Trivial Opinions

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Archive for July, 2009

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Posted by Jack Deus on July 28, 2009

*Warning, this review may contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie, proceed at your own risk.*

My first impression after Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ended was “That was a good movie, but why did they change a crucial part at the end?” I won’t mention the specifics of the scene I’m talking about so as not to spoil the ending, but if you read the book and have seen the movie, the scene where Harry and Dumbledore return to the clock tower is what I’m referring to.

I know comparing movies to the books on which they are based is often a pointless, fruitless, and meaningless exercise, but I can’t help wondering why certain themes are changed or left out, when they can easily be brought into the movie. I especially don’t understand when some of the themes are brought into the movie, but only done so half-heartedly, or are changed by the end of the movie.

The clock tower scene I was referring to before was guilty of both theme faux pas mentioned above. Very early on in the movie, a spell, Petrificus Totalus, is introduced that causes the person struck by the spell to become frozen, unable to move or speak. In the book, this spell comes into play in the clock tower scene, but they completely leave it out in the movie, changing the dynamic of the whole scene. This change in dynamic causes the second theme faux pas. “Hot-headed Harry” is an overarching theme of all 7 books, and of the first 5 movies. Even in this movie it comes into play. About half-way through the movie, some Deatheaters (bad guys for you non-Harryphiles) attack where Harry is staying, and he blindly chases them into a corn field, with no concern for his safety or the safety of anyone around him. But in the clock tower scene, because the PT spell isn’t used, Harry’s whole demeanor changes without any good explanation.

That scene had the most glaring theme changes, and it was also towards the end, so it was the one scene that stuck with me when the movie was over. But, thinking more about the movie a couple of days later, I am noticing more and more themes that were changed, left-out, or thrown in as an afterthought that are fairly vital to the overall progress of the plot of the story and the actions and decisions of the characters.

Without spoiling too much of the movie, here is a brief list of just some of the themes not done well, or at all in the movie: Dumbledore not being at Hogwarts for most of the year despite the imminent danger of all the students (especially Harry) at Hogwarts, the ongoing and growing feud between Draco Malfoy and Harry, how engrossed into and obsessed with the Half-Blood Prince’s potions book Harry became, and the back and forth questioning of who Severus Snape is really working for-Dumbledore or Voldemort.

Despite all of my quibbles over the themes of the movie, I still thought it was a very good movie. The acting has done nothing but get better as the movies have progressed. Most notably, Emma Watson does a good job of showing a good range of true emotion as needed (and it is needed in this movie a lot), but doesn’t ham it up. The action and magic scenes are superbly done (oh, to be a movie fan during the age of computer awesomeness!). I can’t really comment on the progression of the plot, because I remember too much of the book, so my subconscious may have filled in any holes in the movie, but my wife is notorious for forgetting books she’s read and movies she’s seen and she didn’t mention anything that didn’t make sense, so that must have been done well. I can say, however, that the pace of the movie was well done. Despite it being two and a half hours long, I didn’t find myself looking at my watch once, and more of a sign that the pace was moving along well, my wife only looked at the time once during the whole movie, and stayed awake during the whole thing.

As far as a stand-alone movie, this one was probably the best of the six so far. I just wish they would have split the book into two movies, like they are doing for the final one, The Deathly Hallows. That way they would have been able to flesh out a lot of the themes they stubbed their toes on.


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Why July Flies By

Posted by Jack Deus on July 21, 2009

Wow. Three weeks gone in July and not one single post? I’m slipping. I don’t have a good reason for not talking to you for so long, my loyal readers, but I do have a bunch of OK reasons.

1) My buddy SkidVis got me an iPod Touch for my birthday (I know, pretty sweet friend, right?) and I downloaded the WordPress app for it. On July 5th I wrote an awesome post about bike trails and the interesting people I saw using that app. I was only 90% done so I saved it in local draft mode and when I went to finish it the next day it was gone. The only thing that was left was the title of the post. I wrote the post in “the heat of the moment” after the bike ride and I couldn’t remember half of what I said, so I just scrapped it.

2) July 8thI was packing and otherwise getting ready to go to Cancun with my wife. I also took my daughter to JCPenney to get her 1 year photos taken.

3) July 9th-12thI was in Cancun with my wife. I probably would’ve tried to write another post on my iPod Touch while on one of my 4 layovers in the airports, but I couldn’t connect to a WiFi signal in any of them and I wasn’t about to write a report I couldn’t post right away. By the way, the trip was awesome and long enough (every time we told someone we were going for 4 days they said it would be too short). The beaches were sandy and full of cool shells for me to collect, the sun shined almost the whole time, the food was great, and the company (my wife) couldn’t have been more lovely.

4) July 13th-15th My dad and I drove down to St. Louis for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. I brought my laptop to write a post but lo-and-behold the hotel didn’t have wireless. We had a blast, though. I got to Busch Stadium at 10am (the game didn’t start until 7pm) to walk around, enjoy the atmosphere, and try to score some autographs. Mission accomplished! I was one of the first people in line to get Milwaukee Brewers‘ first baseman Prince Fielder‘s autograph (he won the Home Run Derby the night before so the line got pretty long, pretty quick). My dad and I stopped at a Wal-Mart in Kansas City to get a few baseballs and Sharpies so I could collect the autographs, but unfortunately Prince was only signing these little cards as part of a promotion with… I forget who. As I was in that line I heard that Cardinals great Lou Brock would be signing shortly so as soon as I congratulated Prince on winning the Derby the night before I made my way over to Lou’s tent. Being in St. Louis, I wasn’t surprised that Lou’s line was longer than Prince’s but I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to get through it before he had to go get ready for the parade later that day. Luckily I did get through and instead of a stupid card, Lou was signing 8×10 glossy photos, and had a MLB associate standing next to him authenticating the signatures as he was doing it. I didn’t have much time to talk to either person, but I do want to point out that they were both super nice guys. The game was awesome and my seats were even better. We were three rows behind the National League bullpen, so a lot of home runs were hit our way during batting practice. My dad even caught a ball tossed into the stands by Raul Ibanez of the Phillies and gave it to me. Because I was so close to the bullpen, every half inning (the ushers made me sit down during actual play) I would run to the side of the bullpen and ask the players to sign my balls. In the fifth I was finally able to convince Heath Bell of the Padres to sign one for me. Too bad he ended up being the losing pitcher that night.

5) July 15th (evening) and still ongoing. I started feeling a little under the weather when my wife and I went out to eat the night I got back from St. Louis. For the next 3 days I got worse and worse, until yesterday I started feeling a little better, and today I feel a little better still, but I’m not anywhere near 100% yet. Basically, somehow I ingested some tainted water while I was in Mexico, and after an apparent 3 day latency period, whatever was in the water decided to attack my digestive system. This is sometimes called Montezuma’s Revenge, but is more commonly referred to as traveler’s diarrhea. Boy, that name couldn’t be any more accurate. I went to the bathroom over 100 times in 4 days. No joke. I also got a fever trying to fight the infection and sweated through 8 shirts, 5 pairs of pajama pants, and 3 sets of sheets over 3 nights. I hope none of you ever have to go through what I went though, so whenever you go south of the border make sure to stay as far away from non-bottled water as you can. Not just drinking, but brushing your teeth, washing your hands, even taking a shower. OK, maybe the shower thing is going a little too far, but if that’s how I got this bug I would skip a shower for an entire year, rather than go through a week of this again.

6) As SkidVis so eloquently Twittered on July 20th, “If ur like me, u tweet often cuz u feel it counts as updating ur website.” I have been thinking this way, but I’m going to try to get away from this mentality. Have no fear, Twitter followers, I will still update Twitter just like I have been, I just won’t count it in my mind as a website update.

So, I apologize for not updating weekly as I promised at the beginning of the year, but I will do my best to finish the year off as I started it, with a post every week.

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