01 February, 2012

What I Watched Last Month…

Since I'm still catching up, this is what I watched in…
July 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. (on DVD)
So I re-watched this one as a warm-up to HPatDHP2. I'd originally seen it at the theatre, and this was the first time I'd watched it on DVD since then. I found it much easier to watch and to just ease into and go with than when I saw it at the cinema, and so found it more enjoyable. Well, a lot less painful anyway. It is still merely a very long, and sometimes tedious prologue though, which probably could have been folded into one final movie instead of split from it.
I can see that they were trying very hard to create desperate and foreboding oppressive tone, which may be most visually obvious in the almost constant use of desaturated colours, as a set-up for how dire the circumstances are in the HP universe, but whether or not it was worth it is debatable.
The whole thing is very episodic in nature, but I guess that's what this sort of journey is all about: a long, long period on the run — gruelling and trying.
The plot and story still has too many holes and silliness for my liking. My biggest gripe though is the reality that if you really want to know what's going on you have to read the books. That means the movie makers haven't actually done their job sufficiently well, with HP fans always having to explain the why's & how's to the uninitiated too often.
The production design and look of the last few HPs, especially the depiction of magical battles, has been on a steady upward curve, creating an exciting, consistent but never stagnant look.
On a side note, I've come to really enjoy the portrayals of the characters by these child (now adult) actors. These guys have really made the characters their own. Radcliffe's portrayal of Harry is now inseparable from the screen character, regardless of how good or bad he actually is as an actor. His mannerisms, personality and physicality are Harry Potter on screen. He's got quite the recognisable silhouette too, in both stance and shape.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. (at the movies)
As I said, watching HPatDH1 on DVD was a warm up for this, which I watched. To be honest, I never got around to writing my thoughts down at the time, and too much time has passed since to give fair commentary. I do remember though audibly cheering when Neville Longbottom cut off the serpent monster's head. I loved that!

Captain America: The First Avenger. (at the cinema)
I enjoyed this movie so much that I saw it twice in the space of a week. Twice! Once in 3D (which only happened because the ticket was free) and then once in 2D. I'll get this out of the way first up and say that, while the 3D isn't bad, there is a lot of brilliance, colour and definition lost compared to the 2D screening.
I thought the origin was extremely well handled, very close to the comic book version (as I know it from the 60s retellings), simply cleaning it up and fattening it out in all the right places. Steve Rogers' personality was great, and this was the aspect that stopped CA:TFA from being the overly patriotic, jingoistic film many people were worried it was going to be. That and the fact the villainous forces were Hydra instead of Nazis, which amazingly also helped with the believability of the storyline, practically removing Captain America, et al from the war as it was actually historically happening.
The visual effects in the pre-super Rogers that created the scrawny version of the character were amazing. I totally forgot for most of the time that there was visual effects trickery going on. Brilliantly done.
The middle part of the film probably had the most leaps in logic, but once the costume was properly wrapped around the super-soldier, it all picked up wonderfully again.
My only real disappointment with this movie is the fact that Cap has only had one adventure in World War II. I would have loved seeing two more period films showing war action, The Howling Commandos, and the Red Skull's comeuppance with Bucky Barnes living through most of it.

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