Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Beginning of the End of Harry Potter

Apparently yesterday marked quite a milestone. According to /Film, the Harry Potter series concluded filming just yesterday.

(How cute. They're at the cinema!)

I've never been part of Hogwarts mega-legion of boosters but it's still an historic moment that I thought we should mark here. I only wish that the series -- which has already earned more money than anyone could ever count or need -- hadn't popularized the greedy "split the last film into two" grab that every studio will now employ for all popular franchises. We haven't seen the results yet but one assumes the filler-to-substance ratio will be off the charts and you know it won't end with The Twilight Saga and Potter. I couldn't get through even the first Twilight book (my god the whining) so I can't speak for Breaking Dawn but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows definitely doesn't need 300 minutes to tell its story, especially since the middle section of the book is filler itself. I wouldn't worry if these films were 90 minutes but you now they'll stick with the traditional Potter length which, six films going, average out to 150 minutes or 2½ hours exactly. I did the math. When the series is over Harry Potter will have lasted about 1,200 minutes... or roughly the length of two seasons on a pay cable drama. And isn't that what all these multi-film stories essentially are, ginormous television series that you have to pay for?

All that said, I hope the last two films miraculously turn out great for the fans and I also hope that there's enough of Maggie & Helena and such to get me through before the movies pull an Avada Kedavra on me with their bloat. And on that note I should quit typing. If I'm claiming that nobody needs that extra 150 minutes of Potter or another 378 minutes of Twilight in their lives than I probably shouldn't whine so much that I'm mistaken for Bella Swan.
Maggie Smith Helena Bonham Carter


Peter said...

Wasn't your beloved "Kill Bill" the progenitor of the "split-it-in-two-for-more-money" approach?


peter -- maybe. but then it's only "beloved" if you count the first volume since the second is half filler. (sigh)

Daniel Armour said...

Having only read some of DH (and absolutely none of ANY Twilight book), I can't say whether they need to be two films or not but I thought Kill Bill had enough material between the two volumes to justify the split (which is weird because I refuse to buy Kill Bill on DVD until The Whole Bloody Affair comes out).

I'm not saying Volume II didn't need some editing - The Mexican Pimp and Budd's earlier scenes should have been cut - but for the most part, it was a thoroughly satisfying film. Hell, I even came to like it more than Volume One and I loved that film.

Zach Murphy said...

I'm ok with the Harry Potter film being split into two.
I don't care about the Twilight one, because I will be staying as far away from that as possible.

- The Rant King

Anonymous said...

The last Potter book is so massive in both length and scope that it has to be split into two. Breaking Dawn? Never read Twilight and don't really give a shit. Kill Bill also had a justifiable split IMO, though I feel Volume 2 is better than Volume 1.

Clarence said...

I really adore Harry Potter. I grew up on Harry Potter I was like 9 when the first movie came out and I'm 18 now ;( Time flies by so fast!

Anyway, I've read the final book and I think there's enough material for two movies. While critics generally (most according to RT or Metacritic) like the movies but I have a hard time with them because I totally envision the stories from the book differently. In my opinion, Goblet of Fire was still the best movie and I really enjoyed the first two that were directed by Christopher Columbus for sentimental reasons.

Anyway, what grinds my gears is that fact that they seem to cut out some interesting stuff from the book or changes the story completely. I'm glad they're splitting the last book. There were a lot of info and backstory in that thing.

As for Kill Bill, which is my absolute favorite movie EVER, was justifiably split. I prefer the first one mostly because her fight with the Crazy 88s was so fantastic that it drives me crazy it didn't get that much love from the Oscars.

Ryan said...

I vehemently disagree with Kill Bill 2 being half filler. However, I do agree with you on the Potter subject. I still only enjoyed the third film, which probably has a lot to do with the director.

Andrew R. said...

Love Harry Potter, both books and movies. *sigh*

I have no problem with them splitting it in 2-it IS detailed.

Unlike Twilight, which is just a mentally ill bitch, a closeted vampire (who SPARKLES-WTF?), and a werewolf with rapist characteristics whining for 300+ pages, so they could've just made it into one movie and spared movie critics everywhere.

/3rtfu11 said...

There’s a special place in Hell for Harvey Weinstein masterminding the Kill Bill split.
Tarantino’s editor, Sally Menke would’ve streamlined all the useless subplots and made the picture work at less than 3 hours.

Tarantino’s movies in general are usually 154 minutes – Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and Inglourious Basterds.

Volvagia said...

I wouldn't even stoop to calling the Twilight characters vampires. The two necessary things to call a fictional character a vampire are 1. Suck blood. 2. Die in sun. That's it. So long as those things are there, I'll accept any interpretation of the myth, however unconvential.

IslandLiberal said...

I'd debate #2; Dracula originally didn't die in the sun.

Regarding the split, DH has so much plot that I think the two-movie split will work (it would also have worked for #4, but not for any of the others).


wow. i musta read a differnet book than all of you. i can't think of how DH had enough plot for two movies. It didn't even have enough plot for its number of pages.

NoNo said...

Deathly Hallows had way more exposition than plot but the fans will have a heart attack if it's not included so David Heymen & WB are sort of caught between a rock and hard place.

The films could be so much better if they didn't worry about being "faithful" to the text.

That being said I would be happy the last film got an honorary Best Picture nod (What? There are 10 spots now!) for the consistent, great work.

As for Twilight, I've read that last book for a Womanism class and that movie doesn't need to be more than 145 minutes max. It is dreadful, dreadful, dreadful and I truly fear for Bill Condon and Kristen Stewart's careers.

Yags said...

It's great that the last HP movie is being split into two.
Twilight is crap all up and seriously the last book could be made into a 5 minute movie and everything would be included. HP has so much more depth to cover.


NoNo -- why should they get a BP nod for consistency? For consistent above averageness? I don't hate those movies really (except for the second one i guess which just... it felt like it was 400 minutes long to me.) but they're just so pedestrian and i fear for the movies if people think that's the pinnacle of filmmaking.

and i can't imagine that deathly hallows will be any good if it's faithful to the book because, as you say, it's just so much exposition.

movies really need to reembrace the show, don't tell mantra and be visually motivated.

you can get scads of exposition for your drama on any procedural on television.

anyway. the Potter movies make me crazy in that way (the fandom way) not in their actual existence way since they're ok and sometimes fun.

NoNo said...

Yeah, I do think that they do consistent work and occasionally have moments of brilliance. The technical aspects are underrated and so are some performances (Staunton, Oldman, Broadbent etc.)

I don't think that rooting for the Academy to throw it a bone is harmful since they're already have a preference for nominating things like The Blind Side.

I'm gonna split for a while.

aclp said...

As far as HP is concerner, the movies and the books are two differente things, the latter being far superior. The movies arent really that good. They havent always been good in keeping the right pace, they have failed at a true complete phsycological approach to the characters, who are all far more complex then what is portrayed in the movies, and have failed to tell crucial turning points in the story.

I have one only hope for the two last ones: That, at last, they will do Ron justice. No character has been as mistreated and unfairly treated in the entire series as Ron has (Neville has been sometimes ignored, but that's an entirely diferent thing).

The producers are so in love with the idea of Hermione (the idea of her, because their Hermione is a very idealize vision of book Hermione) that they believe they had to sacrifice Ron in order for her to shine and be the heroine. Hermione in the books was never this flawless, perfect, superhero girl they have portrayed in the movies. She had flaws, too. In the books, Hermione is bossy, arrogant, uptight, insecure, judmental, inflexible, cant think outside the box, is not the most creative, doesnt always know how to improvise and think fast enough, can be boring, doesnt know how to have fun, bores and tires Harry eventually and is very preachy. And that doesnt make her less wonderful- just more complex and human, not the flawless godess the movies try to portray.

Ron, on the other hand, who has been so dumbed down in the movies, in the books is wonderfully clever, sarcastic, funny, ironic, witty, quick, extremely loyal, brave, has an amazing talent for thinking outside the box, for improvising, for thinking strategically, is very very creative, humorous in a smart way, corageous, is a legendary wizard-chess player (which says someting for his frequently noticed talent for thinking strategically)is sweet, a great sun and brother and Harry's best friend- yes, Ron, not Hermione, is Harry's best friend and he is the one who keeps the trio together.

(and there's a reason why Ron has everything Hermione lacks, and vice versa)

After watching six movies of such a wonderful and important charcter being mistreat, I hope they redeem themselves and do him justice one last time.

Jason Adams said...

I like the idea of Deathly Hallows being split into two movies because I want the entire second film to be nothing but the Battle of Hogwarts. I want two entire hours of that. That will make me happy.


JA -- they will NEVER do that. They always skimp on the action in that series.

but i agreed that that's the principle reason to be excited. I really want Maggie Smith and Julie Walters and everybody to get plenty of screentime and fierceness in battle. but i fear i will be gravely disappointed.

GossipKidlet said...

@Nathaniel - According to sources, Maggie "staggered" (direct quote) through the filming because she was fighting cancer and completely bald at the same time. Sadly, as much of a Maggie Fetishist as I am, a 75 year old bald, cancer ridden woman does not action woman make :( We can only have our fingers crossed for one or two bitchy lines and be grateful that she's in remission so we get more, in other films!