Revisiting the first six films in preparation for the midnight screening of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 later this week, and here are a few miscellaneous thoughts that have been popping into my head as I make my way through the epicness:
• SORCERER'S STONE remains an excellent, albeit imperfect, intro to the films. All of the first appearances of major (and minor) characters, locations, items and events are appropriately awe-inspiring and geek-out-worthy.
• Would have been cool to actually SHOW what the Sorting Hat saw when it made its decisions about where to place each student. As it stands, it’s a prime example of the filmmakers being way too literal and slavish towards the books. (No coincidence that the movies started to REALLY get good when they started thinking outside the box a bit!)
• Saw on IMDB that John Hurt, who played Ollivander in #1, is reprising the role for #7. That is some good continuity.
• CHAMBER OF SECRETS is still the weakest of the series, but it’s actually much better now that we know what we know.
• While I am a fan of Michael Gambon's Dumbledore, I can't help but think about how awesome Richard Harris would have been in the later films.
• Remember when gaining & losing house points was important? Seems like such small potatoes compared to, y’know, battling evil and saving the world. (Quidditch, too, kinda got old pretty fast.)
• Of all the impeccable (and fortunate) casting decisions throughout the series, how lucky were they that the kid who played Dudley stayed big & fat all these years? Gotta wonder if he was contractually obligated to NOT work out and lose weight… or if he made the decision himself to ensure he kept the role!
• Love the shot in AZKABAN of the bird flittering around the Hogwarts before fatefully flying right into the Whomping Willow. Little random bits of whimsy like that are what make take the third film to a whole other level of awesomeness.
• AZKABAN probably has the best musical score of the series -- tremendous stuff from John Williams. Ever since he left the series, the scores have been decidedly unremarkable… which is why I was excited to learn that Alexandre Desplat is scoring HALLOWS PART 1. Should be good, but I’d still love to see Williams come back for Part 2, though.
• How great is the scene in the Shrieking Shack, where Lupin, Sirius and Pettigrew’s history is revealed? Though, gotta wonder why the heck Lupin & Sirius couldn’t just immediately let Harry, Ron & Hermione that they were good guys, rather than acting so vague and ominous.
• Sirius rules. And Werewolf Lupin would kick Taylor Lautner’s candy ass.
• Basically everything about AZKABAN is superior to the first two films in every conceivable way. So good!!!
God, I love these movies. Be back soon (perhaps) with thoughts on 4, 5 and 6!