While watching Top Chef All-Stars, I just made a batch of bourbon franks -- they'll steep in the fridge and then tomorrow we'll have them with some boxed macaroni & cheese. (grin) If that's not festive enough for the season, and believe me, bourbon franks are pretty damned festive, there are suddenly Christmas cookies lurking in the kitchen. Snowballs. My favorites. I think Mrs. Dr. Phil loves me. And loves Christmas. (double-trouble-grin)
Tuesday Double Feature Part Two
Over the weekend we did our pre-lab for HP 7.1 -- watched the DVD of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Because we had to wait to see HP 7.1, we couldn't see it in IMAX. But that's okay.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One [PG-13]
Celebration Cinema North, Theatre #17, 2×$7.50
And now we get serious... No question about it. After ten years of filming and seven of eight films (and six-and-a-half of seven books), Harry Potter has grown up. Both the character and the story. And it is getting more serious by the moment. We know we're getting to the final battle -- and it doesn't matter that we've read the book and know what's going to happen. In the movie-verse on the screen, it hasn't happened yet.
As I commented in summer 2009, I think breaking the last book into two parts is brilliant strategy. And I don't mean that in a bad way, as if only marketing and filthy greed was involved. Last year I wrote: "At 158 minutes, HP6 is about the right length and twenty minutes longer that HP5. But we did miss the ending of the book version." HP 7.1 clocks in at 150 minutes. What would one cut to make the whole thing fit in one film? How much longer can you make an American audience sit in a theatre? No. Like Peter Jackson filming LOTR in three films, doing Deathly Hallows in two parts is the thing to do.
I'm sure some will complain that this movie is all about waiting moves. Well, yeah. In parts. But you have to show some of this friction between Harry, Hermione and Ron. And the devastation and fear that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are spreading in both the wizarding and muggle worlds. At one point our three main characters walk through a destroyed mobile home park and emptied countryside. Bleak. Yeah, this is wizarding armageddon here, folks.
And like desperate times, there are moments of pleasure and amusements. A bit of dancing in the tent is a tough counterpoint to the interrupted dancing at Bill and Fleur's wedding. There's no handholding here -- either you know the characters and the places or you don't. You've had six movies to learn the playlist, now it's time to put the pieces in play.
I love Kreacher, who hates Harry Potter with a passion, but is obligated to help him. And the ex-house elf Dobby, who loves Harry Potter and will help him to the extent of his powers. And elf powers are not the same as wizards, which helps them out of some tough jams. But we're also losing characters. Some incapacitated with battle injuries and some killed outright. And trust -- oh many do we have trust issues between the good guys.
Still, not all is sunshine and light, so to speak, over on the dark side. Voldemort holding the most uncomfortable boardroom meeting as information is traded and debated. Lucious Malfoy being broken and desperate. Bellatrix, so ably acted by Helena Bonham Carter, being mad and wantonly destructive.
We want the good side to win, of course, so it cheers us when the bad guys are incompetent. But "our" side is ineffective and divided. And between shapeshifting and polyjuice potions, no one trusts who the other really is. And in the middle of the film our heroes head straight into the fallen Ministry of Magic. Ugh -- is there a more despicable character than the very pink Dolores Umbridge? Fantastically designed character.
Outstanding "new" character? Bill Nighy shows up as the deposed Minster of Magic and has to have a talk with Harry, Hermione and Ron. Well done, Bill. And Hermione's purse -- legendary. (grin)
We were very happy with what they've done with HP 7.1. And we'll be there bright and early for HP 7.2, you can be assured.
Oh... and the snowball cookies? Mmmm... wonderful. Along with a couple of delightful kumquats. Beginning to get into the mood for Christmas for sure. Holiday movies and vacation definitely help that a great deal. (grin)