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Falls short of required standards, unfortunately
When viewing Harry Potter, it is with three different views. There is that of the naive, 'new to the story' cinema goer, the Harry Potter fan, and the Movie Critic. Unfortunately, the movie falls short in every region-To be good, a film would require a good script, good acting, and good direction, and unfortunately the film has none of these. The condensing of the book, a far harder task this time around for the largest book thus far of the series.
It is clear from the first moments of the film that many things have been cut out, changed and switched, cutting out entirely any story lines including The Dursleys, House Elves, Dementors, Tri Wizard Money, School, or any of the more detailed parts of the book. The richness of world which JK Rowling prides herself on has been taken away completely, and we are instead left with a product which feels very rushed, as well as being played in a very hasty style. The quick movement on the plot is frustrating at times, and I am sure that I was not alone in wishing that there was more opportunity to linger over the quidditch world cup, or at least seeing some of the match. By the time we are half way through the movie we feel that we have had a great deal of information to take in, but no time to process it.
This, however, cannot be entirely the movie makers fault-After all, the movie had to be cut down to fit into one film, rather than being cut into two films, as originally planned. So we go on to the Acting. The kids, bless them, are all competent actors, and throw a great deal into the roles, however their emotions are implausible at best, almost as implausible, in fact as the idea that they are now fourteen years old. You can almost see them struggling with the fast paced screen time, and no one is given any moments to develop any real characters. You can see their faces trying to show fear/anger/joy and a whole range of other emotions.The movie is saved by Great performances by Michael Gambon, Miranda Richardson,Roger Lloyd Pack, and Maggie Smith, however, again you get the feeling that they are struggling with performing their roles in such a script.
Finally, the direction, which shows the world in a much darker light, but does not recreate the world already created by Chris Columbus. The film suffers from the same problem as another recent book-to-film conversion, the Hitchhikers Guide to The Glaxy, another book which required serious change to accommodate all the elements. Both films seem to rely too much on the audience knowing what is going on, and move far too quickly, giving an unrealistic air of cause and effect, making the film seem more like the next scene is inevitable, not a natural event.
Ultimately, therefore, the film lacks the direction script, or ability to turn a good film into an adequate one, and while looks very good, and has the desired impact, too little is made of what the book is.
Unfortunately falls way short
Well, let me say first of all that I am a huge fan of the books and all, and have no problem with a person's adoption being different to a novel. Often, the movie adaptation can improve on the material. However, I feel compelled to post on the sheer awfulness of this movie. Maybe it is high expectations but the movie has been directed and scripted very badly. I know that fans will be saying "This is Douglas' script" but as far as I can see, a huge amount of his imaginary flair has been sacrificed for a more mainstream feel to the script. One poster said that it was a lose/lose situation, as fans of the books will be disappointed, and non-fans will not understand it. This is a good way of putting it, although I am aware of the large number of fans of this movie. I however, am not one of them. The movie feels as if it has packed in a great deal of the original ideas from the books, but has not put these into a clear and interesting script. The movie had an incredibly disjointed quality, a feeling that each scene was saying, "Right, what shall we do now?" The way the movie was pitched was also as a seemingly quite 'zany' movie with serious moments. This, I believe could have been handled much better, and with a wittier edge if the movie had been played in a more serious tone, allowing lines to speak for themselves, and not having to rely on the way an actor will speak. The humour derives from a seemingly serious attitude to a quite absurd situation. The movie, therefore felt that it had no spine, and was a surprise when it came to the end. The overall feeling is therefore that of watching a very long trailer; we are provided with all the information for the movie, but are not able to get a grasp of the central plot line. Arguably, for some people, Adams never relied too much of a plot line. He did, however, have a wonderful way of moving himself out of corners he painted himself into, which meant that some wonderful comic creations and situations came about. The movie only appeared to brush the surface of these, creating a very superficial experience. The moviegoer comes out of the theatre feeling no more enlightened than when he went in, and any underlying meaning is lost. A great deal of the dialogue was laboured, for example, Arthur being so distressed about a girl he once met at a party. The situation is put right in front of us, and obscures our view of anything else. By the end of the movie, I certainly felt frustrated and angry at the loss of any particular philosophical insight into the world that Adams was portraying. Adams had a brilliantly inventive and deep imagination, which drew reference form all sorts of great thinkers. Here, we are presented with a pale imitation, a film trying to amount to his style in the books, but unfortunately falling way short. I wanted to like this movie very much, and was disappointed that the handling of it was so ineffective.
I am still a huge fan of all Adams' works, and acknowledge that this is supposed to be a different version, a new incarnation. This particular incarnation, unfortunately, falls way short.
Dirty Sanchez (2002)
Gloriously gross out humour
Many people when writing about 'Dirty Sanchez' compare it to 'Jackass', both being, by and large the same type of show. The main comments seem either to be 'It's a Jackass rip-off', or, 'Far more extreme than Jackass'. Both do have equal stances on the show. Not many people have heard of the show, let alone seen it. It came from a much smaller company than the goliaths of MTV, and was pushed to the 1 o'clock in the morning slot by channel 4. maybe appropriately, you may think, after watching the show.
The show comes from the current skateboarder trend for this type of humour: People with a healthy disregard for themselves, messing around. However, Dirty Sanchez's stunts are much more extreme than anyone would care to try, and yes, I will say it, more extreme than 'Jackass'. Stapling your ear to a piece of wood, lowering your posterior onto a floor covered in drawing pins, rolling around in stinging nettles, and playing extreme ice hockey in the nude are all your average sort of stunt. The stunts all have a feeling of 'no going back'; once one of the four man strong crew of daredevils has decided to do a stunt, they go ahead, and regret it later. They often will do a stunt, only to realise a few seconds later that it was more painful than they imagined (one fine example of this is seeing Pritchard skate down an ice rink, before dropping on to his bare rear end, only to realise a few seconds later that it was taking his skin off, and desperately trying to prop himself up on his arms)- The dynamic between the four men-three welsh skateboarders, and one southerner-Is a complex one. they are all friends, and yet all treat each other in a way that borders on the ruthless. an example is a time when one of the guys gets sprayed in the eye, and is trying to wash it out, not realising that one of the others is adding washing powder to his hands, and effectively blinding him all the more. You do wonder what holds them together- Pancho, the shorter one, has a tendency to go into very deep sleeps, giving much scope for practical jokes. the Southerner, (I think it's Dan Joyce) is more reserved, less prepared to go into the really strong stunts. Pritchard has a rather large obsession with going naked, nudity being another central theme to the show. The last Welshman, (I think it's Dainton) is the more crueller of the group, always the instigator of the harsher practical jokes.
Upon viewing, one thing which may turn people off is the way the show is put together. It suffers from fairly poor editing, (Although I know it is shot on quite amateur cameras, but it still doesn't excuse it being put together badly) It lacks the coherency of 'Jackass', cutting back and forth between interviews with the cast, family and friends of the people involved, and the stunts themselves. However, Although I often like to think that my comedy tastes are more refined, I have to admit that shows like this often make me laugh like a kid. The silly way that they injure themselves so willingly just manages to be funny when you are not the one doing it. So, I can say, put your hands together, and pray, for 'Dirty Sanchez'.
Rough Science (2000)
Always lots of fun
My most prominent memories of this show, I have to say, are strolling home from a night out, completly shattered, at about two in the morning, and turning on the TV to find the open university on with Rough science. It is always fascinating and entertaining, and anyone who has an interest in Biology, Chemistry or Physics, (Including Geology) and Naturalism, will enjoy the show. It is also great for kids who are learning about science. The people on it know what they are talking about, an although It is not the height of evening entertainment, it is certainly fascinating, and never ceases to give interesting challenges. The second (I believe) series where they are trying to obtain gold from the rocks in New Zealand, is especially good.
Grumpy Old Men (2003)
Entertaining evening viewing
For anyone who feels particularly annoyed at many of the aspects of modern life, (e.g. Mobile phones, today's fashions, the state of the country) this show is for you- It involves many respected british commedians and other entertainers from the 30-40 age range being, well, themselves, that is to say Grumpy, and moaning about many of the things which really get on their nerves. They involve subjects which you will hear being moaned about from any grumpy old men, and also provides (by the very able Geoffery Palmer) Social commentary on the state of the entire country as a whole. You will probably understand the references best if you are in the same age range, but the commedians are very good at what they do, and you will probably find something which you agree with, as well as good viewing.