Sunday, April 3, 2011

Movie review: Harry Potter 6 and Tron: Legacy

I'm way late on reviewing this to do anybody any good, but I'd invite discussion if you think differently. I finally got to see HP6 on the plane in to Copenhagen for a work conference and was rather disappointed. There are of course spoilers in here so I'll put it below the fold. By way of comparison, lest anyone think I'm a tough critic, I loved what they did with #4 and I liked movie #5 better than I liked book #5. This is the first of the series I thought really fell short.

I also got to see Tron: Legacy. My review of that is much shorter and I don't need to spoil anything. Here goes:

Tron 2 had some nice special effects and was great video game nerd bait. That was its job. Okay, so most of the plot and story elements were overly recycled. Okay, so they really could have done a better job developing the Tron character. Like, giving him a line? Okay, the obligatory romance was based on shared hardship instead of bonding over ANYthing they had in common other than good looks. So I could see the plot "twists" coming from 20 minutes away. So what? It was a summer action flick. With low expectations comes low responsibility. They even gave me a nice religious metaphor on our dual nature and godly sacrifice. I call that a win. Good job, team.

Now on to the high expectations fallen short.

I dislike that half the movie was spent in sepia or green sepia. I really miss the vibrant colors in the first movie.

I dislike how fast they had to make the pacing. I could fill in the answers because I've read the book twice, but there's only enough of a hint at several things that if you hadn't read it it would make no sense. I would much rather see 6 cut in two parts, or 6 and 7 told in three than see two parts of 7 and one of 6. To me, half of 7 is spent wandering around in a tent with no clue. I think you could cut a great deal from it and still have the magnificent climax. Ah well.

I especially dislike the directing. It's like if Keanu Reeves directed. To me this was supposed to be the most passionate of the books - real anguish and remorse and revenge and romance, all for more reason than "I'm portraying teenage angst" like in book 5... and they were told to deliver every line in an almost-monotone. That's fine for Snape (usually), that's his job. But not for the others. It made Hermione's revenge flat, killed the electricity between Harry and Ginny, Harry and Snape, and even Harry and Draco. Draco gets to hit Harry once and then later they're suddenly dueling and Harry nearly kills the boy. What was going on?? I think Ron got to emote a much wider range than he usually does and did a good job of it.

I disliked how they did Harry and Ginny's romance. In book/movie 5, Harry is largely clueless about relationships and women. He bumbles and fumbles and so does Ron. Suddenly in movie 6 he understands exactly what he wants, wants it passionately (and flatly), and knows how to get it. Ginny doesn't put up any fight but there's this "well, we're supposed to be awkward, so I guess we'll look away from each other" attempt but I'm just not feeling it because they're told to act so flatly. Harry never has to replace Dean ... Ginny just waltzes on up and they're a couple. And no angst over his relationship with Ron should he pursue the relationship with Ginny?? Ron doesn't even get to comment on it: Hermione has to do it for him. What?? The one nice thing is that they left Ron and Hermione's relationship more up in the air so Ron's confusion in book 7 is more understandable. But then what was this advertising picture that swept Facebook showing Hermione leaping into his arms with flame around them for a big triumphant kiss?

I also confess to being confused at some choices they made at the ending. 1) Harry gets to move. Dumbledore didn't paralyze him. ??? He honestly chooses to stand still while Dumbledore is surrounded by baddies? 2) Harry sees Snape coming up. Snape puts a hand to his mouth to suggest he remain quiet and hidden. This is entirely out of character for him. He would have been angry and sent Potter away if he saw him. It also harms the later reveal of Snape's allegiances. 3) The battle between Harry and Snape was amazingly anticlimactic. I had envisioned this near-crazed Snape, nostrils flaring, showing an emotion other than disgust for one of the few times as he tells Potter not to use his own spells on him, revelling in the revealing of himself as the Half-Blood Prince ... and here he is flat again, delivering every line the way he asks for an omelet or tells Harry not to pick his nose in potions. I also don't care for Harry being the only one to approach the body and grieve, but that was Rowling's odd choice. As if McGonagall or Madame Pomfrey wouldn't have come to see to him, and no one notices Harry "looting" the corpse in plain sight. Come on.

Jim Broadbent does a fine job as Ian Holm's Slughorn (by which I mean: I thought Bilbo was playing Slughorn until I checked IMDB - on a plane's screen it's all about the voice). He's an extremely sympathetic Slughorn. He doesn't look much like a walrus, though, as I recall Slughorn being described. I had pictured more of a diminutive Leo McKern (Rumpole, currently deceased), with a deeper, gruffer voice, more avarice than grandfatherly senility. But he'll do nicely. Given that they got everyone else spot on (other than turning the toad into an evil Donna Reed in movie 5) I can happily give them a pass on this one.

The armchair effect was brilliant. Getting the horcrux was well done, mostly. The obligatory Quidditch scene was well done, though since its primary job in the movie was to show Hermione likes Ron and we have plenty of examples of that, we probably could have dropped Quidditch and McClagen altogether to help continuity. Probably been cheaper too.

So yeah, I was really disappointed. But at least now I can watch 7 part 1 when I next run into it.

1 comment:

  1. I liked Tron Legacy. The story was one that has been used before but they did make it work. The visuals were great also. If you pay close attention bot the CGI Flynn in the beginning and Clu think that their destiny lies on the other side. I went to see it in 3D and got a headache from the glasses so I didn't really get to enjoy the whole movie like I wanted to. Luckily though I found out through my job at Dish Network that I can order the movie in HD in just a few days so I will be watching it again.