For what it's worth, I've actually been hearing some very good reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. And, I should note, that I don't particularly mind that they split the last book into two movies.
Under different circumstances, it could be seen as a callous money grab. But considering that the last three movies have felt like the Cliff's Notes versions of longer movies that exist in some other universe, I applaud the producers for serving the story rather than trying to shoehorn the conclusion into a two-hour running time.
That said, I have no interest in seeing these movies. I'm sorry, but they've completely exhausted me.
At this point, I'm thinking the only people left who actually care about the Harry Potter movies are the super-fans. The kids who read the books and re-read the books as adults. I'm not that guy. I've never been that guy. I'm never going to be that guy.
I don't really have a horse in this race. Having never read the books, I've never really gotten excited by anything I've seen translated to the screen. Nor have I even been particularly upset by anything they may have glossed over or left out entirely. So there isn't a level of pre-existing devotion that's keeping me tethered to these movies. I appreciate them solely within the context that they've been presented to me - as movies. And, more often than not, they fail as pieces of entertainment.
I thought the first two movies were enjoyable pieces of fluff that did a good job of making magic, feel, well... magical.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the series high-water mark, if you ask me. A tightly wound narrative directed by Alfonso Cuarón with a time travel element that doesn't get lost in it's own logic. I don't think the franchise has managed to match the tone or clarity of that film since.
I fell off the wagon hard after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A heavy-handed, bloated and confusing movie that I barely recall beyond Daniel Radcliffe's terrible haircut and Harry growing webbing between his fingers for a swimming competition somewhere in the third act.
At least I can remember those details. I can't remember anything at all about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
In defense of the fifth movie, Cami and I never saw it in the theaters because it came out shortly after Henry was born. We ended up renting it several months later in an effort to catch up. The film never took hold for me. I don't think I could tell you what it was about even if you held a gun to my head. The same goes for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Considering both films were directed by David Yates, that doesn't speak too fondly for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 - which he has also directed.
I think it was smart for the studio to settle on one director so the films could develop a consistent style. And kudos to Yates for not killing himself after lensing four of these things - I'm certain it is a Herculean effort each time.
But there is something about Yates' style that makes it immediately forgettable to me. Every time I've left the theater after one of his movies, I felt like I've been dreaming - and not in the good way. I'm talking about those frustrating dreams where you're pretty sure you were flying or doing something incredibly cool, but you don't have the memory of the sensation and you can't remember the details. You can only picture brief glimpses of faces. It's unsubstantial, unsatisfying and just out of reach.
So at the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon, why do I want to line up for that kind of abuse again? Why do I want to pay good money and waste two hours watching a movie I'm never going to be able to recall and will only enjoy on a surface level? Because I've already wasted time watching 6 other movies of the same stripe? What's Einstein's quote about the definition of insanity again? Something about doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results? Yeah. That.
:: end rant ::
Drastically changing gears, I know that the punchline for today's comic probably came out of left field. I also know that Phineas and Ferb isn't expressly movie-related.
But seriously, you guys, if you get the Disney Channel, you should be watching this show. It's way funnier than it has any right to be. Creator Dan Povenmire worked on both Spongbob Squarepants and Family Guy, so the show has a certain amount of idiosyncratic pedigree.
Additionally, there's usually a music number with each episode and dammit if these aren't some of the catchiest songs I'm listening to right now. Check this out:
Would I have watched Phineas and Ferb if I didn't have a 3 year-old in the house? Probably not. But it's good stuff. Trust me.
Anyway, that's all I have for this week - except for two quick notes.
Traditionally, I scan, color, shade and letter the comic in 300 dpi. But for this comic, I decided to bump everything up to 600 dpi. I don't know why. I mean, I know that output for the web reduces everything to 72 dpi. But I wanted to see if it affected the clarity of my line work, or something. Are you guys able to tell a difference?
Also, I wanted to let everyone know that as of this Saturday, I am OFFICIALLY DONE with my Master's Degree. I delivered a presentation for my Project Management class and that was all she wrote. No more lessons, no more books, no more exorbitantly high tuition causing my wife to give me dirty looks. I'M DONE!
Hopefully this will free up my schedule a little bit (or at least result in me being less distracted in general) and I can start to put a little more effort back into the comic.
I need to tie up some loose ends over the next couple of months, but I'd like to start 2011 with a renewed focus on the comic and - in the very least - get production back up to two times a week.
Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you.
So what can you guys tell me? Am I off base about the Harry Potter franchise? Am I alone with how forgettable I find these movies to be? Did anyone see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1? What did you think? Does anyone want to organize a Phineas and Ferb TV watching party? Leave your comments below and have a great week!