Now, I have several friends that have been raving about the 'Potter' series, both books and movies, and they have, at one time or another, separately and concurrently, tried to get me to experience it, saying that I'd probably like it, with my gaming background and all. Admittedly, the idea behind it is interesting, so priding myself on my basic fairness, I watched with an open heart and an interested mind.
Now that I've seen it, I offer this retraction to those that have appealed to me on the behalf of the series: I lied. YOU'RE ALL ON CRACK. And I don't mean 'beam me up Scotty', Wesley Snipes in 'New Jack City', addiction on the first hit crack. I mean the cooked up in a cracked toilet bowl, cut with baby laxative, cremate a crackhead and smoke his ashes crack.
There's two and a half hours of my life I'm not getting back. 160 minutes of time I could have used to do something else, like pulling out my toenails with a fork. What a travesty of cinema.
Let's vivisect this cranial tumour on its many levels. First, story. Could this have been anymore predictable and trite? There wasn't a single thing in this movie I didn't see coming approximately 12 miles away. Each "twist" and "turn" was screamingly obvious, even the big bad guy's name. I KNOW I couldn't have been the only one that caught that anagram. The various veiled social issues were so tossed in, it looked like a Congressional mandate forced them to add them to the script at the last minute. The more this story "unfolded" (in the sense that a paper wad has to be 'unfolded'), the more it seemed that it might as well not be there, and the more I was annoyed at the "characters". Were they there for any real reason other than to either get in or stay out of Potter's way? Christ, this film brings new meaning to the term 'supporting characters' (more on them later). Oh, and let's make sure we throw in as many things as possible that can be merchandised later, including more 'Quiddich' matches...yeesh, and I though Dragon Poker was convoluted. Let's make sure that everything needed to "solve" the "mystery" is brought up nice and early, so maybe viewers will forget them until they are necessary. Things happen all over...and everyone except the few characters involved just blythely ignores it, or doesn't notice...not a well thought-out screenplay. My godchildren could have written this, and not one of them is over 5.
Characters? What characters? You mean the cardboard cutouts that waltzed around this shadowplay? The characters were so wooden I could have used them for firewood...which isn't a bad idea, come to think of it. The sidekicks were so one-dimensional, we're lucky they showed onscreen at all. Every move they made was carefully selected to not budge outside their 'persona' a single iota.
Actors: wow, what a waste of talent. It hurt me to see so many great screen presences reduced to these pathetic roles...
- Alan Rickman: wasted - the man is great, and yet he might as well have worn a mask, for all the expression he had.
- Robbie Coltrane: wasted - I love this guy, and he was the only thing that saved this film from complete 'pond scum' status, but still, he doesn't get to do much.
- Kenneth Branagh: wasted - for all that Ken annoys me, he's still a decent actor, but damn, he managed to out-overact Jeremy Irons' performance in 'Dungeons & Dragons'.
- Richard Harris: wasted - Sir Richard Harris?!? Is this what he's reduced to? Playing a wheezy, bumbling knowitall?
- Miriam Margolyes: wasted - this is a person with wonderful comic timing, and yet she gets all of two scenes, mostly hidden behind plants...with boring lines
- John Cleese: wasted - This 'school ghost' thing could be used more effectively, instead it's so much sad side-dish, and poor John doesn't get to play it up at all
- Warwick Davis: wasted - admittedly, he probably had more screen time in the first one, but still...he shows up once. No lines, purely table dressing.
Effects...I'd have thought, with as huge as this whole thing has gotten, they could have done better effects..and I'd have been wrong. What wasn't sketchy CGI was foam rubber and animatronics, or worse. That's the best they could do? I'd have liked to see something slightly above the average, something that really showed off, even a little, but it was not to be. Hell, even basic makeup looked like shit....did ANYONE believe that brown marker scribble on his head is a "scar"?
Basic cinematography was pretty good. My hat's off to the DP, for being the only one in this bunch, apart from Coltrane, to actually do a good job.
Well, I guess I've said my piece about this steaming shit-nugget of the silver screen. I'm not going into the effect on America, I don't have the strength to type it, and you don't have the patience to read it. 'Nuff said.
And there's two more still to come!