.g. Willow tried to turn Queen Bavmorda to stone by hitting her with a magic acorn that the audience was told petrifies things – an action sequence I can follow and invest in. Maybe if they passed out a color wheel beforehand that told me what all the magic did it’d be better.
I will say one of the more interesting uses of blue light came when the castle dwelling wizards constructed a massive force field around their stronghold. None of the bad guys could get through it until the guy with no nose got angry, worked up what I can only imagine was some really good magical shit, and blasted it Ghostbusters style with a giant stream of awesomeness. That seemed to take care of it pretty well. No idea why he waited so long to do that though.
Alan Rickman’s death scene was good, but I missed what Harry did with the tears afterwards (eh, probably not too important) because I had to go piss out an entire pitcher of beer. When I got back they were doing a flash back to Harry’s parents and their death. Alan Rickman’s character seemed very sad which made me sad too. Then there was this plot twist where I guess it turns out he was actually a good guy, which sort of ruins the Die Hard reference I made about him. Oh, yeah, spoiler alert. Sorry.
I really liked Harry’s inner battle with death and his white light afterlife scene with Doubledoors. Their conversation sounded really deep when I was drunk. A fifty foot tall Oliver Platt shows up out of nowhere. That made me happy. The denouement with Sauron was enjoyable too. They shoot lasers at each other and Harry wins.
Unfortunately they didn’t have the balls to actually kill off Potter in the end. I’m not sure that would have been very good but it surely would have been better than the big face full of Hollywood I got. But maybe not. I suppose it’s best for some things to have a happy Hollywood ending. I mean, kids are watching this for Christ’s sake. They’d probably cry and shit their pants if they didn’t see Daniel Radcliffe’s smiling face right before the credits rolled.
I’m going to give this movie three stars. I have no fucking clue how many stars that’s out of though. I’ve never actually bothered to invent a rating system of my own.
Oddly enough, I have a feeling I will have offended far more people by making fun of their precious Harry Potter than by saying any of the other awful things I’ve said here on KAB. I find that rather amusing, but the interesting thing about it is…. I am a total sci-fi/fantasy geek who gets a giant erection anytime someone even mentions Star Trek. I didn’t get laid until college because I was too busy solving Rubik’s Cubes and reading Lord of the Rings for the third time (okay, fine, there were other reasons too). I have dived into the worlds of Whedon, and Douglas Adams. Isaac Asimov and George Lucas. Burroughs and Heinlein. It’s really quite strange I never got on the Harry Potter love train. I was the right age when it came out and like I said, I usually relish the opportunity to play in the fantastic, just not this time. If you love Harry Potter (the books and the movies) I can thoroughly understand that. So if my reckless and abrasive words have offended a love of yours, keep in mind, I’m one of you.