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Second PoA review. Because it's my journal and I can. - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Second PoA review. Because it's my journal and I can.
klepted from krissielee




I'm from Gryffindor!

Hogwart's Sorting Hat Quiz

made by The Genki Gang



Shock o' shocks, that.

Well, I just saw the movie a second time. Second impressions.

Things that didn't bug me as much the second time

The pacing comes off better the second time. I think that's because, while it's still insanely rushed, I didn't keep finding myself in the middle of shortened versions of scenes six or seven scenes after one I'd been waiting for and expecting and going, "What the--? Did I nod off or something?" This time, I knew what was skipped, so I didn't feel that weird sense of time-skipping. Once the opening at the Dursleys, which was simply objectively too fast, was finished, it ran a lot more smoothly.

Costuming--I got more used to Lupin's costume, though I'd have preferred him in, you know... robes. Just a thought. But I didn't spend the whole time thinking of him as a little old man feeding pigeons at the park.

"Does the back of my hair really look like that?" This had struck me as un-Hermionish, but I think that's just because we've heard Emma Watson talk about how glad she is to look prettier, but from Hermione... I don't know. If it were me, I'd probably ask that, too, and it's not vanity. It's just... wow. Look at that!

I noticed that Harry's hair was, more often than not, messed up. That's a large improvement in canon fidelity over the other two.

I noticed more of the details in the Leaky Cauldron--Ginny and Hermione talking, Percy getting coffee (or maybe tea), etc--in the background while Arthur and Harry are talking.

Things I feel exactly the same about

It still moved too quickly, despite the less jerky feel. I mean, the movie ran two hours and twenty-two minutes. It's just too complex for that timeframe. Look at Titanic--it's a much simpler story. Boy meets girl, boy and girl have a cliched love story, boy and girl have anachronistic sex in the back seat of a car, and a boat sinks. They devoted three hours and fourteen minutes to telling that story. PoA is a much more intricate construction--boy is lonely, boy is being chased by maniac, boy is befriended by adult mentor; meanwhile, boys' friends argue about responsibility, a plot unfolds about a rat, and a new location is explored; ultimately, and most importantly, we learn the backstory which is the foundation for the front story, which involves a lot of detail work that can only be done verbally. So why did it get fifty-two minutes less than boy-boinks-girl-boat-sinks? And if they're saying it's because they couldn't get an audience, let's remember that Titanic was the top grossing movie of all time, and its major supporters were, erm, not in a demographic known for its long attention span. HP fans, on the other hand, are known for gluing themselves to a 900 page book and finishing it in a weekend.

The Dementors are still creepy, though I find I like the face-sucking less. There was an audio in canon; I would have vastly preferred to have the canon audio rather than the invented visual, as that would have imparted more information and been more deeply disturbing to Harry. Still, creepy things.

And I don't mind them flying. If they glide normally, it's possible that they could do so in three dimensions. I'm not sure what the point of them flying is, but their ability to fly isn't absolutely contra-indicated by canon. It's not like they were flapping bird wings or something. Also, the freeze effect--that's one place where I will get behind the difference between film and text. It's very hard to show a sudden chill, especially in a quick sequence. When it's just a threat of it, I could see frosty breath or something, but when they're moving in on Harry, the visual of the freezing of the rain on the broom handle or of the lake is a perfectly good way to visual the tactile sensation of being cold.

Sirius's costume and the silly prison tattoos. Still tacky. They need a new non-uniform costume scheme.

I'm still quite fond of the cast. I read someone saying that Parvati was "homely" so I looked at the little girl they had and... huh? She's a pretty enough little thing. And as for Pansy being pretty when she's supposed to be homely--the canon never says she's homely. Harry refers to her as pug-faced, but that could legitimately be applied to a round-faced girl with an upturned nose, provided that the POV character was disinclined to describe her positively.

The movie is still visually quite beautiful.

The Marauders' backstory still needs to be told. Badly. More below.

Werewolf!Remus is still quite sucky.

Still love the candy scene in the dormitory. I want to play. :)

Things I like less the second time around

Less thrilled to hear from Remus about Lily, though still not mortally offended by it.

Harry seeing Peter's name on the map and telling Remus. This bothered me the first time. The volume of it just keeps going up. Why, why, why? Bad idea.

Lack of backstory. If anything, on second viewing this was even more obvious and irritating. If you're going to adapt with the attitude of trying to get the "spirit of the book," then you leave out the information that is the books major contribution to the series, that's a flat-out failure of storytelling. Whether you're being "slavishly faithful" or "faithful to the spirit," you still have to get the main point of the plot in there somewhere. You can tell the story of Cinderella with fur shoes instead of glass ones (or with a cell phone instead of a shoe, as the current version seems to have), but you can't forget to mention that she wants to go to the ball, or that there's a prince of one symbolic variety or another in the picture. And you can't tell PoA without telling the story of the Marauders. It's the major mark you have to hit, and if you hit everything else but still miss that one, the point of the story has still been missed.

Lupin's record player. I can't explain why, it's just a totally visceral reaction, but that record player drives me bugshit. Make it go away!

Flitwick's makeover. First time, I didn't even realize it was Flitwick. Now, I'm just wincing. It doesn't damage anything canonically that I can think of, but it's an attention grabber once you realize it's Flitwick, and that makes it distracting.

ETA: Other thing that's still true--I so want to be walking in the woods. That scene with Harry and Lupin (moved from his office) and even Buckbeak's paddock... I don't know, it looked like it smelled nice, if that makes sense. I'd just like to sit there on a rock and breathe for awhile. (With good insect repellent, of course.)

Thinking of sitting on rocks, I noticed a blooper. While Harry's footprints on the snow are obvious, there's no sign in the snow on the rock that he's sitting there in the Cloak, even though when Hermione uncovers him, he's sitting exactly where a patch of snow is.
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Comments
myf From: myf Date: June 10th, 2004 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Percy's pouring pumpkin juice in TLC. It's orange, if I remember rightly.

I LOVE Remus' record player/gramophone. Mrs Weasley has a radio in the kitchen, why can't Remus have some music too?

And I still don't agree with your Marauders point. (Surprise!) I don't think it's quite analogous to Cinderella-without-the-prince, which is the analogy I've seen you draw a few times. But we're not going to agree, so I'll leave it at that!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 10th, 2004 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE Remus' record player/gramophone. Mrs Weasley has a radio in the kitchen, why can't Remus have some music too?

Yeah, like I said, I have no rational explanation for my complete and total hatred of this, except for the fact that I know Mary Sue authors are going to use it to justify any number of silly things. The closest I can come is that I just don't like to see Muggle technology at Hogwarts. It felt a bit spell-breaking to me. But mostly, it's just visceral. I just plain old fashioned don't like it.

I pick Cinderella on the Marauders because everyone knows the story. The point is basically that the basic thing that PoA accomplishes is setting up the backstory... skipping the backstory makes it kind of a pointless exercise.
myf From: myf Date: June 10th, 2004 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes... I forgot the horrid fanfic implications of the Mary-Sues with their Discmans and iPods at Hogwarts now being claimed as canon. *runs away*

Are you slightly mollified that it was at least an old-fashioned piece of equipment? I now have visions of Remus hanging around in the Forbidden Forest listening to his iPod.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 10th, 2004 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I'm mollified that it was old-fashioned. I just have these nasty, nasty visions of someone correcting an author and saying, "Um, Serenity really can't have a laptop and LiveJournal at Hogwarts," and being told, "Why not? Lupin's record player works! If Cuaron can do it, I can!"
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: June 11th, 2004 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I was a bit confused by the record player too - I just didn't see the point of it really. But in contrast I rather liked the slide projector thing that Snape used in his lecture about werewolves. That looked a bit more like wizarding technology that had been inspired by Muggles rather than just a direct transplant of a Muggle artifact into the wizarding world.
neotoma From: neotoma Date: June 11th, 2004 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Lupin's record player a hand-cranked Victrola? If so, it doesn't violate the rules about how Hogwarts work, because it's a mechanical process for sound production, not electric.

Snape's slide projector worked as well, as it looked like what could have happened to magic-lantern if the technology had been appropriated by wizards.

Both devices work because neither machine used *electricity* -- Hogwarts' magic field seems to shoot electronics down, but mechanical and chemical processes have to work at the school, or the doors wouldn't open and fires wouldn't burn.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 12th, 2004 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but you don't think that's going to stop the Suethors, do you?

Anyway, like I said, it's just a totally irrational and visceral thing on my part. I didn't like the thing.
lync From: lync Date: June 11th, 2004 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Flitwick's makeover
IMDB doesn't list a Professor Flitwick at all but Warwick Davis is still there so I'm hoping that it's some other tiny professor. *nods*
lilac_bearry From: lilac_bearry Date: June 11th, 2004 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Flitwick's makeover. First time, I didn't even realize it was Flitwick. Now, I'm just wincing. It doesn't damage anything canonically that I can think of, but it's an attention grabber once you realize it's Flitwick, and that makes it distracting

Total agreement here. It looks like Cuaron thought that having Flitwick look like he spent a semester in Spain learning to be a matador/Don Juan would be a good idea. Weird. Crazy Weird.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 11th, 2004 09:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you about Flitwick. That was a total WTF?! moment when I realised that's who it was mean't to be.
There were a few continuity things like that which I had problems with. The Whomping Willow was a BIG one, but one that I thought was an improvement. It was wrong in CoS.
The ghosts was one I had a problem with; we didn't see any familar ones.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 11th, 2004 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Slide Projector

Yes.

I was too busy being bugged at other things in that scene (comparing werewolves to animagi makes no sense in a DADA context, as it's not about actually recognizing a werewolf--a defense position), but yes.
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mariagoner From: mariagoner Date: June 12th, 2004 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
So why did it get fifty-two minutes less than boy-boinks-girl-boat-sinks? And if they're saying it's because they couldn't get an audience, let's remember that Titanic was the top grossing movie of all time, and its major supporters were, erm, not in a demographic known for its long attention span. HP fans, on the other hand, are known for gluing themselves to a 900 page book and finishing it in a weekend.

Eh, I'm guessing in the newest Harry Potter movie, they were streamlining the event too much as a reaction to the earlier movies, where things moved at glacial pace. Though damn, I'm going to be sad if they don't give us enough extra scenes to beef up the 3rd movie once they release the DVD.
belita013 From: belita013 Date: June 12th, 2004 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I noticed more of the details in the Leaky Cauldron--Ginny and Hermione talking, Percy getting coffee (or maybe tea), etc--in the background while Arthur and Harry are talking.
This caught my eye the first time around - I was so fascinated by the background action I wasn't paying attention to what Arthur and Harry were talking about!

I thought that these types of scenes (with the magic going on in the background) were an improvement over the previous films.
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