We braved ice and fog to go down to see Harry Potter this morning. And yes, it was indeed icy, which was a bit traumatic for me. Last time I was walking on glare ice, I fell and seriously injured my knee. That was last February and I’m still doing physical therapy and taking the occasional pain killer. We did make it across the glare ice of the parking lot safely, but the manager of the movie theater did find regret in his decision to put no salt out to keep his customers in said parking lot safe. Yes, it was an embarrassing spectacle for all but when we left the theater after the movie the staff kept their distance and we had salt and sand on the ground all the way out to the car.

In fact, it was so icy this morning that my father in law had to tape sandpaper to his feet to make it down the driveway to get the newspaper. I think that was a very clever idea but I’m not sure the local newspaper is worth it these days. They always seem to have the same stuff, a day late, and are often out of touch with any reality I’m currently participating in. For instance, they ran a piece the other day listing a dozen of the “best little known” places to eat in Minneapolis. I’d eaten in most of them, and a few, more than a few times. Does that make me a little known eater? I’m not sure, but I am happy that they did not discover the truly little known places that even I don’t know about but still eat at now and then.

Anyway, about the movie. This is the seventh of eight in a series of seven, the last one being the last book split in two parts, of the Harry Potter story. I’m glad they split this one into two parts. I think they should have split the last one into two parts as well. In fact, more than half of the movies they make from books should probably be split into two parts.

People who like movies will like this a lot. People who tend to not like the movies they’ve seen will find much to complain about. Harry potter movies, since the first one, seem to assume that we’ve read the books, and this one does so to the Nth degree. That actually allows the movies to be better than they otherwise might be. Like the ideal classroom lecture on a complex subject, where you’ve assigned 100 pages of reading and know that everyone has absorbed that material and fully understands it, and has formulated just exactly the right questions in their minds that will provide the motivation for enthrallment in the day’s lesson.

But enough fantasy, let’s get back to the movie.

I laughed, I cried, but that was mostly in the parking lot before the movie and in regards to driving conditions. The movie itself was, indeed, a Harry Potter tear jerker. By this time in the story, not everyone is surviving every scene (that started in the last book IIRC). There is real adolescent angst going on among Harry, Ron and Hermione. It was most shocking to see a nude sex scene involving all three of them (am I giving too much away?)

To calibrate, we watched the first Harry Potter movie last night. This latest one is an order of magnitude better, if only because the ability to make good special effects has actually improved a great deal during the course of these few years. Also, as you know from reading the books, the pace has changed considerably. That’s not good or bad, just notable. The first 25% of the first movie is all about getting a letter delivered. The world as we know it changes once or twice during the first 25% of this latest one.

The movie was the best of the lot so far, but only of value if you know the story and have seen the other movies. There is no question that you’ll be seeing it if that is the case, so I have no interest in trying to persuade you one way or another. The real question that remains is this: Of all the characters, which one aged most since the start of the series? Here’s my list, most aging to least

1) Snape
2) Ollivander
3) Hermione
4) The Twins
5) Ron
6) Harry
7) Everybody else

Comments

  1. #1 Rosie Redfield
    November 21, 2010

    If you get yourself a pair of YakTrax, you can stop worrying about slipping on the ice again.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 21, 2010

    Seriously? I’ll look into that.

  3. #3 HP
    November 21, 2010

    I was a bit disappointed by the nude scene, FWIW. It felt like a shot-for-shot remake of the similar scene in Y tu mama, tambien, but with gratuitous CGI.

  4. #4 John Moeller
    November 21, 2010

    Snape? No. Ron. Rupert Grint looks like he belongs in a Guy Ritchie movie now.

  5. #6 Bob Day
    November 21, 2010

    Draco Malfoy would be pretty high on that list.

  6. #7 IBY
    November 21, 2010

    The movie was truly a tearjerker, and quiet grim. The saddest part was Hermione’s action at the beginning and a certain character’s death at the end.

  7. #8 MadScientist
    November 22, 2010

    I watch the movies to avoid reading the books; my “books to read” list is always too long.

    As for YakTrax, I’ll be looking for something similar soon. There’s too much ice to walk comfortably and too little to skate. Balancing on level terrain is still ok for me, but there’s this hill and I’m not keen on the idea of crawling up it.

  8. #9 Shawn Smith
    November 22, 2010

    By this time in the story, not everyone is surviving every scene (that started in the last book IIRC).

    SPOILERS AHEAD for people who haven’t seen any of the movies after the third (Prisoner of Azkaban):

    Well, to be honest, it started in Goblet of Fire (with Cedric) and continued in Order of the Phoenix (with Sirius.) Of course, Dumbledore buying it at the end of Half-Blood Prince started to lay the groundwork for the rather large body count that is Deathly Hallows.

  9. #10 Amy
    November 22, 2010

    YakTrax don’t work so well on glare ice – I tried. They are good for snow/ice mix though.

  10. #11 Camille
    November 22, 2010

    My only recommendation is to wait a couple of weeks until all of the pre-teens have seen it. Saw it Saturday (brought 5 of those pre-teens) and the theater was packed with young people comparing the movie to the book or forecasting the next scene.

  11. #12 rob
    November 22, 2010

    well, to be fair, it is called *Deathly* Hallows, and not sunshine-unicorns-happy-gumball Hallows. I am not surprised to hear that characters die.

    speaking of characters that die, if you want to read a good book series that is almost wrapped up and is going to have and HBO show, check out G.R.R Martins “Song of Ice and Fire” series. the first book is “A Game of Thrones.”

    here is a spoiler free review:

    http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/Books/Entry/160/

    p.s. i would avoid reading anything else about the books except the review above. there are *a lot* of potential spoilers.

  12. #13 ***Dave
    November 22, 2010

    After the movie, we headed over to a restaurant that happened to have a “HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone” poster (actually, it was a “Philosopher’s Stone” poster, which filled me with some Anglophilic glee, but I digress). It was astonishing seeing the very sharp contract between the kids then and now.

    I echo the person who called out Draco for the “aged/grown most” list.

    And, sadly, Snape as well. Love Alan Rickman, but he was not looking well in that movie.

  13. #14 travc
    November 23, 2010

    The showings around Davis were absolutely packed. Lots of nerdy college students ;)

    As for the age thing…
    I’m pretty sure Richard Harris (Dumbledore in movies #1 and #2) wins. Macabre, but true.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the aging actually. Even in the adults. TIme has passed, and the conspicuous aging makes the advancement in themes actually work for me. It also makes that pseudo-sex-scene hallucination a lot less creepy. Hermione (Emma Watson) is an attractive *young woman* at this point.

    I’m really looking forward to the next film. If it is done as well as the last few, the payoff seeing all the ‘lesser’ characters step-up during the big battle will be great. Hell, I’ll admit that I’ll probably have to watch it a few time to actually catch all the action through teared-up eyes.

    PS: I was disappointed that they didn’t show the painting on Luna’s bedroom ceiling. That is one of the biggest ‘tear-jerkers’ I’ve ever come across.

  14. #15 Greg Laden
    November 23, 2010

    Travc, yes, that (dumbledore) was the first one that occurred to me. But then, I thought better of it.

    I don’t remember Luna’s bedroom ceiling.

    Actually, I never read this book. Julia read it out loud to us while we were traveling in South Africa. For the entire time I thought that the three of them (harry, ron, and Harmonie) were in the habit of saying “H-E-Double Hockeysticks” when they wanted to swear. Turns out it was on the fly editing. I also don’t remember the pseudo sex scene. Hmmm..

  15. #16 Clara
    December 2, 2010

    Hi Greg,

    My name is Clara and I work with Yaktrax. Have you invested in a pair yet? If so, I’d love to hear your feedback! If not, send me an email! We have several different products and it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter- we always host fun contests and giveaways!

    On a side note- I enjoyed the movie, except I’m not ready for it to end! I appreciate that they follow the book- but nothing is better than Harry Potter in my imagination :)

    Take care- no slipping!

    Clara

    http://www.facebook.com/yaktrax
    http://www.twitter.com/yaktrax

  16. #17 Emma Lopaz
    January 20, 2013

    I Love Harry Potter Film.