Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday At the Movies: No, I Didn't Walk Out of Harry Potter

Monday's Movie is hosted by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie.

Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG
Directed By: Chris Columbus
Writers: J.K. Rowling (novel) & Steve Kloves (screenplay)

This weekend Anjin and I watched the first Harry Potter movie again. I am not sure how many times we've seen it. At least three. Maybe more. I imagine we will watch it along with the rest of the films again before the final two movies are released. It'll be a Harry Potter marathon, stretched out over a few days.

A rather generalized and overreaching summary of the films: Harry Potter is a young boy, left on the doorstep of his maternal aunt and her husband after the death of his parents. Upon his 11th birthday, he is whisked away to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he will spend the next several years of his life getting in and out of trouble, facing danger and risking his life. His biggest foe is the dark wizard, Voldemort, who killed his parents and whose attempt to murder Harry alongside them failed. Harry bares the scar of that fateful night on his forehead. Years later, in an attempt to regain power, Voldemort also sets out to kill Harry, the one boy who, according to prophecy, can destroy the dark wizard. Wherever Harry is, so are his two best friends, the rather comical and loyal Ron Weasley and the brainy Hermione Granger.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, viewers are introduced for the first time to a host of fantastical characters, many of whom we will come to love--or despise--over the course of the series. Daniel Radcliffe is perfect as Harry Potter. And I can't imagine anyone but Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the roles of Hermione and Ron. Richard Harris plays the formidable and fatherly grand wizard, Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts. One of the most memorable characters is Alan Rickman's Professor Severus Snape, who plays the line between dark and light so well you aren't quite sure what side he is truly on.

Harry is so innocent, wide-eyed and unsure of himself. He hadn't a clue about the world of magic until he first met Hagrid on his 11th birthday. He hadn't known what to make of the strange things that happened around him sometimes, but everything began to make sense once he learned the truth about his identity. He is extremely likable, as are his friends. Seeing the first movie again, I was reminded of why I liked Hermione so much. She's a bit of a know-it-all, sure, but there's something irresistible about her just the same. She's tenacious and intelligent. The way a true heroine should be.

I remember being slightly disappointed in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I first saw it. I thought it was a good movie, and I quite enjoyed it, don't get me wrong. However, I had just read the book, and it so closely followed the novel that I felt like I was reading the book all over again. It was too soon, I think, to be jumping from book to movie. My consequent viewings of the movie have been much more pleasurable. Of all the movies, it is the one that closest matches the book. My husband referred to the film as a comfort movie, one he could happily watch year and after year. Truth be told, so could I. I could say the same for all of the movies in the series, really.

It was with images of the young cast fresh in our minds that we walked into the theater Sunday morning to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. They have all grown quite a bit in the last 8 years. Their friendship remains strong as does their determination to uncover the latest evil plot. This time it appears someone is out to assassinate their beloved headmaster, Dumbledore. Meanwhile, Harry and Dumbledore work together to uncover the secret behind Voldemort's renewed rise to power. And all throughout the halls of Hogwarts, love is definitely in the air, for better or worse.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the darkest films in the series yet. Hanging in the air is a sense of foreboding. Evil is right on the doorstep. Hogwarts is on high alert, well-armed with security. It is no longer the carefree place it was in that first movie. The innocence of the characters is gone. They know what it is to have suffered and the risks they face.

It has been four years since I last read the book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. My coworker, who reread the book recently, mentioned that there were quite a few changes made, mostly in the rearranging of events. I can't speak to that, my memory of the book so fuzzy. I did notice, however, that much had been left out or scaled down. Considering the finished movie is 2 hours and 33 minutes long, I can understand why.

Regardless, the film was well done, exciting and way too short (yes, I know--how long could I possibly want it?). I nearly jumped out of my seat at one point during the film, even knowing what was likely coming. I hated to see the movie end. I wish I could spend a little more time with my favorite characters. (who wouldn't like to spend more time with the eccentric Luna Lovegood?) I don't know if it is because I feel the end is near or I have just grown so fond of the characters that I enjoy every minute I spend with them. I feel as if I have grown up right alongside these characters and shared in their adventures and sorrows.

Over the years we have seen different directors tackle and interpret tauthor J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter world. Fans have their favorites and least favorites. I know I have mine. Half-Blood Prince definitely comes out as one of my favorites. But then, that could be because it's the freshest in my mind at the moment.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG
Directed By: David Yates
Writers: J.K. Rowling (novel) & Steve Kloves (screenplay)

The Monday Movie Meme is brought to you by The Bumbles.

This week's movie topic is all about walking out ...
Have you ever walked out of a theater? Demanded a refund after renting? Turned the channel? Share on your blog some of the movies that made you wish you had that time in your life back and then link back at The Bumbles.
Last June, my in-laws were visiting. As we sometimes do, we decided to spend an afternoon at the movies. I was not too thrilled about the movie choice, but what's a girl to do? So off we went to see Kung Fu Panda. The movie actually turned out to be quite good. At least what I saw of it. Unfortunately, the power went out about 20 minutes into the movie. We waited and waited and waited some more. Several times a theater employee came in to apologize and to ask for our patience. After about half an hour, the manager came in and announced that free passes would be handed out for those interested as the show would not go on as planned. I still haven't managed to see the rest of that movie, although someday I would like to.

Other than that one instance, we have never walked out of a movie or even wanted to. There may have been a movie or two we wished we hadn't spent our money on seeing after the fact, but I have since forgotten what those movies were. The bad ones don't stay in my memory long, thank goodness.

In terms of rentals, since becoming a member of Netflix several years ago, I have returned a few movies unwatched. In all of the cases it was not so much because I did not like the movie, only that I was not in the mood to watch it right then. It's more a case of my returning the movies unwatched so I can receive movies I am in the mood to see.

A list of all the movies that I ended up returning unwatched (I had to look it up on my Netflix account--you really expect me to remember, did you?):
Made of Honor
Monster's Ball
The Life of David Gale
All About My Mother

Several of these movies are ones I hope to watch at some point in the future, and hopefully this time, I will be in the right mood.

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I had wanted to watch HP last week, but given it's the opening week most of the cinemas were full! I'm hoping to watch it this week, but I'm not so sure about the availability though... still I'm not giving my hopes up!

    Our TV stations have been airing the previous HP movies for two weekends so at least I could recall what had happened before I watch the latest installment. :P

  2. I really like Harry Potter and we are doing the same thing before going to the theater to see Harry Potter new series "Harry Potter Marathon" is really nice word of the day! it describe everything.

  3. I'm really looking forward to seeing the new Potter film. It is one of my favourite books in the series, but like you I haven't read it since it first came out. It will be fun revisiting the world again.

    I have only walked out of one film: Date Movie. It was unbearble and the cinema had given us the wrong tickets (I can't remember what we were trying to see now).

  4. You just gotta love a good comfort movie, don't you? I love to put them on when I have something to do and can't concentrate 100% on the movie. Of course, the really good ones find me concentrating more on the movie than the task at hand matter how many times I've seen it.

    I've never walked out of a theater (of course I almost never go to a theater), but I've finally learned to give myself permission to stop watching a movie if it just isn't doing it for me. Like with books, it took me a looooong time to learn that lesson, but it definitely is a freeing feeling.

  5. We've been watching HP 1 through 5 over and over for the last few months, preparing for the 6th. (We actually started last summer, when we thought the movie was coming out in November!) Of course, we saw #6 on the day it came out, and we felt the same. We didn't want it to end, and no matter the length of the movie, it seemed short. Despite its darkness at the end, it had alot of light moments and humor...more than I remembered from the book.

  6. I still have to see the latest HP, may be next weekend. I love all HP movies, I really can't pick a fav. POGO channel plays regular HP marathons, so I have watched each movie many times.

    Kung Fu Panda is such a cute movie. Do watch the entire movie if you get the chance.

  7. I've only seen the 1st HP movie and I have never read the book. I thought it was pretty good, but it was just too long for me by the end and I fell asleep. I'll probably end up seeing Half Blood Prince just because everyone I know wants to see it.

  8. They're so young in that first movie aren't they!? I really enjoyed the latest one, and like you thought it was too short. I'm really looking forward to seeing the next one now although it'll be sad too since it'll be the last one.

    I'm a bit of a Kevin Spacey fan but I really liked The Life of David Gale when we saw it a few years ago. It's funny, I have no idea why but I was actually thinking of that very movie a couple of days ago! :P

  9. I haven't seen HP yet but plan to soon.

    I have walked out of several movies- Amelie, Sweeney Todd and a couple of others, but those are the most recent. 99% of the time i will stay to the bitter end.

  10. So glad to hear Half-Blood Prince is good! I'm planning to take my kids this weekend - we can't wait!

  11. i would love to see harry potter in the moviehouse... hopefully...

    about the movies you returned unwatched, i really like apocalypto...

  12. We also saw ...Half-Blood Prince yesterday. So much in it - the 2.5 hours moved very fast. I started re-reading the book last night, and will probably do a compare-and-contrast post on them both next week. It's hard for me to review the Harry Potter movies, because I'm SUCH a fan :-).

    I agree with you about the "comfort movie" aspects of ...Sorceror's Stone, but both the book and movie are probably my least favorites in the HP series. They seem the most "kid-lit" to me, but they're absolutely necessary for laying the foundation. And the casting choices turned out well - I think all of the young actors have grown into their increasingly complex characters quite well, and the Hogwarts professors were selected perfectly.

    I don't think I've ever walked out on a movie, despite wanting to a few times.

  13. I rarely go to the movies anymore, most of my movie watching is done via Netflix. I guess stopping to watch a movie is the equivalent to walking out? If that's the case, too many to count. But two memorable ones from the days when I still went to the movies a lot were "Out of Africa" - it bored me to tears. And another one was "The Doctor" with William Hurt - had to walk out of that one because my ex-husband was about to faint during the scene when the doctor sticks a needle into William Hurt's neck! Also "The Green Mile" - when the guy is about to step on the mouse. Made me sick to my stomach and made it impossible for me to watch the rest of the movie.

    I have a very low tolerance for bad movies, which is why I love Netflix so much. You never feel like you waste your money - just stick it back in the envelope and magically, the next movie on your list appears in your mailbox!

  14. I only walked out of theater once. It was for a movie with that guy from Dawson's Creek, and then some dark-haired girl who cut herself. Uhg, it was TERRIBLE.

  15. I can't remember the name of the movie now, but it was the sequel to A Fish Called Wanda. I went and saw it with my father and I don't think he was expecting the off-color humor and quickly ushered me out of the film. :) I must have been just a young pup then. And then in college I tried to see Snatch on a first date with this poor little country bumpkin gentlemen. He didn't get the British humor and wanted to leave. I think that was our last date--love the movie.

    Haven't seen Harry Potter but I really want to soon. I've heard it won't disappoint but it's hard not to compare the movies with the books. Sometimes a little distance is a good thing.

  16. Hi Wendy, I haven't read the book and I want to watch the movie. I've only read up to Book 4 many years ago... I'm glad you liked Half Blood Prince and that makes me even more eager to watch it!

  17. I haven't seen the latest HP yet, glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to it.

    When I was in NY for the BEA my husband and I went to see The 39 Steps on Broadway. We left at the intermission. He couldn't stand it! I wasn't that crazy about it either but I would've stayed to the end if he'd been willing. I don't think I'll be seeing the end of that one.

  18. Melody - The theater wasn't too crowded when we went fortunately. We showed up a little early and got to do a little reading before the show started. :-) I hope you will enjoy it when you see it!

    Pregnancy - Hubby and I did a Lord of the Rings marathon one weekend--we learned our lesson. Movie marathons are fun, but it really is okay to spread them out a little more than we did with that one.

    I'm looking forward to a Harry Potter marathon. :-)

    Rhinoa - I was really curious to see how they were going to handle this sixth book. It actually is my least favorite, I admit, but I still enjoyed it a lot, so that isn't saying much.

    I saw Date Movie one night when I didn't feel like doing anything but vegging in front of the television set. It was pretty stupid, but I didn't mind it. But then, it was on television and wasn't costing me a penny. LOL I can see why that one wouldn't be worth spending money on.

    Debi - Yes, that's usually when I put on my comfort movies too. I can multi-task and not lose anything in the process. :-)

    It's so rare that I pick a movie to watch that I don't enjoy to some extent. Much like books. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what I'll like and won't like.

    Sandy - That was smart! I wish I'd thought to start sooner. Yes, there was definite humor in the movie. It helped balance out the darker themes, I thought. I remember the book being dark too, but then, it's been four years since I read it.

    Violet - I hope you like it when you see it. It'll be fun to rewatch all the movies again--but this time closer together. I hope to do that sometime in the next year or so. At least before the first of the final movies comes out.

    Nicole - I think the movies do get better with each one. I'm not sure how much you'll miss though if you haven't seen the previous movies. HP and the HBP is very much a transitional film.

    Nat - They were babies practically! My coworker and I are trying to figure out where the break will come in the next two movies since they'll span the final book. It will be sad when it's all over. At least we've still got the books to read and the DVDs to watch. :-)

    I really like Kevin Spacey too. I'm sure I'll get around to watching it someday.

    Marie - I can see why you might not like Sweeney Todd. That's one you really had to be prepared for. I actually liked it although I'm not sure it's one I'll be watching again and again.

  19. Carrie (B&M) - How fun! I hope you all enjoy it. :-) I heard that it was also going to be showing in 3-D in some places (not here though). I could definitely see the appeal in seeing it that way.

    Lulu - I hope you are able to see it at the theater! I do still want to see Apocalypto. It just wasn't the right time when I had it the first time.

    Florinda - It really did go fast for such a long movie. I look forward to reading your compare-and-contrast post. There's so much I've forgotten. Perhaps your review will help trigger my memory.

    And I agree with you. I'm such a fan of Harry Potter too that it does make it hard to review them.

    Ingrid - I don't think I've seen The Doctor. You reminded me though of the time my husband had to walk out of Saving Private Ryan because one of the scenes was too graphic for him. He came back in and the second time we watched the film he didn't have a problem with it though.

    I confess that sometimes I do enjoy even the bad movies. I wouldn't want to pay theater price for them or even necessarily rent them from Netflix, but if I catch them on cable, sometimes I just can't help but watch. Of course, what constitutes as a bad movie is relative, depending on a person's tastes.

    Heidenkind - I don't think I've seen that movie. It doesn't sound very good though.

    Trish - I didn't know there was a sequel to A Fish Called Wanda! I have to admit that I didn't like A Fish Called Wanda--my husband made me watch it. He loved it. I haven't seen Snatch. Now you've got me curious. :-)

    I find that distance between the books and movies is a good thing. Unfortunately, even knowing that, I all too often rush from one to the other.

    Alice - As long as you're caught up in the movies, you should be okay watching it. :-) I hope you enjoy it!

    Donna - I'm not familiar with The 39 Steps. I'll have to look that up. We've never walked out of a performance before--we've been lucky enough, I guess to be familiar with the shows before we see them and therefore know what we're getting ourselves into.

    I know sometimes my husband has wanted to leave a lecture or a similar event, but we never have. He just gets very restless He's not very good at hiding his impatience. LOL

  20. I re-read HP 6 before seeing the movie. There were some critical things left out, which makes me wonder just how they're going to introduce them into the next film.

    But the thing was...after I finished reading HP 6, I picked up HP 7. I hadn't read it since it came out two years ago and I just soared through it again. Re-reading these books has been an amazing experience in that I am in awe of the storytelling, the way Rowling just sucks in the reader and leaves me breathlessly awaiting the next page. I felt sad, truly sad, when I finished HP 7.

    It's such magic.

  21. Well...believe it or not, during the Titanic my ex-husband and I had to leave because there was a bomb threat. We had to wait until the all clear was given...about 45 minutes. Then we went back in. There was only 20 left to the movie.

    I have returned Netflix DVDs unwatched and did the same when I was a member at Blockbuster. Many times I rented a movie I already saw again and in one or two cases three times. My hubby used to think I was crazy, but I actually have narcolepsy and most of the time don't see the whole movie. LOL

  22. Never seen or read a Harry Potter - slow to the hype per usual. We'll end up doing a marathon movie week some day I'm sure.

    Your story of the movie breakdown reminded me of a similar instance during Dead Man Walking - right in the middle of the film the fire alarm starting going off and we all had to go stand outside until they could get it shut off. Thankfully they backed up the film to where we were interrupted and we got to see the whole thing. Which we enjoyed by the way.

  23. I know which part you are talking about in the new HP movie - I nearly jumped out of my seat too (along with everyone else in the theater). I knew it was coming and grabbed my husband's hand tight, but it still made me jump. :)

    There was a young man a few seats away from me who actually fell asleep right after that part and slept through to the credits.

    I've only ever walked out of one film and that was Braveheart because I couldn't handle the violence. I walked out a few times (for a few minutes each time just to take a break from all of the killing). I couldn't actually leave because I had gotten a ride with someone else (I was a teenager at the time). I did watch most of the movie and thought it was good overall.

  24. I enjoyed the first Harry Potter movie, but after being disappointed with the third, I kind of gave up on them. All the praise the new one has been getting is piquing my interest, though. I suspect I'll cave and go watch it :P

  25. Oh man there was only ever one time I walked out of a movie but it had to do with the audience, not the movie. The place was packed with teenagers acting up, and it was bad enough that a theater employee came in and begged everyone to sit down, shut up, and let people watch the movie. We were done at that point.

  26. I remember walking out of a movie one time mostly because the guy I was with was disgusted with it and wanted to leave. It was a bit crude - the Eddie Murphy version of Nutty Professor.
    We also use Netflix and we returned the Life of David Gale once as it wasn't the movie we were in the mood for. i think it's still on our Netflix list to watch at some point but we still haven't gotten around to it. right now we're enjoying watching the earlier seasons of House M.D. It's nice to watch them in order and back to back.

  27. Karen - I am looking forward to re-reading the books. I'm still trying to decide if I want to do it before the final movie comes out or after, when I can then sit down and watch all the movies again.

    The books truly are amazing. I love losing myself in Harry Potter's world. J.K. Rowling definitely has a gift for storytelling.

    Wisteria - Oh no! Did you at least get free passes to make up for the time lost in the movie? That really sucks.

    I've been known to watch movies in bits and pieces, especially if they are on TV. I've been known to watch the end, catch the middle at another time and then watch the beginning yet at a later date. I never do things the easy way. :-)

    Bumbles - Haha! Well, I know not everyone is interested in Harry Potter. I actually got into the books late myself. I was so sure I wouldn't care for them as my record with YA books wasn't all that great at the time.

    I am glad they backed up the film for you. I really liked Dead Man Walking too. Not to mention it has a great soundtrack!

    Alyce - It was the same for me! I was holding my husband's hand tightly and still I jumped. He didn't even blink.

    My husband cannot take too much violence and will leave for a moment if need be. He did that with Saving Private Ryan at one point.

    Nymeth - I hope you enjoy it. It's gotten a lot of mixed reviews, I've noticed.

    Kim - I hate that! Yes, an audience can definitely ruin a film. :-(

    Debi - Ah, yes! I saw The Nutty Professor. I don't recall if I saw it in the theater or not.

    We've been watching a lot of TV shows on DVD lately. It's become my favorite way to watch TV. LOL


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