Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter Phenomenon

I'm swept far and away by the Harry Potter mania that besieged the online world, as well as the real one. My personal blog, The Coffee Goddess, is ranked 23rd in Pinoy Tob Blogs because of my spoiler posts on the seventh Harry Potter book. I didn't quite expect it, really.

It was not my intention to ride on the book's popularity simply because, I'm a fan. And fans do that - rant and rave and rage over what they are so avid about.

Anyhoo, I've written a review of the movie which will find a published space in the school website this week or the next. Below is the full article.

The Movie Only a Potterite Would Love
By Zarah Gagatiga, GS LRC Coordinator

“What movie did we just watch?”

Such were the words of my dear clueless hubby as soon as the credits of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix rolled up the silver screen. I was pretty pleased to have seen it on its first showing day, but he did not share my delight. For the next ten minutes, he ranted out loud while I raved inside. The fifth Harry Potter film fell short of his expectations. I had a hunch all along that it is not a movie that will stand on its own.

I’m a fan of JK Rowling and her created universe so the angst ridden scenes of Dan Radcliffe, the gloom and the doom that bathed the movie from start to finish, and the exciting but short lived battle of the wizards were visual companions that connected me once again with the book. For one who has read the HP series many times over, the experience is utter satisfaction. This is where my hubby and I draw the line.

There were scenes in the movie that needed no explanation because I was fully aware of its dramatic and fictional background. On the other hand, the ones that director David Yates emphasized and tweaked a bit made me see perspectives I didn’t find in the book.

For example, Luna Lovegood is to me, only another quirky character that Rowling used for texturing. It was a barefoot Luna in the forbidden forest and her red sneakers tied to an archway that did me in. Seeing her come alive in the movie made me realize how essential she was for Harry to cope with the trauma of Cedric Diggory’s death and that of Sirius Black’s too. Sure, he has good friends like Ron and Hermione, but neither has first hand experience with death. This is very telling of what it is like in real life. Our peers may share our deepest sorrows, they may offer support and give us space to overcome the painful process of accepting a loss, but we all need to see one who’s been there and done that. Luna lends this to Harry. Rowling used her as a literary and artistic device to prepare Harry for whatever life will bring him in the next installments.

Another example is Dumbledore’s anxiety that evaded me in the book. I’ve always taken the Hogwarts Headmaster as calm and collected; always in control and larger than life. In the movie, I felt his greatness as well as his vulnerability.

Michael Gambon as a remorseful Dumblodore touched me to the core. He regret protecting Harry too much from the evils that Voldermort could wage. No matter how powerful a wizard he is, he could only do so much for the boy who lived. As a parent, I often find myself in the same predicament. There are battles that my own children will fight in their lifetime. Their joys and pains are mine to bear too. I, however, need to let them go and see how they can pick themselves up when they fall in facing their own Death Eaters and Umbridges of this world. Indeed, love moves us to do great things. It likewise renders us helpless and weak.

Then, there is Ginny Weasley. Yates deftly portrayed a hopeful Ginny, wistfully looking at the object of her childhood romance. She stays there at the background though, waiting and giving Harry and herself all the time to find themselves and be. It is so Jane Austen and I love it!

This sense of control and restraint presented by Yates through Ginny is a stab at youth’s tendency to be impulsive and reckless. It is during the teenage years when tensions between opposites – good and evil, conformity and rebellion, dependence and autonomy, to name a few, clash with in the teenager’s psyche. Oh, the growing pains that goes with adolescence. Harry struggles and this was made palpable in the movie. Yates extended this aspect of growing up by offering us a glimpse of how Ginny was managing all this time.

On the technical aspect, I wished for a snappy plot development and a lengthier battle of the wizards in the end. A professional dancer choreographed the manner in which wizards and witches brandish a wand to cast spells, hexes, jinxes and curses. Those scenes ended as soon as it begun.

The attempt at black comedy was obvious with Imelda Staunton as vehicle. She was an effective embellishment. The rest of the British actors were fantastic as usual, but their thespic talents did not offer salvation for a boring and dragging middle part. The scriptwriters, however, could have spent more time enunciating the importance of Harry knowing the prophecy. This is a key plot that carries Harry and friends till the sixth book. And if my guess is right, readers will hear and know more of it until the seventh book.

If you have not seen the movie yet, I encourage you to read the book first or, read the book after seeing the movie. Otherwise, you’ll end up asking the same question like my hubby. Worse, you might fall asleep on your way to Hogwarts.


Arnold said...

Uy! Congrats for the blog traffic...hehehe

Anyway, I agree with your post title. Although my partner did love the movie even if she haven't read the book.

I am now awaiting for the arrival of my Deathly Hollows book which some friends promise to give me as a birthday present.

are you lining up in Powerbooks Megamall on Saturday? I might drop by to cover the fanfare...:-)

Zarah Grace C. Gagatiga said...

arnold, i will be going to scholastic warehouse in pasig city. i will buy my copy there :-)

arnold said...

nye, sayang. happy reading on Saturday then!

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