Sunday, January 15, 2006

Harry Potter and the Old Cranky Redneck

Random thoughts about the Harry Potter movie franchise so far, and in the future...

Harry and Ron are played perfectly by Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. Hermione however... well, Emma Watson is a little bit cuter than Hermione is supposed to be. And looks to be on track to be a a real beauty. Nevertheless, it's far too late to change now. She owns the role of Hermione as much as Daniel and Rupert do theirs.

After reading through book six, I think Bonnie Wright looks to be really good as Ginny Weasley. The role has been a minor one so far, but she is obviously becoming more significant. But in the little screen time she's had so far, she's nailed the part. I think she shows the potential to be a star in OP and HBP if the scripts are done well. If the writers and directors get it right, we'll know why Harry falls for her. Although, she already looks like she's 27 years old:

The twins who play the twins Fred and George are fantastic. They're humor and energy make them two more perfect castings.

Rather than going over the adult roles one by one, I just want to note that it seems to me that British thespians always seem to have amazing (note that it is no compliment to call an actor "incredible") talent; particularly when contrasted to American "movie stars". Ian McKellan was a perfect Albus Dumbledore... too bad he was cast in "Lord of the Rings" instead. As it was, and is, Richard Harris and Michael Gambon are fine, and we can only wait to see how well Mr. Gambon handles the ever more inportant role. Most likely very well indeed; he has immense experience (and that British thing).

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape is the only other adult role that bears any comment. I didn't find him to be much like what I imagined Snape to be like, at first. But after four movies, I no longer can imagine anyone else in the role. And again, his talent exceeds my capacity to praise it. The other roles I recall seeing him in were funny, although depressive characters (Galaxy Quest, Marvin in Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy). He got a nice chance at a funny situation in GoF, but in general he manages to play the mostly evil, but complex character perfectly.

It's postively scary how the movies go through directors like I do bottles of Coors. It's absolutely amazing that it's worked so well so far. While I tend to agree that Goblet of Fire may be the best movie so far, I think the credit for that goes to J. K. Rowling. The stories are progressing through deeper plots as the major characters age. For the record, Chris Columbus made two fantastic movies in The Sorcerer's Stone, and The Chamber of Secrets. It's not possible to make quite as involving a story with 11 and 12-year-olds as it is 13 and 14-year-olds. And the same goes for the next two movies. If I had a chance to write or direct them, I'd be stoned on the experience, but I'd have a major fear that I'd make the first Harry Potter bomb. Order of the Phoenix is going to be tough. It's a long, dreary story.

There's been a lot of talk about whether the three main characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione) will need to be replaced due to the movies not being made quite as fast as one per year. I think the danger of this being an issue is past. They've done the 14-year-old movie, and the 15-year-old movie is in progress. After that, well, teenagers have been played by 20-somethings for a long time.


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