Posts Tagged ‘battle’

In a nutshell: Harry Potter and the End of an Era

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

The final instalment in the Potter franchise lasts for 130 minutes. That’s not especially long these days, and as a 12A, it’s not like DH2 (as no doubt the ‘fandom’ is calling it on the ‘internet’) has to finish before a toddler needs a wee.

So why this film isn’t 20 minutes longer is anyone’s guess. It’s great fun, with some dazzling set-pieces, full-on scares and a neat, satisfying conclusion. All your favourite characters are there, and they all deliver. But some scenes are so perfunctory I felt cheated. A pivotal moment from the book, when Harry reveals his return to Hogwarts by manfully avenging a gobbed-upon Professor McGonagall, is replaced in the film by, er, going to assembly. And Snape’s revelatory back-story, a highlight of the seven books, is over in barely a minute.

It’s frustrating to see great actors given so little screen time. The golden trio are expected to carry this film, but while Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way in eight films, they’re not going to out-act Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman any time soon. Director David Yates admitted on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row recently that his solution to the problem of the supporting cast inadvertently stealing the kids’ show was to cut their roles to shreds: a cynical, foolhardy move which shows little regard for the audience.

Moreover, although action-packed and pacy, DH2 covers the plot-shy part of the book. Oh, there’s angst. So much angst that it’s all shot in that faded, greyish colour palette that makes everyone look ill, one of the many heinous legacies of Twilight. But the real intrigue and mystery is over in Part 1, meaning Part 2 is mostly just a series of daring escapes and battles.

However – what escapes and battles they are! The Gringotts raid and the Fiendfyre are dizzying visual rollercoaster rides that will leave any self-respecting movie-goer wide-eyed. Hogwarts arming itself for the final battle is beautifully done, as if it really is the last bastion of everything that’s good in the world. Other great moments: Harry’s trippy visit to the afterlife, shock heroics from Neville Cutebottom (as he shall henceforth be known), Snape’s harrowing demise and multiple heartrending moments where you’ll snuffle into your popcorn.

My advice? See it twice. See it at the cinema for the end-of-an-era movie event that is undoubtedly is – this is a film that absolutely deserves a big screen. Then rent the DVD with Part 1 and watch them back to back. The two together will be a much more coherent and climactic viewing experience.

* 2D, because 3D is a nightmare for speccy geeks like me who have to wear the 3D glasses over their real ones. 

Reviewer: JoSheppard


In a nutshell: Implausible, forgettable but reasonably entertaining action yarn

Popcorn rating: 3/5

I like a good unintentionally homoerotic, old school action adventure as much as the next girl. In fact, in my humble view, there isn’t enough fit men ripping off their shirts and exchanging meaningful glances on the silver screen nowadays. Luckily, The Eagle has come along to redress the balance with lots of masculine moodiness, hand to hand combat and general silliness all wrapped up in the mystery of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Roman-ruled Brittania.

Channing Tatum continues his line of rippling muscles masquerading as men playing Roman centurion Marcus Aquila, a young commander in chilly looking Britain living under the shadow of his father – the man who led the legendary Legion and their gold Eagle emblem into unconquered Caledonia, never to be heard or seen of again.

Honourably discharged from the army and with nothing better to do than emote meaningfully, Marcus decides to regain his daddy’s lost glory by heading across Hadrian’s Wall into Caledonia – aka no man’s land – in pursuit of the Eagle. He takes along for the ride, his young British slave, Esca (Billy Elliot sorry, ahem, Jamie Bell) whose life he saved in a gladiator bout (where else?), thus earning Esca’s apparent lifelong allegiance.

This is when the real adventure begins as the brooding duo begin their quest, along the way bumping into a Ninth survivor (a so-serious it is actually a bit funny turn from Mark Strong) as well as the hard-as-a-rock natives (they’re very scary because they wear mud and live on the coast in mud huts, oh-er). But with Esca back with his people (kind of) and the Roman master now the slave, will Marcus fulfil his mission to return the Eagle to Rome? Do you really care? Well no, probably not, but never mind.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald, The Eagle is best watched with a giant pinch of salt. Yes, its implausible (ridiculously so in parts), yes, Esca’s allegiance is inexplicable (especially after Marcus shows his willingness to off enemy children at the drop of a hat), yes, you are likely to want to scream “Oh, for f*ck’s sake, get over it” at the screen several times and yes, Donald Sutherland (as Marcus’ uncle) does look like he can’t help but chuckle at getting a wad of cash merely for showing up for any old role nowadays.

What The Eagle is, however; is a throwback to the Boys Own adventure’s of yesteryear, a diverting action adventure that won’t win any awards but may, just may, mildly entertain you for 90 minutes or so. The other 24 minutes, to be fair, could have been cut.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley