20 November 2010

Hedwig's theme

(Caution: possible spoilers)

I don't think I've missed taking the kids to an opening weekend showing of any of the Harry Potter movies (and I think we got most of the books day of release...and I read most of them aloud to the assembled company because that's the kind of mother I am and that's the kind of family I have). The new Potter movie was no exception; we saw it this morning.

Although I generally enjoyed the books, the movies have been less compelling. The last one was so awful that I came close to chewing my fingers off out of sheer boredom (the daughter was also bored, but the son liked it). I don't think I liked the one previous, either, and honestly, the books are so rich in detail I don't think it would be possible to completely do them justice.

It has been interesting to watch the growth of the young actors to adulthood. Whereas chubby-faced Daniel Radcliffe had exactly one expression in the first film (mouth hanging open), he's added a few more in the intervening years, and has evolved through teenage awkwardness to a more accomplished young man. Watching him grow up physically on screen has been a bit instructive for me: amusingly, my own son looked so much like a blonde Harry Potter that children would stop in the street to stare at him, tugging on their parents' clothes and whispering, "It's Harry Potter!" In much the same fashion, I've watched him grow from a chubby-faced, bespectacled child through awkward adolescence and into a truly handsome and funny young adult.

Deathly Hallows, Part 1 was certainly better than the last two films. The dissolution of the magical world was evident in the physical destruction that was everywhere, as well as the more personal degradation of the Malfoy family and others. But I'm always distressed by the cavalier treatment of death: poof! Bye, Hedwig! Poof! Bye, Mad Eye! Poof! Bye, Dobby! The film's treatment of Hedwig's death--really, the death of Harry's childhood--surprised me the most because of the complete lack of response to it. The death of a truly minor character evoked more emotion in the film. This doesn't bode particularly well for Part 2, where a large chunk of the cast will get offed.

Oh well, I suppose I should review Red, which the kids and I saw last week and which had us laughing out loud. Oh, for the good old days.

Go listen to some good music: "Hedwig's Theme" from the album Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by John Williams. I've become increasingly resistant to going to the movie theater, but I was astonished that the theater today was less than 25% full.

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