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Posts tagged ‘Harry Potter’

The Hunger Games Review

Guest article by our son Shona.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games
The McFlurry
25 March, 2012
by Shona Blumeneau

Most people try to compare The Hunger Games to the Twilight films. In my mind, this just cannot be done. One features a strong female lead who sacrifices herself for her sister and district, eventually overcoming all obstacles and defies the oppressive government that controls her life, while the other follows a girl who is torn between a sparkly vampire and a werewolf who lost his shirt. Now it’s time for me to stop writing about a trashy tween movie, and write about a cinematic masterpiece, otherwise known as The Hunger Games.

Do you remember the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two? I sure do. All the anticipation and excitement, with crazy people dressed as wizards and normal people waving wands at each other…dressed as wizards. That same energy has now been transfused into The Hunger Games, or the “Harry Potter Rebound” as I like to call it. But why this film? Why not, say, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill? This film has gained such a following because of a girl: Katniss Everdeen. Audiences have finally been given a character that they respect, admire, and thoroughly enjoy rooting for throughout the entirety of the film. Unlike Bella (I’m sorry for all the Twilight comparisons, but it just has to be done), the protagonist is a strong, independent girl not searching for love or anyone to protect her. Her courage is repeatedly shown time and time again without fault, and it is her family that she cares for first and foremost, not a boy.

Perhaps what keeps this movie from being another failed book adaptation is the fact that Susan Collins, author of the Hunger Games trilogy, helped write the screenplay and was one of the producers of the film. This, paired with Gary Ross’ (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville, and Big) excellent directing, makes for a stellar film. Collins and Ross clearly understood what elements of the book needed to be cut out to transform the story into a feature length movie, and they did so without at all ruining the overall story or characters.

Ah, the smooth segway into the characters. For me, every single one of the actors portrayed their characters exactly as I had imagined them in the books. Jennifer Lawrence gives us a spectacular performance, securing her spot as the lead. Given that the book is written in the first person, Lawrence was forced to somehow show her thoughts time and time again without saying a word. You cannot only see it in her face, but you can feel Katniss’ emotions as she struggles through dilemma after dilemma, evaluating thoughts and emotions alike. Woody Harrleson’s portrayal of the drunken mentor Haymitch was not as intoxicated and blundering as I had pictured, but Donald Sutherland’s eerie performance left me satisfied and very creeped out, just as Katniss feels when first meeting the tyrannical President Snow.

Snow is the cause of violence in the story, and the movie does a good job of showing how brutal the games are while maintaining a PG-13 rating. Yes, it’s a movie about teenagers fighting to the death while others watch and bet on them, but this shouldn’t be anything new to people. Things like this have happened numerous times throughout history, and for people to criticize Collins for depicting it graphically is absurd.

Overall, other than a couple of things near the end, I was very happy with this film. It stayed true to the book, the characters were well rounded and I could easily connect with them. The filmmakers chose wisely when cutting material and kept the movie going at a solid pace.

Who will love this movie?
1) A liberal who believes the movie is about the 1% (the capital) vs the 99% (everyone in the districts).
2) A conservative who believes the movie shows the atrocities and downfalls of a government who controls everything.
3) Anyone who just likes a movie starring a hot babe with a bow and arrow (sorry Emma Watson, Jennifer has you beat in bad-assery this time around).

Story and more photos at: The McFlurry

Only Two Potter’s To Go!

Harry Potter! Harry Potter! Harry Potter!”

In case you’ve been living on Mars and just returned to earth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, is about to be launched on November 19th. The film, adapted from the last book in the series by J. K. Rowling, is about Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione searching for Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes, which are the secret to his possible immortality..

What’s so great about this film and the previous movies, is that not only are kids of all ages and both genders, scarcely able to restrain their excitement, but adults, myself included, can also barely contain our ecstasy.

Having my wife read each of Rowling’s seven books out loud to our youngest son was always magical. It just so happens that our son’s chronological age almost matches the students at Hogwarts year after year. He is now almost 18, just like the characters in the book and films and has read some of the books 2 or 3 times.

Our first reaction to hearing about any of the books being displayed on the silver screen was “Oh no! They’ll ruin it! How could the reality of a movie ever compare to the ones the author has created in our minds?” Everyone who has read the stories had there own idea of how each character sounded and acted. How could anyone give justice to Harry Potter? How could anyone match a million different personal images and visions?

After the initial shock wore off, we began to realize that the movies could be enjoyed for itself, separate from the books.The directors and screenwriters didn’t have to follow Rowling’s words exactly as they were written. She said herself that a movie is a movie, a different medium and one shouldn’t expect it to be like a book.

The first good news, after hearing about the movie versions, was that the author insisted the actors be less known English children. Which worked wonderfully, even though they are now known around the world. The second was that they were going to take as much time as needed to produce the films. If the last films in the series are as good as the previous ones, then the wait and hype will have been well worth the apprehension.

What is it about this boy with a lightening scar on his forehead that has kids and adults panting like sheepdogs to see the film? Here are a few of the time-tested ingredients.

1. Place what appears to be an ordinary boy in unbelievable circumstances. Have him raised in a home where he is hated, then adopted by a family of wizards, with children his age, who love and adore him.

2. Make him someone special, like the only person to ever survive an attack by “he who must not be named”.

3. Throw in all the dynamics, frustrations and complications of being an adolescent and teen.

4. Mix it up with the English school system run by benevolent and terrifying wizards and witches.

5. Add a game called Quidditch that is a cross between soccer and hockey played on broomsticks.

6. Provide some intriguing, funny and/or frightening monsters, dragons and ghosts.

7. Write amazingly sharp and witty vocabulary and dialogue.

8. Make it accessible and understandable for all ages.

9. Top it all off with good versus evil.

10. Voila, you have the adventures of Harry Potter.

Now, if you see a strange family with lightening bolts painted on their foreheads and wands in their hands camped out in front of the theater at midnight on Nov. 19th, you’ll know it’s just another bunch of those crazy Potter fans trying to get in ahead of the crowd and I’ll probably be one of them.

P.S. Emma Watson (plays Hermione): If you happen to read this, will you please get in touch with our son Shona and ask him out on a date. He talks about you all the time and is willing to travel to Rhode Island and meet you at any time. He’s only a few years younger than you, has your picture on his wall and thinks of applying to Brown just to meet you before you graduate. Contact me directly and I’ll pass on your invitation.

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