Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Iron Jim Doing Harry Potter?!

I really wanted to write about the fifth Harry Potter movie that I've seen with my friend more than two weeks ago, but I just simply did not have the time nor the space to write about it.

A week before the show hit cinemas, I often drive back and forth from work noticing a poster of the film with all the six kids on magic brooms where something stirred inside me. They said that there's a chase across the Thames river. Two weeks after that, and just days after the book was out, my schoolmate called me out and invited to watch the show.

It is then I started to play a little fool out of it. I pictured something as similar to the storm-drain chase in Terminator 2. That liquid-man T-1000 driving a tow truck down to the canal chasing a kid who is of course the leader of the human resistance of the future.


I got disappointed that the thing that I missed the first 15 minutes of the show due to my friend being late. He got up late - he had to work earlier than I - and then he had to go back to his house and retrieve his wallet. All and all, I just missed the opening and the Dursley segment. Damn!

I was quite astonished to see how an 870 page book (count 776 in UK cover) has been compressed into a 138 minute movie. The book that I've skimmed through is like a Dickensian style of text, full of humor and sarcastic moments but the movie was like removing the fat and getting things to the point, something that I think Mike Goldenberg (Peter Pan, Contact) - incidentally he lost the writing job of the series to Steve Kloves back in 2000 - should be commended for the effort that he has done. And the backstories - outside events that run parallel with the events in Hogwarts was interestingly placed in the form of newspaper matinee style sequence as what Coppola would do in The Godfather.

The one character that I like most in tha film was the crazed banshee Bellatrix (1951-1998). Helena Bonham Carter (Tim Burton's partner) did better than the original choice Helen McCrory would do. But everyone is looking forward to have either Kate Winslet or Naomi Watts as Narcissa but my choice would be Spooks' Keeley Hawes. In the book she has about 15 lines, but she speaks only less than 5 in the movie, which is more menacing than ever. She could speak the style of Gamal (the lead villain in Thief III) - which is the kind of old-woman witch type as of Snow White story could be!

One crazy banshee coming up to be skewered later on

They said that Evanna 'Loony' Lynch aced the role well before coming in. They are right, she is Luna - vegetarian, hippy-figure and the kind of person that relies on faith - a complete opposite of Hermione. The kind of anti-war women in the 70s particularly like Yoko or Jane Fonda...

But somehow, the movie just can't the narrative strength as Terminator 2. Maybe it's because of the stunts. But it is the story depth that just misses out. The character progression of Harry is just close to what I think it should be. According to the novel, he goes a little crazed after his friend Hermione got hit by a purple spell.

You can't beat Iron Jim in terms of narrative. He did better judging from the record in the first two Terminator movies and Aliens - remains the best narrative scope film that he has written.

Iron Jim had a hard time working in UK while making Aliens when an assistant director had inspired a crew revolt against him and Gale Anne Hurd - people would complaint to the studio of letting a little girl producing it!? He could be hard on our three heroes, Daniel, Rupert and Emma or even to those theater-trained veterans like Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon or even others...

Iron Jim would say to them: "That's okay. I worked with kids before."

or he would say this: "That's what I don't want!"

Autonomous as what people think of Jim Cameron...many people feared him but the studio executives are yelping as they would try to outbid each other to fight for the next movie.

I often felt that the forthcoming fight between Harry Potter and Voldemort is like what Iron Jim said before. "If the 800 series is a human panzer-tank then the 1000-series is a Porsche." This parallels to Voldemort - killing people since 1943 (noted in HBP) as a panzer-tank and Harry - plunged into this situation must become a Porsche. How about the T-X? In the context of the story, not as I see it as of now.


I could have covered the whole thing but not if my friend had screwed the first 15 minutes. I thought of going into the room first and have him tell the attendant that I had the ticket with him. But he was begging me quite hard to wait for him and each minute past 8.45 p.m. on that day, my heart was beating stronger and there's a sense of tension like watching football!

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