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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug March 18, 2014

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The bits I thought would be longer were shorter and the bits I thought were short were longer. So begins the long journey of the epic review of ‘The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug’, now pronounced smaOUg,

Hummm, well it starts off pretty well. The Peter Jackson cameo is the most obvious and somewhat funny for being so. The flash forward to the Dwarves and Bilbo Baggins running with Gandalf through beautiful landscapes reminded me of the good ole LOTRs days.

Read the rest here. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban November 2, 2013

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Much like the movies the tone of the books start to take a darker turn with repeated scenes of Harry hearing the final scream of his Mother before she dies trying to save him. We also have Harry wanting to take revenge for his parents and we’re told how Sirus Black coldly killed a bunch of Muggles in a past incident. It’s a turning point.

Read the rest here

The Hobbit: An Unexpeted Journey IMAX 3D 48fps December 20, 2012

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That was certainly different. I’ll come right out and say that I believe 48fps isn’t a suitable way to watch movies and I don’t believe it will catch on. Here’s why.

Your eyes need to adjust to it.

From the opening scenes it looks like a daytime Chinese historical TV drama. Or those high definition TVs you see in shops where everything is moving too fast and looks as if it’s been sped up. Peter Jackson has said that it will take time for our eyes to adjust at the beginning and I grant that it did. But if this is the way of Movies in the future does that mean that my eyes must adjust to the new 48 frames per second before I can fully immerse myself in a movie? This is my biggest problem. It was less obvious later on but when you start to think for a second you begin to notice the sped up frames again. Day time scenes are the biggest problem while scenes in darker areas or during evening and night are not so much of a problem.

I’m sure there was a collective WTF moment among the cinema audience during the first 20 minutes at least. It’s very jarring. In my opinion a movie should look like a movie. I can live with 24 frames per second if it means that the movie will “Look” like a movie. I believe that is the most important thing to everyone isn’t it? Movie’s distinguish themselves from Television by having their own film quality. In fact many TV shows AIM for that movie look. Take for example the TV series Red Dwarf which removed frames to get that “film look” during series 7.

It could be that 48fps is taking the clarity of image appreciation too far and I feel like I want to watch ‘The Hobbit’ a second time in 24fps to get a real feel for the film. There might be an argument that we haven’t grown up with it so we aren’t used to it but I believe after 100+ years of cinema 24fps is the way to go. 48fps looks unnatural and if reports of people getting motion sickness from this are true it’s another reason not to go with it in future.

Now the film! The Hobbit! Well I almost wonder if I could have read half the book faster than the time it took for the film to portray it. It does seem a little stretch out and there’s a big epic gap missing in the film since Sauron and the Ring are not the main focus of the quest.That is because I the Hobbit is very much a proto-story to the LOTR Books. As one or two films I think the Hobbit could work better but since the reports of the third film being made came pretty late I would imagine Part 1 was completed by then. So does that mean the passing is supposed to be like that? A shorter running time might have helped. Sometimes I got the feeling that scenes were stretched out unnecessarily to gain the long running time. Scenes have added action that they didn’t necessarily have to begin with. I think Drew McWeeny of Hitflix put it best in his review “if Tom Bombadil came from “The Hobbit” and not “Lord Of The Rings,” fans would be listening to Tom sing every word of ever song and watching him prance about in vivid 48FPS 3D this Christmas.”

The film could do with being a little more humorous like the novel too because the next two films obviously will get darker (and hopefully better).

Yet, there is so much to like about the film, it’s loving made and highly detailed though animals don’t talk in this like they did in the book nor does Gandalf say “Great Elephants!”. Peter, i’m waiting… We also have Ian Humphreys, the 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Lee. Wonderful cast.

Favorite moments: There is a scene where Gandalf and Radagast are talking and at the moment when Radagast says he has something on the tip of his tongue Martin Freeman as Bilbo looks around at no one in particular in a confused way. A nice homage to the office. If Bilbo had looked directly at the camera I would have died laughing.
Having read the Hobbit two years ago I had hoped seeing the book come to life would be a more magical experience like the original LOTR films were 11 years ago. But it feels a little too padded for my full liking. It is by no means bad though. I want to see the film again in 2D in 24fps for it would obviously match the feel of the LOTRs Trilogy more. Will they release a extended version of this? I can’t imagine so since the movie itself feels extended!

Favorite Quote: “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” - Gandalf

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets September 14, 2012

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As with the movie I found the second book to diddle around a bit too much without moving the story of Harry Potter himself forward. It’s fantasy magic mystery, as colourful and inventive as it’s predecessor yet it doesn’t really present anything new. There’s a feeling that we’ve done this before.

There is some nice History tidbits on Hogwarts but nothing as of yet mind blowing in book two. The scenes featuring characters being petrified or ghosts who were previously students and killed is a bit heavy for the younger reader and there’s a definite morbidity even though it keeps the tone light mostly.

The most interesting part that I was looking forward to was Tom Riddle’s diary, reading his diary in the book is a lot more fun than the exposition of it onscreen. The mystery is pretty much straight forward as in most children’s adventure stories but there are some nice twists in it, particularly with Ginny.

The book plays around with the theme of identity. Are we who we are because of where we came from or are we our own person. What defines a person’s life. Harry still being a child has to face this question and worries over it greatly as he starts to feel and hear a connection to something evil that he learns he is related to. More interesting is that at this early stage (even earlier than the movies I think) we discover that Voldermort transferred some of his own powers to Harry on the night he gave him that scar. In the end it’s what Harry and Voldermort do that defines them and it’s interesting to see that Harry having slytherin heritage does not mean he has to embrace it and Voldermort too having a Human mother does not make him sympathetic to muggles but more racist and hypocritical as all racists are. Harry’s worry is always about becoming what he fears but in reality they are two people going in opposite directions.

Favorite Quote: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - Dumbledore

The Lord of The Rings December 21, 2011

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The Fellowship of The Ring

It was a cold December morning in Dublin City exactly 10 years ago that I went to see The Lord of The Rings first showing. It was close to Christmas and I had woken up early to a gloomy grey sky and a bitterly cold day to see this film specially. At the time I was not a Lord of the Rings fan, I was going into it blind, not knowing the story, what it was about. What these films were to me though were film history, a trilogy. I knew the story was going to be epic, I knew that this was been bantered about as the Star Wars of today. I wanted to be part of that geekdom history that saw it first. It was either that or Harry Potter and at the time Harry Potter seemed to be a film geared towards kids. Looking at trailers for both, Harry Potter had a leading unknown cast of children, a very British secondary cast filled with famous TV personalities and comedians. Also it just didn’t look that epic, the Lord of the Rings had booming music, Wizards fighting wizards, giant fire breathing monsters and a quest (Being a “Knight-mare” fan I love quests.) The international cast of the Lord of the Rings was also familiar to me. Ian Mckellen I adore, as do I love Christopher Lee, Kate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Sean Bean etc
From the opening scenes I’m already sold that this is going to be ’something else’. A real genuine big fantasy movie. On every level it just doesn’t look like your typical movie. As Gandalf enters the film for the first time I could see two young women sitting in front of me giddy with excitement. They had obviously read the books and were eating this scene and it’s book references to pieces.

I was really impressed how the main villain of the movie, an eye, could be made to be so fearsome, from the first moment Frodo puts on the Ring the sound and atmosphere blasted my soul and the unblinking burning Eye filled the massive cinema screen. It’s a moment from the film that I will never forget and unfortunately it does lose some of it’s impact watching it on the small screen. Watching this film on the big screen was a life time experience to a movie fan.

The Ring itself is a character here. It’s like an addictive Drug to characters who seem to start suffering withdrawals by just being around it. Here it’s effects are none so apparent as they are to Boromir who is a man who wants to defend his home, a great man who sees the potential of this power as a weapon but it’s clearly more than that to him. It’s power and drugs often make people feel powerful for a time at least.

When the film came to an end I realized only then that the three movies dealt with ONE Ring and not 3 different Rings. An easy mistake for a complete newb to make since it did say the Lord of the RingS .But at that stage it didn’t matter. I was sold and wanted to watch the sequel which was only one year away.

 Favorite Quote:  “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.” - Gandalf

The Two Towers

“The Two Towers” has an amazing opening, it ups the ante and sets the tone for the whole movie as a big action piece. That opening scene of Gandalf and the Balrog fighting makes every other fantasy movie eat it’s heart out.

I always thought of the Two Towers as the action piece in between. The Battle of Helms Deep is really well done. Having loved studying History at School and reading about situations such as a sieging of a Fort or Castle I thought Jackson did a fantastic job of fleshing out the siege and battle which is more prominent and to the front of the movie than it was in the book.

Gollum could have been a disaster of a CGI character. I think lots of people feared a Jar Jar Binks situation, but the amount of work Andy Serkis put into the character made him so real and I do think he deserved at the very least an Oscar nomination consider he had to not only stand in for his character on film but he had to film the scenes again by himself for the CGI movements. He is a more loveable character here and has a journey to go through himself.

Favorite Quote: “…there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.” - Sam

The Return of the King

It’s hard to eclipse the action of the Two Towers but Jackson really does it and does it differently rather than repeat the standard siege battle.It a far broader battle scene he does with action taking place in different areas giving each character a significant role to play.

Some scenes are built up a little too much. The encounter between Gandalf and the Witch King doesn’t really happen so we never get the sense of who the Witch king is whereas in the books he had pages to be dealt with and is far more chilling a foe on page.

Sam and Frodo’s Journey takes on a very dark tone, more so because Frodo keeps to the center stage and is pretty much manipulated by Gollum to mistrusting Sam. I don’t know how comfortably that sits. It makes the situation all the more deadly. But also the characters are more oblivious to Gollum. The scenes in the Volcano are perfect. It’s a dramtic ending and I don’t have much of a problem with the way it’s slightly changed from the books.

I have little problem with the multiple endings too. But further viewings do show a lot of fades to black, over manipulating the audience. But I can’t really criticize that as there was so so much to squeeze into the last movie.

One part of this movie that I liked that isn’t in the book but does bring a certain maturity to the characters and what they’ve been through is the scene in the pub near the end. The four hobbits sit together drinking and looking around at the alien place they find themselves in that used to be home. They have seen and been through some horrors that the people around them do not understand but they themselves do and the look in each of their eyes show a special understanding that only the fellowship could have. I believe this scene is meant to represent our Hobbits grown up as the scouring of the Shire wasn’t included in the movie.

Favorite Quote: “There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope.” - Gandalf

The Lord of the Rings: Book

Posted by oldboy in : Books, Fantasy , 7 comments

It took a while to read but it was well worth it.

The Fellowship of The Ring

I thought The fellowship of the Ring follows pretty closely to what we saw in the movie version although events take much longer to unfold in the book than the movie with the passage of time being many years between the discovery of the power of Bilbo’s ring and Frodo’s journey. The opening pages go into some detail about Hobbit pipe weed, the history behind it which seems a little strange as an introduction to Hobbits and their culture but understandable since Tolkien was an avid pipe smoker.

The book later discusses in great detail the One Ring, it’s history, it’s power on man and others and why it can’t be just hidden or thrown into the deepest sea. It beefs up the importance of the quest. Gollum’s back story is discussed here too giving a fascinating insight into the character. Gollum’s History is sprinkled throughout the movie trilogy, but here, having already been introduced in the Hobbit the character’s back story is filled in by Gandalf to Frodo. There is a defining moment here where Frodo says it’s a pity that Bilbo didn’t kill Gollum, but Gandalf lightly scolds him on this, stating that who is he (Frodo) to decide who lives and who dies for life is not always just and it is through Biblo’s pity on Gollum in the Hobbit that he receives the Ring unlike Gollum who killed for it. This is a defining moment for later in “The Two Towers” does Frodo remember Gandalf’s words and spares Gollum himself which has an even greater impact on the story. The Birth of Gollum is seen to be not just through murder and the weight of the Ring but from himself becoming a trickster and listening in on peoples conversations which he should never hear in the first place, letting the private words of others poison his mind. There is certainly a lesson to be learned.

The Ring itself is far too powerful for anyone. It’s the power more than the evil it possesses that is the danger. Having such great power, can a person control it or would they lose themselves into giving into their worldly desires. The abyss looking into the holder of the Ring so to speak.
The Tom Bombaldi chapter feels a little out of place in the Lord of the Rings and is pretty much a mystery, even to the characters themselves. A bit of a Deus Ex machina in a way. It’s a rather frustrating Chapter to read in the book and I found the character to be a little bit annoying.

As usual Gandalf is coming and going and as with the Hobbit he is off missing much of the time on errands, dealing with other things that need his attention. Gandalf is one of those characters that’s sometimes handy to have around in sticky situations and his absence is truly noticed when the characters no longer have him in their company, this certainly adds to the level of threat without him and I think Gandalf himself knows that the people of middle earth need to stand without his power at times. What he is really trying to do is level the playing field between the people of middle earth and Sauron. But he himself is not infallible. I liked the sense of foreboding he has with mines of Moria and what lies in wait for him. He tries to escape his own destiny but there are powers as great and greater as he. This didn’t come across so much in the movie but here it’s done very subtle.

Favorite Quote: “Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” - Gandalf

The Two Towers

This book is split between Frodo and Sam’s journey and Aragorn’s Journey. Both stories are equally exciting but I’d personally would have preferred interchanging chapters, switching back an forth between characters.
We get a lot more of Saruman, less in league with Sauron and more wanting to take power for himself. But he is utterly fooled by his own making and has fooled himself into thinking he actually ever had a chance against Sauron. The battle of helms deep is rather short compared with the movie and there is more emphasis on the parley with Saurman and his twisted ways.

In the second half of the novel the focus switches to Sam as Frodo becomes more and more distant, not just to Sam but to the readers also. We read less of his inner thoughts and we too start to fee what Sam feels, not knowing what’s going on. At this point things change. Sam becomes the real hero of the story. He perhaps became one of my favorite characters in LOTRs because of his devotion and love to his friend and master Frodo. He is even willing to forget all about the Ring, their quest, and let the world end just for the sake of his friend. To hell with the consequences, he aint leaving Mr. Frodo behind.

Mordor is a hellish place and there is a great sense of burden and doom as Sam and Frodo travel through these lands. It was at around this time as I read these bleak descriptions of the place that the March 11th earthquake in Japan had struck and there seemed to be a resemblance between the dark hopelessness described in these chapters as there was in the atmosphere of life and people that I saw as I lived in Japan in the weeks after the earthquake. Doom hanged in the air. Not only were there constant earth quakes but the threat of Radiation from Fukushima was becoming rapidly apparent. I couldn’t help but associate these things with the images and dread described in Mordor. The thought that this journey to destroy the Ring would really be a one way journey but also no matter how dark things got there was hope inside these characters, in Sam.  That’s the beautiful thing about books and the places you read them in. They hold some significance to that time and place you’re in and what you’re going through at that moment. The place and time you are in becomes part of that book.

Favorite Quote: He peered out at that high stony place where all his life had fallen in ruin. ‘If only i could have my wish, my one wish,’ he sighed, ‘to go back and find him!’ Then at last he turned to the road in front and took a few steps: the heaviest and most reluctant he had ever taken. - Sam

The Return of the King

As with the other books the scenes are so detailed and vivid in the mind. What sticks out is the battle of Pellennor fields. The end of the Witch King. Sam and Frodo’s journey flows smoothly on from the two towers andis quite compelling considering their predicament at the end of the Two Towers. It’s the story I looked forward to completing most however The first part with Aragorn, Gandalf and Merri and Pippin is equally exciting and from their perspective there is a bleaker end for them midway through the book until all the characters return to the same page.

The story wraps everything up very well and by the end the Hobbits that return are a few feet taller figuratively and literally speaking. They’re men, back from a war with the proof of it weighing on their shoulders. They finally come into their own as Gandalf and the Elves pass into the undying lands these Hobbits are the next race that grow up to defend themselves from the evils of the world. It’s rather touching and fitting to see Sam get the ending the movie didn’t have time to give him. But as noted already he is such an important character more so than the movies. He is a Ring bearer. He has carried it and he too has his own ending that brings a close to the world he came from.

The appendices at the end are a nice companion piece to the book and might have even deserved a book of their own.

For anyone who has only watched the movies the books go into such detail and explain the backgrounds on events that might have confused viewers. It certainly adds a richer experience to the films and you feel as you are part of something bigger after having read them.

Favorite Quote: There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. - Book VI, The Land of Shadow

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone November 12, 2011

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My first Harry Potter book. After watching the series of movies I decided it was finally time to go deeper into this world. Why I have avoided it for this long was because I had believed it to be over hyped and rather than following mass culture I ignored it. Why? I will get to that. I really enjoyed “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone”. Reading it is as addictive as people have said it was. I feel like I have been flung back into my youth, back to my days of primary school when I was a child reading the works of Roald Dahl , Enid Blyton, Jenny Nimmo and other children’s story writers. It grabs the imagination in the same way and fills the mind with wonder. Therein lies my criticism I mentioned earlier. I’ve read stories like this before. Why is it that Harry Potter had such massive main stream success that other stories of a similar nature haven’t? I think part of the reason is that there is an underlying mystery in these books, there is a longer thread in the story that still has to be spun and that’s what has grabbed people’s fascination. Who is Harry Potter? It’s cleverly done. The story is funny and so descriptive in a minimal way that keeps the mind active and helps you to flesh out the setting in your mind easily.

Harry’s story seems a little Darker in the book than the first movie. The opening chapter with the Dursleys shows that Harry has a really shi…. unpleasant life that conjures up thoughts of Oliver Twist. Living in the cupboard, getting punched by his cousin constantly, getting a used sock as a Christmas present. Poor chap. His past is also quite dark for a children’s story unlike others I have read before. It is touching and sad how he sits in front of the Mirror of Erised night after night just to glimpse his family, his greatest desire. At this point of the story I felt a great maturity in the writing and it reminded me of a story in Paul Auster’s novel “Oracle Night” in which a character views a picture of his family through a view-master toy night after night and gets lost to it. Here enters Dumbledore who represent the voice of JK Rowling, telling Harry that “it does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live”. This was my favorite quote from the first movie too and it’s so darn true. I sympathize more with this Harry than in the movie. He also comes across as a little more braver and honorable than his movie counterpart.It’s impossible not to like Harry when he is a boy who has never had a proper Birthday or Christmas before. I think anyone reading can’t help but feel something happy inside themselves when Harry experiences something with delight for the first time, be it food, presents, friendship. All the things he never had before which others take for granted. There’s some philosophy there about appreciating the simple moments in life I’m sure.

Unlike the movie, having important dates of the 1st year term at Hogwarts such as Halloween and Christmas shown works well in chapter format and is more interesting than it was represented in the movie which tried to do exactly the same instead of mixing it up a little and moving the plot along. I think Rowling did a good job of representing Secondary school life for children as they are reaching that teens stage and can be more vulnerable and cruel. I remember my school people had bottles smashed over their head, so here’s it’s spells and charms instead then!

Things get wrapped up a bit too nicely at the end of the book. A lot of mysteries are explained in part by Dumbledore even though our main characters spent most of the book trying to figure out what was going on for themselves. In the end it had to be “told” to them. Why couldn’t Dumbledore have explained about Harry’s parents earlier. But that moment in particular is a sad moment when Harry knows why his parents died and why he lived. There is much wisdom spilled by Dumbledore. Basically, old wizards like Dumbledore are awesome. I love pretty much everything they say. Dumbledore has some great quotes in The Philosopher’s Stone. One is near the end with his conversation with Harry. “The Truth.” Dumbledor sighed. “It’s a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution”. One mystery is left untold though, as to why exactly Voldemort wanted to kill Harry.

The one thing I thought the movie did better than the book was the very ending. As the students prepare to leave Hogwarts Harry says he isn’t really going Home. Meaning that with the Dursleys isn’t his home, Hogwarts is. Or to mean that after having his eyes open to another world that where he goes back to is no longer home. In the book Harry just plans to have fun using magic on the Dursleys . The movie’s ending is far more poignant.
I want to continue on this journey with Harry. I finished the movie journey and wanting more I have come to the books, the first of which has now made me want to read all of them! I have come a long way from my first impressions of Harry Potter many years back . I openly mocked it. Now I’m devoted to it and long may it reign.

Favorite Quote: “Humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things which are worst for them” - Professor Albus Dumbledore

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 August 24, 2011

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avada kedavra!

It’s a fitting conclusion to the series of films.The whole cast did a great job. Radcliffe and Watson hold up well against a mature supporting cast of characters. Grint has less to do and little time to tie up things between Ron and Hermione. This last movie is fully Harry’s story and his alone. I think the only character that stands close in terms of the story is Severus Snape played with finess by Alan Rickman. Ralph Fiennes is clearly having fun been Voldemort and I was delighted to see Michael Gambon as Dumbledore onscreen again to mentor harry one last time. I really missed the character’s presence in the previous movie

The Battle of Hogwarts was visually very impressive and well done.It’s a modern day storming of a castle with Wizards and witches firing bolts from wands instead of shooting arrows. However the 3D adds nothing to the movie and what 3D I did notice was very little.

A lot is squeezed into Deathly Hallows Part 2 that could’ve been put into Deathly Hallows Part 1. I find parts 1 and 2 to be very different. Part 1 is edgy and full of drama between characters.  Relationships are explored in greater detail. These take a back seat in part 2 with big action scenes throughout. With part 1 there’s a greater emotional investment because time is spent with these characters when they aren’t running about fighting other wizards and witches. In this regard it seems essential to split the movies to give the characters some screen time to grow but there is an imbalance between both parts. Whereas part 1 shifted into newer territory and seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione become adults, part 2 seemed to reverse and followed more closely with the tone of the previous 6 movies, action and fast plot delivery. Important characters do die in this movie but their deaths are glossed over and they lose much of the impact. If they had taken place in part 1 we’d have got an expanded scene from it, (just look at how they did Dobby in part 1) but here there’s no time to do that with everything that’s happening. It’s tough to wrap up the story spread over 10 years of movies.

Now that I have answers to all my speculation about how this story would end it’s not too far off where I saw it going. I had thought Snape was a good guy from early on. He’s too obviously evil looking to be actually evil if that makes any sense. By the time I watched “Half blood prince” I was sure he was a double agent due to his secret conversation with Dumbledore been seen onscreen. By movie 7 I also thought Harry was one of the Horcruxs and it looked like Dumbledore implied that in movie 6. Although it was also possible that the last Horcruxwas another person, Ron or Herminoe. Which would have been a pretty devastating challenge for Harry to face. In retrospect, his own death would be a smaller price to pay since he is the hero of the story.  I had thought either Ron, Herminoe or Harry would be killed off in this final story after hearing rumors during the books release that a major character would be killed off. When I finally saw this film it seems that they survived and although they each paid a price it maybe wasn’t enough. In the most recent movies important characters were being killed off, Sirrus, Dumbledore. At this final stage I thought the only way to outdo the dramatic impact of those deaths would be to kill off one of the main 3 characters. The only death that has any real impact is Snapes death and when his character’s true nature is revealed it’s an even sadder ending for him, he had not only lost the woman he loved, he had the contempt of other characters including Harry, a boy he did everything to protect. Due to Snape been unable to reveal his true motives it makes him one of the most tragic characters in the series. So one of my favorite scenes was the redemption of the character through his memories. The other was Harry meeting his family members before his confrontation with Voldemort and them telling him they had never left him and they’ll be with him till the end…

Voldemorts death was a little confusing as he seemed to start dying when the wand was taken off him. It lessoned the impact of his death as it came out of the blue. If a wand blast had gone through his chest then it’s a definite killing blow, but what was it that killed him? Upon further investigation after the movie it seems the killing spell he cast rebounded back onto him since he was not the true owner of the wand which protects it’s master, in this case Harry. Interesting to note that this is what happened to Voldemort when he tried to kill Harry as a baby too with the spell rebounding on him.

Harry not dying also was a bit confusing. But thinking about it, Voldemort was reborn from Harry’s Blood in “The Goblet of Fire”, so Voldemort couldn’t kill himself (his own blood). Or either because Harry was the rightful owner of all 3 deathly hallows (although not in his possession) he was the master of death. Or either when he passed over to to the limbo between life and death part of Voldemorts soul inside harry had passed over also causing an imbalance which necessitated Harry’s return.

I find that at this stage I need to read the books because I am definitely missing out on plot points that are presented but unexplained in the movie. Whether this is the fault of the film makers or that the books are so long I’m not sure, but to me the important thing is for the audience not to be in confusion. Even if this sacrifices some story elements from the book.The books shouldn’t need to be read to understand the movies.

With all that said, I enjoyed this movie. I have enjoyed most of the series. As someone who wasn’t a fan to start with, who wasn’t blown away with the first movie my opinion has changed a lot and I’m glad but also a bit sad that the series has ended. In fantasy film I have the Hobbit Parts 1 and 2 to look forward to over the next 3 years but after that what fantasy film is there that can eclipse either of these franchises? None so far I’m afraid.  As for the Cast, Daniel Radcliffe will be in a new Hammer Horror film “The Woman in Black” which I’m really excited to see revived in this century.

Favorite Quote: “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love.” - Professor Albus Dumbledore

The Hobbit or There and Back again November 30, 2010

Posted by oldboy in : Books, Fantasy , add a comment

This review is of the second edition edit of the Hobbit which links it closer to the Lord of the Rings.

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Bilbo Baggins. He is taken on an adventure by a Wizard and some Dwarfs to fight a deadly talking Dragon called Smaug. Along the way they encounter trolls, Goblins, Elves and a strange creature called… Gollum

It reads like a children book and is definitely something able to be read by adults. What I mean to say it is written with a view to children and just by reading it you can sense it’s a classical fantasy story from the 20th century written to appease the appetites of young minds before the Internet came along. Reading it is like wearing a familiar old glove. It closely matches the earlier fairy tales from my child hood and it’s like something I have read long ago but in actuality it isn’t. It’s due to Tolkien’s rich knowledge of fairy tales of times past that he was able to create something new but familiar while at the same time drawing on his own experience in that of the first world war (although he himself has stated the hobbit and LOTRs are not an allegory for the real world).

This is my first book by Author JR Tolkien and my first taste of “The Lord of the Rings” adventures in writing. What a pleasing experience it is and an addictive one at that. Having already seen the Lord of the Rings movies I find this story to be on a smaller scale to that story but of the same structure except bigger and far more complex. One might consider this the proto-story of what came later.

Bilbo comes across as a somewhat stuck in his ways person, comfortable with his life and with no interest in the outside world, the experience of this trip makes the character far more of a mature and noble creature but also one who can never go back to the person he was. Gandalf seems to know this adventure will change Bilbo for the better. Gandalf seems to have a sixth sense of most things beyond others but still is a wandering wizard of sorts and when he leaves the group on his own errands I started to truly feel the threat and serious danger Bilbo and the Dwarves faced.

The creature they are on the way to steal and possibly revenge on is Smaug the dragon. A fierce,witty and arrogant, which makes him of the the more interesting characters in the Hobbit.

The attack of Smaug on the village is so delicately describe as it is with Tolkien’s writing you get a real sense of the event happening and I think this is a big help when filming and visualizing it. I can’t wait to see Peter Jackson bring it to life.
The battle of the Five armies is quickly passed over in the story when Bilbo is knocked out but it’s of minor detail to the main themes of the story. I imagine it will be expanded upon in the forthcoming movie.

Favorite Quote: “Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a very gloomy business.” - Biblo  Baggins

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 November 24, 2010

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Fantasy , add a comment

Harry Potter has transformed from a children’s movie into an adult movie and I don’t think I’ll ever look at the characters in the same way again. Gone is the cuteness of the characters replaced by raw emotion of teenagers becoming adults. This is without doubt the darkest movie yet. It’s scary. Everything is going from bad to worse and I kept worrying throughout the movie who was going to die next. For some reason I’m reminded of the 1985 animated Transformers movie where major characters were killed off.

I missed seeing Hogwarts and Dumbledore in this movie and their absence plus the darkness and maturity makes this unlike any other harry potter movie from before. Harry, Hermione and Ron’s journey holds up the movie well which shows the finer acting skills of the main cast.

The opening action is fantastic and a real thrill ride during the chase. It’s like nobody is safe anymore and between this movie and the half blood prince the bad guys have won out. Hogwarts run by Snape. The ministry of Magic under control of dark wizards. Harry Potter a wanted wizard and the rise of a fascist regime wizard state where muggles and half blood wizards are a lower class of citizen. This time I feel Umbridge fits in very nicely with this crowd. It just gets darker and darker, the visually bleak film and framing (parts remind me of ‘The Road’), the soundtrack, the Heroes, the villains.

Again I’d like to mention the similarities of this and Lord of the Rings. 1. We have our heroes go on a journey to find the Horcruxes and the weapon which can destroy them. 2. The Locket, worn around the neck seems to have the same dark effects on the character as the “One Ring” does to whomever wears it in LOTRs. 3.Destroying all the Horcruxes will destroy”he who shall not be named” as it does destroying the One Ring and Sauron in LOTRS. My only guess is (and I stress this is a guess having not read the books) that Harry might be one of those Horcruxes from Voldemort’s attack on him as a baby. Also I think this because of the way the Horcruxes reacted to Harry in “The Half Blood Prince”.
Speaking of “The one who shall not be named” I was wondering why Harry was now using this to describe Voldemort when during the previous movies he unafraidly said his name.I learned that it is because in the books Voldemort has set up a magical tracking spell on anyone who uses his name which would enable his death eaters to locate them. It’s little details like this that makes me interested to read all the books after I finish the movies.
Loved the animated segment and the story of the deathly hallows, it adds a further level of mythology to the series beyond Harry and Voldemort.

The Hero of this movie is Dobby! Not only does this CGI character look amazingly real he also has some funny scenes and pretty much saves everyone’s asses a few times. Not annoying at all and it was a very pleasant surprise to see him return. I’m glad they gave his scene the top billing in terms of death. If they had showed other characters of importance dying onscreen I think it might have detracted from the impact and emotion of this one. It’s quite beautiful and heartbreaking in a way. The beach itself reminded me of the beach in my hometown.

So now Harry Potter has broken his wand, then Voldemort doesn’t need any super wand to use against him. Well Harry’s pretty screwed at this point and it’s going to be a blooming long wait I tells ya. 8 months. But undoubtedly part 2 is going to rule next summer.

Favorite Quote: “Such a beautiful place..to be with friends. Dobby is happy..to be with his friend…Harry Potter.” - Dobby

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