Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Goblet! The Goblet! The Goblet's On Fire!

So I watched Harry Potter on IMAX, opening day. It was effing amazing.

I must question, though, the intelligence of some of the parents at this showing, and those who I'm sure dragged their young tots to other showings.

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is rated PG-13 for a reason. I understand it may be grossly inconvenient to go with your older kid(s) and leave the youngest at home. But don't bring your whole passel of rugrats, and then give a stuffed animal and a pillow to your adorable three-year-old daughter and say, "Now you sit with Daddy and remember to hide your face in the pillow during the scary parts, okay?"

No! NO! You don't pay $13 to bring a child along who won't understand the story (much less the concepts of raging hormones or of death), who maybe knows that, oooh, there's a dragon in the movie, and then tell her to hide her face during the scary parts, which is basically the whole last twenty minutes of the film. Scary!! Start acting like a 'parent' and provide some better 'guidance' than telling your kid to hide her face during the scary parts!


Okay, that being said, I really did enjoy the movie, despite all the nasty things I'm about to say about it. Being a typical Virgo, I am still compelled to nitpick.

The entire movie, especially Dan Radcliffe's performance as Harry, has become decidedly more English-feeling, no doubt due to director Newell's own Britisher origins, as Harry moves into the awkwardness of unexpected hormonal surges - *ah-Cho* (Bless me!) Dan's crying technique, as shown upon Harry's return from the graveyard where Voldemort was restored to his body, is much improved over the oft-lamented "He was their friend" scene from Prisoner of Azkaban. Also, his ability to show great pain, when the Dark Lord performs the Cruciatus curse on him, is better than his wincing in the first movie

More British-isms were found throught the film, notably Harry's confrontation with Ron before the first task, after Harry finds out that Ron heard about the dragons from his brother Charlie and didn't tell Harry directly (this is not exactly as it was in the book, BTW):

[Ron and Seamus are walking down the hall, talking trash about Harry]
Harry: Hey!
[Ron and Seamus stop walking]
Harry: You're a nasty old git, you know that?
Ron [looking downcast]: Yeah. Anything thing else?
Harry [sputters for a moment]: Yeah, stay away from me!

Somehow, the more liberal use of the word 'git' actually serves to reiterate the foreigness of the movie, and Ron's surly "Piss off" the night that Harry's name is drawn also demonstrates how the film is moving away from childhood into adolescence.

But we mustn't forget about Hermione! I've always thought that, unfortunately, Emma tends to overact just a smidge at times. Who can forget, "It's 'Le-vi-OH-sah, not Le-vi-oh-SAH!" (Philosopher's Stone) Now, I freely admit remembering exactly what I was like and how I reacted emotionally at fourteen is a bit difficult, but it seemed that Ron and Hermione's infamous spat after the Yule Ball was still melodramatic. But she looked great; I wish my prom dress had looked so nice.

However, Important Things have been cut out that are integral to maintaining the storyline in the next three movies. Unacceptable!!!

What about Fudge refusing to believe that Voldemort has risen anew? Important to the strong propaganda element in the fifth book.

What about Dumbledore making those cryptic remarks about Sirius staying with "the old crowd, hang low at Lupin's", etc, which are an important segue into introducing said old crowd who are featured in the near future?

What about Dobby? He shows Harry where the Room of Requirement is in the following book, and then tails Malfoy in the sixth. But how can he do any of these things when we don't even know he's at Hogwarts in the first place?

And do you know how many people who haven't read any of the books have come up to me (knowing I know everything written so far in the series) and asked, "So what was up with that big ball of light with the wands thing?" Clarity of key points relevant to future story is imperative, Mr. Kloves! (On a related note, I think Ollivander has either been kidnapped by the Dark Lord to create a wand that he can use against Harry, or hopefully was smart enough to go into hiding before this could happen [though unfortunately, I don't think this will be the case].)

Sadly, I found the last five minutes of the movie were weak, so weak as to not be able to flay the Dark Lord with a wet tagliatelle grande. I mean, Steve Kloves, what were you thinking? Did your wondrous imagination just desert you utterly right at the end of the script and you had to present the absolute final thing with five minutes to spare so you just put in that garbage? Did Her Holiness of Youth Fiction JKR even read what you wrote? Sooooo much potential with Hermione's famous statement: "Everything's going to change now, isn't it." And you blew it, Steve, you completely blew it.


What about Harry's emotional numbness following Cedric's death? Important to the transition into Rage Against The [Political] Machine he feels when no one believes him.

Well, here's hoping that Jo will slap Steve and say in her beautiful British-accented voice, "I get to help this time."

Saturday, November 26, 2005


As a new bride-to-be I can totally see
How one can become a wedding banshee.
Read ye this now, before it's too late,
And the chance of your becoming one may abate.

There's still almost a year before having the fear
Of forgetting my tissues to wipe a stray tear
Whilst at the altar, pledging my love,
Conveniently forgetting I've been less than a dove.

"Start with a place," all my married friends say,
So I look for one that is available on the day
That we want to be wed, and I call and and I state,
"I am planning ahead, can I visit [this date]?"

Then I have a bad day in an even worse week,
And I'm calling the groom (it's like Hide-and-go-seek).
I fuss and I wait and I pout and I call,
"I'm sorry, can't make it, the groom is AWOL."

I leave Him a mean message: "I'm glad you're not dead.
I've cancelled our meeting. I've gone home instead."
I slam down the phone and I try not to cry;
His legs I will break! His balls I will fry!

I make it home (barely) without flipping out,
But I throw myself down on the bed and I shout
In my head, "What a prick!" Then I sob for this day
Of horrendous occurrences, and nerves on the fray.

And then He arrives, tired, with no money,
Because snow in Ontario makes people funny.
They forget how to drive, or perhaps never knew
That in winter, IT SNOWS, and turns roads to goo.

"Traffic was horrible," says He, the soul of calm,
"And I tried my best to get here"; His voice, a soothing balm.
"I just spent all my money on a taxi, for us two,
So we could check this place out, and have time for me and you.
And then I get this message through the driver's borrowed phone
Telling me I'm a jerk and that tonight I'm all alone."

It really makes you wonder if the planning's worth the while
When it has a way of turning one into a shrieking, surly child.
We murmur our apologies, and go to bed and hope
That we'll have the strength to do this, and not to just elope.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Join the (Dance) Revolution

In the months since my last post, I have become a great fan of dancing video games, namely Playstation's "Dance Dance Revolution" series. It's insanely addictive, not to mention a fabulous workout for my ass and thighs.

The premise is simple: step on the arrows in time with the music. The arrows scroll upwards, and when they reach the top of the screen you step on the appropriate arrow on the dance mat, which is used instead of a hand-held controller. Some games have really catchy songs (like "Cartoon Heroes" by Aqua, and "Days go By" by Dirty Vegas), some have really crazy remixes (like "Speed Over Beethoven", which is a really fast, technified version of Beethoven's "Fur Elise", or an annoyingly slow version of "Oops, I Did It Again").

Five levels of play - Beginner, Light, Standard, Heavy, and Challenge. There is also a foot rating: the more feet, the higher the difficulty. I'm averaging about 5, 6 feet Standard, though I managed a Heavy level last week. I seem to do better with an audience. Really fun at parties.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who doesn't want to go to the gym. It's way more fun.