Archive for the Harry Potter Category

Harry Goes Splat

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2010 by jamesdrax

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 | Dir: David Yates | 2010 | 7/10

After the dastardly Harry Potter Meets Porky’s, we get Harry Potter Needs Prozac Part Infinity.

Being the first part of a two-movie arc based on one book, Warner Bros. dreamed of avarice by charging us full price for half a movie. You’d think Gringotts goblins were running the studio. Yet, it’s such a labour of love that was indeed better than the original novel, which wasn’t all that difficult to achieve since it was a mediocre book to begin with.

Our battered teenage heroes Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), all have to gear up once more to fight evil baddie Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his screechy minions who are all out to kill the bespectacled one, but like poor marksmen, they keep missing the target. All the while the three leads are looking at each other as if to say author J.K. Rowling must really hate them. If Emma Watson ever said she felt “trapped at Hogwarts”, she should have at least been grateful that instead they spend a great deal of time in a fifth-dimensional tent on loan from Doctor Who. She even deletes herself from photographs in her parents house like she’s Marty McFly. Whose movie is this again?

Unlike the cure of insomnia Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), this film actually raises the stakes and kills off several well-loved characters within minutes of each other. This new turn of urgency actually makes it feel like a suspensefully well-paced motion picture rather than obligatory filler like the previous film. Remarkably, director Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves actually take liberties that are likely to infuriate hardcore Potter aficionados into hissy fits of werewolf rage.

Stretching out over what felt like ten hours of miserably mournful gazes, Ron chucks a tantrum and storms out in a fit of jealousy over Harry and Hermione who shrug him off with a really heart melting dance scene, which is destined become the most controversial snippet of film in Potter history among nerdy factional canonbots and devoted shippers. If these two have been having almost eternal eye-sex over several films, then this scene must have been the metaphorical orgasm – a veiled expression by the filmmakers by saying “UP YOURS!” to Rowling and her one big happy Weasley family. It was a glimpse of what might have been for all those Harry/Hermione tragics out there like yours truly. Ginny who?

Ron gets to play hero for one scene by destroying the horcrux locket (which contains a piece of Voldemort’s fun-loving spirit) with the Sword of Gryffindor after two ghostly images of Harry and Hermione torment him and start making out like its Woodstock at Hogwarts in front of him. There, there, Ron. Was that necessary? At least Voldemort knew what the audience wanted and you crashed it, you pathetic little party-pooper!

The shiver-me-timbers You-Know-Who is up to his evil plan for world domination by seeking out the Elder Wand, a weapon so powerful, he’ll finally be able to distribute his Nazi Germany-style anti-Muggle propaganda to school children without that meddling Potter ruining everything over and over again. Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs) looks a bit haggard and worse for wear; did his cellmate in Azkaban make his life a living hell?

Alexandre Desplat’s score is so depressing, it almost makes you want to make a sharp turn off a bridge. Who was the target audience, Christopher Nolan geeks? Nevertheless, the tone fits like a glove even though John Williams’ presence is still sorely missed.

We better be in for a grand ole’ finale come 2011, then finally we can all sing “Ding Dong, the Snake is Dead”.


Live and Let Harry Die

Posted in 007, alchemy, Harry Potter on July 23, 2009 by jamesdrax

Although I liked the film adaptation for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it still featured a lot of gag-worthy material that pissed me off, like Ginny’s obligatory moments of pointless routine boredom, and a confused script that again exposed Harry and Hermione’s friendship as a more interesting and textured aspect that “awwww”-d the audience I was with more than anything, but overall it actually made the novel seem good, which is an accomplishment in itself! Everything to do with Max Zorin… uh, I mean Draco Malfoy was perhaps the film’s highlight – that kid can act! Plus, Emma Watson is… a woman, she’s starting to remind me of Holly Goodhead from Moonraker for her beauty and brains – my powers of observation do me credit.

I’ll always consider the loss of the Harry/Hermione ship to be similar to how fans of the Superman films feel content that they’ll never get to see what Superman II would have really been like if Richard Donner had been allowed to fully complete it in 1980, regardless of the 2006 Dick Donner version that was still a bloody mess. I’m exhausted on the whole Pothead thing, I’ll give it a rest until Deathly Hallows: Part I is released in 2010 and oh god, there’s more after that!

In the meantime, if you, too, were frustrated by J.K. Rowling’s final pairings and you’re gutsy enough not to toe the purist line, or you were simply content with it but are still interested in the subject, you may find this old article analyzing the alchemical properties of the Potter characters to be very intriguing, which demonstrates how they made sense to many at the time, and why the ship still lives on. It’s pre-Deathly Hallows, but I believe it to be accurate and thorough even if Rowling never followed through.

Now moving on from this pointless endeavor into franchises that have never let me down, like James Bond, Stargate SG-1, Star Trek, and the king of the monsters himself, Godzilla! I wouldn’t mind seeing him make a mess of Hogwarts in a fan fiction crossover story.

Stories for Rowling’s Consideration

Posted in 007, Harry Potter on July 19, 2009 by jamesdrax

I’ve gotten pretty sick of J.K. Rowling’s meandering storytelling style that supposedly gets “darker” and more “brooding”, but ends up a pile of waste. Here are some stories of an older Harry she might want to consider.

From Beauxbatons With Love

After sending their kids off to Hogwarts, and replacing Hedwig with a macaw parrot, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione all breathe a sigh of relief when they think it’s time to settle down, but after Harry receives a call from McG (codename for Professor McGonogall) to meet in her office, little does he realize the new adventure is just beginning. Harry is given a photograph of a beautiful blonde signed “From Beauxbatons With Love”, but both are being used by the new cult organization called M.A.R.V.E.L. (Magical Arm of Rivals from Voldemort’s Elder League) and the pair are pulled together in circumstances that involve a French encrypted pensieve containing secret memories, blade shoes with deadly potions, and a fair-haired henchman who looks like he has some Giant blood in him. Harry will have to explain himself to Ginny unless he doesn’t dispose of a certain film featuring himself and the pretty blonde in the bedroom.

The Wizard With the Golden Wand

After McG receives a golden miniature wand with “Harry Potter” etched into it, Harry goes to South East Asia to fight an evil wizard assassin named Scarafanga who has a peculiar wand made out of solid gold, who plans to harness a new magical energy from the sun. His henchman is a sex-crazed French house elf named Wink Wank who wants Harry to kill Scarafanga in a duel wand game to the death so that all can be his.

On His Minister’s Magical Secret Service

Voldemort has been resurrected again and plots a scheme to hypnotize the Muggle population to do his bidding as a race of Voldified zombies. His plan fails, so he kills Ginny in a fly-by zapping at the end.

The Witch Who Loved Me

Harry’s at his wit’s end after the death of his wife, Ginny, but his old best friend Hermione starts to drift from Ron while comforting Harry on his dark road of despair… which only lasts five minutes. At the request of McG, the pair go on a globe trotting adventure to investigate the hijacking of British and Bulgarian magical objects charged with the power of wiping out the human race. This one keeps the Hogwarts end up!


This is more or less a remake of Rupert Grint’s film Thunderpants, where a wealthy French wizard named Hugh Wax plans to launch broom-powered rockets into space with the aid of Ron’s magical gluttony abilities, in an attempt to engage his eugenics agenda by re-populating the Earth with blonde/blue-eyed purebloods. In this high octante adventure, Harry really takes Hermione around the world one more time!

For Your Wand Only

After Harry drops Voldemort from a booby-trapped broom 20,000 feet from the air, Hermione’s parents are brutally murdered on their holiday yaught. At first, she’s devastated, but soon goes on a revenge hunt for those responsible, and teamed with Harry, they find that a British pensieve has disappeared, which the Bulgarians are also after. The duo meet a pair of bumbling Euro-trash wizards who accuse one another of being the Bulgarians’ informant, but only one is telling the truth as Harry finds out with the help of some trusty old Veritaserum. Story ends with Harry and Hermione on their boat together with that annoying parrot when Harry gets a call on his wrist watch howler from McG that Prime Minister Harriet Jones wants to congratulate him on his success but in his disinterest because of Hermione de-robing and whispering “For your wand only, darling”, he plunks the howler watch in the parrot’s seed dish who keeps repeating “Give us a dementor’s kiss! Give us a dementor’s kiss!”


When McG requests Harry’s services, he attends an auction where a Faberge Cauldron sells for 100,000 galleons to an international magical object smuggler, and in connection, he meets a woman with red hair nicknamed Redpussy who reminds him of his dead wife, and this can only make Hermione jealous! A Bulgarian Minister of Magic is also up to no good in his own plot to set off a Muggle nuclear warhead loaded with magical minerals at Beauxbatons to plunge the entire the Wizarding World into total war with himself as the main benefactor. Harry has to chase down this bomb disguised as a clown at the Redpussy circus (this would have been a better job for Ron). Ends with the most spectacular magic carpet stunts imaginable as Harry clings on the rear to rescue Redpussy from the smugglers and crash the carpet (it’s all in the wrist). Hermione eventually understands Harry’s sudden attraction to Redpussy, they were an all time high!

A View to a Curse (alternate title – From a View to a Spell)

Draco Malfoy is up to his old tricks again, this time with the help of an eccentric African American witch named Mate Date, a woman of very few words, who coupled together plan to flood Diagon Alley from the Thames river so that Malfoy’s business investments in Bulgaria will skyrocket. Now it’s up to Harry, with the help of Hermione, who’s been studying up on her geology, to foil Malfoy’s plan of economic domination. Ends with a set piece of dangerous stunts on the top of the Tower Bridge where Harry and Hermione confront Malfoy’s Durmstrang-style flying ship, where a fight eschews and Draco plunges to his watery death. Afterward, Harry and Hermione “dance into the magic, from fatal spells to broken dreams”!


I promise, all of these story pitches are completely original.

The Shipping Terror – Why Rowling’s Final Pairings Suck

Posted in Harry Potter on July 11, 2009 by jamesdrax

Harry Potter now officially sucks balls.

This may seem odd for a guy, but I do get suckered into the whole shipping (relationships in fiction, for the uninitiated) aspect of a series of stories if I’m into it enough, not only because it’s important for character development, but it’s pretty damn fun too, although if you’re disappointed and the worst happens, it can ruin a franchise for you, for good.

From the time that I considered myself a full-time fan of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which was 2001 to 2005, perhaps the years 2003 and 2004 were the very best, the long awaited Order of the Phoenix delivered on so many satisfying levels despite its overbearing length, and the film adaptation of Prisoner of Azkaban left me one happy little Potterfan. I couldn’t help noticing that other fans liked going on internet message boards and discussing their ideas about the future books. You had the “Who Will Die?” threads, the “What Did They Mean?” threads, the “Whose Wand is Bigger Than Who’s” threads, but there was no hotter topic than the “Who Will Fall In Love With Whom?” threads; you looked at one that was 150 pages long, then look at it again the next day, but it was a new thread already up to the 58th page. I cannot overstate how this particular aspect of the Harry Potter series divided so many fans. You had the Harry and Hermione shippers, which I still consider myself a part of, and the Ron and Hermione shippers (this girl bounces around a lot), as well as the “Heron” dump-ship for Harry and Ginny, which no Harry/Hermione shipper ever took seriously because there was absolutely no development between that pair.

Oh wait, that did happen! How did this come to be? Did Rowling go mad? Even the staunchest Ron/Hermione shippers thought this came out of no-where, and they’d be right, it reads like an amateur sex story, there’s no background, no development, just a monster down Harry’s pants, a bit of perving and lot of “snogging” (I dare someone to count how many times that word is mentioned in Half-Blood Prince). The actual pairings that Rowling threw at us were Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione, one big happy Weasley family. Boring.

Has anyone ever stopped to observe how misogynistic the official canon ships wound up being? The reader is never given an opportunity to get to know Ginny, she’s always a background character no-one cares about in much of Books 1-5, and thus she’s only a red-headed object for Harry’s sexual desires, it really makes him look like a total douche; and it seems most readers only care who Ron gets with, and Hermione supposedly being the “most brilliant witch of her age” has to lower herself to a Molly Weasley-like housewife level in order to satisfy Ron’s needs without any regard for her own endeavors. At least Harry and Hermione were equals who respected each other, even when they disagreed – Rowling really missed the point entirely. If she ever calls herself a “feminist”, she’s lying through her teeth.

However, what finally killed it was that Rowling got impatient and wrote the ending first. I cannot discourage this practice more. Sure, she may have had her grand plan for things to end up that way in the Epilogue, but clearly the characters got away from her in Books 3, 4 and 5 and did that strange literary miracle of taking on lives of their own and talking back at the author, which would really be a damaging blast to Rowling’s ego; so she thought it was prudent to put them back on track in Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows to comply with her grand plan, and as a result, it comes off as awkward, shallow, and completely out of uniform with the direction the characters seemed to be going in the first five books.

Rowling herself may publicly deny all she wants that there was any well written development between the Harry and Hermione characters that clearly could have flourished into something romantic (she admits to not even re-reading her own material so what the hell does she know?), but for her writing to trick half her fan base into thinking the development between the two mentioned characters was what she intended to be a deep and meaningful pairing, and then after the release of Half-Blood Prince turn around and tell readers to go back and re-read it and insult half the fan base for thinking that way, there must be something inherently wrong with the writing itself if so many fans saw that. Or she’s just a nasty old bat; either way, it was clear she wasn’t satisfied with the direction the characters were going, and like the control freak that she is, put them back on her proverbial track to a very painful wreckage. What made matters worse was that the other half of the fan base who championed the final pairings and loved the degenerating quality of the last two books regardless, somehow felt it was their obligation to take on a vigilante mentality and wage war on the Harry/Hermione shippers by attacking their websites, spreading rumors about them, and constantly being defensive about the official canon ships, even though they’d won, which only proved it was a hollow victory from their apparent insecurity. They carried on like they’d won an election, and proceeded to stamp out all opposition, and Harry/Hermione shippers were in the crosshair because of their dissent towards their godly messianic author, that’ll teach ya! This is no conjecture, the internet fandom really imploded in 2005 because of this.

It’s not only the romances that have ruined it. Books 1 to 5 display a growing trend of continuing complexity, uses of symbolism, clear and ambiguous characterizations, advancing abilities in writing action scenes, dazzling plots, witty dialogue and clever satire, but all that is lost in Half-Blood Prince, so much so, it reads like it’s by a different author. Much of the book is full of light filler where it just meanders on and on with boring scenes of pseudo political babble, gossip chatter, Disney-cartoon style imagery evoked from Rowling’s fluttering writing style that can often kill the mood, along with painful teenage lust that just makes any sane reader wince (isn’t there a war going on? I wanted to see that!). Worst of all, the characters who seemed so mature in previous books degenerate into the very worst of stereotypes, Harry’s a pampered jock who gets everything he wants; Hermione suddenly becomes an abusive and unlikable broad with a permanent PMS problem who, just when you thought she had a brain, still dates sports boofheads to make Ron jealous; Ron’s still WonWon, only worse; Ginny’s become the school bicycle (how romantic!); Draco’s still an arse but he gets a few good moments, and everyone else reads like they’ve been pulled from a Porky’s movie. While you’re reading it, you’re waiting 500 pages for something to happen, and when it happens, it reads like crap. After all the flack Rowling got from mainstream readers after Order of the Phoenix, it just seemed like she was dumbing it down for a wider audience. Deathly Hallows doesn’t fare much better, there’s only about two chapters I like in that book and they both feel like a slap in the face anyway – it’s probably the most disjointed and jerky of the series. Voldemort surprisingly carks it in a very unbadass-like manner, it’s a piddly fizzer to behold.

With the new film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince about to be released, it was nice to recap on what made this series such a sucky disappointment of ineptitude and unfulfilled promises. If you like what it ended up being, all the power to you, but I and many others expected much more from this bomb.