Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Half-Blood Prince Takes Over

Once again Harry Potter invades my weeknight and deprives me of sleep so I can be one of the first to see the new movie, and once again I am impressed. There is a lot of story to tell, so the movie is long (I didn't get out of the theater until 3am). It also feels a little rushed in parts - there was no opportunity to flesh out the character of Fenrir, or the relationship between Tonks and Lupin. Entirely too much time is spent on Draco and his agonizing as well as his frequent visits to the mysterious cabinet hidden in the Room of Requirement.

The overall mood of the film is dark and foreboding. There is a slow build-up to the climax, so the sad event is less of a shock (in case you have been under a rock and don't know what is coming) than the death of Sirius in the last film. The crowning achievement of this film will be the acting accomplishments of its cast. Almost everyone delivers a completely solid performance and a few of them just hit it out of the park. The younger cast have come so far since the first movie, and although they are meant to carry the film, the major kudos go to the older cast. The most heartbreaking scene goes to Jim Broadbent, with Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon following close behind. I'll be seeing this one again (and again, and again) for sure.

Now to just comment quickly on the fans. I saw almost no children at the premiere, and it was a little funny to see how many adults were in costume. I suppose now the books have been out long enough there are a lot of kids (who are no longer kids) who have grown up with the series, much like we did with Star Wars. One pet peeve I have about these events are the seat hogs, though. I showed up nearly an hour early, and was still stuck in the breakneck seats due to all the parents holding entire rows of seats for their teenage children and all their friends (who enjoy getting up and down about 20 times before the previews start, stepping on your toes each time). Parents, make your grown child save their own damn seats and save yourself the trouble of looking like an absolute jerk.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

MJ Memorial

I was afraid when I heard about the Michael Jackson memorial being televised from the Staples Center that it would turn into another circus act in a line of shameless promotion riding on the coattails of his death, and I committed myself to watch none of it. However, curiousity got the best of me and I tuned into part of it. I suppose in some way he belonged to the world, and this was a way of allowing all the world to take part in saying goodbye. Like so many fallen stars, however - I feel most of the sentiments are too little, too late. A few moments moved me, including Rev. Sharpton's personal comment to Michael's children (and that is the only time I will ever admit being moved by Al Sharpton). I don't think there was a single dry eye when his daughter spoke, and I admire her for being able to emote so intimately in front of a world her father took pains to shield her from. My favorite moment came in the form of my favorite MJ song - one I used to play over and over until my Thriller tape was worn out. I'm glad we were able to send him off with dignity.