Posts Tagged ‘Bill Nighy’

Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- One and a Half out of Five ‘Staches.

If you cannot tell already, I am not really the biggest fan of big budget animated films.  There are things out there I like, no doubt about it, but really nothing has knocked my socks off.  It feels like all of these companies are trying too hard to put out a story that would appeal to kids and adults, alike.  “Rango” is no different, and besides the  spectacular animation, it does not have much to offer. (more…)


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Movie Review by Matthew Schuchman- Two and a Half out of Five ‘Staches

It has always been hard for me to understand people’s fascination with the world of Harry Potter. I used to chalk it up to the fact that it was at first intended for children.  It is just hard for me to look past things such as a new character being introduced that is named Professor Lupin.  As soon as you throw out the name Lupin there is no surprise for me, I know he is a werewolf before the story tries to not so subtly introduce a running theme of werewolves into the mix.  Now the first half of the epic finale is hitting theaters and for those who have read the books know, the continuous darker tone of the tale is hitting its height, but it still doesn’t help when the same old story arcs and plot holes exist.

There is no surprise that a lot of background information had to be cut from all the movies that are better explained in the books, but as always we are talking about the movie here, not the book.  This all lends to what is not only a thoroughly confusing fare, but one that feels stretched out for no good reason.  When part 2 arrives and more answers are revealed, things may change, but based on the previous films it really seems that the writers are just throwing things in for fans or not cutting certain unnecessary plot points for fear of a fandom backlash.

A well-known criticism of all the Harry Potter stories up to this point is that each volume of the whole story just deals with Harry and his friend’s stumbling onto the solution to that year’s problem.  They realize far too late that the lesson they were taught in school that year holds the answers to everything.  The story is no different here, but since they are not in school the answers all come from people they happen to conveniently meet for the first time after all these years.  It is amazing how many times Harry has said, “Who’s that?” in the entire series before whomever he is standing next to fills in the blanks.  With the massive amount of new characters that are introduced in this film it leaves the less knowledgable Harry Potter viewers lost and also leads to the egregious under use of some great actors.

Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Peter Mullan, David Ryall and Guy Henry all play very small but pivotal  roles in the film and all but Ifans are pretty much underused or pointless to have mentioned at all.  Bill Nighy is the massive exception to being pointless, but for the amount of time he is in the movie, I almost feel it would have been better to hire a lesser known actor.  Not that Nighy does a bad job, he is fantastic for the small time he is on-screen.  I just don’t know if it is really worth it in the end.  And for the amount of time spent dealing with these new characters, there is even less time spent with the film series’ greatest attributes; Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon.

Of course, it is obvious why Michael Gambon as Dumbledore is not really in the movie, he is dead after all.  But after one scene at the beginning of the movie, Rickman is never to be seen again.  The great pull of these movies for non-Potter fans is the massive cast of truly amazing actors that round out the movie.  I know the story lines are really meant to focus on the three heroes more than anything now but it is still a fact worth mentioning.

After accepting that I won’t be seeing a lot of the ancillary characters as much as Harry, Ron and Hermione, it becomes obvious that the three leads have actually grown a bit as actors.  There performances become  one of the few shining points of the movie.  Rupert Grint as Ron was the only one from the start of the films I thought had his job down right and he just continues to play the part.  Daniel Radcliffe up to this point was a growing actor, but beyond his amazing talent of delivering sarcasm, never really had the chops to carry the film the way he should.  He has improved his skills a great deal this time around and while it is not an award-winning performance, it certainly is very solid.  Finally, Emma Watson has for once dropped this odd habit of delivering lines in her own made up cadence that made one sentence sound like three different thoughts.  Overall, it made up a bit for the long dragged out bore of a film that is presented.

I give a lot of credit to the writers for not shying away from the very dark tones the books took, but at some points the situations led to some very awkward and disturbing scenes.  It was a bold choice  to show a half-naked Harry and Hermione making out (a vision from a dark force that is meant to twist Ron’s mind) but the imagery is ultimately not necessary at all and feels very clumsy and downright silly.  There are some very funny jokes this time around though, mostly provided by Ron and the surprisingly welcome return of Dobby.

Besides the fact that the production companies could make a lot more money out of the franchise by splitting the finale into two parts, there really is a lot of information that has to be jam-packed into a certain time frame to get the story told.   However, what we are left with is a jumbled mess with too much information being thrown at the audience at a rapid pace within a dragging film.  While the answers given in part 2 will help clear things up, part 1 as a stand alone film is a big miss.

I know fans with the knowledge the back story will disagree with my thoughts and that is fine.  So if you are a fan of the books, add a ‘stache or  ‘stache and a half and you will have your final rating.  At the end of the day, it is still tough for me to overlook all the holes in the film.  From very small things, such as; why is Dobby still wearing rags when he told Harry that once he was freed from his master he could change his clothing?  Or much larger ones, such as; why in some situations do the characters easily apparate (a mode of transportation that was heavily used in the previous film) to escape trouble and then other times they just decide not to use the skill and end up hurt or in deeper trouble?  These types of small to large plot holes have run through all the films so far.  I like to pick things apart and when I have picked apart all the Harry Potter films so far, I am left underwhelmed.

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