JSDC
Entry: Harry Potter is Dead
Official= Official Comment

Official Comment From Jessica Mae
Perhaps if you get to talking, then Iíll get to the specifics. There truly are so many problems that I donít want to list them all on my own.

From Pete
Website: http://www.peterdewolf.com
So.... thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Seriously though, do you think that it is even possible to make a satisfying movie with these books? Both because of the way they are written and also the fanatical fanbase.
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Official Comment From Jessica Mae
I do think it is possible to make good if not great films, actually.

Making a solid film is not as hard as they are making it out to be.

They need only hire the right people.

And, I think we can all agree that the fans have been generous. For instance, there are fans who will tell me that this film is good as they have with the others.

They will be wrong.

From Rick
Taking into account the vast amount of material in the books we all know that something has to be cut out for the sake of running time when making a movie. That being said I didn't really like their decisions as to what they left in compared to what they left out. WAAAAAY too much Yule ball and Harry didnt even seem that interested in Cho through the whole movie.It was pretty funny at parts but this is supposed to be where the story starts getting dark, so why all the comedy? Im kinda torn on this movie. I would have liked it more had I not read the book....which is sadly what it seems they were shooting for.
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From Shawn
I had much the same reaction. The beginning especially felt like somebody filmed an hour long intro and then poorly edited it into a five minute clip.

I had a huge issue with how Dumbledore was portrayed. He was rash, emotional, and slightly bumbling. Not at all deliberate and in control like the books portray him. And there is no inkling of the special relationship he and Harry have.

I will admit that I shed a few tears as Harry came back from the graveyard with Cedric's body. I thought that was well done. Other than that. A plague on all four of your houses.
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From Pete
Website: http://www.peterdewolf.com
"They need only hire the right people."

Do you have anyone in mind?
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From Stef
Jess, I was going to edit what I wrote to you about the film, but there's just so much wrong that I have to post all of it.

Sorry for the length people.


The positives:

The humor, I loved. There was a lot there that kids won't get. I found myself laughing quite a lot.

The Weasley twins were fantastic. I just love them. The actors really play them well, exactly as how they come across in the books. I love all the little bits with them.

Ron, he's great. Very funny also.

Moody was just awesome. Brendan Gleeson was great in the role. I really loved him.

Emma Watson is really becoming a good little actress. I think she is definitely the best of all the kids.

I'm glad they showed more of Neville. He's a great character. People were cheerin for Neville during the film.

Miranda Richardson, how perfect is she as Rita? So good! They showed just the right amount of her also, not over doing it. Loved her!

The negatives:

Geez. If you didn't read thebook, you wouldn't have the slightest clue in hell what was going on!



I understand that it is a long book and the movie had to fit into two and a half hours, but geez! The whole beginning was just horrible. It's like, show a scene, skip to something else. Show another scene, skip to something else. It was too rushed and didn't take the time to explain things or let them transition into each other. It seemed so roughly cut to me. It's like they didn't care about anything in the beginning and just wanted to get straight to the tournament. They just showed scenes. One scene after another after another. All in order, but none adding much to the one before or building up the story. It was like when you do something during the day that has no point, and you tell somebody for no reason at all and when you end the story, the person is thinking, "What was the point of that." That was how every scene was in this film.

With the Triwizard Tournament, the first task began to get annoying to me after Harry and the dragon reached the castle and Harry fell off his broom. The second task wasn't as bad. It stuck more to how it played out in the book. I never quite liked the second task. The maze sucked. When they got to it, all I thought was, WHAT? I don't even remember the scene before it, but I remember being extremely annoyed by the jump from that to the third challenge. I understand that they didn't have enough time to do all the obstacles in the maze, but come on... they could have thrown a little something in instead of every minute or so having the hedges close in on them.

Then there is Voldemort returning. I really did love Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, BUT, I was so disappointed by that whole scene. It was so rushed with Wormtail bringing Voldie back. Also, he cut off his hand and was in no pain at all? WTF mate? What happened to Wormtail cradling his stump of an arm and crying for Voldemort to give him a new hand like he promised? Also, Dan Radcliffe was very disappointing to me here. I mean, he watched Cedric die. He saw Voldemort come back. He was going to be killed. Yet he didn't really look scared. He didn't even play the part of being in shock or being upset. He was more believable when he was mad at Ron. That whole part was a let down for me because it's one of my favorite HP book moments.

After that, the whole ending was pretty not good to me. It wasn't bad, just not good. Once again, Dan didn't pull off being saddened and horrified by what happened upon his return with Cedric's body. He was better here than in the graveyard, but not much. The whole end though is so rushed. It was quite annoyed by it. The whole Barty Crouch thing just went too fast. I don't think it really explained everything either. When they got to the kids at the end, I loved Hermoine's one line, but it was all smiles to end a horrible story. It made it seem like everything would be ok. I hated that.

Overall, I didn't like it, but I didn't not like it either, kind of like the first two films. It seemed to me like they didn't care about the whole beginning. They just wanted to really get into the story and the triwizard tournament. After rapidly getting there through very choppy scenes, they got really bored. They got bored of the tournament and got bored of the kid story lines, so they rushed to the end where it really got intense, but they didn't get intense. They just wanted to finish the damn movie. There was no build up at all. It's like they had a story to tell that they weren't thrilling about, and it really shows. The only reason I cared at all about anything in the movie is because I'm so attached to the book. Otherwise, I felt like they didn't give a damn, and neither should I. But I love the HP stories and I love the characters, so I do give a damn. I thought with POA, it was taking a step forward. POA took one step forward, and GOF took two steps back. They need to get a new writer who really cares about these stories and a director who does also. My vote is Cuaron. No more Newell.

And Jess, it is not at all better the second time. I actually slept through bit of it. I told my Nana that I give up on the Potter films.
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From EM
From the perspective of a non-HP fan; having never read one of the books or seen one of the movies, and most of my exposure to HP being what I read on JSDC...GASP...

I'm hearing a lot of good word about the current movie from people who haven't really been into the books. Also, a lot of people (critics included) who hated the first movies seem to be pleasantly surprised by this one. So fwiw, maybe this movie is geared more towards mass appeal than the others. Not that it's right, or wrong, or necessary.

JSDC is awesome. JSto is always right. Just my two cents...
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From Curt Sawyer
Website: http://ussexcalibur.blogspot.com
"Seriously though, do you think that it is even possible to make a satisfying movie with these books? Both because of the way they are written and also the fanatical fanbase."

People said the same thing about LotR, and I think they did a great job with the movies.

It is possible to take a great book and make a great movie from it, but it sounds like they did not do so with the latest HP. My wife has been griping about the HP movies since the first one and how they really didn't capture the magic of the books.
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From Jen
The films get better as time goes on, but they're still messed up. I agree, Jessica -- it IS possible to make great films out of the material that J.K. Rowling has provided -- if only the right people would be into making them.

The acting's getting better too. I remember in 'The Sorcerer's Stone' laughing at the horrible attempts of acting.

And I see your point on them spending waaaaay too much time with the scenes in the ballroom and things of that sort, rather than getting to the core of the story and the relationships and other things that build it.

Good review. I completely agree. smile
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From Jon Webster
Just watched the movie about 2 hours ago. I just couldn't help but thinking I was watching a recycled "Degrassi Jr. High" (And no, not the new one. The original. From Canada.) set at Hogwarts. I almost fell over when on the way out I over heard someone saying "Well! That certainly wasn't a movie for children." I was like - WTF! It was a piece of over edited, underwritten bit of Hollywood clap-trap that was undoubtedly filtered through a bunch of focus groups. Bahhhh. I am so sick of Hollywood anyway. Idiots.

JSto - Please get out there and -sort- -this- -s%&t- -out- !! We need some real screen writers out there.
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From Jon
What I meant to say is: "It was a piece of over edited, underwritten bit of Hollywood clap-trap that was undoubtedly filtered through a bunch of focus groups." in order to make it appeal to 'audiences of all ages.'

In any case, it was crap. Complete crap.
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From Pauly D
Website: http://pauldavidson.net
You just wish you were a real magician.
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From jellyfish
Website: http://jellyfishonline.blogspot.com
Oh, gutted. It's not out here till Dec, and I was SO looking forward to it.

I didn't like 1 or 2 very much. They were stilted, turgid in pace and lacked the passion and excitement of the books. I blamed Columbus, whose cartoony-style works fine for something like 'Home Alone' but was completely wrong for HP. (I shudder to think how 'RENT' will turn out in his hands.)

I very much enjoyed 3, especially the way Cuaron roughed things up a bit, allowed the kids a bit of naturalism/spontaineity (sp? sorry) in their performances, filmed less in studio etc. For the first time I felt the 'sweeping myth/epic' elements of the story were done justice, and I was actually moved.

I'm sorry to hear you feel 4 sucks. (You dropped the F-bomb, a rare occurrance, so you must be pissed!) I'll make up my mind when I see it I guess... I was already concerned when I realised Mike Newell is responsible not just for the awesome 'Four Weddings and etc' (penned by an excellent writer, note), but also for an awful lot of duds (Pushing Tin, anyone?).
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From Kelli
As a non-reader but watcher of the movies I must say I enjoyed the film, however I did feel that the beginning went way to fast and the end left me hanging. I also thought the part with Harry stuck in the grim reapers(?) arms during the voldemort scene was hilarious, he is a wizard for Christ sake so there is no reason he should have been stuck there. Anyways I still enjoyed it, but again I donít look at all the film school technicalities, and I havenít read the books so I really have no clue what was cut out...
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Official Comment From Jessica Mae
Pete: Actually, I don't.

Pauly: I think you mean wizard, foolio.

Everyone: Glad I didn't have to type out the list of problems with the film. I am not surprised that you are aware of them.

Studios think they can snow you with the shiny-ness, but nothing can cover for a poorly told story. Even if you leave thinking it was OK, you won't be back.

You won't buy again.

And, eventually, you will spot these weak films a mile away, will tire of them and won't go at all.

I wonder what will happen then?

From Mark
When all the movies are said and done, this one will go down as the Empire of the series. The only thing we were missing was Voldemort telling Luke^H^H^H^HHarry that he was his real father.
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Official Comment From Jessica Mae
"...this one will go down as the Empire of the series."

In the sense that it is the turning point in the series, yes.

Quality wise? It's not even close.

It really is too bad; I like the story in the HP books better than the story of the original Star Wars trilogy. Both are favorites, though.

From Jennifer Lankenau
Website: http://www.lankenausquared.com/blog.html
maybe it's because I'm not involved in the filmmaking industry in any way, nor live in LA, but I really liked it. Thought it was the best so far. Besides, with all the control JK Rowling had over the film's content, I think the film turnoed out the way she wanted it. Thought it was good stuff.
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From C.Sto
I don't know what Jessica is talking about, GOF was so awesome!....

Yeah right, I was so disappointed after leaving the theatre. This is the best HP book, well one of the best, which gave them such good material to base the movie on that they (meaning the writer and director, and anyone who was involved) have no excuse for such a crap film. And did this movie give anyone else the feeling that Harry and Ron were going to end up together?
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From Curt Sawyer
Website: http://ussexcalibur.blogspot.com
Yor, the Hunter from the Future

Worst. Movie. Ever.
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From Xyloart
It's so funny how often most everyone I talk to will be of one opinion about something, and then I come here and everyone is of the exact opposite. :P

Save for a few criticisms (Dumbledore mostly), I loved the movie, as did my friends, and I'm sorry everyone here didn't get as much enjoyment out of it as we did.

I suppose it has something to do with being in the business though. I get easily turned off when I see people badly faking playing instruments in films, only because I'm somewhat knowledgable in the area. Most people wouldn't even notice. I guess that can account for some of the dissapointment, for people who know things about movie making, and could spot problems most people wouldn't be aware of. I certainly know squat.

Not to say that this can account for everyone's poor review of course; they may have just not liked it for their own reasons.

I'm just glad I got to enjoy it. D:
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Official Comment From Jessica Mae
Art is subjective, and you do well to not let those who disagree take your enjoyment away from you.

You may even change your opinion of a work in the future, and agree with those with whom you once disagreed, but that will not mean you are wrong.

Instead, it will mean you enjoyed the work at one time, and have changed.

All of the above is totally allowed.

Of course, I still say movies of this sort that lack strong narrative do not stand the test of time.

And I ask the unanswerable question: What defines a work as art? I'd suggest a certain level of craft (which the HP script is missing), but know that there are no solid rules to the thing. Yet, there are rules that increase your chances of telling a better story. They work 99% of the time. Are you the 1% whoís skill allows something else? Can you tell?

When balancing business and art, it comes to this: I long for vision backed by passion and hard work that yields a lucrative product because it is great and if you build great, they will come. When things are done with the wrong mindset, for the wrong reasons, the work is compromised.

Still, can you tell?

From EM
Based strictly on your business/art formula, I would say HP is a huge success.

"It's the writer's fault. Fuck him."

Too many times, writers are left in the shadows (forget Damon and Affleck for argument sake) when a movie is wonderful. The actors, director, producer... get the glory. But when a movie sucks, everyone lines up to talk about the writer and her horrible screenplay.

I say "Fuck JK Rowling" assuming I were to be so crude. Steven Kloves' filmography doesn't lend itself to a HP type of flick. My guess is he's an able writer under the thumb of Rowling.

Beyone the whole "book to movie, such a personal perception" thing, all that is bad, just like all that is bad, must lie at the feet of JKR.
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From EM
Doh! All that is bad, just like all that is good...
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Official Comment From Jessica Mae
"Based strictly on your business/art formula, I would say HP is a huge success."

Oh really. I'm curious, who do you think came up with the idea for the HP films, and why?

Moving on:

Kloves has had four films to show mastery in craft.

If he knows better and is indeed under Rowling's thumb, then let him move off Potter and write his own films. (Which, he is sort of doing, but he has listed different reasons for doing so.) Or, let him stand up then, and be brave for once if he cares so much about craft and storytelling and Harry Potter and fight for a great film. Otherwise, he takes the blame for knuckling under to what he knows to be poor storytelling.

From EM
agreed.
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From Byron
It ... was so bad. I mean, I thought the first 2 were bad, and the 3rd pretty good, but the 4th book was my favorite and .... they murdered it.

Like the first 2, they just skip from action scene to action scene, but this was worse because they actually compressed the actions scenes too!

The scenes in the book are good. Why make up new ones to explain the same things done better in the book? I'm probably in the minority thinking that the casting as good, but even the actors who can act were not given a chance. I mean, who was the director? George Lucas?

I should have stayed home, like I did for star wars this year. Sheesh. Back to dancing co-ed sheep for me.

Byron
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From Amanda
Alrighty. Waited until I had seen the movie to read the post. And now I have to add to the general consensus.

WTF?! I mean REALLY.

Too. damn. chopped. up. I'm scared to know how they are going to deal with even more material in the following movies.

But I do love Emma Harris. And the Weasley twins. The rest was crap.
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