Friday, November 23, 2001

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: by Flickerchick

If you loved this movie, you probably are going to wonder what is wrong with me. I did believe Hollis's review, but she is very smart and easily jaded, so I thought it was the artistic perfectionist that resides in her soul. BUT boy oh boy, I even feel I have to take it one farther. Harry is WOEFULLY miscast in this film. He is not like the Harry in the book at all. Harry is described as small for his age, with a big head, unruly hair that just cannot be tamed, green eyes and a little awkward. He is also very innocent, and he is usually shocked and surprised at the incidental magic effects that he does by accident. He is actually a rather sad child, lost in fact- a little boy who actually doesn't belong in the Muggle world. He is Dickensian. He is also his own little morality tale. The Harry in the movie is smug, and has a VERY irritating way of smirking at the action before it even occurs. He is like a kid in rehearsals who laughs before the line is said. He is all knowing- and his half smiling line delivery drove me crazy. This kid is a BAD actor, PERIOD. He could have made this movie come alive if he had been capable of any emotion other than open mouthed surprise and half grinning surprise. The criticisms that this movie didn't let you know Harry Potter at all are quite valid. This kid should never have been cast, and it is dreadful that he is recast. He looks way older than Harry should look. He also seems to be walking through the role. Just compare his miserable performance with that of the kids playing the know-it-all Hermione and the affable Ron Weasley. The adults in the film all seem to be doing their over-the-top best to hold the story together. The music is inexplicably pompous- John Williams has composed a score that positively ruins moments of the film. What was he thinking? This isn't Star Wars for goodness sake- it is a simply charming children's fable of magical telling, NOT really an overbearing film of intergalactic aggression. A better choice in the future would be the music of Danny Elfman. At least he an make the music seem fanciful.
I was so disappointed that this film seemed like only a series of scenes, as if the main job was not to get the feel of the book, but merely to tell the story with a certain sterility so that the "book" could make the screen. I would refer Chris Columbus (and why was a man who did Home Alone and Bicentennial Man selected to begin with- god, Woody Allen would have understood it better) to the screen adaptation of such books as Gone With the WInd and To Kill a Mockingbird as examples of being faithful to a book but capturing the essence of the feelings of the reader. There is more to movie making than just putting the faithful retelling on the screen, and this movie didn't do it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Hollis

Hollis does guest review) Hollis felt there were some negatives in this movie: the kids seemed to be acting like they KNEW what was going to happen; there was an emphasis on the story only-not the characters development; Harry never seemed surprised at all the stuff that happened to him, as if he were prescient, there was no sense of his sense of wonder; the larger threats of trouble or danger in the book weren't present; and they glossed over Harry's relationship with Snape, and you'd never know why they suspect Snape or why Snape saves Harry; and worst of all, Hollis felt that they left out important things that will be necessary to understand the sequels. Hollis says her main problem is that except for Ron and Hagrid, she didn't have any real empathy for the other characters- that they were constantly acting as if they knew exactly what was going to be said next. The dialogue felt calculated rather than spontaneous. But she felt the special effects were great to watch and the set was beautiful.