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What are you watching? 2018 edition


#3143

I read the books as they were published, maybe the 3rd through the 6th, and I was in my 20s then. I liked it at first and then after a while it got too meandering and arbitrary for me. I think really the introduction of the Horcruxes was when it started to lose me. I felt the same way about the Hunger Games films so maybe it is a generational thing. I definitely felt like I was too old to give a crap about who asks who to the dance, and all of the Babysitters Club romance aspects, so that was another thing that lost me.

The movies were fine. Not amazing but not bad. Really they were the gold standard of the perfectly fine 7/10 entertaining movie until Marvel came along. Nowadays they try my patience whenever I catch some now and then.

It does me happy that every British actor of the late 20th century got to wet their beak on the Rowling Cash Cow to shore up their retirement funds.

EDIT: My kid likes them, but I don’t think he loves them. It’s almost an obligation as much as anything. I don’t think it’s “his” generation’s thing, but I’m not sure what is.


#3144

For my kids I guess it’s something a bit like Star Wars was for my generation. I wasn’t even born when the first Star Wars came out, but it was still reasonably new and popular when I was old enough to get it, and I watched them all in quick succession when I got into it. A ready-made series to absorb and enjoy.

We’re already on to the second Harry Potter movie this morning. I’d forgotten how much fun Kenneth Branagh is in it. And the child actors had already grown up quite a bit even by this point.

I’m finding it fun spotting all the British comedy actors who crop up in secondary supporting roles. Although I still think it’s a great shame that Rik Mayall never made it in as Peeves.


#3145

From an adult perspective that’s some of the best stuff, although not all of it flows as well as it might.

I think Rowling is a very readable writer with strong ideas but I wish there was a strong editor pushing the books into better shape as they grew over time.

The return of Voldemort, his effect on the magical world and then how his influence seeps out into the muggle world is powerful stuff.

I said at the time the film ‘Deathly Hallows pt.1’ was released that it was a slow apocalypse. You could see that the world was being damaged, even ruined, and that stopping that was going to be very painful for everyone.


#3146

That was when she lost the plot a bit, too. But it’s towards the end of the series, so I didn’t mind so much. Thought the last book had terrible pacing, and that conflating the search for the horcruxes with the search for the Deathly Hallows was a mistake - the plot is all over the place at this point, and yet somehow the kids spend what feels like a third of the book in a wood fighting. It was quite tiresome. I thought it worked much better in the movie, which didn’t have the problem of treading water so much, and made the scenes in the woods much more interesting.

I liked that scene a lot because it does something that’s not in the books very well. And for its choice of music, which fits the situation perfectly. Using Nick Cave’s “O Children” here was a stroke of genius.

“O Children”

Pass me that lovely little gun
My dear, my darling one
The cleaners are coming, one by one
You don’t even want to let them start

They are knocking now upon your door
They measure the room, they know the score
They’re mopping up the butcher’s floor
Of your broken little hearts

O children

Forgive us now for what we’ve done
It started out as a bit of fun
Here, take these before we run away
The keys to the gulag

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
They’re gathering round with all my friends
We’re older now, the light is dim
And you are only just beginning

O children

We have the answer to all your fears
It’s short, it’s simple, it’s crystal clear
It’s round about and it’s somewhere here
Lost amongst our winnings

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

The cleaners have done their job on you
They’re hip to it, man, they’re in the groove
They’ve hosed you down, you’re good as new
They’re lining up to inspect you

O children

Poor old Jim’s white as a ghost
He’s found the answer that we lost
We’re all weeping now, weeping because
There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you

O children
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
Children
Rejoice, rejoice

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

Hey, little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now I see
Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?

Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
It’s beyond my wildest expectation

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun
And the train ain’t even left the station

One of the things that impacted the films negatively for me and that the producers couldn’t have seen coming was that Radcliffe grows progressively worse as an actor.


#3147

Finally got around to watching Rogue One. Only things that really took me out of it was cgi Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher. Enjoyed seeing Vader as a bad ass in his few appearances and the fact that all the names less deaths we’d see in the background of the main films were brought front and centre. I originally thought the idea of a side-qual was lazy but I enjoyed this way more than any of the new epsidoe movies.


#3148

The films do work quite well to fix the pacing issues in the last couple of novels.


#3149

Yep. With books 6 and 7, I definitely enjoyed the movies more than I did the books, which is pretty unusual.


#3150

I think that’s true for five and six, from memory.

But I felt the opposite for the final book: splitting it into two movies resulted in a Part One that was so dull and uneventful that I didn’t bother coming back for Part Two.


#3151

I don’t get that though. I get being annoyed that the first part didn’t grab you, but you know part two has all the action so, pissed off or not, you are cutting your nose off to spite your face there.


#3152

I wasn’t pissed off, just a bit uninterested.

I’d read the book so I knew what happened, and I felt like the films had been getting progressively worse since Goblet of Fire, with Deathly Hallows Part One being the weakest of all. So I saved myself the tenner at the cinema.

It’s in the Blu-Ray set that we own, so I’ll get to it eventually.


#3153

I am glad that movie studios have given up on the whole part one and part two approach to splitting the final book in half, but in the case of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, the damage is done.


#3154

I don’t know if they have or not - Infinity War is a ‘Part One’ in all but name, and it worked for Marvel.

I prefer films stand alone to a large extent, though.


#3155

I think that was structured differently to the others though. Instead of adapting a single story and cutting it in half, leaving the first-part with all of the set-up and the second with all of the action, it at least seems to have been written as two films from the start. Perfect balance, and all that (though you could have already cut out twenty minutes, guys).


#3156

Two-part films can work well if done properly. Kill Bill and Mesrine are both good examples. I think in the case of adapting novels it’s harder because of the nature of the books… The first part will be mainly build-up and the second one will always be tighter and more efficient as there’ll be a stronger start, middle and end.


#3157

Kill Bill was conceived as a single film though, and it premiered at Cannes at such, with Tarantino changing the structure a little when he had to split it in two. So that example is probably a lot closer to cutting a book in half.

I wonder why Kill Bill works so much better than the other examples that we have. Is it because the story is simple? Or because it’s not part of a franchise with prior, better entries? Maybe it’s the fact that it’s not in chronological order and the first part loops back to ending just after where it began (making it feel more complete as a result perhaps)?


#3158

Yeah, the song choice there was pure genius. It sounds like it could have actually been written for the book. (Though it does present a bit of anachronism in that the song wasn’t released until several years after the events of the story took place.)

As for the story, yeah, it is a bit problematic. Aside from having the characters chasing after two different sets of cursed artifacts — yikes! — the magic is also a hot mess.

I’m still not completely sure how Voldemort was prevented from killing Harry, something about his mother’s love and Voldemort using Harry’s blood in a ritual that somehow had the side effect of of tethering him to life, and you just sort of have to take J.K.’s word for it.

And the business with the wands changing ownership is kind of a big thing to drop into the final act. Seems like characters were getting disarmed in the previous books without consequence, and now Harry inherited the Elder Wand from Draco Malfoy, who unknowingly gained possession of it from Dumbledore…

I’d like to think she could have massaged the rules of magic into something a little more understandable; this stuff got so complex that it almost felt like reading legal briefs or technical manuals.


#3159

I’m not sure Kill Bill actually works that well. kill Bill 2 is super self-indulgent and padded. There’s tons of stuff that don’t really go anywhere and could easily be cut to keep it as one film.


#3160

I feel the same. I’ve said since Kill Bill vol 2 came out that those two movies felt like one really cool movie stretched out into two very mediocre, self-indulgent movies. Volume 1 is fun, but has not real plot. Volume 2 is all plot and no real fun. Instead of two 2 hour movies, I think it could have been one crazy fun 2 1/2 to 3 hour movie.


#3161

I’d still love to see the original cut of Kill Bill. It’s been screened once or twice publicly but the mooted DVD/Blu-Ray release never appeared.


#3162

I’d like to see Return to Nuke 'Em High as one movie too.
Damn you Tarantino!