Tag Archives: Ralph Fiennes

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, David Yates)

I’m out of touch. I realized I saw three blockbusters this summer, something I hadn’t done since 1999 or so. When the opportunity to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix presented itself, I leapt at it. I figured I could get a good sense of the state of the Hollywood blockbuster. Amusingly, I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t get up and walk out when Phoenix got too bad… which was immediately following the stylized Warner Bros. logo. Oh, my God… it wasn’t shot on DV. It was shot on film. Wow. Now, I’m not sure. Did they film everything against green screens and insert the backgrounds or is Slawomir Idziak really the worst working cinematographer today? Wow. I mean, Phoenix is ugly looking, but I figured they had a technical excuse. Obviously, director David Yates wasn’t going to fix it, because he’s terrible, but wow.

What else… I mean, there’s no point in talking about something so absurdly god-awful, but these big budget movies and the effects are on par with The Last Starfighter for CG and Superman IV for flying effects. Where’s the money go?

I only saw the first half of the first Harry Potter movie, back when Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson were kids and had be judged by kid-level acting. They’re not kids anymore and they’re both awful. It’s a toss-up who’s worse. Rupert Grint’s fine, so’s Evanna Lynch (except her direction probably consisted of “act weird”), most of the adults are terrible–except Alan Rickman. Gary Oldman’s performance suggests a pirate movie, which makes him amusing I suppose, but certainly not worthwhile. Imelda Staunton’s particularly terrible as the villain, but the role’s so bad, what what she going to do? I imagine Yates as bad a director of actors as he is of cinematographers.

I hear from Harry Potter fans, or from one anyway, the adaptation is particularly bad in this case. Michael Goldenberg’s script is heinous (I don’t remember having any serious adverse reaction to Steve Kloves’s script for the first one, or the half I saw).

It’s unbelievable. I reminded of a certain line from Aliens and I’m actually to type it but, I imagine, someone familiar with that film would know the line of which I am thinking. Ripley with the company suits. That line.

Wow, what an ugly movie. It’s so poorly lighted, it’s like a poorly lighted Peter Hyams movie. But four blockbusters in one summer? I think, given the note I’m ending on, it’ll be another eight years.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by David Yates; written by Michael Goldenberg, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling; director of photography, Slawomir Idziak; edited by Mark Day; music by Nicholas Hooper; production designer, Stuart Craig; produced by David Heyman and David Barron; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Emma Thompson (Sybill Trelawney), Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley), Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley).


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Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Nick Park and Steve Box)

So how does Nick Park do feature-length? He does really good.

The Wallace and Gromit adventures are always good (is there one that’s less than the rest, I think so, but can’t remember which one), so I wasn’t worried about The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in that way. Maybe I wasn’t worried about Were-Rabbit at all. I suppose, during the endless previews for shitty “family” movies, there was a tingling of possible badness, but it went away during the the opening credits of Were-Rabbit.

Wallace and Gromit are audience proprietary… people show you the Wallace and Gromit movies. When you meet another person who loves them, you sort of nod. There’s no secret handshake, but it’s implied. I suppose that’s the worst worry of Were-Rabbit, that it would somehow fail and Wallace and Gromit would then fail. Nick Park’s done an amazing thing–he’s managed never to disappoint and Park’s got a really varied audience.

I don’t know, necessarily, that I want another Wallace and Gromit feature, though. I want the same methods in making it applied to short films, just so we get more stories. Still, it’s amazing how much Park got away with–he assumes the audience has a real familiarity with the characters, something you probably aren’t supposed to do with films of this nature, something I’m sure DreamWorks had went into a fit about (they also wanted to replace Wallace’s voice).

I don’t really know what else to say about it.

3.5/4★★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box; written by Box, Park, Mark Burton and Bob Baker; directors of photography, Dave Alex Riddett and Tristan Oliver; edited by David McCormick and Gregory Perler; music by Julian Nott; produced by Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley, Peter Lord, David Sproxton and Park; released by DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Features.

Starring Peter Sallis (Wallace), Ralph Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine), Helena Bonham Carter (Lady Campanula Tottington), Peter Kay (P.C. Mackintosh), Nicholas Smith (the Rev. Clement Hedges) and Liz Smith (Mrs. Mulch).