532 – Getting on with It: 04


Monday Question:

Okay, I had another question I was going to ask, but I’ve decided to wait until next week for it and ask everyone what they thought about the new Harry Potter movie, or failing that when or if are you planning to see it? As I write this the movie opens tomorrow, and I am pretty excited. I don’t know when for sure I’ll get into the theater, but it’s not like I’m really afraid of spoilers.

I ordered the 5-disk set of blu-ray Harry Potters over the weekend, comprising the first 5 movies. It’d be kinda fun to watch through them before we go… but I’m not sure I’m that patient. (Well, I am fairly confident that I am nowhere near that patient.)

What about you guys?

38 Responses to 532 – Getting on with It: 04

  1. The movie was fantastic! In my opinion, it was by far the best of the series. The writing was very good, the acting was superb by everyone and it stays true enough to the book. (If you’re a stickler for that sort of thing.) The three friends have really grown into good actors and the movie has a good mix of hilarious moments and very serious, edge-of-your-seat moments.

    • It totally doesn’t stay true to the book! e.g.: Harry/Ginny in Room of Requirement instead of after Quidditch, the Burrow in flames, no romance for Tonks, no DA/Death Eaters battle at end, no real scenes of Snape teaching DADA, nothing about Harry getting Sirius’ house, nothing about Harry coming of age that year. These are but a few omissions (sorry for the vagueness, trying not to spoil it for others.) Some parts were true to the book, but if you haven’t read the book you’ll struggle to understand the plot twists in some parts due to crucial missing pieces.

      I liked it, but it definitely had a different feel. They went for a lot more “drama”, and sweeping landscape shots, a lot less character development and cool magic battles. My wife and I thought that the actor playing Draco did a really good job this time. The actor playing Slughorn was a bit too thin (he referred to himself as fat, but doesn’t look it?) But he also did a good job with the character.

        • I’m not reading any until after having seen the last movie.

          With the exception of *Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep*, No movie has compared to the depth you can get from the book it is based upon.

          I’m a gonna watch & enjoy all 7 Harry Potter movies, as movies, then I’ll read the books. Otherwise, I’ll always miss the “Tom Bombadill – LOTR” Type scenes.

  2. I’ve seen all the others on general principle. If you haven’t read the books, you really should – excellent writing chops and I’m a harsh critic. Or just read the last one it’s the best. The movies, well, they try really hard and sometimes get it right. Their Death-Eaters have a silly KKK hat thing going on that’s just not scary. But if you want to watch the movies, I would start by watching Wizard People here:
    (Know this Harry. If he’s still alive, he hates you. And he’ll certainly be coming to kill you. Probably when you’re sleeping and probably disguised as someone who loves you. So, you know, be on the lookout for that, and beware of anyone you think might love you) Oh man, now I gotta watch it all over again.

  3. Well, I’m gonna see it tonight.

    But I’m more worried by the blu-ray thing. I just hate it how they’re forcing us to adopt it. In a few years, our entire dvd collections will be useless, if they can help it, the goal being for everyone to buy, buy, buy, be it blu-ray readers or new version of old movies they already had. Proposing new, better things to people is good. Forcing people to adopt it, IMO, is bad.

    • I’ll probably see it later this week. (I like to dodge the crowds.)

      I’m not sure I take your point on the blu-ray issue though. When my DVD player finally went tits-up, I replaced it with a blu-ray, and my DVD collection collection looks way better on it than it ever did on the old DVD player. As far as I know, all blu-ray players not only play DVDs, but they play them with a much better looking picture that the native machines through what they call “video up-sampling.” I think this is basically a sharpening technology, but whatever it is, it looks good.

      As far as it being “forced down our throats…” I can still go out and buy a new VCR, so I’m not that concerned about losing my legacy technologies. And really, if we halt improvement, is that really all that good a thing? Oral histories might have been community-inducing, but I doubt that they were as reliable as books, and you would never have gotten your cool DVD collection if DVDs hadn’t replaced video tapes.

      And my blu-rays look sooo sweet…

      • I believe the “video-up sampling” you mention is a line doubling process and yes, old DVDs do look sweet on the new systems… but what wouldn’t?

        But, what I believe Vincent’s point is that with each transistion we’re “forced” to upgrade as we’ll want the most current technology versions… Gilligan’s Island is not going to look any better on Blu-Ray then it did on DVD, but they’re be new features, etc., to entice us into buying the new versions. It is why I have nearly two versions of every album I own on vinyl and CD… and why I just sold a TON of VHS movies at a garage sale for like a $1 each as we now own two copies of those as well… it is irritating but apparently part of the great circle of life we call technology…

        At a time when most of us don’t have a $1000 for a new HD TV, then $400 for a new receiver and THEN $300 for a new Blu-ray player and then $100 for cables, it just kinda smacks us in the face of how fubar things really are.

        Oh, Harry Potter was NEVER my cup of tea… didn’t read the books and never seen a single film. Magic was never of interest to me… POOF! Hey! I’m a frog now… WTF…

          • You just overloaded my sarcasm detector dangit.
            I guess I’d better drop this one in the trash, I go through so many of these things, it’s a good thing I can buy in bulk….

          • Umm how big of an HDMI are you looking at getting? I got my 27″ 4 years ago for like 800 and some friends of mine got a 30″ last year for 650. If you don’t watch TV (I only watch DVDs as I don’t like commercials) then the receiver isn’t needed, plus the added expense of the HD package isn’t worth the value yet in my opinion. I got my Blu-Ray player from Best Buy for 125. Of course I am a massive penny pincher and find out when they are clearing out last year’s models of electronics.

            I am waiting until the local IMAX has the 3-D version of the movie. I liked the way they did the fight scenes in the last movie.

  4. I read the first book out of curiosity last year, and I’ve seen most of the first movie. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid being sucked in (and really, I don’t understand why I wasn’t – this seems exactly like the kind of thing I should have been drawn into).

    • It’s not really a surprise to me that you’re not a big Harry Potter fan, Ron. You tend to shy away from “popular” pop culture.

      Plus… Harry Potter has always been a bit… fluffy? It’s not really hard-edged fantasy, even though it has become darker over the years, it’s not at all the same thing. I think that the silly elements would turn you off.

      • I think the Star Wars prequels killed (or at the least severely diminished) my capacity for fandom.

        Edit: Although, the convention this past weekend brought back a lot of memories, and did briefly fan the embers a bit – at one point I found myself thinking “I should find out how much my own Stormtrooper armor would cost.” 🙂

      • “I think that the silly elements would turn you off.”

        Man, what I wouldn’t give for you guys to be able to see the silly side of Ron that I get all the time. 😀 Especially this weekend!

        • I don’t know what you’re talking about. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Nothing to see here. Move along.

          • Careful… when you feed us men beer you never know what’s going to “come out”… I’d stand back if I were you! 🙂

          • Yes, beer. Lots of it. And the ability to indulge in geekery while drinking lots of beer. We will get together and formulate a plan to make this happen. 😉

  5. I like the Harry Potter series. I think that they are a good read, and I’ve seen all the movies. That being said, I am absolutely sick of how hyped it has been, as I don’t think think they were quite that great (I’m seeing something similar maybe coming out of the Twilight series, but I’ve read/seen nothing of those as of yet so I’m not going to judge). I was not happy when they said the last movie would then be two movies instead, because it’s going to draw out the hype (and of course they see that as a good thing), I want it all out and done so the overhype will finally die down some.

    Apologies for the small rant.

  6. I resisted reading the books for a long time. I couldn’t understand why everyone was going so completely crazy about children’s books. I was given the first two in paperback as a gift for Christmas not long after the 4th had been released. They sat around for a while, totally ignored. Then one day I needed some light reading before bed, so I picked up the first one. Much to my surprise, I was immediately sucked in and couldn’t put it down! I immediately tore through the 2nd and had to run out to the store to get the 3rd and zipped through it as well. At that point, I waited for a while for the 4th to be released in paperback. Finally I couldn’t wait any longer and bought the hardback. Right about this time, the first movie came out and I had to see it on opening night. Since then, I’ve been to the midnight releases for 5, 6, and 7 and saw each movie on opening night, with the exception of this one. It was tradition for me, my best friend, her daughter, and my little sister. Scheduling just didn’t work out for us this time, unfortunately. I don’t know for sure when we’ll be able to catch it, but it WILL be in the theater, and more than likely either at the IMAX or at the very least, the “IMAX Experience” at AMC. I can’t wait!!! 😀 Maybe you and Lena will be able to join us. 🙂 I would most definitely be interested in your HP1-5 marathon, if you’d like company!

    As for the Blu-Ray thing… I still have not managed to get all of my VHS collection replaced with DVDs! I certainly don’t think I’ll be able to replace my DVDs and don’t have any immediate plans to get a Blu-Ray player. While I appreciate the technology, I just am not the person who always feels the need to UPGRADE UPGRADE UPGRADE as soon as something is available. One day, however, I WILL have a deluxe, state of the art home theater system, but that probably won’t be until after I win the WSOP Main Event. 😀

    • Hadn’t thought about a “marathon.” That could be cool. We would have to make themed food… griffon wings and mandrake chips! Fun!

      There are devices available now (well, they’ve been available for a long time but they’re actually affordable now) that will play your VCR tapes and record (dub) them onto playable DVDs. I think the cheaper ones are in the $100 range. It’s a bargain if you have more than seven or eight tapes you want to transfer.

    • Strange. I read book 1 and 2 when there wasn’t much fluff, and stopped reading in mid-book 3 because the whole “home elf” issue was REALLY getting on my nerves, and I didn’t think the book to be that great. Since then, I’ve stuck to the movies, which are enough for me.

  7. I am one of the few people I know who will say that the last Harry Potter movie was not worth the money I paid to see it, nor the 4.5 hours or so I wasted to see a midnight showing (which was not really my idea in the first place). The series in general was good up until they got to the last two books, which was a lot of character development and backstory leading up to the most predictable ending the author could hand you. There was nothing terribly visually stimulating in this movie (their cg budget was blown on one scene with Dumbledore casting some cool fire vortex that rained meteors or something) and the rest of the movie was a teeange soap opera (who couldn’t do without that?) Yes, the trio have vastly improved as actors, which was unfortunately offset by the horrible acting of the new additions (RonRon’s girl for however long that lasted and Ginny). I have to say that this movie is not the best of the series as many maintain. I’ll stick with Order of the Phoenix or Goblet of Fire if I am looking to watch an HP movie in the future. The final book was probably the largest bit of fluff for the series and making that in to two movies is just another way for them to bring in more money.

    • I favor Goblet a little over Order for favorites movie, I felt that the editing was uneven in Order and there was too much that got cut. The narrative dropped out a few times. However, I also felt that it would have been a better movie if it had been split in two.

      The first three books were 309, 341, and 435 pages respectively. They were fairly tight movies, and it wasn’t hard to follow the story. The next three were 734, 870, and 652 pages. Goblet cut a lot of wood to make a workable movie, and Order seemed to me to play more like a summary of the book, touching for an instant on each important point before whisking off to the next. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I thought both of them could have been more enjoyable if they had been more than one movie. (Even a TV series.)

      Turning a 784 page book into a two-hour movie isn’t moviemaking so much as it is butchery. When I go to see a movie, I am paying for around two hours worth of entertainment. The next time I go see one, I am paying for two hours more. I like watching Harry Potter movies, and I’ll be sad when they’re at an end. I would not be happy to see a rushed, incomplete and imperfect product just for the sake of the whole thing being over with sooner.

      Besides, didn’t they make all the other movies in order to make money too?

      • I didn’t say that they didn’t make the other movies to make money, merely that there was a lot of “wood” as you put it in the final book that isn’t necessary in the movies.

        • That’s fair. I thought the time they spent out in the tent in the countryside was kind of torturous.

          But many of the best movies I’ve seen were taken from short stories, not novels at all. I think about sixty pages would be good. I feel that any big project like this would be better as a TV show than a series of movies… unless you were going to make 30 or so of them. (That would be something!)

  8. I actually agree with Joe there about the last book. It was good, but I think the ones leading up to it were better. There just seemed to be a lot of stuff not happening for way too long in the book. If that makes sense. I saw The Half Blood Prince the other day and I loved it. But then I really enjoyed the teenage soap opera parts and Ron’s annoying girlfriend. As for watching all the others on the way up to watching this one, we actually did that. We being my wife, myself and my three year old daughter. They were playing 1-3 on tv over and over and my wife says “Lets watch them all before we go see the new one.” So that’s what we did. Over the course of two days and in no particular order since my daughter was grabbing them and bringing them to me to put in the dvd player. And she’s three, as I mentioned. I actually waited until all the books were out before I read any of them, and as I had about six people jumping all over me to read them that was harder than you’d think. On a side note, I fucking love the game of Quidditch and I wish they would put more of it into the movies.

  9. I was told that the Harry Potter universe involves boarding school magic fantasies of children saving the world and fighting nasties with improbable magic rules that have no continuity. Is this accurate?
    My first hint I should stay the hell away was (still is) the rabid fandom that surrounds it. A more direct and critical reaction to the notion is that children saving the world, inconsistent worlds and boarding school dramas are each things that bother or irritate me. Since I’d probably find it incredibly irritating I’ve stayed away: The world doesn’t need a real life reprise of Michael Douglas’ role in Falling Down, no matter how cool it might be.

    • Sort of… accurate… I guess it doesn’t really bother me.

      I try and make it a practice not to dislike a thing just because many other people like it. In my experience, if many others like a thing, there is often a reason. Disliking something on those grounds mostly just means that I am cheating myself out of something I might otherwise enjoy. (I am not so superior to the rest of humanity that their enjoyment on a mass scale is indicative of any entertainment being beneath my attention. I will acknowledge that you may be much more intelligent and bored than I am though.) 😛

      It isn’t always true, I never really cared for Nirvana or Survivor, but I did judge them myself, after having experienced them personally.

      Of course I also like Cheetos, The Specials, and Miller Lite beer, so it’s possible I may not be the most discriminating customer to ask.

      • Established: Mass enjoyment of something that’s worthwhile is no valid reason to circular-file something that’s worthwhile and I’ll point at the three initial Star Wars movies for an example. They’re good movies by pretty much any reasonable judgement scheme.
        My disparaging view of the rabid fandom has to do with someone attempting to goatse me with a fanfic of someone who was “shipping” Professor Snape and Hermione. Yes, I know it’s just like furries where a small minority makes the majority look bad here but I’ll subjectively take pedo-fic as an ill-omen all the same–fair or not.
        All of the above said, I have been known to say that the popularity of something is a variable that’s completely at right angles to its relative merit–the two don’t relate. Also, 90% of everything is crap.

        For my own taste lapses, I’ve willingly played Ars Magica of all things–rarely a more ruleslawyery game was made. More seriously I’ve actually played a non-graphic MUD, and that’s damning. Worst of all, I read webcomics in 2001, offhand I can’t think of any that were actually good back then.

    • I was told that the Harry Potter universe involves boarding school magic fantasies of children saving the world and fighting nasties with improbable magic rules that have no continuity. Is this accurate?
      Pretty accurate, yes.

      Although I have no problem per se with boarding schools and children saving the world, the lack of construction, coherence and continuity in the universe has frequently bothered me, since it breaks suspension of disbelief. Problem is, the author uses magic as a wonder tool (“it would be cool if we had this and that”) and a Deus Ex Machina without thinking of the consequences this brings for the world.

      Oh, and Ars Magica rules! 🙂

  10. I’ve read the rest of the series, including Deathly Hallows, but I haven’t read Half Blood Prince. Saw it a few nights ago. On a scale of 1-10, I think I’d rate it around a 6. If you’re not really into Harry Potter, or you’ve never voluntarily watched an episode of Degrassi (I have), then you might only rate it a 4 or 5. Definitely a movie. Kind of long. Aforementioned Cool fire spell is tits and awesomeness. I enjoyed the dark, twisted drama in some of the scenes. Even some of the cheesy-parts were livable. Still, could have used more cool wizard fights, instead of harry getting curbstomped at almost every turn.

    Also: Was that Tonks with Remus? Haven’t seen Order of the Phoenix. I always pictured her younger…and shorter. Like closer to Harry’s age. Maybe I’m delusional, though.

    • Yes, that was tonks with Remus. She is younger than Remus, but I’ve never really pictured her as being Harry’s age. My thoughts were that she was in her mid 20’s (She is an auror and I can’t remember the test you have to past to get to that, but it means she’s out of hogwarts for sure). I want to say that she was introduced earlier in the movies (OOP?), but I can’t swear to it. I am fairly positive that it wasn’t her first appearance.