Cinema

The Red Carpet Screens: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1Part one of the epic two part finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was great. But it left everyone wanting more. 

The experience is not unlike being taken to a lavish all expenses paid three course meal and, just before dessert is served, you are told that you have to leave. Worst of all, we are forced to wait an additional eight months for our just desserts.

In addition to the unfortunate wait, it goes without saying that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 is not a word for word recreation of JK Rowling’s exquisite books. Instead it is a artistically thoughtful recreation.

However, just like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince, this is by no means a bad thing.

“Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”?

The Twilight Saga - New Moon Before we left South Africa for our Australian holiday, I was aware that I would be missing the midnight screening of the latest cinematic instalment of the Twilight Saga: New Moon. An event that I was not only looking forward to but one that  I had made partial plans for with friends and family. I will not beat around the bush, I was bummed about it. Not only would I miss the midnight premiere but I would also be unable to share the experience with those closest to me. However, that all changed once I stepped foot in the land down under.

The Red Carpet screens: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe movie was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

Like most book to movie conversions, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, unfortunately, not a visually literal word for word transfer; but that was to be expected. If a literal conversion was what you were hoping for, then I am afraid that you may be sorely disappointed.

What people fail to remember, is that the movie is only based on the book. As a result, for better or worse, a certain degree of creative freedom was bestowed on the director and screenwriters. Consequently, the movie is rather different when compared to the original telling of The Half-Blood Prince, with several ‘what were they thinking’ moments. However, for what the movie is, an artfully driven visual gateway into the world of Harry Potter, the movie was, in my humble opinion, magnificent!

With this latest movie installment of the Harry Potter series, the visual cinematic flair is flush with the book. It is the first time that one of the Harry Potter movies has managed to effectively capture the progressively dark themes found in the books. This is, no doubt, in part due to the maturation of the target audience and the actors, who now have a broader and more refined range of acting skill. In this sense the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie is the closest, in feeling and atmosphere, to any of the books in the Harry Potter series, thus far.

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince is a dark, magical, funny and charming adventure that is both gripping and spellbinding. This is how Harry Potter should have been adapted from the beginning. David Yates takes the fantasy from the heights of a broomstick-flying romantic comedy right down to the depths of a bone-chilling adventure. The whole mix of genres is perfectly balanced, shifting from one foot to the next as the audience is introduced to a new facet of the story, each chapter as funny, exciting and scary as the previous one (Spling Movies, 2009).

View The Red Carpet Screens - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The screenplay and production values for the movie are spectacular. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will make you cringe with familiarity, jump in your seat with fear, laugh out loud with joy and cry with sorrow. The movie is splendidly well rounded and an absolutely fantastic journey from start to finish, for both the young and the old. Furthermore, the movie has spectacularly noteworthy special effects, amazing camera work and a visual flair that will make any audience member dry eyed.

Hans' Harry Potter Memorabilia

Although fans of the books may be disappointed with the overall translation from text to screen, it is important to enjoy the movie for what it is: a visual smorgasbord of Harry Potter goodness, no matter how off base the movies are to the books. That said, fans brought up on the movie renditions of the books will naturally love this movie.

I consider myself to be a true Harry Potter fan, having read all of the books multiple times, owning various pieces of memorabilia (see the above photograph) and having many intense late night discussions, with friends and family, about Harry’s inevitable fate. Even so I thoroughly, no, immensely enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well produced action and adventure movie!

The Red Carpet gives Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 8/10. The movie is a must see!

The movie was screened at the Il Grande theatre in Monte Casino, Johannesburg. On a side note, I would like to mention that the evening was a ‘magical’ success, with only one discrepancy. Toward the end of the evening, members of The Red Carpet made their way to Cafe Fego, in Monte Casino, for the after movie discussion. Upon settling the bill, with a fairly generous 10% tip, and just as the group was about to depart, our waiter turns to us and asks if everything was to our satisfaction. To which we replied that it was. He then proceeded to ask for a bigger tip indicating that what we had given was not enough. Have you ever heard of such insolence? A tip is not mandatory; it is merely a showing of good will. To have the audacity to ask for more is not only unprofessional but ungrateful. Consequently, Cafe Fego has lost several customers for the foreseeable future. What is the moral of the story? Take your change and tip well where it is appreciated, either at Seattle Coffee or Mugg & Bean.

*UPDATE*: For an almost perfect Butterbeer recipe, click here.

Until the next time “Milieunairs”!

 

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Twilight… en Français?

This evening my mom, myself, Mathilde, Romuelle and Mireille decided to go and watch a movie. The movie in question? Twilight! Yes!

Thankfully Twilight was the ‘French’ movie of choice, since you all know how much I love the Twilight Saga. Consequently, I was able to understand about 90% of all the words within the film. Not too shabby, hey? Regardless of the language, the message is the same. I still found myself becoming enthralled within Bella’s world and wishing, against all odds, that they would succeed, and we all know that they do in the end. Really, I so want to be Edward. I would love to be a Twilight vampire. Not only does he get to ‘mac’ the hot Kristen Stewart, but he is also super fast, strong, intelligent and ridiculously good looking.

Anyway, this is just a quick post because I felt that I needed to share how the movie had reinvigorated me. I feel all giddy and happy on the inside… I am still grinning like a fool on the outside too. I really am a sucker for chick flicks/feel good movies. One of the coolest parts of watching the movie again, especially after having read the entire saga, was that I was able to spot Stephenie Meyer in the movie. I really had no idea that she had made a cameo appearance. Seeing her in the film was just an added bonus and a welcomed surprise.

One thing I have noticed about the French is that they always seem to have to change everything. From what I have gathered, it is a cultural thing… something about being proud, keeping the language true, blah, blah… whatever. As far as I am concerned, they just like to be difficult and always want things their own way. What I do know is that when they do change the title of something from English into French, the original meaning is usually lost. Unsurprisingly, the books in the Twilight series have completely different names in French. Twilight is known as ‘Fascination’, New Moon as ‘Tentation’, Eclipse as ‘Hesitation’ and Breaking Dawn as ‘Révélation’. Interesting translations, don’t you think?

I have included the trailer for the French version of Twilight below, so you can have an idea of what it was like to watch the movie completely in French.

Twilight – French Trailer

While searching for the French trailer on YouTube, I came across this pretty nifty fan made trailer for an Anime version of Twilight. You can check out the ‘what-if-Twilight-was-an-Anime’ trailer here.

I am still working on the ‘holiday’ post but I hope to have it up within the next few days. So stay tuned!

Until the next time Milieu Pals!

The Red Carpet screens: Watchmen

As most of you should know, my latest group, The Red Carpet, had its first screening last week Friday (06 March 2009). The movie in question: Watchmen.

For The Red Carpet’s first screening, I decided to go big. How big? IMAX big! If you have not already watched a ‘Hollywood’ blockbuster in an IMAX theatre, then please do yourself a favour, and do so. The sound and picture clarity, not to mention size of the screen, are spectacular in IMAX theatres. The experience is usually breathtaking. Presuming of course you are sitting toward the back of the cinema and not in the second row from the gigantic screen. Which, as Murphy’s Law would have it, is exactly where we were seated.

Courtesy of the ongoing Johannesburg road works and the incapable drivers that are South Africans, we arrived 30 minutes too late for the six o’clock (pm) screening. This was after over three and a half hours, and 150 kilometres, of traffic induced congestion. Note to self: never make plans before seven o’clock (pm) on a Friday if the venue is more than 10 kilometres away. Needless to say, our handsomely reserved tickets had been forfeited. As a result we had no other choice than to accept what was available for the nine o’clock (pm) screening of the movie. Best available tickets for a group of seven? Second row from the front.

Have you ever been seated in the very first few rows of a normal cinema? Unless you are inherently blind, it is, in my honest opinion, a less than pleasurable experience. Now imagine that scenario, but for a screen that is over eight stories high. Seriously… we all came away from the experience with, and I kid you not, sore necks, blood shot eyes and pounding headaches. I would equate watching an IMAX film like this to having a mild brain aneurysm or stroke. Despite the less than adequate seating arrangements, the movie itself was very good.

One of the best aspects of the movie would have had to have been the visuals and special effects. I have commented, time and time again since watching this film, that if someone had to take stills of particular scenes in the movie, that you could use those stills as panels within a graphic novel. Thus, in a pure literal sense, the movie perfectly captures the graphic novel from which it is based. Although I have never read the infamous Watchmen graphic novel, I can clearly and vividly imagine what the novel must be like. Furthermore, never have I been more impressed with a pure digitally created and computer generated character, than I have been with Dr. Manhattan. The only tell tale sign that Dr. Manhattan is in fact a digital illusion is apparent when the character speaks. Although his eyes, skin and genitals have all been recreated flawlessly, it is Dr. Manhattan’s mouth, and its flawed motion, which betray this characters true origin.

One of the strongest aspect of this movie would have to pertain to its story. Unlike conventional ‘super hero’ related movies, the characters within Watchmen are multilayered and somewhat believable. Furthermore, the heroes of the story are flawed, and as a result, all is not what it appears to be. My cousin Freddy summed it up perfectly with the following excerpt from his blog: “Watchmen at its core is a look into superhero ethics and morality. It is refreshing to see superheroes from this perspective as this theme is hardly played on in most comic books. You get a taste of it sometimes but never to the extent of realising how a superhero could view right from wrong and how best to serve mankind. Another point that was refreshing was the concept that the superheroes in watchmen aren’t all ’super powered’, they are mostly humans with the agenda to do good. This has been a staple of the ‘dc-universe’ and I suppose the most appealing part of the human ’superhero’ is that it is accessible to anyone. I must say that the ‘origins’ of the characters played an important part in seeing the humanity of the superhero in question”. I do not wish to elaborate further, for fear of spoiling the plot. Simply put, the movie has a rich politically driven and drama oriented feel that is complimented by a love triangle (with obligatory sex scene) and copious amounts of action related blood and gore.

The Red Carpet rates Watchmen: 08/10