Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Trouble With Harry

I saw the last Harry Potter movie yesterday.  Since almost everybody I've heard from has raved about it, I thought I'd throw my contrarian two cents into the mix.

Let me say first that I almost never see movies at the theater any more.  Not only are they incredibly expensive -- even matinees are getting up there in price -- but I simply can't hear the dialogue.  Yes, I have some hearing loss, but still it seems as though the sound is turned down to where I have to lip read what the characters are saying...or cup my right ear, both of which are painful for a couple hours at a stretch.

But given the fabulous sound systems in theaters nowadays, I shouldn't have to miss what's being said.   They've all got these great Dolby or THX systems that are really thrilling when they advertise themselves at the start of the movie -- but then the sound volume is never turned up to where you can actually hear what's going on, let alone give you your money's worth for what the technology is touted to be able to deliver. It's like having a car with a fast and powerful engine and then never taking it out for a drive.

The lighting of many movies these days, the brightness, also is turned so far down that it looks like everything has been filmed after dark or inside a dungeon.  I realize it's to set a mood, but still the effect is that the movie is virtually colorless.

So such did I find the latest and last Harry Potter yesterday.  I did see it in 3D, which is the only way I will see a movie in a theater if I do at all.  So despite the fact that I couldn't hear anything that wasn't shouted by the actor and the fact that hardly any of the production design could be seen because of the poor lighting ~ I enjoyed the graphics and technology of the movie.

I also found the story to be plodding and slow.  I'll admit to not being a die-hard fan of the Potter series -- I've only seen two or three of the earlier movies -- but except for a few scenes, this effort seems as though it must have been like dying a slow death.

So there it is, I've said my peace. 


Kit Lang said...

I had the opposite experience you did in nearly every way! :)

I find movies so loud these days that I have to wear ear plugs when I go (and I did) for Harry. I saw it in both IMAX and 3D so I felt as if were virtually in the movie and so had no problems with the visuals or the lighting.

Although I am a big fan of the books and the movies in general, I must agree that I was a bit disappointed by this last effort.

This movie and the last were two parts of the 7th book and I felt - having now seen both parts - that they should have left it in one movie as the book was. If you attended with someone who hadn't read the books (as I did) I found there was so much background detail, I had to contantly whisper the significance of it. Which was odd. If they'd stayed on the "surface" as they had in other movies, I, and likely my viewing partner - would have enjoyed it more!

That said, although I wouldn't give it a rave review; the expectation was so LONG (three years we've been waiting for these two parts to come out!) that they couldn't possibly have met my expectations. So, all in all it was a quite satisfactory and pleasing end to the series and I felt that overall, they did the books - and the world that J.K. Rowling created - justice.

I'm sorry that it's over now. :)

Meg said...

I'm trying to catch up with Harry, we just rented Number 5, and hope to rend 6 and 7 next month. (We're on this 4 a month scheme.) Having said that, I am careful about movie theaters lately. I find the overall volume too loud and uncomfortable, but sometimes the background sound/music is too loud and I can't hear the dialog - not that the situation is any better at home with the DVDs. (This must be why I've preferred the more arty flicks and not the explosive kinds in the last half a dozen years!)

In New Zealand, Number 8 didn't get GREAT reviews. In fact, so far what I heard from grownups (i.e. critics) was that as a film it was just OK, but that it was nice to see the series come to an completion.

I've only red up to Book 4, (before 2000), so from what Kit says, I may have to read the three remaining books before I rend the DVD's???

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Never go to the movies. Download only. I don't hear so good either. The experience isn't like when I was a kid. Haven't seen the last few Potter Movies. They are ok, I guess.