Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The other day I had no choice but accompany my beloved wife to the cinema.  Harry Potter was in town again.  I myself am not a big fan at all.  I think it had great potential and the first movie absolutely awesome from pretty much every perspective, but then it went south.  It turned into a story of growing up characters, which is rarely a good thing.  It became dark and scary.  And complicated.  And now it’s all over the place.

Seriously, I don’t know anymore who is the intended audience for these movies.  It’s definitely not kids, due to all the darkness, politics, and complexity of the story.  And I’m not so sure about adults, because it’s getting increasingly stupid.  Maybe there is something for teenagers, but I can’t see that.  And those teenagers who were present in the cinema seemed to be missing the point also.

Anyhow, to set the record straight, I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books.  And I started skipping the movies.  I think I missed the previous episode, but saw the one before that. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” didn’t make any sense to me and on top of that it was as boring as they come.

It started off with too many characters who I didn’t remember and had no idea of who they were.  There was some action that I didn’t see any reasons for.  And then the movie simply died.  It turned into the least favorites of Lord of the Rings for me.  Where the hobbit people were just walking and walking and walking.  It was exactly the same here.  Except that hobbits had a purpose.  And here, even if there was one, it was not obvious.

With nothing to engage my attention, I started looking closer at the technical side of the movie.  And not surprisingly it sucked too.  OK, I can understand that Harry and friends aren’t innocent children anymore and its hard to hide.  But I think that excessive face and chest hair are the mistakes of the make-up team.  Camera work was horrible.  By now we are all well familiar with handheld cameras and the effect that give the movie.  Many of us in the audience also know where it makes to use the effect and where it doesn’t.  And in Harry Potter it mostly doesn’t.  Yet, there are plenty of sequences where it was used.  The music – one of my favorite parts about Harry Potter movies, was practically non-existing also.  In several scenes, where I was trying to figure out what was going on and what was the mood of the setting, I caught myself thinking that I’d appreciate the music instead of the silence.  Are they in trouble?  Are they scared? Are they bored or just waiting for someone?  A tiny bit of background music could help the audience answer such questions.  But not in this installment.

Overall, the movie was too long for what it had to show.  Too boring.  Not engaging at all.  And technical cheap and poor.  It felt like one of those things you’d get from a pirated copy, stolen from the director’s table before the work is finished.  And yet it was an official theatrical release.  Bad.  Very bad.  1 out of 10.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

There are a few brands in the movie industry, which you just can’t miss.  Whenever a sequel comes out, whether you liked the previous or not, whether you are a fan or not – it all doesn’t matter, you just have to go and see it.  “Terminator” is one of these brands.  The first two films were so good, that even now, decades later, I still have vivid memories of some parts of those movies.  I still sometimes wake up in cold sweat when I see a huge tank turning around on a hill of human skulls.  I still ask myself a question “How do you kill a smart machine, which is made of liquid metal and can blend into any form or shape?”, and I am so glad I know the answer.

And even though I didn’t like the third film of the series, and didn’t expect much of the fourth, knowing that Arnold Schwarzenegger prefers to be a politician these days rather than his usually self, I still had to go and see “Terminator Salvation” in the cinema.

How good was it? A bit.  Nothing special.  It had the humans and machines, it had the time travel, it had some war, it had plenty of special effects.  But it lacked two most important things which Terminator is all about, at least for me – Arnold Schwarzenegger and the huge scale.  Call it ambition if you will.

The movie makers at least agreed with me on the Arny.  I guess they tried to get him in, and they couldn’t, and they couldn’t make a Terminator movie without one, so they ended up rendering an artificial Anry on a computer.  He didn’t come bad or anything, but it’s just not the same.

Regarding the scale, the ambition ,the “WOW! Effect”, they totally blew it.  There was no scale to this movie.  Nothing that we haven’t seen before, nothing surprising, nothing mind or eye blowing.  Same old, same old.

While, McG knows how to make good action movies, and both parts of the “Charlie’s Angels” are here to prove that, I think it’s him to lacks the scale.  Scale is something only a few directors have a feeling for.  Steven Spielberg is one (and he knows war too). Peter Jackson is another (although I don’t know how good he is with machines).  Michael Bay is yet another one (although he is already doing a good job with another robot-related series).  McG? I’m not so sure.

And I’m pretty sure it was the director’s lack of magnitude.  Because the only other possible reason for not having scale in the movie is budget.  And I don’t think budget deficit applies to the Terminator movies.  As I said, this is one of those well recognized brands, so there shouldn’t be any problem finding the money or bringing the profits home.  I might be wrong, of course, but that is my opinion.

So. The summary.  If you haven’t seen it, go and see.  It’s worth it.  If you are deciding between seeing it in the movies and getting the DVD, go see it on the big screen.  It’s just better.  But don’t expect much of it either way.  And maybe then, when you don’t expect much of it, you’ll enjoy it more.  My rating – 3 stars.  Not bad, but average.