These young Potter actors, who started out in this business way back in 2001 have really developed into rather good performers. Particularly impressive are Radcliffe and Watson as Harry and Hermione and the fact that they are backed up by such an wonderful ensemble of British acting greats is a real treat: Jim Broadbent; Michael Gambon; Alan Rickman (absolutely superb, as always – truly the perfect incarnation of Severus Snape); Maggie Smith; Julie Walters; Helena Bonham Carter; Robbie Coltrane and David Thewlis to name a few. Unfortunately the exception is Tom Felton – he seems to stumble and spit out half his lines and I just don’t think the poor chap can act. Perhaps he needs a few spells to help him. These films are getting darker and David Yates is the man behind this transition – and it is absolutely the right feel for the films – after all, they are dark times in Hogwarts, but bright times indeed for the good financiers at Warner Bros with this film taking in close to $US 1 billion in worldwide sales. Abracadabra!
This is where it all began. I guess you shouldn’t hold it against the kiddie actors, but none of them are overly impressive here – they do seem to get better as the series develops. But what irritates most about this early film are the special effects, some of which are terrible, particularly the backdrops of Hogwarts and of the background during the Quiddich match. Correction, what irritates most about this film is that American audience’s cannot cope with it’s true title, ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ – is it really such a hard concept to comprehend?! Robbie Coltrane does a great job of here – but amazingly is not the fattest man on set, that award goes to Richard Griffiths – boy oh boy he is BIG. Anyway, this is a relatively enjoyable romp and a decent enough introduction to the world of Potter – even if it is probably the weakest of the films.
A suitably dark finale to the epic Potter octalogy that wraps everything up and ticks all of the boxes in terms of storylines from the book (but tries to do so a little too neatly). The actors seem to relish it being ‘the last time’ (what with various long awaited deaths, long awaited kisses and long-awaited confrontations) and really get their teeth stuck in, in many cases, bringing real pathos to their portrayals (has anyone come out of this series better than Alan Rickman?). Worthy too, is the tone of the film: dark and creepy with a crescendoing tension that builds to the final wand-off. And yet, sadly, the climax is all a bit drab and flabby. When Harry does finally confront old Voldemort (who perfected the gutteral agonised scream, but certainly seemed to overuse it… how can a character evolve if he is always just seriously pissed off?) and polish him off (did you really think he wouldn’t?) he doesn’t explode into a cool eruption of wizardy evil flame and black magic fire. That is what you would expect. And that is what you want. No, instead he wistfully flakes off into the wind. What?!? Yes. Flakes. Into. Wind. It reminded me off the rubbish and nauseating way they polished off that vampire bint at the end of Blade II. I just find it very hard to believe that the best way to bring to end this epic saga, this much anticipated fight, this showdown to end all showdowns, is with whispy CGI dandruff.
And the very next scene is also worthy of significant gripe. Having finally killed this evil Lord who has been a plague on ALL of their lives and been responsible for so many deaths, what is everyone’s reaction? To mope around! No celebrations, no congratulations, just forlorn moping. Yes, yes, I know they are mourning for their fallen comrades, but seriously, not even a slap on the back, or an affirming hug from his bit of ginger squeeze or a “well done mate, you finally killed the bastard!” from a fellow Hogwartian? He has, after all, just killed the devil. It’s not like he has just sent an annoying bully packing, or swatted an irritating fly. He has killed the wizard devil incarnate. But no reaction or words of congratulations. Nothing! Just a good old mope. I can’t quite believe I am writing this, but it needed to be 5 minutes longer. It needed to show life after Voldemort, in both the land of wizards and the world of the muggles. And so, disappointingly, ends the saga.
Another lonely voice on the internet.