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John Crichton

Potterdom Film/Score Series Thread

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So much for subtle references and spoiler notations. Oh well.

Was that scene even in the book?

Not so much. I can't remember Voldemort casting spells on the trio while they're out in the woods.

After Harry, Ron, and Hermione recapture a horcux, the book shows how they spend months trekking around in the wilderness without a real plan or strategy to destroy it or what their next action is. Ron and Hermione want to find the horcruxes, while Harry wants to stop someone from finding the Deathly Hallows, which nobody else believes in.

All that down time and threat of being found is not enough tension for Rowling. Ron insults Hermione, who now cold shoulders him though it's obvious they love each other. By placing this horcrux on their persons to keep it safe, its evil manifests through violent and aggressive tendencies, much like the One Ring. In the book, Ron and Harry exchange words and blows over family issues and cowardice, which pushes Ron away, leaving Harry and Hermione to tread water for even more months doing nothing. It's not until after Christmas that they figure out how to destroy the horcrux; events happen which bring Ron back into the fold, and the trio makes peace.

The film probably doesn't want to spend months idling, so to raise the stakes, a Harry/Hermione kiss could definitely catalyze Ron into leaving the group. We do see them fight in the trailer. If the kiss happens when Harry and Hermione have nothing to do after Ron leaves for book reasons, it would take a lot of self-control to keep it from moving to the next level.

They're more like brother and sister, though, so this kiss is just wrong.

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So much for subtle references and spoiler notations. Oh well.

Was that scene even in the book?

Not so much. I can't remember Voldemort casting spells on the trio while they're out in the woods.

They're more like brother and sister, though, so this kiss is just wrong.

The only reason I knew about that scene was because there was an interview linked on Yahoo where Radcliff talks about how passionately she kisses, so being the dirty old man that I am, I clicked on it and it described the scene.

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At first I thought that Ebert had mixed up Ginny and Hermione. When I thought about it, I think I do remember reading about this a few months ago and not being phased, which I forgot about when I listened to the book in August.

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(Spoilerised for those few who didn't read the book)

To me it's obvious this is the scene when Ron comes back, tries to destroy the Locket with the sword, and Voldemort's spirit from inside it speaks to his greatest fears (always being second-best to Harry, having Hermione taken from him by Harry etc.) and shows him a vision of Harry and Hermione together. In the book they're not described as naked, but they're embracing each other, mocking Ron, and kissing. The film just juices it up a bit, but I can clearly imagine Ron's fearful imagination running wild there

;)

Harry and Hermione hugging and kissing naked, while Ron is there with them? Please... Perhaps in the adult version titled "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows", but I'd guess there Ron wouldn't mind and join in instead ;)

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Gadzooks, ChrisAfonso, you nailed it! Something like that was nagging at me as I wrote my nonsense above, but that's exactly what happened.

It would make better sense if they were manifested as people instead of the bizarre forms described in the book.

And in that case, it's not Voldemort himself acting against Ron anymore than it was Voldemort himself acting against Ginny in Chamber of Secrets. It's the memory and soul of Voldemort acting out through the horcrux, as he doesn't figure out how the odds are turning against him until after Gringotts.

It's out of character for the real Harry to kiss the real Hermione.

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Hermione should have ended up with Draco.

Harry clearly belonged with that loony chick. Throw that Asian chick into the mix as well.

The couples in the last movies (I know Hermione and Ron technically aren't together yet) have been awkward and terrible. The girl who plays Ginny is the worst actor in the entire franchise.

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Just came back from the latest HP film. Again though, (although from the first couple of minutes I had some hopes,) bland screenplay, and even blander directing. Why they didn't get another director for the most popular phenomenon/franchise since Star Wars or so is beyond me.

The music works well, but is mixed way too low - even during the end credits! It's also rather obvious that Yates just doesn't allow for any music that would take over his visuals, no immediately identifiable melody, no statements, etc. - what I mean is: it doesn't get to be equal to the film in its enunciation. That said, given the limitations, I still love what Desplat has done with the material. It's BY FAR the best thing in the film. A louder mix would definitely have benefited the film. (Why crap like Inception gets an obnoxiously loud mix and actual music gets trampled over is beyond me. But let's not go there.)

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I haven't heard the score or seen the film yet, but from the comments I'm reading about the lack of any real thematic identity I'm thinking that must be Yates' preference. Maybe it wasn't all Hooper's fault after all.

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I just saw the film about an hour ago or so, and it really is one of the best films of the series. Hard for me to say how it compares to my 2 favorites(Azkaban and Goblet) but it's definitely in that league of very good adaptation PLUS being an engaging and exciting film. The music, as mentioned by fommes, was mixed pretty darn low, and it seemed like Yates didn't even use a lot of what I had heard on the CD (did "Lovegood", one of my favorites on the CD, actually play during the scene? I don't think it did. It does on the end credits though). Even though the score is not one of my favorites of the series, It was a shame it wasn't heightened properly. There was some unreleased music in certain parts, but nothing really memorable (but I think there was one scene with another Hedwig's theme statement, besides a very quiet little bit of it heard on the WB logo, btw).

I'll need to see it again, but especially after connecting it to Part 2 (if it does turn out successful), it could be joined as my favorite entry in the series (as was the novel itself, imo).

Note:

I find it interesting that one of the remaining 3 bonus tracks for that Limited Edition set is for the story of the three brothers (one of the coolest parts in the film, btw) because I don't recall any music at all in that scene. If I mistook it as a sound effect, it is very minimal and would probably be a very uninteresting bonus track (which I was hoping it would be interesting). Perhaps Desplat actually did compose some music for it not heard in the film that we will get to hear in that bonus track. We'll see.

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I'm surprised somewhat at you guys' positive reaction on the film. I mean, it's still enjoyable and all, and it has some good moments, much like the previous Yates films, but to say it's so much better?

My big criticism is that it never has much emotional impact (besides the Hermione scene at the very beginning), partly due to a bad screenplay, partly due to bad direction. Let me use a comparison: it's like action scenes (and indeed, in this film too, like that chase through the forest): if you don't know where the characters are and why it's supposed to be tense (why they're being chased or why they're running; or in that scene: why they don't disapparate), there is no impact.

Even though I read the book back when it was released (I purposely didn't pick it up again until the film), during many scenes I was too busy wondering about something that was not clearly explained or made clear (either through bad writing, or bad directing), so the scene itself loses all possible impact. And my friend hasn't read any of the books, and it was the same with her. We talked about an hour afterwards, me explaining (or even conjecturing) things to her because the film was so sloppy. A few examples, though I've forgotten many already.

- bad introduction of Scrimgeour; what happened to the familiar Minister of Magic?

- why does Kreacher, so obviously antagonistic to the cause, and both H & R, so quickly answer Harry truthfully and carry out his orders?

- the question if Ginny and the rest are all right doesn't seem to bother them much longer than the first two minutes or so (the radio debacle doesn't count because by that time it's like the characters already know that nobody got hurt or so). As a viewer you go like: 'wait, are the others ok? Harry, Hermione & Ron don't seem to be worried, so we guess they're all right'. And the focalisation is ok, but then they just put that train scene right in there. Weird.

- who got the date of Harry's journey right, Snape or that other guy? It was such a big deal in the opening scenes, and then nothing is made of it.

- why did Voldemort and Harry's battle result in another one of those Priori things - my guess is it was something else (Voldemort had another wand) but visually it was pretty much the same.

- how did the Elder Wand get from Grindelwald to Dumbledore? Why leave out the history of Dumbledore part, or does that come in Part II?

- why was that weird thief guy we don't know, part of clearly a very important operation (moving Harry) at the beginning? He screws up and gets Mad-Eye killed, so it seems like even more nonsense.

- example of bad direction: get the first shot of Snape's colleague at the beginning not upside down, so the audience knows if it is someone they know.

- apparently Elves can do cool stuff. Explain apparating and disapparating again? :lol:

By the way, I know or guessed some answers to those things, I just didn't think they were well visualized. I don't want more exposition or so, many of those things can be easily solved by a subtle line or a subtle or different image.

There were many more things like these, which caused that I just stopped caring almost: I was too busy questioning things that were happening.

I also want to add I don't want movies dumbed down, on the contrary; I would have liked to have the Potter movies a bit more complicated, without all the mythology cut out for instance. Perhaps that might have given some scenes some more impact.

I withtract my statement about the music not having any clear theme or thematic identity by the way. I'm listening to the score for the first time right now, and it's immediately clear on the first listen what the main themes are. It's really great. I have no idea why it gets to play such a minor role in the film; it would have uplift it a bit for sure.

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Several of the points you brought up should be explained in part 2, several others don't seem to need explanation to me.

I thought the film was excellent. Emotionally fine throughout, and (I haven't re-read the 7th book since it came out) I didn't notice anything missing. The atmosphere of dread, especially in the first half, is quite impressive - much of the film feels like a war movie. Not children's material at all, I'd say. The score works well, and makes the few major action scenes (Ministry of Magic!) seriously brutal. I like the feel of this final entry, and as much as I'd love to hear a new Williams score, I can't imagine it working with a film like this (the last time he wrote a war score, it was Saving Private Ryan - which I like, but which wouldn't work in here at all).

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I just can't help feel Yates has no imagination whatsoever. I recently rewatched POA (perhaps that's my problem), and there was imagination in the direction at every corner, often in small things too. I'm not saying the film needs to be more magical. It needs style.

The atmosphere is indeed there (I thought the first half was much better than the second), but it's there not thanks to, but in spite of the director.

Also, compare the excellently tense scene in the shrieking shack to the major finale at Malfoy's Manor, which is nowhere near as tense or exciting - although it should be.

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I think you may have been on tranquilizers. I felt very tense during every other scene of the movie. Atmosphere was one of it's strengths!

Perhaps you were simply too tired during the movie, or hungry, or had to pee, or possibly had other stresses on your mind. Unfortunately, you're stuck with this first impression of the movie for a while.

Science is a bitch.

Maybe you were thirsty or the person next to you had offensive perfumes on. All these little things are known to make you walk out of a perfectly good movie with the feeling it sucked. :lol:

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Haha no, perfectly fine cinema experience (I expressly went on an hour where all the loonies were still in school!).

Let's take this on from a different angle: you tell me one or two specific points (scenes, preferably shots even) in the film where you thought it was well directed. No atmosphere stuff please; again, I felt that was mostly because of the excellent set design and locations rather than Yates himself.

In what ways was this film better than the previous Yates films?

PS: two other questions:

- I thought the Burrows (sp?) was destroyed?

- Why the hell did Yates let those actors who played H, H & R as adults on polyjuice overact like that in such a terrible way? That totally screwed up one of the better parts of the film.

Oh, and to stress this again: I didn't think it was a bad film, on the contrary, it was often very enjoyable. I just think it's so very disappointingly mediocre, given the material and the production values etc.

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I think you're looking for a lot of style, swooping cameras and novelty, which in a movie like Azkaban works to the advantage of the film. I liked the rather understated direction of the film in this situation, given the story.

At the same time as much as I consider PoA the best of the HP movies, the shrieking shack goes down as one of the most underwhelming sequences in the series, especially that late in a movie. It was only because the rest of the movie was so masterfully made that I was so forgiving of it.

If the Shrieking Shack scene in PoA were a ballet, the dancers would be falling on the floor. It missed the mark on so many levels: anemic acting, ho-hum and contrived cinematography (too many dollies, boring lighting), cheesy score, awkward pacing.

It was a mess!

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Haha no, perfectly fine cinema experience (I expressly went on an hour where all the loonies were still in school!).

Let's take this on from a different angle: you tell me one or two specific points (scenes, preferably shots even) in the film where you thought it was well directed. No atmosphere stuff please; again, I felt that was mostly because of the excellent set design and locations rather than Yates himself.

In what ways was this film better than the previous Yates films?

Timing throughout the movie, which I think was what contributed most to the atmosphere. I love Cuaron's POA, it has always been my clear favourite in the series (the new one may have a chance of taking that spot). But for the same reason I can't imagine a Williams score for this latest entry, I think Cuaron's style (not that he's not capable of doing things differently - see the magnificent Children of Men) wouldn't fit here. The books became more "adult" through the series; the movies on the whole took that further by becoming less magical and more "immediately real", and I think that works really well, especially for the final entry, which really isn't so much of a fantasy story anymore as far as themes go, touching on serious political/social issues in far more familiar ways than the more stylised earlier stories.

I don't think (so far - having only seen his Potter films) that Yates is a brilliant director. I think Cuaron is. But for Potter 7, I prefer Yates' competent and consequent direction over Cuaron's POA approach. And I think that worked really well in HBP as well already - it was the first Potter movie that really took its time to create an atmosphere (POA was the only one that completely succeeded in that regards, while moving forward at a really fast pace - but that wouldn't fit the later entries). And I thought (at least when I saw it theatrically) that it didn't drag at all. OOTP had traces of this, it started out really well and only fell apart during the finale, which should have been a fabulous set piece but in my opinion fell apart into chaotic action stuff.

- I thought the Burrows (sp?) was destroyed?

I wondered about that, too. It's possible there's an explanation in the book (as I said, I haven't re-read it yet). The DH Burrow seemed smaller than the earlier one though.

- Why the hell did Yates let those actors who played H, H & R as adults on polyjuice overact like that in such a terrible way? That totally screwed up one of the better parts of the film.

I think that was brilliant. They really took on the acting characteristics of the "child" (adults by now, really) actors.

Summing up, I had quite serious expectations for the new movie, but it managed to exceed them. If the second part doesn't take a step backwards, I'm perfectly happy with how things turned out.

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(the last time he wrote a war score, it was Saving Private Ryan - which I like, but which wouldn't work in here at all).

What about Star WARS: Episode III, or WAR of the Worlds??

:lol:

Or MemOIRS of a Geisha.

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If the Shrieking Shack scene in PoA were a ballet, the dancers would be falling on the floor. It missed the mark on so many levels: anemic acting, ho-hum and contrived cinematography (too many dollies, boring lighting), cheesy score, awkward pacing.

It was a mess!

Cheesy score? Most of it was very low-key. It even blends so well with the sound design that it's almost impossible to distinguish between them. The only moment I might find cheesy is when Sirius is revelead and his theme plays: DA-DA-DAAAAAA! While cheesy, I think it's brilliant. It's old school!

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I'm not looking for swooping cameras at all; if you consider the movies I've liked best at the theatre the last couple of years, The X-Files 2, The Ghostwriter, I think you'll retract that statement, Blum ;)

And if you dislike the shrieking shack scene, you're beyond all hope! But seriously, I thought that was an excellent example of what a film adaptation should do: make a scene work for the film - cutting out the bad parts of the book in doing so (the sequence in the book, now that was a huge mess).

I think Cuaron would have made a film that was a million times better. Like I said, I'm not looking for more magic; I like that the books have become more adult. And I think the style of Children of Men - a WAR film with adults on the run! - would have suited this material perfectly, and would have created a much better and more tense atmosphere than in the HP film. Really, Marian, you couldn't have chosen a worse example to back up your cause :lol:

But you're practically saying what I think: Yates's direction is competent and consequent, which basically means he's mediocre. With this kind of filmic material, I was hoping for something extraordinary.

It was all so predictable. I wonder how you would defend the terrible action sequence in the woods: storywise it was bad, because the audience doesn't know 1) why they don't just fight and/or outsmart those snatchers (it had been established that they were dumb) and 2) why they don't just disapparate to a destination they had agreed on previously; directionwise it was even worse: blurry, shaky camera shots & positions that disrupted any kind of awareness of the spatial relations between the characters, and hence any kind of tension you might feel in the sequence.

By the way, I think the film did drag at times, but that was more due to the screenwriter, who for the past few films has concentrated too much on the soap elements and neglected the mythology.

Again, the film was enjoyable. But the reason why I'm so outspoken on this is that, given the material, it is such a huge waste of potential.

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- I thought the Burrows (sp?) was destroyed?

I wondered about that, too. It's possible there's an explanation in the book (as I said, I haven't re-read it yet). The DH Burrow seemed smaller than the earlier one though.

Actually, the Burrows was never destroyed in HBP book. They added the scene to the film because they though the book lacked action sequences.

Actually, the reason given for this new part of the story was that it visualised all the rumors and stories of Death Eater attacks that were scattered in newspaper articles throughout the book.

I don't think it really works however. Some of the characters make some odd decisions in that sequence, making them come across as dumb and lessening my interest in them.

Also, taking place halfway into the film, the event is then NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. By anyone. Apparently, having your home burned down isn't that big of a deal (also, there are no magic spells to stop a fire - although there is one to conjure water... huh?).

Yeah... that's why they decided to remove the whole Death Eaters/OTTP battle in Hogwarts at the end of the book, too.:lol:

That was to avoid repetition with the climax of film 8, which also features

a battle at Hogwarts.

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Did the Death Eaters thought : "Yeah, let's go destroy the Burrows. They will have to build a new home and, you know, there's the economic crisis, it would be hard for them to do that. That would piss them off. We're so bad-ass! Oh, and let Harry live, else, that wouldn't be funny." ?

Except that The Half-Blood Prince (book) takes place in 1996 and 1997, when the economy was better than it is now. I don't know if the films have years tied to them, so I'd like to assume they correspond.

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- bad introduction of Scrimgeour; what happened to the familiar Minister of Magic?

I read at the Harry Potter Wiki that there's a newspaper at the beginning of HBP that alludes to a new Minister of Magic. That's all the film audiences get.

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Did the Death Eaters thought : "Yeah, let's go destroy the Burrows. They will have to build a new home and, you know, there's the economic crisis, it would be hard for them to do that. That would piss them off. We're so bad-ass! Oh, and let Harry live, else, that wouldn't be funny." ?

Except that The Half-Blood Prince (book) takes place in 1996 and 1997, when the economy was better than it is now. I don't know if the films have years tied to them, so I'd like to assume they correspond.

In the beginning of the movie the Death Eaters destroys Millennium Bridge which opened in June 2000... so BloodBoal's theory might still be correct :thumbup:

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Just got back from seeing it. Overall I have to say this is the most I've enjoyed a Potter movie on first viewing since the first couple. It certainly wasn't flawless, but was actually quite enjoyable. I love the edgy and dark tone that colors the entire movie, this is no kids' series anymore and I'm glad to see the movies taken on a much more mature tone. And the "Big 3" have certainly all grown up as actors, this is 100% their movie with minimal help from the supporting cast, and they pull it off very well.

The screenplay could have used a bit more polishing I think. The action sequence in the woods where the trio are caught by Snatchers is just horribly shot, way way way too much shakycam, it gave me a headache and that stuff never bothers me (ex: my love for Cloverfield). In fact there's too much obvious hand held throughout, I was on the verge of shouting "hack!" when the camera shake went up to about level 10.5 for Harry and Ron's fight. Let the actors carry it, they've been doing just fine!

This was also my first time hearing the score, and I have very mixed feelings about it. One hand, it's certainly well-written music and mostly nice to hear (though I thought the cue over the final shot was drifting too much toward the ultramodern/MV sound). But the score also has very little presence or character, it's awfully generic. Part of this can be blamed on the low mix, and the lack of any real themes is also a culprit. I won't dump all the blame on Desplat though, like I said before given how Hooper's scores turned out I feel that Newell got just what he asked for from his composer.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing Part 2.

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Marian it's interesting you don't think John Williams could pull off a score for this style of movie? Initially I had the same sentiment.

I kept debating during the movie, and I ultimately remembered back to "Auschwitz-Birkenau" and that sealed it for me. He could pull it off.

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And me as well, perhaps. Low-key Williams of the last decade isn't my favourite. I admire parts of War of the Worlds, but I'm rather indifferent to others.

I kept debating during the movie, and I ultimately remembered back to "Auschwitz-Birkenau" and that sealed it for me. He could pull it off.

I'm sure he could, but I'm not sure he would. Especially for a full-length movie as opposed to just a few key scenes. I think has a tendency to overscore "serious" movies, and in that regard, HP's attempts at being a "more serious" movie than the earlier installments may get more out of a sparser score.

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The screenplay could have used a bit more polishing I think. The action sequence in the woods where the trio are caught by Snatchers is just horribly shot

THANK YOU. I thought I was going crazy :thumbup:

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But you're practically saying what I think: Yates's direction Desplat's music is competent and consequent, which basically means he's mediocre. With this kind of filmic material, I was hoping for something extraordinary.

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