Harry Potter and the Uncertain Results

I started writing this around three this morning but then we were both so ‘zoned I had to stop.

We went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Cedar Hill, last night. When we got there around 9:30 there were two lines already, and we became the start of line three. I wasn’t worried, as they were running it on three screens (the times on the website were spaced a minute apart, but I suspect that was to prevent Fandango from being confused), and we all figured out it was irrelevant which time your ticket said, they would fill one auditorium, then open the next.

We ended up sitting in the back, dead center, where we wanted to. I complained that I missed the grandeur of the 1000-seat Century theaters we used to attend in San Jose. I generally always voice this complaint during blockbuster films, but I have to admit, and I think I even put it on Twitter, that I did like the lack of fist-fights over seats. (As we got into line, by the way, the Cinemark folks said, “you can’t hold places in line. If you leave for any reason, your place if forfeited.” As a group, the entire line agreed that if you were there, and with someone, once they’d established a place in line, it was fine to use the restroom or get food, but having people join you wasn’t acceptable. It all happened very politely.)

Trailers included: Stardust, The Bourne Ultimatum, Enchanted, Get Smart, and The Dark is Rising.

As to the movie itself, I’m honestly not sure if I liked it or not. There were elements I loved, there were things I was annoyed by, and of course there was the inevitable disappointment of finding plot elements I loved stripped from the story in order to condense 870 pages into 138 minutes.

That being said, here are highlights.

Things I liked:
– Alan Rickman, David Thewlis, Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith and Emma Thompson. Even if most of their parts were really slender, they were meaningful, and all of these actors convey pages worth of dialogue in a single look. I liked Rickman especially (big surprise), and like the direction they took Snape in this interpretation. His Occulemency scenes seemed softer than I imagined them, but for movie!Snape, it worked.

– The Weasleys and the Dursleys – good to see old faces back, esp. in the latter case. Also Tonks rocked, even if she only spoke like one line. Loved the hair.

– Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood – She does the ‘not quite on this plane’ bit very well.

– Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, and Imelda Staunton – Watching Carter as Bellatrix made me wonder what these films would have been like if Tim Burton had directed them, but only for a second. She’s wonderfully wicked and creepy, and there’s delight in her creepiness. Isaacs still rocks my world, and Staunton made simpering pinkness the epitome of evil.

– The overall dark, grim tone. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next two films aren’t even PG-13, because this was unrelentingly dark.

Things I’m Apathetic About:
– The Trio. Dan’s improving, and one great thing about the film was that, unlike the book, we were not subjected to hours of CAPS-LOCK HARRY! But Emma and Rupert didn’t thrill me. It’s not that they were bad, just…not as good as I hoped.

– Hagrid and Grawp. There was so much of their story not told that what there was seemed disconnected.

– The Thestrals. I think they were too reptilian, but I liked that they were there.

– Kingsley Shacklebolt. Loved the costume. Wanted the costume. And while George Harris was great, somehow, in my head, Kingsley was always more like either Lenny Henry (as Chef!) or Geoffrey Holder (the UnCola guy from the 80’s), or maybe a sort of cross between them.

Things I Hated:
– The Wesley twins’ departure from the school. Fun, and a nice break from the grimness, but lacking the punctuation of a certain item left behind in the book.

– No mention of secret keeping wrt Grimmauld Place. Not enough Kreacher.

– Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. Yes, Dumbledore is supposed to be largely twinkle-free and disconnected from Harry in this installment, but I still don’t like his portrayal. Even when Dumbledore is at his darkest moment, he should retain a bit of hope, and Gambon’s Dumbledore lacks that quality. I wonder if he’s read the books yet. I doubt it.

– Not enough Centaurs.

Overall? It was an okay movie when viewed as a sort of visual Cliff Notes for the book, and I enjoyed seeing Snape (ah, Snape) on screen again (young Snape was good, if under-used.), but I know I’m not alone in being unable to give any kind of unqualified thumbs up or thumbs down. Even the crowd we saw it with seemed uncertain. There was applause and laughter where there should have been, but it was weak and thready applause and laughter.

(Of course, I still want the DVD, when it comes out.)

Oh, and, just in case you’re desperate to know this: There’s no need to watch every last bit of the credits – nothing’s stuck in at the end.