Yesterday I turned 30. My partner agreed to go with me to an amazing Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball at our local and hip movie theatre and then attend a midnight screening of the new movie. It was a hard go for us as we are parents of a 2yo and rarely make it past 11. We hit the hay around 3 this morning. It was worth it.
[SPOILER ALERT: I will be talking about plot points from the movie/book. To avoid accidental viewing, I will post what I have to say about the movie and the terrible review at Newsweek after the jump.]
The movie, in my opinion, is good. I am an AVID fan of Rowling, have read all the books. This is my second time attending the midnight screening of one of the movies. I also once stayed up until midnight to purchase one of the books upon its release. I have read Deathly Hallows at least twice but it could be three times and plan on reading it again. I adore the Harry Potter series.
Saying all that, I was actually concerned that the movie would be boring because the book drags in the first half. But it is supposed to. I respect the fact that Rowling wants her readers to feel the despair, hopelessness, the feeling of time dragging as Harry, Hermione, and Ron roam around trying to figure out what to do. The movie moved well through this, never spending too much time in one place. So, I wasn’t bored at the movie but I also thought that because there wasn’t as much boring, we didn’t get the sense of desperation and anger that built up between the three friends.
Still, I found the movie funny, scary (I literally jumped at one point even though I knew EXACTLY what was about to happen), and, at parts, incredibly sad. I think the three main actors (Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint) have really come into their own. There was a scene with the three of them at one point that was built mainly around non-verbal actions and they pulled it off perfectly. Fiennes is terrifying as Voldemort. Just absolutely delicious.
Now, I can completely understand that someone would not think this movie of all the Potter movies to be spectacular. It’s a movie setting us up for a grand, giant finale. I’m not actually sure how they will work the rest of the book into the next movie. There is so much back story to come, they have to find and destroy three more horcruxes, there are multiple big deaths impending, and, of course, there is a final showdown between He-Who-Can’t-Be-Named and the Boy Who Lived. So, I could see there being lukewarm feelings towards this movie, especially for people who have not read the books.
But I was floored today when I read this review at Newsweek. It’s like the reviewer doesn’t care about the context of the film at all (did he actually watch it?). He appears to want the characters to be happy and sexy. And I literally don’t know why. There is NOTHING happy about what is happening the Potter world in this movie and really nothing sexy. Alas, he says: “Harry scowls nonstop, as if he’s channeling his inner Mr. Darcy. Hermione and Ron must have food stuck in their teeth because they don’t crack a smile either.”
The part of his review that really, really baffled me and I just literally don’t understand was this:
As they find themselves banished in the wilderness, you can’t help but miss that other woodsy, pubescent film trio: Bella, Edward, and Jacob. The Twilight books aren’t nearly as good, but the movies are a giddy, guilty pleasure, with all the goofy line readings and shirtless werewolves. Deathly Hallows includes a brief love triangle as well, but the screenplay is too comatose to pull off sexy. When Hermione says, “Take it off! I said take it off now!” she’s only referring to a Horcrux around Harry’s neck. And when they share a dance, both actors seem tired and rumpled. Are they headed for college or retirement?
So, he thought this movie should be sexy? Why? Simply because there are two guys and a girl, there should be sex? The relationship between Harry and Hermione is platonic and, for that reason, beautiful. Rowling wants you know that, indeed, despite what some Newsweek reviewers and society at large jokes about, men and women can love each other and just be friends. The “brief love triangle” is merely a figment of Ron’s insecurity, not a real thing (That scene where Ron sees, in his imagination, Harry and Hermione making out – that’s hot, but weird, because those characters shouldn’t be doing that together). Both Harry and Hermione have known for years that she is in love with Ron. Ron’s just too daft (and, clearly, insecure) to notice.
Yes, when Harry and Hermione dance in the tent, they are tired and rumpled. He’s right. But that’s the fucking point. Ron has left, they don’t know what to do, Hermione is sad, they are contemplating never returning to society, and they are just trying to stay alive. It is a brief moment where you see two friends trying their best to make the bad into the not-so-bad. It’s an incredibly sweet scene (that is not in the book but works perfectly on camera).
What is this guy’s point? I’m so mad at this reviewer because he wants to put sex and lightness in a space that specifically doesn’t call for it. It’s as if he is trying to be controversial just to be controversial. It’s like he phoned this shit in and Newsweek just published it without thinking twice. Or wait, this actually sounds a whole lot like a different thing that this reviewer wrote.
Remember Ramin Setoodeh? If not, count yourself lucky. He’s the guy that said, infamously, that gays can’t play straight. They just can’t do it. He was let go because of the brew-ha-ha over that. But, clearly, re-hired.
Today, I want to tell Mr. Setoodeh, to please STFU. In my opinion, his opinions suck.