on January 4, 2004
The plot followed the book very well (with the exception that they cut out Peeves)but it goes downhill from there. the character portrayal from the books didn't seem quite right (esspecially Harry)
there was a sense (sometimes) of the magic from the books, but not in the overall product wasn't what it should be.
this movie was made on a large budget and a "grand scale" but it didn't show. Has Danial Radcliffe read the books? really has he? I was very dissappionted with the portrayal of Ron. He was too whiny and scared all the time. Anyone would stop caring what happened to him.
The directing was also a problem. some people don't realize, but a director holds the movie together, not here. Chris Columbus is a good director (Home Alone) but not for this kind of movie. Speilberg (who can direct just about anything) or Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) would've been a better chioce.
And what is with the BRITISH ACTORS ONLY policy? it's biased that just cuz JK Rowling is a brit all the actors have too be? there are countless actors from other countries who would've been 10 times better. Most of them can do an exelent british accent too.
I'll see the 3rd movie, but my expectations aren't too high. personally I think Johnny Depp would've been a wonderful chioce to play Sirius, but, oh, I forgot, he can't. He's American.
on August 22, 2003
I am greatly dissapointed by the HP movies as a whole. Lacking personality, they are really just eye-candy for HP junkies. Im trying to give this a truthful review, so forgive me, Im not trying to sabatoge your love of the books (which are excellent).
My first problem is the script. Instead of rewriting the whole book into a movie script, the movie is done in short chopped up scenes. So after the movie, you dont think of it as a movie, but as a bunch of different scenes. My dad, who never read the Harry Potter books, saw the movies, and didnt understand the plot at all. Fortunately, most people have read the books, but still, thats no excuse for the horrible plot/character developement.
My second problem is with the actors. Obviously most of the child actors were picked because they looked like the people they are supposed to portray. Warning bells are going off in my head already! I would have rather had an actor who looked somewhat like Harry Potter, and was a great actor, then someone who looked exactly like Harry Potter, and couldnt act. But unfortunately we end up with the Harry Potter look alike. He seems to have taken a leaf out of Frodos book, and spends most of the movie looking around breathlessly worried. This is pretty much how Ron and Hermione spend the movie as well, (they were also picked for their apperance). The adult actors are great, but suffer from horrible blocking, and even worse lines. After watching Maggie Smith forcing out the excrutiatingly unfunny lines written for her, I am sympathetic toward Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Harry Potter). Perhaps Daniel Radcliffe can act, and its the horrible script and directing thats holding him back. I certainly hope so. In fact, I think JKR must have noticed this, and there is a new director for book 3....THANK GOD!
My third, and final problem is with the special effects. They just dont have the magical apeal they should. Perhaps its the "gothic" way Dobby is done, kind of like a minitare troll, which combines so badly with the Happy Hogwarts atmposphere. Perhaps its the emptiness you feel the whole movie. You would get the feeling that Ron, Harry, and Hermione were the ONLY people in Hogwarts after watching for a while. In fact, there are so few Extras on the set, they put Gryfindoors in the Slytherin common room to make it seem more full.
ENOUGH BAD NEWS! I found a little bit to like about the Spec. Edition. DVD.
1. It has some great extra scenes, which add some life to a lifeless movie.
2. Ever wanted to know what makes Daniel Radcliffe tick? If you answered yes, then you will definitely buy the HP spec. Ed. DVD. Interviews with every actor will satisfy even the most rabid Harry Potter fan.
Finally, I have to reccomend that you DONT buy the DVD. Just wait untill it comes on Network TV, or on cable. Its worth a watch, just for Eye Candy. Maybe if the price goes down under 20 bucks. Just dont expect too much.
on July 15, 2003
This is the popular movie version of the second Harry Potter book. Once again, popularity and quality are not related. This movie has all of the flaws of the book (almost too many to count). The major ones are:
Ron Weasly breaks his wand. It is a hand-me-down. But we know that wands choose their owners and a wizard should never use someone else's wand.
Magic users are completely ignorant of the muggle world. One student cannot conceive of a poster where the pictures don't move. Students have never heard of basketball. Ron's dad works for the Ministry of Magic and yet is clueless as to how a bus stop works (and he works in London). (etc. etc.).
Muggles are not to learn that magic exists. Hermione's parents visit Diaganon alley and they are both muggles. How do they know their daughter is a witch? How does any mixed parentage work if letting muggles know about magic is a horrible crime?
Apparently it is illegal to enchant anything that is of muggle origin. I would love to know the "magical origins" of all of the objects populating the book.
The defense for the dark arts teacher is a complete buffoon and yet the wise heads of Hogwarts are completely fooled.
Hagrid has been wronged for many years (is he really 62?) and yet when his name is cleared there are no reparations or apologies.
Hogwarts is a center of magic but not the only place magic is done and yet they don't seem to be able to get a hold of any mandrake (there is no evidence that they even tried).
I still have been unable to figure out money in this world. There is magical money, of which Harry has hordes, but it doesn't really seem to be good for anything (although the Weaslys don't have enough). Harry stays with the Weaslys but never offers any help. Muggle money is for muggles and Harry has none. What is the magic money for (other than school supplies?). We'll have to see how Rowling settles that (although I doubt she will).
Some changes were made to the plot in the first movie and I was curious how they would get resolved in this one. they weren't. Bad boy Malfoy has bought his way onto his house's Quiddich team by getting everyone new brooms. Since a seeker is the most important player (the only one who can win a game) it seems unlikely that one can buy into that particular spot. but wait! Malfoy is already on the team and already a seeker (see the first movie). It was a big deal that first year Potter was on the team and a seeker, but no big deal was made that first year Malfoy was on a team and a seeker. Now we are just confused. Did Malfoy buy his way onto the team as the new seeker in year two or was he already a seeker in year one?
I know special effects artists can get carried away with their craft but the sheer number of spiders in the woods is completely implausible. There would be nothing but spiders. They would have eaten all of the other inhabitants is there were as many as the movie shows.
But, mistakes aside, people like this film, or at least spent a lot of money on it. No long novel can be fully made into a single movie, but it seemed like the choice of scenes to include was almost random. One should really not waste one's time on this.
on June 11, 2003
I thought Warner Bros would fix the problems Sorcerer's Stone had but it didn't. The beginning of the movie has an emotional photograph moment- though it didn't re-introduce Harry was an orphan. It looked like he was living with a foster family wishing he was back with his parents. We then have a rushed talk with Dobby and we never really see Harry is locked in his bedroom. The Weasleys were not as inviting and kind as in the books. We rush to Diagon Alley and meet Lockhart and again we meet the problem that there is no real reason that Harry is famous except again that he is a franchise in the muggle world! By half an hour into the film classes start though it seems like an hour. The classes run through all the facts about mandrakes but who cares; the HP fans already know mandrakes are fatal! We have to run through the facts throughout the film though we already know them. A lot of time that could be used to demonstrate emotion is wasted. Emotion in this film is a little stronger but not by a lot. This film is, if possible, is boringer then the first. I wonder how Warner Bros turned magic packed books into a long boring drawl. And why did they take the cool spells of the dueling class and turned them into Olympic acrobatic stunts? If the spells were as those in the books the movie would be a lot less boring. The odd behavior of Ginny is never introduced except twice (wait, she's only sitting and writing in the diary. Steve Kloves!). When Tom Riddle explains stuff in the climax it is rushed so fast even people who have read Chamber of Secrets 10 times were met with confusion. After a cheesy (and in my opinion, juvenile) ending, you get a stale taste in your mouth as when you eat something dry. Warner Bros. still created a bunch of kiddy toys for this one. Really! Would a twelve year old boy want all that junk about him for sale? I have good authority in saying a whole new boat of kid's junk will be released along with Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry is thirteen! He is in adolescence! Five-year-old kid toys and a thirteen year old boy is not a good pair. Beware Warner Bros., the franchise will collapse very, very soon and the only way to avoid that is getting rid of all that stupid merchandise by Prisoner of Azkaban (and if it actually continues on with Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix collapse is obviously imminent). Warner Bros. just needs to realize Harry Potter IS NOT A KID FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
on June 11, 2003
I thought Warner Bros would fix the problems Sorcerer's Stone had but it didn't. The beginning of the movie has an emotional photograph moment- though it didn't re-introduce Harry was an orphan. It looked like he was living with a foster family wiishing he was back with his parents. We then have a rushed talk with Dobby and we never really see Harry is locked in his bedroom. The Weasleys were not as inviting and kind as in the books. We rush to Diagon Alley and meet Lockhart and again we meet the problem that there is no real reason that Harry is famous except again that he is a franchise in the muggle world! By half an hour into the film classes start though it seems like an hour. The classes run through all the facts about mandrakes but who cares; the HP fans already know mandrakes are fatal! We have to run through the facts throughout the film though we already know them. A lot of time that could be used to demonstrate emotion is wasted. Emotion in this film is a little stronger but not by a lot. This film is, if possible, is boringer then the first. I wonder how Warner Bros turned magic packed books into a long boring drawl. And whydid they take the cool spells of the dueling class and turned them into Olympic acrobatic stunts? If the spells were as those in the books the movie would be a lot less boring. The odd behavior of Ginny is never introduced except twice (wait, she's only sitting and writing in the diary. Steve Kloves!). When Tom Riddle explains stuff in the climax it is rushed so fast even people who have read Chamber of Secrets 10 times were met with confusion. After a cheesy (and in my opinion, juvenile) ending, you get a stale taste in your mouth as when you eat something dry. Warner Bros. still created a bunch of kiddy toys for this one. Really! Would a twelve year old boy want all that junk about him for sale? I have good authority in saying a whole new boat of kid's junk will be released along with Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry is thirteen! He is in adolescence1! Five-year-old kid toys and a thirteen year old boy is not a good pair. Beware Warner Bros., the franchise will collapse very, very soon and the only way to avoid that is getting rid of all that stupid merchandise by Prisoner of Azkaban (and if it actually continues on with Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix collapse is obviously imminent). Warner Bros. just needs to realize Harry Potter IS NOT A KID FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
on May 15, 2003
OK - I love the books. I felt the first movie was OK, but not great. But this one is not good at all. The director (Columbus) was terrible; he truly let down the audience. I know people liked the films, but if you want to watch a good "movie" - seek elsewhere. I'm really hoping the new director working on Book 3 does a better job. I am trying to cleanse my mind of these awful parodies of what were brilliant novels, so that when I re-read them I will not be encumbered with the memories of terrible scenes and bad acting. Hagrid was fine, Dumbledore (Harris) you can tell is obviously not well (and soon died), Potter is so disappointing and stiff, Ron Weasley does nothing but make silly faces throughout. Oh, and there was a plot somewhere in all that mess. Very sad. I blame it all on the director. I was stunned at what a bad job was made of a great book. The whole purpose of the books was to highlight the deep relationships between the characters, but that aspect is totally skipped in favor of menial special effects and pure nonsense (why do we need to see and hear slugs being vomited out of Weasley's mouth - funny in the book when you can use your imagination, but disgusting when detailed so graphically in the film). The director has no "soul", and I rank this along with his many other bad movies. What a terrible decision putting him in charge. Here's to Book 5 out soon - and I'm done with the films.
on April 30, 2003
...and by God was I right!
(See my review on the Philosopher's Stone)
What has happened in the time between the two Harry Potter movies? Hmmm.. Ah! yes of course! The Lord of the Rings has happened! And did they have this amazing, over-the-top achievement in CGI, called "the Gollum"? Yes sir, they did! And who was the first to shamelessly "borrow" the idea and bring it in their own movie? Chris Columbus and Co. for their next HP adventure of course.
I have to admit that this movie is a lot better than the first one. But that does not qualify for a good movie in general.
Borrowing a lot of elements from the horror genre, this one hopes to bring some chills to the children of the globe with the amazing MPAA looking completely the other way.
The story? ok, let's see....
Marty and Doc, oops sorry, Harry and Ron, climb on their flying car, to Hogwarts school, even after being advised not to, by a poorly executed Gollum impersonation. There, they stubmle upon a murdering beast that is set loose in the school, controlled by an evil entity which also controls an innocent student to... ... ...set loose and control the beast.(?)
The evil entity is using somebody else's body to do it's dirty deeds, much like (well the first that comes to mind) Freddy Krueger in Nightmare 2. This entity lives in a book and is risen when the book was read aloud.... Something of an Evil Dead kind of pilosophy.
It could actually be ok, if the "borrowing" stopped there.
Let's not forget Star Wars, our main influence.
The Quiddich game, this time a little more elaborate, is an almost exact copy of the forrest chase in "Return of the Jedi", Leia on the Speeder-Bike and the Stormtroopers chasing her. And of course, the Hint of a love game, between NOT him that has the power, but the goofy sidekick, and the girl. At least in Star Wars they were siblings (Luke and Leia). What explanation is mrs. Rowling going to give for Ron and Hermione... who knows (I refuse to read the books.)
One of the major scenes in the movie includes a gigantic spider, much like "Shelob" of the LOTR, which did not make the final cut of the "Two Towers" and was reserved for the "Return of the King". The spider is almost named "Aragorn", ha ha!!
My 9 year old daughter remarked that the head of the giant snake, came right out of Jurassic Park's T-Rex. (She is 9 for christ's sake!)
And last but not least... the great climax scene...
I think it was the "Nightmare on Elm Sreet 3", where the school teacher went to the place they had buried Freddy's Skeleton, he had a fight with it, and then, when Nancy lay unconcious in front of the grave, he sprayed Holy Water on it, and the real Freddy burst in rays of pure light.
Hmmmm..... Jenny unconcious... the book.... the fang... bursts of light.... make the connection?
I give up. No more for this one...
To be continued.... (it always does...)
on April 28, 2003
Oh, I know you won't like this but it's true. This was NOT a good portrayal of the book. It was hard for me to even sit through. The only two things this movie has for positive is the basalisk at the end, and the great story to back it. Not that you would really understand any of the story if you only watched the movie. The extreme lack of detail is appaling. It is beyond resonable. I know they had to cut down on the lengeth of time it ran, but come on, if your going to have to pay for it, they'd better have done a good job portraying the book. I'd rather watch a GOOD six hour movie in two parts than a four hour marginal movie. I'f you've never read the book, don't bother. Read the book, but just skip the movie, watching it will just be a dissapointing way to finish the second Harry Potter book. Don't bother with the movie. It's just same old, like the book, but missing everything that makes it good. I'd suggest this crud for only those who don't have enough imagination to read the books.
on April 23, 2003
In a nutshell: Chris Colombus can't direct for toffee. This is a dreadful rendering of a damn good read.
Acting: By and large, dreadful - as you would expect from twelve year olds, but very disappointing from the support cast of adult, eminence grises of the British acting establishment.
Coherence: poor - no one can blame Colombus for being unimaginative in his transfer of the book to the screen (to do otherwise would be to be crucified by a lynch mob of 9 year olds), but the transfer at least needs to make sense. This does not. Much of the plot was explained retrospectively by helpful, heavy-handed soliloquy, and even then wasn't awfully clear. And that's to someone who's read the book.
Dramatic tension: non-existent - The final showdown, which should have been edge of seat-gripping stuff, was simply dull: We have no empathy for Harry, no sense of who the villain really is (can't Voldemort do better than manifest himself in a hologram of an effete 16 year old?), what is at stake, why Ron Weasly's sister is there, and what the point of the Phoenix is (other than as a pretty ... plot device to dig Harry out of a sticky situation. Rowling's books are real page-turning Ripping Yarns, which are why they've sold so well. Colombus failed totally to import this onto this second film (the first was much better).
Finally - and this is partly Rowling's fault, as she wrote the books this way - it's terribly formulaic, and in execution is derivative of a number of other classic B-grade movies (ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars amongst them).
Not destined for great things come Oscar time, methinks.
on April 9, 2003
When the dvd of this movie ended, I looked over at my house guests and we all made the same gesture. You know, where you hold your hand out and kind of move it like a teeter-totter. In other words, "so-so".
So where did it go wrong? Well, I never was blown away by the book series. It's dang good, don't get me wrong. I have nothing but high respect for my fellow woman's libber, J.K. Rowling. She is one of my heroes, even if she is a single mother. But I know I'll never be as rich as her, no matter how many fantastic books I've written. And those who know me, know I'm responsible for quite a few.
The kids in this movie do a wonderful job bringing these characters to life. But they're all too old for the parts, which is not their fault, rather the fault of some bonehead Hollyweird producer. The special effects are first rate, too, and a feast for the eyes. But I guess there just seems to be too much polish on this, whereas something like The Dark Crystal or Neverending Story Trilogy has a bit of you-know-what (HINT: it's yellow!) and vinegar.
But hey, it's entertainment! But I think they should stop the series, it's getting old.