For those of you not familiar, The Nostalgia Critic is a web-series about an American loud-mouthed film/TV critic who reviews media projects, most of which he grew up with/experienced through his earlier life. The Critic himself is more than just a media critic. He is actually a character portrayed by creator, Doug Walker, who expresses his nostalgic history on each media project through his reviews, adding in a series of rants, tantrums and comedy stints. The Nostalgia Critic was created in the late 2000s through the online channel known as Channel Awesome, also home to the Nostalgia Chick (a female version of the NC), Todd In The Shadows, The Angry Video Game Nerd, The Block-Buster Buster and Bum Reviews.
The Nostalgia Critic is one of my personal favourite web-series of all-time. Doug Walker is one of the people I used as inspiration for some of my previous posts and I had a lot of fun watching his reviews. Not only that, but he puts a lot of thought into them reviews. If Doug is still open for requests, I have a few suggestions for films that he could review.
I shall be keeping in mind that he did make clear about the films he was never going to review (even though for some, he did change his mind on), so like don’t worry, them films ain’t on the list below, nor are the ones he’s already done. These are my eleven suggestions on which films the Nostalgia Critic could review. Why eleven? Because I’m going one step beyond;
Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night (1987)
I remember the Nostalgia Critic reviewing Pinocchio through Disneycember and certain cartoons by the long-defunct Filmation. I think it’d be really interesting to see how he compares the Disney cartoon to this one considering that Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night was apparently an unofficial sequel to the Disney one.
Those who read my previous blogs will probably know by now that Pinocchio is my all-time favourite Disney movie. For me personally, Pinocchio & The Emperor Of The Night works somewhere in the middle. I shall try to keep this short, because I did write a large chunk of info when I ranked my personal Worst-To-Best Filmation Animated Features. I remember praising the songs and the villains, but bitching about certain plot-holes and Pinocchio’s allies, i.e. Gee Willikers(!). Speaking of which, I imagine Doug chanting for the toad to eat him and them other annoying bugs. Who knows?
Problem Child (1990)
I had just recently watched Dennis Dugan’s debut directorial feature and I’m like “What the hell was that!”. Before I saw it, I had a feeling that Junior, that’s the problem child in question, would have autism or some sort of mental disorder. Clearly he did not. He was just a destructive prankster who I’m assuming has a condition in relation to attention seeking as seems clear in the sequel.
Considering that Problem Child is over-filled with lavatory humour, obnoxiousness and a bit of swearing, it’s ironic that it’s classified with such a low certificate, i.e. PG, and is even considered a family movie. I’m certain the Nostalgia Critic would agree. After all, remember when he reviewed Kazaam and the Garbage Pale Kids movie? Well I’m so sure that Problem Child will wind him up further.
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Doug’s certainly reviewed some of Arnold Schwarzanegger’s films, but I’m quite surprised he didn’t review Kindergarten Cop – a film about a large hard-boiled detective who goes undercover as a school-teacher and get this, he’s teaching a kindergarten class, and which has been debated whether it’s that suitable for kids to be watching.
Personally I had fun watching Kindergarten Cop and found it to tell an amusing yet interesting story. Through past reviews, Doug did admit that he wasn’t a fan of Arnie and I estimate that he would question the film’s appeal to the target audience.
The sequel (Welcome To The Jungle), which I still have yet to see, will soon have been out for a year. I dunno what Doug’s thoughts are on that, possibly that Robin Williams would turn in his grave if he saw that, but I think it would be great for him to review another movie that Robin was in and one that was directed by Joe Johnston.
I recall the Nostalgia Critic making a fuss over Robin’s choices on which movies he appears in. He labelled Flubber and Patch Adams as his bad ones, Hook as good despite flaws, his thoughts on Jumanji?
Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero (1998)
Relating to Doug’s obsession with Batman, I think this animated feature could be a good one to review, because I think he also did the film that it followed; Mask Of The Phantasm.
For some reason, partially due to Mr. Freeze and Batgirl’s appearances, it felt to me as a follow-up to Batman & Robin, which is one of Doug’s least favourites. I can definitely understand that and boy I loved that review. But I’m sure he’d take this one any day over Batman & Robin. Only one way to find out.
Stuart Little (1999)
And we come to a film in which one of the Critic’s least favourite film-makers makes a contribution as a writer. I have to admit, never liked Stuart Little that much. I remember questioning the synopsis which involves a human couple adopting a mouse for a son and wondering about certain plot-holes. Doug would certainly be downright annoyed if he ever saw the boat race scene, considering it involves his least favourite cliche, the bully.
If Doug does review Stuart Little, Shyamalan ought to make an appearance.
War Of The Worlds (2005)
I’m not sure whether Doug ever saw the original War Of The Worlds or heard Jeff Lynne’s awesome album of the same name, but I can definitely see him checking out this version directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg.
Although I personally liked it, I have heard a bit of criticism on the film, Tom Cruise getting a Razzie nomination, even the little girl being branded as irritating. Though I reckon the special effects deserve a bit of credit. Again, what are the Critic’s thoughts?
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
We saw his review on what he considered to be the top 11 episodes of the Simpsons. Let’s see what he thinks of the movie. What will be his thoughts on the epic animation, how many parodies are thrown in, the celebrity appearances, oh and did I mention that Bambi’s got a cameo?
Will the Critic find the movie as funny as the series or just as an extended episode? Let’s let him decide.
The Three Stooges (2012)
I would imagine Doug being a fan of the original Three Stooges. For one thing, he, his brother and Spooner once parodied the Three Stooges briefly before they reviewed Alone In The Dark. Obviously he loves Tom & Jerry, but he hates the movie.
As a long time fan of The Three Stooges, I didn’t expect the movie to be as good as the original series, but it could’ve been worse. The Critic will obviously be aware of the fact the original Stooges have long been dead, hence why there are actors portraying them, but would probably agree that some of the modern pop culture references seem forced and don’t get me started on the baby/urination scene. Actually, I’d especially love to see his reaction on the scene with the girl and the balloons.
Also, being that this movie was directed by the Farrelly Brothers, he’ll possibly remind us which movies they’re famous for, i.e. Dumb & Dumber, and question their involvement.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)
This which I feel is my least-favourite movie so far. The Critic once reviewed Dreamworks’ animated features through a period he referred to as Dreamworks-Uary. Obviously, Captain Underpants is too new to have been reviewed back then.
My guess is that the Critic will give a similar-ish review on this pile of crap to when he reviewed the first Pokemon Movie. Not only that, I can imagine him giving the same reaction to the movie that I gave when I watched it; burying his heads in his hands in despair. And who would blame him? Especially to the farting version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (shudders).
Some James Bond movies
With that being said, I reckon he should do something similar with those movies to the way he reviewed the Disney movies for Disneycember, from Dr. No to Spectre. He has referenced James Bond a few times through previous reviews, though all I know at the moment is that he admired Pierce Bronson’s portrayal of Bond, but wasn’t keen on Daniel Craig, despite the quality of the films he was in.
So those were my eleven film review suggestions for the Nostalgia Critic. So of you would agree, some of you would not. Doug, if you’re reading this post, keeping in mind these are just requests. But as a long time fan, I truly love your show and I think you should keep them reviews coming!
Thank you for reading this post.
Good day fellow blog readers, three months since I published my last post (Top 11 Elton John Songs). Sorry it’s been like three months. I’d just had so many things on my mind, but don’t worry, I haven’t disappeared completely. I’m back with my response to a certain news-story that’s been such a high profile one since like the middle of last week.
I’m here to talk about the death of an author named Michael Bond who apparently created Paddington Bear. It’s been reported on every radio station I flicked through, reported on Facebook and even via Wikipedia. I understand how sad it is when someone dies and I offer my sympathies to those who was fans of the author’s creation, but I have to be honest, even when I was growing up, I never liked Paddington Bear that much.
I think my mom grew up with that bear and I heard some of the radio presenters expressing their nostalgia. But nostalgia is something I lack within this creation. I remember seeing pictures and one episode of the TV show, I just didn’t find Paddington that interesting or appealing. So what, he’s a bear who lives in London, hence being named after one of the towns and is dressed as a ploughman? And all the other characters are humans? And he has a taste for marmalade sarnies? I don’t get it. What’s Paddington’s purpose in life? What does he do for a living? What does he wish for? Is he homeless? And speaking of which, that TV adaptation – all the characters, props and settings are hand-drawn and colourless, except Paddington, who’s a stop-mo, er, model in colour? Why not make him the same as the other elements or make all the other characters stop-motion models? It was at least one episode I saw in my life and even as a kid, I found it forgettable and it’s something I would’ve tended to skip.
It seems that Paddington has ironically led an impact among many people. There have been two movies based on Paddington, one just recently coming out. Due to my long lack of interest within it, I dodged the first one and have no intention to see the next. Even the web series-based company voted the TV show as one of The Top 10 British Animated Shows. Er fair enough. But it hasn’t changed my views. Nor did I place it on my personal Top 25 List of UK Kid’s TV Shows, because in my opinion, if pigs could fly, Paddington Bear would compete with more exciting shows i.e. Thunderbirds, Wallace & Gromit, Captain Scarlet & The Mysterons, The Animals Of Farthing Wood, Byker Grove and so forth.
I saw more interesting fictional bears compared to Paddington. These include Baloo from The Jungle Book, Fozzie from the Muppets, oh and Yogi Bear and his kid brother BoBo. Also does Sooty count? I even saw a group of Martian mice who ride motorcycles, turtles who gouge on pizza and have martial arts skills, a dog who works for the law enforcement in Mississippi, an earthworm who wears a spacesuit, a blue hedgehog with an ability to run at the speed of light, some to name. Them creations made my childhood!
Mike, if you’re looking down from heaven, I meant no offence.
And so, we come to the final of the Harry Potter films; Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2, the thrilling concluding continuation of The Deathly Hallows Part 1. I still have yet to read the book, but I’ve seen the film for the first time earlier this year. I know, I know, but I don’t need to talk about my admiration with the franchise as it progressed through the years, do I now. It’s all in the previous reviews. Okay, so here we go with the thrilling conclusion of it all (until the Cursed Child of course).
Spoilers in red.
We pick up from where we left off from Part 1, where Voldemort has just robbed Dumbledore’s grave of his wand. After the credits, we get Snape staring solemnly at Hogwarts students marching through the outside corridor, supposedly knowing the school is about to be attacked. Meanwhile, Harry pays his last respects to Dobby (who was killed in the previous film by Bellatrix). He, Ron and Hermione continue their quest to destroy the remaining Horcruxes. This leads to the trio finally arriving at the school and the final battle begins between the school’s staff/students and Voldemort’s army.
Predictably, I dodged the Deathly Hallows Part 2. A, because I had not seen Part 1 yet, B, I saw the trailer and felt that the shot with Harry and Voldemort falling off a tall building would give away too much of the ending, and C, yes my falling interaction with the franchise. However, I got round to seeing this one earlier this year along with Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1 and let me tell you, it was worth it. From all the boredom I got from Deathly Hallows Part 1 i.e. the pointless love triangle, the rushed intro and not enough action, Part 2 was a massive improvement. It turns out I just needed to wait for one more film. It does seem dumb to split a film in two, considering that they could’ve cut the romantic stuff and any other scenes that dragged. But the Deathly Hallows Part 2 makes up for it.
There are loads of high points this film brings up, but I’ll try and keep it as short as possible. Let’s start with Snape, because he’s my favourite character and he has such an important role in Deathly Hallows Part 2. When we first see him, he’s staring in space and watching the students. The look on his face tells me that he’s aware of an attack about to happen and supposedly hoping that Harry will survive. Soon, we see him rounding up the students and faculty in the main hall, warning them that anybody aiding Harry will be punished, this going for both students and the teachers. Very dictator-like. Of course, that’s until Professor McGonagal challenges him to a duel and he flees. Then he’s debating with Voldemort on who the elder wand responds to. Voldemort then kills Snape and Nagini (Voldemort’s pet snake, that is) gladly helps. I must admit, when Harry and his friends find Snape and he asks them to take his tears before he dies, I was feeling emotional. And especially when Snape says that Harry has his mother’s eyes. It’s one of them scenes that demonstrates Snape’s secret love for Harry.
This brings me neatly onto my favourite scene of the Deathly Hallows Part 2; when Harry observes Snape’s memories. We learn from this part that despite Snape’s distaste for Harry’s dad, James, he did fancy Harry’s mom, Lily. But they happened to be placed in different school-houses; Snape in Slytherin, but James and Lily in Gryffindor. It’s no wonder that later in the flashback, Snape’s seen in shock when he finds their corpses in the house where they was murdered by Voldemort and hugging Lily’s body and sobbing. And here’s another thing that seems odd; Dumbledore had wanted anybody who killed him to be Snape. I also like how Snape states that he’s grown to ‘care for the boy’. Turns out Snape wasn’t such a bad guy after all. And you can see why in The Philosopher’s Stone, he was trying to save Harry from Quirrell and in the Prisoner of Askaban, he attempted to protect Harry and his pals from a werewolf.
What else do I like? I’ve always been into war movies and from the start of the battle to Harry and Voldemort’s final showdown really feels like one; lots of massive destruction, so many killings… Speaking of which, I often find myself smiling when Bellatrix attempts to strike Ginny and Molly’s like ‘Not my daughter you b***h!’ and then destroys Bellatrix. And what about when Harry and co save Malfoy and a guy named Zabini from a burning room? Theme of loyalty there, even though Malfoy had made Harry’s life a living hell. What really cracks me up is when Harry and Ron are broomstick-flying to save them and Ron’s like ‘If we die for them Harry, I’m gonna kill you!’. Huh, get it? Too much to say.
If there are some nitpicks I have with the Deathly Hallows Part 2, one of them is Hagrid’s first appearance in the movie. Harry finds that some of Voldemort’s fellow Death Eaters have caught Hagrid and he’s literally tied up between them. I kind of wanted to see how he got abducted. Maybe that’s what the previous film was missing. Plus it was a bit of a long while before the main trio finally got to Hogwarts, because that is where the real action is. Also, I have to point out the Dursleys’ absences, well, except for Petunia Dursley who appears briefly during the flashback scene. And some of the dialogue is a little corny.
On to the rip…, sort-of rip-offs; remember in Order Of The Phoenix when Harry had sensed where Voldemort’s minions was and what they was planning and I compared it to Captain Scarlet’s sixth sense? Well, there’s bits of that in this one. Okay, they’re more of similarities than rip-offs. Somehow, Snape reminds me of Darth Vader from the Star Wars franchise, i.e. the fact that he kills Dumbledore in Half Blood Prince (just like Darth killing Obi Wan Kenobi), then in this film he kinda rebels against Voldemort and dies, proving his love for Harry, a little like Darth fighting back against the Emperor and sharing his final moment with Luke Skywalker, but obviously different. Apart from that, not much else to point out.
And finally, let’s talk about the ending, yeah, massive spoiler! I know. This is the part a lot of the people have complained about. Personally I don’t mind the ending. I think it’s quite heart-warming and I love the old school score that goes with it. Plus I have nothing against the main characters starting their own families. Some fans are against it, because of how light-hearted it is. Others moan about the fact that Hermione is married to Ron instead of Harry, while Harry is married to someone else. And I can’t believe J.K Rowling apologised for letting it happen. I mean, it’s her creation. She can do whatever the hell she wants with it. Sure, the ending’s cheesy and for some reason, I had a feeling Harry would live anyway, but it’s a nice closing to the Harry Potter series. I can’t think of another way to conclude it.
My final verdict; forget the fact that the film’s currently in IMDB’s Top 250 Movies list for a moment. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is definitely one to check out. Despite its corny dialogue, I like it way better than Part 1. Much less boring, much less b***hing, it’s such a thrilling conclusion! Like I say, I still have yet to read the book, but the film certainly gave me a magical impression!
So that’s all eight Harry Potter films I’ve seen and reviewed. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I had fun writing them.
Overall rating: 8/10
The Harry Potter franchise nears its end with the first in a two part story known as Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows. This is Part 1. How does it fare? Let’s take a look.
Spoilers are highlighted in red.
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1 commences as a continuation from the Half-Blood Prince. With the help of The Order Of The Phoenix and the Weasley family, Harry, Ron and Hermione set off to retrieve and destroy Voldemort’s remaining five ‘Horcruxes’. During the quest, they come across three objects known as the Deathly Hallows including the Elder Wand, The Resurrection Stone and The Invisibility Cloak, they destroy a few more Horcruxes and teenage-romance bickering occurs within the threesome.
Unfortunately, I’ve only seen the film and I have yet to read the book. I already explained reviews ago about my downhill engagement with the franchise, though I did first watch this film earlier this year following my viewing of the Half-Blood Prince, six years after its initial release. It’s also the third Harry Potter film David Yates directed (the first being The Order Of The Phoenix). I found the Half-Blood Prince to be an improvement to The Order Of The Phoenix, but how’s about The Deathly Hallows Part 1 in comparison to The Half-Blood Prince? Eh,… nah.
Before I progress any further with the review, I question the need to split the story into parts. Look, I know there are such great films that was split into parts, i.e. Kill Bill, and the original book is the longest one in the series, but why not just make the Deathly Hallows into one film? I’m aware that both over two hours long, but come on, Gone With The Wind was four hours long and still enjoyable and so was Lawrence Of Arabia and the Ten Commandments. Oh well.
We’ll start with the good stuff. Firstly, I really admire the last few shots of the film; Voldemort breaks into and raids Dumbledore’s tomb. Then, end of Deathly Hallows Part 1. Tell me that ain’t awesome for a film’s ending! I also like the bit where Dumbledore’s will is discussed. This takes place sometime before the threesome embark on their quest. Each one of them receives a possession from Dumbledore. Harry has the old golden snitch and remembers how he caught it in his mouth during a Quidditch match (see The Philosopher’s Stone). Oh and the bit where Harry and Ginny are snogging and one of the Weasley twins catches them and is like “Morrrrr-ning” is quite amusing. I also forgot to mention Dobby’s appearance, and his final one. Yes folks, ya may remember him from The Chamber Of Secrets where Harry saved Dobby from Lucius Malfoy, thus earning Dobby his freedom. He comes to save Harry and co, but is yelled at by Bellatrix for ‘defying his masters’. This is where Dobby stands up to the Malfoys (“Dobby has no masters, Dobby is a free elf”) and Bellatrix kills him with one throw of her wand while he’s attempting to escape with his friends. Poor Dobby.
Alas, none of them highlights are enough to save a film from boredom. Unfortunately, during the middle, we have to sit through an over-dragging love triangle between Harry, Ron and Hermione. While we progress through the series, we know that Ron and Hermione are in a relationship with each other and Harry fancies Ginny, but there’s an affair, Ron acts like a moron about it and storms off, so much bickering. It drags and drags and has very little to do with the synopsis, a lame excuse to extend the film’s length and we know they’re going to realise what idiots they was and get back together again. I’ve seen it all before, let’s just say it’s boring! In fact, this is Ron’s weakest performance and most of his dialogue is constant bitching. You can just about replace it with this “neyh neyh neyh neyh neyh neyh!”
I also question the opening scene. We see the main threesome getting ready for their quest. I saw the deleted scenes and I’m surprised they wasn’t included in the final cut. One deleted scene indicates Harry and his aunt Petunia talking about the time when James and Lily were murdered by Voldemort and Petunia’s like; “that night at Godric’s Hollow, you didn’t just lose a mother, I lost a sister”. This indicates that Petunia does have a secret belief in the enchanted world. In another deleted scene, the Dursleys are about to leave Privet Drive; Harry and Dudley make peace with each other, handshake and final goodbyes. Those scenes are powerfully great! I never read the book, but apparently, the book included them. Why did the film have to shorten the opening scene to the Dursleys leaving without much word. I also debate what Hermione does before she leaves. I know by wiping her parents’ memories of her, she’s trying to save their lives from the Dementors, but I still feel disturbed by it.
We briefly hear that following Dumbledore’s demise, Snape has taken over as the school principal. We hardly see any of how he copes with his new job, which would’ve been really interesting. But the only time we see him is when he’s attending a meeting with Voldemort, the Malfoys and some of the death eaters at the Malfoy Manor, and that’s it. Maybe I’d just have to wait till Part 2.
And let’s briefly point out the rip-offs; Hermione acts a bit like Mary Poppins. Okay she doesn’t use an umbrella, but have you noticed how small her bag is and how large the items she carries around are? Speaking of Dumbledore and Snape, since Snape killed Dumbledore in the previous film and took position as principal, it seems a bit like in The Lion King where Scar kills Mufasa and inherits the role of the king of Pride Rock. Also, Harry, Ron and Hermione’s wasteful love-triangle plot is soooo Twilight!
If I had a favourite scene, I’d have to give the point to the scene where Harry teams up with his mates and some of the Order Of The Phoenix, followed by a brief flying battle where they fight off some of Voldemort’s minions. There’s a brief moment where Hedwig gets killed, but Harry doesn’t get a chance to mourn her. Couldn’t there be a scene afterwards where Harry gives his pet owl a quick send-off? Also, Moody is reported to have been killed as well. I kinda wanted to see how he died.
Overall, the film is one of the most boring of the franchise. It lacks much of the fun and the love-triangle bit gets entirely in the way. Of course, this is only Part 1 of The Deathly Hallows. There I am thinking; will Part 2 be an improvement? Join me in the next review as I review the final Harry Potter film of all.
Overall Rating: 3/10
So following my then-disappointment with the movie version of Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban, my enjoyment within the franchise waned. Therefore I became uninterested in reading the novel version of the next story, Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince. Four years later, the movie came out and I also dodged it. Is it as bad as I thought it would be? Let’s take a look.
As usual, spoilers will be highlighted in red.
Harry’s starting his sixth year at Hogwarts and Dumbledore tells him that Voldemort’s using several items known as ‘Horcruxes’, which are meant to keep the guy as powerful as possible, and they therefore must be destroyed. Meanwhile, and speaking of Voldemort, he makes a dark unbreakable vow with Snape and Malfoy.
It’s seven years since the movie adaptation of the Half-Blood Prince was released and I’ve only just watched it earlier this year. I’ve been going on and on about my loss of interest with the Harry Potter franchise, so I won’t go too much into it. When Alan Rickman died, I remembered how great he was as Snape, which inspired me to cut the franchise some slack. So I checked out the Half-Blood Prince and the last two movies. I liked the Half-Blood Prince better than The Order Of The Phoenix. For one thing, there were fewer flaws.
Let’s start with the good stuff. Firstly, Snape remains as cool as ever, but he has a much darker role. Voldemort assigns Malfoy the unbreakable vow; to kill Dumbledore. Snape agrees to help out if Malfoy fails. During the finale, we get Malfoy attempting to kill Dumbledore, but being too much of a wuss to do so, so Snape kills Dumbledore instead. When Harry confronts him, Snape reveals himself to be the half-blood prince. Though I have to wonder, does this mean that Snape has turned to the dark side?
What else do I like? The scene where Dumbledore recounts his first interaction with Tom ‘Voldemort’ Riddle; Riddle as a kid. Yes, part of his backstory. It’s revealed that Riddle wondered if there was a way to divide his soul into several different pieces, hence the Horcruxes. This is pretty much my favourite scene in the movie. Dumbledore demonstrates that Riddle eventually did so and so far, two of them have been destroyed, one of them including the diary (as demonstrated in The Chamber Of Secrets).
I’m also fond of Dumbledore’s funeral scene. It’s exactly how I pictured it; his grave surrounded by the students and faculty and each one of them raising their wands, each one shining like a torch. Sure it looks enchantingly cheesy, but then if you think about it, armies have their own style of funeral services, including firing guns towards the sky (you may have seen that in that Season 1 episode of The A-Team), so there ain’t no reason why enchanted worlds can have a service of their own.
Speaking of death and sadness, I should also briefly mention the bit where Hagrid is about to lose Aragog, his old pet spider (who you also may remember from The Chamber Of Secrets). It’s probably the saddest moment I’ve seen in the film. Many of us can all relate to it. Some of us have lost our pets, due to fatal incidents/accidents or illnesses. Others, due to expired life-spans. This is exactly what Aragog experiences.
Now where does The Half-Blood Prince fall flat? Firstly, the plot which involves Ron falling in love with a student named Lavender Brown, which upsets Hermione. I’m sorry, the romance ain’t particularly that interesting to watch and nor is Lavander. I have no problem with Ron and Hermione being in a relationship, but this is sooo forgettable and sooo Twilight. As for the romance between Hermione and Ron, meh.
Also, this is the film where Snape finally gets to teach Defence Against The Dark Arts and Dumbledore’s old friend, Horace Slughorn, takes over as the Potions Master. I have no problem seeing one of Horace’s lectures, but I can’t believe the film didn’t include one scene with Snape holding any of his DATDA lectures. It would’ve been real interesting to see the guy who longed to teach such a subject to finally get his chance! And speaking of miss-outs, where are the Dursleys and how did Harry end up at a cafe in the first place during the opening?
As for the rip-offs; not so many that I spotted, though the cinematography during the finale looks rather similar to the finale in Die Hard. We also come across the cliche where we come across the Chosen One. That cliche’s been done since Star Wars, we’ve seen it whilst playing Little Big Adventure, we’ve seen it in Lord Of The Rings, and the Matrix, enough named.
My final verdict; Half-Blood Prince is a decent film. I like it better than the last two Harry Potter films, it took a much darker turn. Though I don’t think it’s as strong as the first three. I still have yet to read the book and see how it and the film compare.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Next review: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix was the last book in the series that I read. I didn’t read the next ones, because they came out after my initial disappointment with the film version of Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban and as a result, my interest in the franchise was lowering. This also meant that I avoided The Order Of The Phoenix when the film version was released. However, I soon caught a viewing of it on ITV and it didn’t give me a good impression first time round. But then I saw it a couple more times and… let’s look at the story.
It begins with Harry and his cousin Dudley getting ambushed by dementors, after Dudley’s been taunting Harry, which leads to Harry having no choice, but to use magic as an act of defence. As a result, Harry gets expelled from Hogwarts,… okay, but luckily, his friends and ex-teachers do their best to seek justice throughout. Although Harry does get his position back, the trust lacks and worse to come, an authoritarian bureaucrat takes over as Defence Against The Dark Arts Teacher and seizes control of the school.
When I first saw the movie, I just caught sight of it on ITV and I had no interest in watching the movie in the first place due to my disappointment with the previous movie. The first scene I caught sight of was during the aftermath of Harry’s near…-expelling experience when he was involved in an argument with his fellow Gryffindor housemates, especially Seamus, which I didn’t find much interesting. Maybe if it was the scenes that involved Snape, I probably would’ve stayed glued to the screen, or clearly, I should’ve thought about watching the film from the beginning. However, I saw the film again and it was a little better than I remembered it. It has in fact improved compared to The Goblet Of Fire. There are still flaws though.
Let’s look at the good stuff. Firstly, you’ll notice that the Dursleys have returned to the series. They’re always a pleasure to watch. This was one of the things the previous film missed. I bet that if my mom was seeing the part where Harry and Dudley are running for their lives, she’d be thinking “Dudley’s way too fat to keep up with Harry”. Then when Harry receives news on his suspension from Hogwarts school (which I’ll discuss later), look at Vernon’s grinning expression when he says “justice!” That really cracks me up. Another great thing about the film is how we find out Snape’s motives for badmouthing Harry’s dad (again to be discussed later). Yeah I know, but Snape is truly my favourite character in the series.
While I wrote my review on The Goblet Of Fire, I forgot to mention Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius Black’s cousin and Draco Malfoy’s aunt. She was another thing the book included, but the film neglected. She makes her very first appearance in the film version of The Order Of The Phoenix and boy, does she kick butt. Bellatrix is a truly loyal hench-woman to Voldemort. She’s aggressive, she’s fiesty, she stops at nothing, she’s a lot you want in a death eater.
I suppose I should also mention Professor Dolores Umbridge. All the previous four Defence Against The Dark Arts teachers was blokes; Quirrell, Lockhart, Lupin, Moody, so it was quite good to have a woman take over as teacher of the subject. Umbridge is who you’d describe as the Margaret Thatcher of Defence Against The Dark Arts. Being that Maggie was the first woman to rule as UK Prime Minister, but was also a member of the dodgy conservative party, it’s easy to compare her to Umbridge. If you think about it, Umbridge is the first and only woman to teach DATDA, as far as we all know (there may have been some women before/after her, but that would’ve been way before the main setting of The Philosopher’s Stone and/or after the main setting of the Deathly Hallows). She also is an untrustworthy teacher. My main nitpick with Umbridge is her ridiculously high-pitched voice. It’s enough to hurt the viewers’ ears and the way she giggles, it reminds me of each time I listen to Elaine Page on one of the BBC Radio stations (eek). Why couldn’t Imelda Staunton have used her normal voice or at least used a similar voice to the one she used when she voiced Bunty in Chicken Run. Her squeaks are as unrealistic as Christian Bale’s growls when he played Batman. No offence Christian. Other than that, fine character. I was also in favour of the bit where Umbridge attempted to fire Professor Trelawney, because man, I can’t stand that woman!
Now where does it go wrong? Although I like this film better than The Goblet Of Fire, I do feel certain plot elements fall flat. Firstly, though I was in favour of seeing the Dusleys again, I didn’t like the bit where Harry gets expelled. It had very little to do with the whole film and it’s like; “is the film over already? It’s only been like five to ten minutes.” Also in regards to the scene, Petunia originally stated that she knows of the Dementors and surprises her husband, son and even her nephew by admitting so when she listened in a conversation between her sister and “that awful boy”. The next moment, she notices an angry letter to Harry and recognises it as a howler, therefore rethinking her plan to banish Harry from the house. This is not included in the film which would’ve been a pity, because I kinda wanted to see at least one of Harry’s muggle-relatives demonstrating a bit of an understanding to the magical world and it would’ve created a bit more conflict to the story. With that said though, the film adaptation to The Order Of The Phoenix doesn’t neglect as much of the highlights from the book as the film adaptation to The Goblet Of Fire does. I was quite glad they got rid of the bit where Hermione has a conversation about centaurs; “I’ve never liked horses” to which I think it’s Ron that says “it’s a centaur” and Hermione defensively replies “it still has four legs”; big talk from a democratic intellectual!
Another nit-pick I have with the movie is that when Moody, Lupin and Tonks of the Order Of The Phoenix meet Harry, they’re clearly in the Muggle-world and they’re riding on broomsticks. Wouldn’t they have been caught out by the muggles in a busy city? And ain’t one of the policies ‘don’t do magic in front of muggles’? I know they’re trying to help Harry with justice, but I think they should’ve used flu powder or some other teleportation device/magic trick. I’m just thinking of continuity.
Then we have Dumbledore, who is kind of as bad as he was in the previous film. He’s supposed to be a mentor to Harry, much like Gandalf from Lord Of The Rings and/or Merlin from The Sword In The Stone, not because of his large beard. He, like Harry, is aware of Voldemort’s return and struggles to receive belief from the public, but the rather disturbing thing about him is that he’s constantly distancing himself from Harry. He does eventually explain to him why after Sirius’ tragic killing by Bellatrix, the reason being that Dumbledore hoped Harry would be less vulnerable to Voldemort using their connection. This movie could’ve been more careful.
Rip-offs; well that’s easy. First we see in The Prisoner Of Azkaban that Harry has developed a “you won’t like me when I’m angry” persona, just like The Incredible Hulk. Now in this one, he has some sixth sense which specializes in mind reading for the Death Eaters. Does that ring a bell to fans of Captain Scarlet?
Best scene; Snape attempts to teach Harry to block Voldemort from his mind. This is where we discover why Snape loathed James Potter so much. He knows that Harry has now developed a Captain Scarlet-style persona, but Harry is struggling to block Voldemort from his mind, which leads to Snape to insult Harry’s dad; “You’re just like your farther, lazy, arrogant,…!”. Harry warns him “Don’t say a word against my father”. We understand why Harry would want to defend his father, because despite the fact that James Potter died too soon for Harry to know him well enough, he is his family and Harry doesn’t reckon he’s that bad. Though we do emphathise with Snape too considering that his past with James haunts him so much that he’s quite afraid to give too much detail. We do see why as soon as Harry casts a spell which reads Snape’s flashbacks; he was bullied by James and Sirius when they was students at Hogwarts. It’s no wonder Snape hated James so much, though I have a feeling that James was just having a bit of fun and didn’t intend to cause any nastiness, but Snape didn’t take it too positively. On the other hand, we can empathise with the former bullied victim and the trauma one goes through, because of his/her experiences being bullied.
Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix does make a larger and more improved difference to The Goblet Of Fire, though to be fair, it’s still one of the weaker films. It’s not as strong as the first three films. There’s one more worse film than The Order Of The Phoenix, but we’ll get to that one later.
Overall Rating: 4/10
Next review: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince