- out of four, great movie
That was bloody brilliant!
Wait what? Performances? not just good or adequate performance but outstanding performances? Outstanding lighting and camera work? A tight script filled with lovely original touches that expand organically on Rowlings world without redefining it? Realistic feeling relationships between characters? Consistent visual effects? beautiful pacing (wait it's over?)?...
The whole franchise feels as though it's been injected with a shot of adrenaline (or is that just hormones?). I mean the direction of the actors and the performances they deliver because that is simply staggering. Damn! just Damn. There were some great moments gotten out of Hermione that felt incredibly natural, in the first film she was the worst because you could always tell she was acting, she just couldn't wait to say HER lines, and never gave a real response but more of a performing recitation. here she does actual acting and disapears into the role. Ron's humorous sidekick role is perfectly placed, the way he relates to the characters feels like an integral part of his personality instead of hamming up a role or filling a slot. His good humor is something he enjoys and his friends love using against him as well (to his pleasure) just look at the way Harry and Hermione react after returning to the hospital wing at the end, that says as much about Ron's performance and role as Rupert Grint's actual work. And Daniel Radcliffe, is that really the same actor who gave a flat emotionless performance in the first two films? I think he really understands the role for the first time, and he didn't just grow into it but it was coaxed and coached into him by Alfonso Cuaron. Just look at how well he acts in the beautiful tribute to Bridge on the River Kwai when Lupin talks about his parents.
The dialogue is also better than Rowlings, of course Kloves has the chance to streamline bulky passages and the benefit of the next two books to draw on to create his own little foreshadowings but there was a definite crackle to the repartee in this film that was completely missing from the previous films. I cannot wait to see what he does to fix the awful ScoobyDoo/Sherlock Holmes ending explanation in Order of the Phoenix, that was simply too much information just clumsily dumped in an awkward scene--hopefully it will be improved in the final rendition because it's my one issue with the fifth book.
Set and creature design was wonderful. I loved the outdoors feel to the film (although the friend I saw it with did not, but she's sort of a vampire person sho doesn't really like the light anyway
) and the way all of Hogwarts and its grounds felt much more organic and castley than the grand central station feel of the first two films. Buckbeak is an especially wonderful achievement! I couldn't see where the CGi began and the model ended, and that's saying something. FANTASTIC work that should win an oscar unless Spidey or another film really manages to show it up.
one complaint is that although Hermione is given a few nice moments of girl power, those seem to be completely contained by having her shriek and weep all over Ron and Harry when danger strikes or threatens. It was annoying to see her act so, well, ditzy.
I like Michael Gambon in the second half of the film much better, I couldn't help thinking in the first part how Richard Harris' delivery would be completely different but I had come to accept this new and perfectly acceptable interpretation of dumbledore by the time he meets with the kids in the hospital wing.
I like the way they redid the shrieking shack scene, worked pretty good and took out the silly invisibility cloak device sprung on the audience in the book. But I missed not having Mssrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs not being explained.
I was a bit disapointed in the way the patronus was realized. I like the idea of wispy threads or the fully formed locomotive animal--shield blast patronus was a bit less effective I felt--though I liked the way we only see the patronus the way the dementors percieve it when Harry is looking straight on at it and sees the form.
I always thought it would have been interesting for Harry to have the Avada Kedavra curse come almost unbidden to his lips when he
nearly kills Sirius and then backs off
. In the books it seems as a bit of the Voldemort connection of book five is foreshadowed at this moment and I think they missed an oppurtunity there, but that's just me.
in all very minor complaints for an utterly wonderful enjoyment of a film.