The Muggles & Me Getting Medieval at Hogwart’s!

Harry Potter is pure magic. I don’t care what any y’all haters be saying about little Harry. Shoot! I love that four-eyed geek. He is always super sincere, and he has that cool, lightning bolt, forehead scar, and an even cooler striped scarf. It’s like a pure, courageous, 10 year-old John Lennon got scooped up from the early 50’s and dropped in the Durselys’ residence (the foster family that torment Harry in the wizards’ off season). Now tell me, what’s not great about that?

There’s also wizards, witches, dragons, worlocks, giants, elves, house elves (Dobby will break your heart), pure evil, black magic, all manner of slavering beasts, Dementors, Death Eaters, and lots of English kids in peril. If you don’t have little ones or haven’t seen the seven (Seven! Going on eight!!!) films for whatever reason, I say you ignore the PG Rating and give yourself over. Getting started is a little rough, a little saccharine, but the movies really mature from feature to feature. The second one, THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, is a bit kiddie film cookie-cutter. Next up, Alfonso Curan’s THE PRISONER OF ASKABAN, is actually a way cool surprise. Just when I thought the series would follow part II into the unremarkable void, round III turns out pretty damn incredible. Colored a bit Burton-esque in its textures (everybody’s skin is kind of a pallid, pale greenish-silver-gray), it features some exceptional time travel sequences that twist the plot up nicely and there’s also scary werewolves and Gary Oldman as wizened, fugitive worlock Sirius Black (cool name, right?).

Episodes four and five, THE GOBLET OF FIRE and THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX, are okay. They have some nice sequences (dragons and ghosts and Quidditch liven things up), but things aren’t surreal and artsy interesting like in Curan’s part III, nor are they as tightly wound as the future films. They meander some, yet can’t be skipped if you plan on tackling the series because they add to the complexity of the everly complex plot. I gotta give HP credit where credit is due. The narrative isn’t easy stuff. There is a brainy streak that keeps the movies smart, guaranteeing their classic status. Mark my words, Loyal Reader, these films, as a whole, especially with part VI and VII (part one thus far) (along with the books) will be revered.

So then, parts VI, THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, and VII, THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS (Part One), really ratchet things up. They’re grittier and feel a bit more like action movies (with characters who have deep roots and more at stake as the players we have actually grown to care about). But wait, no, that’s not quite it. I’m not much into action films. They bore the crap out of me. The later HP movies are different. They have momentum. They feel urgent. And don’t get me wrong, where Curan’s entry may be more arty, he definitely dances to the beat of his own drum, the last two films have a level of artistry that give them their own style. Director David Yates does his thing. He’s crafted a visual style that suits the series. It’s solid, fantasy fimmaking.

(Another reason to check out POTTER – Carter’s deranged Bellatrix Lestrange…she’s a real mean one)

Well then, tonight, it all ends. Tonight, my Loyal Reader, Harry and I walk into the abyss. I hope things wrap up nicely. I’m guessing Harry dies, because the only way for Voldemort to die is for Harry to die, but then, since this is still kiddie fare, the young wizard will come back somehow and every body will live happily ever after (which is okay with me, though I think the series would be awesome, and much more emotionally resonant if they let Harry go out as a martyr).

While waiting for my definitive review, why not learn how to Dobby? Everybody’s doing it!


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