Friday, July 13, 2007

I just saw the Harry Potter movie and it's the first one I really loved since the first came out. The director perfectly meshed the fantasy/wonder element with the dark world that Harry must face.

Every bit of it was perfect except for Michael Gambon. He was a better, more believable Dumbledore in this movie, but there were moments that were so un-Dumbledore like I cringed and I was thrown out of the story. There were others complaining about it after the film as well. I know a handful of people that like him as Dumbledore, but to me he is the antithesis of what Dumbledore is all about. Gambon plays an emotional, often surprised or taken aback character, while the Dumbledore I read is a calm man that is seemingly always in control. Much of his power actually lies in his ability to take things seemingly in stride. Unlike Gambon's Dumbledore, he would never yell at kids to get back to studying, especially not out of his own frustrations. (Just as in the fourth movie, my Dumbledore would never have taken Harry and started shaking him while asking if he put his name in the goblet). Still, in the ending scene, Gambon was the Dumbledore I would have expected, and that was when it was most important.

The whole movie just wowed me. There were clearly many in the theater that hadn't read the books and they were loudly enjoying it/showing their shock at different scenes. I think this enhanced the whole experience. Tonks was pretty cool, Luna was perfect, Voldemort was just as I envisioned.

Most important, however, was the strength of love and friendship in this movie. The possession scene is especially well done on that front and more frightening than how it was written in the book. In the end the Harry Potter books are not about the darkness Harry must face, but about the strength he finds in love. This movie shows that in all its pain and glory.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Umbridge. She was more powerful in the magical sense in the movie than the book, but this served only to make her that much more dangerous. She had the "hem hem" down perfectly and was exactly how I had pictured the character.

All in all a great movie that I plan to see again and again.

What they didn't show was the animosity between Harry and Snape when Harry finds out Snape was the one that had turned his parents in. I don't know how they'll recover that for the sixth movie, since much of the foundation of the second to last book was that hatred and anger between Snape and Harry.**/SPOILERS**