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Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 by Jamie

Well the end is nigh for the Harry Potter series and it begins with this film, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ or Harry Potter 7 for brevity’s sake. Yes it’s been a long, strange trip with it’s ups and its down but how does this film fare as the opening of the close? Let’s find out.

So the basic story is that of Harry, Hermione and Ron roaming Britain trying to find and destroy the horcruxes that contain Voldermort’s soul and the effects that the Dark Lord’s return are having on the wizarding world in general. That’s pretty much it. It’s a pretty simple story and yet it manages to be complex in it’s simplicity. Wow, that might be the wankiest thing I’ve ever written.

Wanky or not, it’s true. The film manages to be both incredibly simple yet deep and complex at the same time. The biggest change from earlier films is that all of the action takes place outside of Hogwarts. Gone are the little whimsical touches that were littered throughout that school in general. Instead what you get is a far more realistically grounded film. Yes, you still have people using magic and that but there’s no keys with insect wings or talking portraits. It’s much more serious fare.

And with good reason. This is a very, very dark film compared to others in the series. For one thing, there’s a very fascistic overtone to Voldermort’s overtaking of the Ministry of Magic. The parallels are obvious with Nazi Germany. There’s a scene where they are actually creating propaganda entitled ‘Mudbloods And The Danger They Pose To A Perfect Pure Blood Society.’ So yeah, you don’t really need to scratch the surface too much to find the analogy.

What I am surprised by is just how far they’re willing to take everything for what is still technically a kids film. There are scenes of Hermione screaming as she’s tortured by having the word ‘mudblood’ scrawled into her skin, an opening scene where someone is killed because they promote the ideas of muggles and wizards ‘mating’ (as Voldermort puts it) and a beautifully animated sequence about three wizards and their encounters with Death himself. Beautiful but dark.

There’s been much talk about the number of scenes where the trio are just camping with some saying that the film is basically just that but I honestly didn’t feel as if that was dragged out at all. In fact the film seemed to be paced relatively well, perhaps a little slow here and there but not egregiously so. Still, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some problems with the film. For example, one of the horcruxes they find is a locket which, when worn, turns the person wearing it into a bit of a douche bag so my question is why wear it? Hermione had a magical Mary Poppins-esque bag so why not just keep it in there?

Importantly, this is also the first film where the story of the kids was the most interesting part of the film. In earlier instalments I found myself not really caring what the youngest generation of wizards and witches got up to, caring far more about the story of the adults. In fact I really wouldn’t mind a prequel that told the story of Voldermort’s rise to power the first time around and the death of Harry’s parents/ This time round, however, it was all about kids without much input from the adults at all and I went into the film thinking I might have some problems but the story was engaging enough that I didn’t really mind at all.

Still over all, it is a highly, highly enjoyable film. Just don’t see it if you haven’t seen the films that came before it because you really do need to know the story up to this point in order to follow it. I also have to say I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children, no matter how much they beg. Seriously, that scene with Hermione screaming continuously for what seemed like forever was almost too much for me and I like dark shit. Oh and thank fuck there’s no fucking Quidditch. That’s gotta make it one of the best in the series so far. Anyway, overall 4 pints out of five. Laterz.

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Review: Clash Of The Titans 3D by Jamie

Well, it’s been a while since I last updated the blog, the reason being that I’ve been uber-busy with drinking, poker games and then I got ill for a week or so, so that was fun. Still, I am returned and with me comes a review of a film that I saw this past Saturday, the remake of 1981’s ‘Clash Of The Titans’ which was also named ‘Clash Of The Titans’.

Before we get into the review, I just wanted to mention the trailers that played before the film. There was on for ‘Toy Story 3’ which looks like it should be good though I can’t help but think they’re just doing the crazy Buzz thing all over again and they pretty much acknowledge it with the ‘return of the astro-nut’ line. Then there was a fucking confusing trailer for a film I’d never heard of before called ‘Legend Of The Guardians’ which only served to confuse me. It’s all about owls wearing helmets. I don’t know who could have forged these helmets as there don’t seem to be any humans or even apes around and owls certainly have a disadvantage when it comes to forging due to their complete lack of hands. I was even more confused when I found out it’s directed by Zack Snyder. Yeah, that Zack Snyder, the one who directed the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ remake, ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’. What the shit is going on?

But the trailer I really wanted to mention was the one for ‘Piranha 3D’. Is Piranha 3D going to be a bad film? I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s going to be a fucking awful film but it’s going to be fucking awful in that way that I love. It’s got killer fish, fish that kill people and fish with murderous intentions! What’s not to love? This may even be the film that turns me around on the whole 3D experience. Hmm, I may have shown my hand a tad here.

Anyway onto the main event. Now that night we had intended to go and see ‘Kick Ass’ but due to a comical series of misunderstandings and misadventures we ended up with tickets to Clash Of The Titans instead. The weird thing was that I had actually watched the original that morning. Hadn’t seen it since I was a kid and so I had decided to buy it and watch it before seeing the remake. I just didn’t intend on watching both on the same day.

And boy, did my enjoyment of the remake suffer for it. I couldn’t help but compare the two in my mind as I watched and the remake certainly did not come out as the favoured choice. Now there could be some light spoilers here, though if you’ve seen the original I don’t you can really consider them as such.

How best to describe this film? Well, you know those Junior Novelisation books? The ones that are produced for children featuring massively simplified versions of a movies plot? Well, that’s what watching this movie felt like. Many of the elements from the original were there but they were just rushed through in an effort to get to the next special effects extravaganza.

For example in the original film, Calibos is Andromeda’s lover who is deformed by Zeus for all but on of his sacred herd of flying horses. He wants kill Perseus because he chopped off his hand and solved the riddle that would allow him to marry Andromeda. In this film Calibos used to be Acrisius, Perseus grandfather who Zeus punished with deformity for casting Perseus and his mother into the see. He wants to kill Perseus because Hades asked him too. The herd of flying horses seems to be fully alive and Pegasus himself no a browny black flying horse that the other ones seem to be afraid of. Perseues doesn’t capture and tame him in this film as he does in the original, he just sort of shows up and helps him at the end after meeting him once.

Perseus himself seems to have been struck with Anakin-syndrome, spending the entire film whining and moaning. Whereas as Anakin, however, was whining about how he wasn’t allowed to develop his powers to their fullest extent, Perseus spends the entire film whining about how he doesn’t wish to use the powers granted him by his Demi-God status because he wishes to carry out this quest as ‘A Man!’

Perseus is like Supersanta. He Is A Man!

The problem is that Sam Worthington isn’t a bad actor, especially for someone who is primarily an action star. He was certainly the best thing about ‘Terminator: Salvation’. In this though he just sort of rasps his way through his lines, sounding for all the world like some kind of Jason Statham with an Australian accent. One of the few times he does actually sound excited is when he turns to his men before entering Medusa’s lair and exclaiming “Don’t look that bitch in the eye!” and it seems so completely out of place within the context of the rest of the film that you just can’t help but laugh out loud.

Speaking of Medusa, she had a confusingly attractively human face. Confusing because any discussion about her before had been very insistent on explaining just how hideous she had become now. There’s also absolutely no sense of suspense or terror involved in the heroes battle with her. It’s all a bit of a Transformers-esque action scene which is a bit of a shame. Her backstory had also changed. In the original film she willingly fucked Poseidon in Athena’s temple, causing Athena to curse Medusa. In this film, Poseidon rapes Medusa in Athena’s temple. Athena punishes her anyway. So… what? Am I supposed to have sympathy for Medusa now? Am I supposed to hate Athena?

Not that it’d matter anyway because Athena doesn’t really appear in this film. Nope, this is strictly Zeus’ and Hades’ show. Oh sure, Poseidon makes an appearance in order to utter a line and some of the other Gods appear in their council chamber but I don’t think any of the others are even named. The reason for this is sadly clear. The filmmakers have decided that they don’t want people to think too much so they are only going to include the Gods that they know for sure the majority of people have heard of and that basically comes down to Zeus, Hades and maybe Poseidon. Hades wasn’t even in the goddamn film only further to serve my suspicion that he was included here purely for that reason.

The original film was much more about the Gods and the feuds going on between them and the unfortunate way that humans just happened to get tangled up between them. This film is more about a kind of war between man and the gods, with some infighting between Zeus and Hades, though it’s fairly unimportant as a whole. And I don’t know exactly what the fuck Ralph Fiennes is doing as Hades here. He stalks about and whispers his line, mispronouncing the word Kraken. It’s all very bizarre and not as creepy as I’m sure it was intended to be.

On to the Kraken then. Well, it’s essentially a big incomprehensible CGI mess which thrashes about for five minutes or so before Perseus turns it too stone with Medusa‘s disembodied head. Which is kind of exactly what happens in the original. It has absolutely none of the character that the Kraken had in the original film, even if he did look like a plastic, four-armed monkey fish.

Ooh, before I go I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the scene with Bubo, the robotic owl from the original film. Whilst getting ready to go on their quest, Perseus pulls the creature from a chest. It blinks, flaps it’s wings and makes that weird Clangers noise that it makes for a bit. Perseus asks another person what it is and he simply replies that he should just leave it there. The message is clear ‘This isn’t your father’s Clash Of The Titans!’ or rather ‘That’s right we’re literally pissing on the original now!’

So was there anything good about this film? Well, some of the action scenes weren’t bad though, as I say, they did occasionally slip into Transformers levels of incomprehension. And the actors in the film are pretty much all good actors, they just didn’t really do much for me in this. Polly Walker, the MILF who played Atia in HBO’s awesome series ‘Rome’ is here essentially playing the same character which was great until she was killed off ten minutes later. As for the 3D, well, you can really tell it was a film that wasn’t originally intended to have been made that way. Nothing really jumps out at you (3D humour there, ladies and gentlemen) and you can’t help but wonder why they bothered with the conversion process after the fact.

Overall I’m sure I’ve been harsher on it that this film deserves and I honestly believe that that’s only because I did watch the original that very same day. Overall, I’m gonna give it two pints out of five. And now for all you potential heroes out there thinking of crossing the river Styx and giving Charon, the Ferryman of the Dead, some coinage in order to do so, here’s some advice from Mister Chris De Burgh. Laterz.





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