Month: November 2010

The Ultimate Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 Review

THE BEGINNING OF THE END: A Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 by a self-proclaimed Potterhead, Anandini Sekhar

The anticipation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 has been building for much longer than these last few months for us uber-geeky fans of Harry Potter. Conversations began just moments after many of us finished reading the Epilogue of J.K. Rowling’s final volume — what scenes would they include? How would Daniel Radcliffe portray this scene? Who would they cast as the young Snape? How many familiar faces from the early films would come back for the Final Battle scenes? The plans were being made back in July 2010 as thousands of fans gathered at Infinitus, a 3-day Harry Potter Educational Forum Conference (which included academic panels, wizarding fashion shows, a full-length musical and countless Wizard Rock, or Wrock, performances) in Orlando, Florida. Groups of unlikely friends planned to visit each other from across the country and attend the midnight premiere of Deathly Hallows Part 1 together, and creative fans started sewing special costumes to wear in the mile-long lines outside the movie theatres.

I count myself as one of the more obsessive fans of the Harry Potter series … one of the ones who spent hours upon hours on various fansites and forums posting theories before the series ended, discussing favorite characters and their motivations, reading fanfiction when the wait for the next volume got unbearable, and of course, attending midnight premieres of the films, dressed to the nines in my Gryffindor gear.

Like many fans of the books, I find the films problematic. The filmmakers started this series running blind, not knowing what was to come in J.K. Rowling’s final books, having no clue as to what characters would become significant and which would be bumped off – to put it delicately. Due to this, or perhaps because they haven’t read the books 8-9 times as I have, things that the fans have noted as significant and that have been discussed for hours online or with friends weren’t focused on in the films. Obviously it’s impossible to condense the depth and the detail of the books, which are filled with incredible moments of both hilarity and deep sadness, into a commercial-length film. After being slightly disappointed by the lack of a specific storyline (The Marauders backstory) in Alfonso Cuaron’s take on the 3rd book Prisoner of Azkaban, I began to change my approach to the films. If I went in expecting to see every moment that I loved from each of the books, I was sure to be disappointed. I began to see the films as a supplement to my reading, and felt that these movies were made for the fans, so that we could fill in the blanks with information we knew from the books. And while there were choices made in the films that I didn’t exactly agree with (such as the degradation of Ron Weasley’s character to simple comic relief while Hermione took on his best, bravest moments), I am appreciative of the films because they paint the pictures in my mind on the big screen. After some time, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson became the Harry, Ron and Hermione in my mind as I read and re-read the books, and I’m grateful to even have a glimpse of this amazing world of wizardry that I’ve fallen in love with.

So it was with a grain of salt in mind that I got into line at the AMC Boston Common at roughly 9:45 pm on Thursday November 17th to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: The IMAX Experience. I was surrounded by teens and 20-somethings, including a group of young boys in the requisite hoodies right in front of me. Though I rolled my eyes as I first got behind them, I was soon smiling at their jokes. These boys, who looked to be in the first year or so of college, were making references to BOOKS. They had read the series, obviously multiple times by the detail of the jokes and references they were making. I started to feel proud to be a part of this phenomenon … a book series that has inspired a generation that is inundated with mobile apps and texting to pick up not only an ink-and-paper book, but 7 books, some of which are considerably huge. The creativity that it has inspired is also incredible; there were young people costumed not only in Hogwarts Student costumes, but several Dumbledores, House Elves, a Hedwig the Owl and even a Silver Doe Patronus. It was a freezing cold night in Boston, and the line wrapped all the way around the entire city block, but the fans were chatting, smiling and singing songs by their favorite Wrock bands or tunes from the YouTube sensation ‘A Very Potter Musical’. When I finally got into the theatre around 11:30, the crowd thawed quickly and there was an air of celebration. Fans started up chants of “Snape, Snape, Severus Snape. DUMBLEDORE!” (from another YouTube sensation, the Potter Puppet Pals). The crowd cheered for every preview and chatted loudly, but then the dark, cracked WB logo appeared and there was pin-drop silence as we entered Harry’s world.

I absolutely LOVED this film. I think that it was the most faithful installment of the books since the first film, which can’t be judged in the same way because it was the introductory film to this world. This film had the perfect tone; dark, tense and desperate. It conveyed all the confusion and frustration that the characters SHOULD be feeling at this time. That is not to say that I didn’t have a dozen nitpicks, I most certainly do. My feelings on the Harry Potter films is incredibly contradictory … I will list 20 things that frustrated me about the film, and yet I will watch the film over and over. This film in particular fell more on the positive side for me – I have some gripes but am pleased with how close this film is to the book. Those who haven’t read the books will probably feel frustrated by the pacing and the length of time given to camping in the woods, and this is PERFECT because this is how we felt as readers when experiencing Deathly Hallows the first time. This is how these characters feel in these scenes … they are scared, confused, isolated and completely lost. I do feel that there are many things that will slip past those that haven’t read the books, or that they might even find themselves confused about the events they are watching. The actions scenes are incredibly fast-paced and there is a great deal of emotion as well as exposition in this film. It is a lot of information to absorb! This, more than any of the other Harry Potter films, feels like it was made for the fans of the books … it feels like things have been placed in without explanation as a nod to the fans who will note and recognize the smallest of details.

The acting by the young trio is vastly improved in this installment. This film focuses almost exclusively on Harry, Hermione and Ron, who are forced to escape the safety of school and home and take to the wilderness. Rupert Grint is, as always, the most natural and talented of the three young actors. His character has new complexity in this film; no longer just Harry Potter’s funny friend with the clownish expressions, Ron is now dealing with deep insecurity and jealousy while also battling mortal fear for his family – each member of which is marked as a traitor to the new regime. Rupert has always been the most outstanding of the three for me, and every single frame he is in is incredibly moving. Emma Watson is by far the most improved in this film. Previously criticized for her acting by many in the fandom, in this film she truly is a scene-stealer. Hermione is the heart of this film, imbuing every moment with emotion. Emma truly shines in several scenes, and her dialogue delivery has become less methodical and more subdued, which was much needed. And speaking of subdued, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter gives a very heartfelt and moving performance as Harry. Though never my favorite of the three, Dan’s acting has improved since his experience on Broadway in Equus. He has been criticized for being wooden in the Potter films, and I have to say for me, this works. In this film he is more vulnerable and emotional that previous films, and that actually was a detriment to me. Harry IS stoic, he IS reserved, he does not wear his heart on his sleeve (that’s Hermione). He’s prone to silences, to being absorbed in his own thoughts and preoccupied with the task ahead of him, and so I don’t want an overly expressive actor. Where Dan shines is in the subtle moments, the small reactions.

The films are lucky enough to be graced by some of the greatest British actors in existence, and the adult actors are of course brilliant in their roles, however limited or diminished they may be. Alan Rickman as Severus Snape is given minimal screen time but makes a great impact, and Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham-Carter are deliciously frightening as Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange, respectively. Bill Nighy as Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour is unfortunately not given enough time to make a mark, and Richard Griffiths is barely seen in two shots as Vernon Dursley. The Order of the Phoenix members are featured, and Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley), Julie Walters (Molly Weasley), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Natalia Tena (Tonks), George Harris (Kingsley Shacklebolt) and Andy Linden (Mundungus Fletcher) are joined by the younger recruits, including the newest Weasley addition Dohmnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), Clemence Poesy (Fleur Delacour), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) – but their appearances are so brief they may as well not be there at all (apart from the Weasley Twins who always provide some wonderful humorous moments).

Notable performances include Jason Isaacs and Tom Felton as Lucius and Draco Malfoy — you really sense how far they have fallen from grace and how much they fear Voldemort despite being in his inner circle. Both convey their conflicted loyalty and shades of grey in the evil/good dichotomy beautifully.

David O’ Hara (Albert Runcorn), Steffan Rhodri (Reg Cattermole) and Sophie Thompson (Mafalda Hopkirk) were particularly funny in portraying Harry, Ron and Hermione disguised with Polyjuice Potion to sneak into the Ministry of Magic. These scenes also featured the return of Imelda Staunton as the wicked, power-hungry Dolores Umbridge. Matthew Lewis had only one major scene as Neville Longbottom but got roaring cheers from the audience, and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) had her second clinch with Dan Radcliffe but again lacked any sort of chemistry with him. Evanna Lynch incited a few laughs from the audience as Luna Lovegood, and new cast member Rhys Ifans had a fair amount of screen time and was WONDERFUL as her father, Xenophilius Lovegood.

And the CGI/House Elf cast members Dobby and Kreacher were also greatly appreciated by the audience, particularly Dobby!

There were many outstanding scenes in the film, and I wanted to make sure I summarized them, but I HAVE to also mention the moments/scenes that I DIDN’T like or that I missed …

*SPOILERS*

BEST MOMENTS –

OBLIVIATE
The film begins with a moving montage of the trio preparing to go on their epic journey to find Horcruxes, evil objects enchanted with part of Lord Voldemort’s soul. They must locate and destroy them or there is no hope of ever defeating Voldemort. Hermione’s scene is particularly heartbreaking — she performs a memory charm on her parents so they completely forget her existence, and we watch as her childhood photos disappear from frames around the house. Harry re-visits the Cupboard Under the Stairs that he slept in for the first 10 years of his life, and Ron prepares to say goodbye to his entire family, knowing they are in as much danger as he is.

MALFOY MANOR
Both scenes at Malfoy Manor are incredibly good. The first features a meeting of Death Eaters, with Voldemort seated at the head of the table. We are shown that the Malfoys have been disgraced, and that Lucius is still being punished for his failure to procure the prophecy Voldemort sought in Order of the Phoenix. Draco Malfoy also is terrified to find himself a Death Eater, forced to not only witness but now participate in torture and murder plots. This is a chilling scene because it is clear that even Voldemort’s inner circle is not safe from his fury – he could turn on them at any moment. The second scene is at the climax of the film – Harry, Ron and Hermione are captured by the snatchers and being held by Bellatrix. Hermione is tortured in one of the most intense scenes in both the book and film – her bloodcurdling screams will make you squirm in your seat. The addition of having Bellatrix carve ‘Mudblood’ into her arm is horrifyingly perfect – it conveys the hatred and the senselessness of Voldemort’s new order. Dobby is, of course, extremely prominent in this scene, and has a wonderful mini-speech that had the crowd whistling and cheering.

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE LOCKET HORCRUX
This scene was one of my favorites from the book – and the only time I cried in reading the entire HP series (I have a soft spot for Ron). It gives Rupert a chance to really showcase his abilities, and I think he did so with incredible skill. Ron’s worst fears come to life to taunt him when the Horcrux is opened, and he is forced to face his deepest insecurities. The filmmakers clearly put a lot of effort into the special effects for this scene, creating the “more terrifyingly beautiful versions of Harry and Hermione” described in the books. This also the source of the “brief sensuality” that got the film its PG-13 rating from the MPAA. It was perfectly done, perhaps because Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson have really powerful on-screen chemistry. Beautifully acted by Rupert Grint and a moment I’ve been waiting to see him depict since I read the books.

THE SEVEN POTTERS CHASE SEQUENCE
As seen in the trailers, early on in the film the Order of the Phoenix members use Polyjuice Potion to tranform seven of their members into doppelgangers of Harry Potter to ensure his safety. This provided some lighthearted moments and also displayed the filmmakers technical wizardry (no pun intended). The scene was done with 90+ takes layered to insert Dan Radcliffe into the shot seven times. Apparently he was also given the task of studying his co-actors in order to emulate each of them as they are disguised as him. It was quite a spectacle! This scene is followed by, in my opinion, the most thrilling sequence in the film – they are attacked by Death Eaters almost as soon as they take to the skies. Hagrid and Harry are chased in the flying motorcycle and take to the streets and the skies. The action is so fast-paced that your eyes almost can’t take it all in. Harry’s identity is given away in a tragic moment, and Voldemort himself arrives – but Harry is miraculously saved and reaches the safety of the Weasley home. Emotions run high as each individual team returns, and there are gruesome and sad repercussions. I wasn’t expecting to be moved by this scene, and found myself incredibly affected. I had an actual physical reaction — my teeth were literally chattering! It is wonderfully chaotic and I found myself wanting more of the aftermath.

BREAKING INTO THE MINISTRY
As I mentioned above, the three actors featured in this sequence did a brilliant job mimicking the mannerisms and expressions of Dan, Rupert and Emma. Audiences reacted wildly to seeing Imelda Staunton as Umbridge again, and there were wonderful moments of hilarity to balance the tension of these scenes. Also very powerful were the undertones in these scenes – we see the Ministry as it’s been overtaken by the Dark Side. Uniformed guards evoke Nazi soldiers – a very deliberate choice by the filmmakers. The underlying political messages are driven home here as the Ministry works to separate ‘Mudbloods’ from Wizarding Society.

RON AND HARRY’S FIGHT
At the height of the frustrating scenes in the woods is the fight scene between Ron and Harry, when Ron, affected by his injury (splinching), the Horcrux locket, and his own jealousy of Harry, unleashes all of his anger. Rupert is particularly brilliant in this scene, but this is also Dan’s best scene in the film. His own helplessness at his situation, his anger at Dumbledore for not giving him more instructions, and his lack of knowledge about what to do next is evident here. Also it seems clear that Ron is incredibly important to Harry — Ron has always been his right-hand man; his most loyal supporter. To lose Ron is a terrible blow for Harry, and even as he yells at Ron to leave, you see how much it breaks his heart to say so. Emma also does a lovely job in trying (and failing) to pacify Ron, and her moment of having to choose between the boy she loves and the boy she’s sworn to stand by is very powerful. In the very next scene, after they’ve apparated away and she finally has to accept that Ron is truly gone, she breaks down into tears. Emma is outstanding in this scene.

THE TALE OF THE THREE BROTHERS
In a fascinating work of animation, the story of the Deathly Hallows is told with narration by Emma Watson during a visit to Xenophilius Lovegood’s house. The shadow-puppet like animated storytelling is extremely effective and makes the story even more compelling. It was an unexpected treat for the viewers and everyone I’ve spoken to has pointed to this sequence as a highlight of the film. It’s deliciously creepy and almost feels like a Tim Burton production — it in fact made me realize that if a film-version of J.K. Rowling’s dark fairytale book The Tales of Beedle the Bard is ever made, Tim Burton would be a perfect director for it!

GODRIC’S HOLLOW AND BATHILDA BAGSHOT
Some of the scariest moments are contained in this sequence where Harry and Hermione visit the village where Harry was born, and where his parents were killed. Bathilda Bagshot, played by Hazel Douglas, was beyond my expectations. The look, the gait, and the sinister feeling of the whole scene with her is perfectly played. I almost expected more of an action sequence than we actually got here; it goes by very quickly but is certainly effective and has great shock value. The preceeding cemetery scene is appropriately heartwrenching and is probably Dan’s second-best scene in the film.

ATTACK AT THE WEDDING
There is a very small moment that I noticed only in my second viewing of the film, right as the Death Eaters attack Bill and Fleur’s wedding where chaos erupts and Harry, in a panic, shouts “Ginny!” just as Remus stands in his way and insists that he run. Since the Harry and Ginny romantic angle is woefully bland in the films, I was grateful for this little moment where Harry actually shows that he cares for her deeply. We never got to see him develop a relationship with her in the sixth film, much less break up with her because he fears for her safety. That small moment where Harry throws all of his restraint out the window and tries to fight his way to protect her gave me the warm fuzzies. Another very subtle but great moment for Dan Radcliffe.

WORST/LEAST SATISFYING ASPECTS –

HARRY AND HERMIONE’S DANCE
Though the filmmakers and actors have all mentioned this as being one of their favorite scenes, it was distinctly uncomfortable for me. Soon after Ron leaves, Harry and Hermione share a tender, intimate dance which is positioned as Harry trying to cheer Hermione up. The filmmakers intended for their relationship to be very ambiguous at this point, to show that there is indeed a possibility for romance between them, but then it passes. While it was a sweet and funny scene, I found it completely unnecessary and incredibly out-of-character for Harry in particular. The problem is that Dan Radcliffe and Emma Watson have great chemistry together. So much chemistry that it is incredibly confusing for the viewer. For those that have not read the books it is unfathomable why Hermione would choose Ron, because they have never seen his good side. Ron in the films is all but reduced to comic relief. His best and brightest moments have always been given to Hermione. So for the average viewer, it seems natural that Harry and Hermione are meant for each other. It seems like the filmmakers have been positioning Harry and Hermione in the forefront as hero and heroine throughout the series. They already seem too intimate, too close, and too intense together. The way it was played, it made it seem as though Harry was in love with Hermione, and Hermione was torn between her two best friends. What is this, Twilight: New Moon?

Not to mention that a sad, sweet moment of tenderness and borderline romantic tension is already present in the books, when Harry and Hermione visit his parents’ graves in Godric’s Hollow. J.K. Rowling herself has stated that in that scene there is sense that things could have gone that way, perhaps. The effect of that scene is downplayed by the creation of this whole new scene, and it has less impact overall.

Also, since Harry and Hermione already have so much chemistry, if they needed lighthearted scene to break up the tension then it would have made sense to give this dance moment to RON and Hermione — they NEED the build-up of their relationship. It’s only ever been hinted at in the films, and in the wake of all the intense Harry/Hermione moments, the Ron/Hermione dynamic is hardly going to make sense to the audience when it comes to fruition in the next installment. It would have been a great opportunity for them to show WHY Hermione loves Ron, why she would choose him. Because even if he is just the gangly, goofy sidekick, he can show her sincere love and tenderness.

And lastly, the moment is terribly out-of-character for Harry. Book Harry would never have the sensitivity or inclination to go and try to break Hermione out of her gloom. He wasn’t sitting around thinking about how to make Hermione feel better … he was thinking about Horcruxes and how to find them. He was despairing about the loss of Ron for HIM and feeling angry at Dumbledore for not preparing him better. He was too consumed with his task to be devising ways to make Hermione feel better. And while Book Harry recognized that Hermione was miserable, he was distinctly awkward and unsure about what to do about it, so he simply pretended that nothing was happening. The way Dan portrayed this scene made it seem as though he cared about Hermione more than anything else, and the casual moviegoer could easily have thought that they were in love and meant to be.

HARRY AND HERMIONE IN THE FOREST OF DEAN
There is a great deal of time given to Hermione in this scene for her to sit and blabber about the river and the trees, and I found it off-putting rather than sad and sentimental. She sits and waxes poetic about things changing, and the scenery looking just as it did when she was a girl. Interestingly the movie only seems to drag in the moments that the filmmakers inserted — the moments that weren’t from the books. Most disturbing was the line where Hermione says “Why don’t we just stay here Harry … grow old.” It just seems so ridiculous. Understandably they are scared and tired and Hermione has been bearing the brunt of being the brains of their entire operation, but again, it gives more of a sense of Harry and Hermione being the only central characters. In the books, the lack of Ron was a constant source of pain for both of them … they were unable to be their normal selves without him there with them. Frankly the way Harry and Hermione behave in this film, I can hardly blame Ron for walking out, and I probably wouldn’t have come back.

Also, the time spent on this drivel would have been better spent on other things that were condensed or cut completely.

THE MIRROR
The 2-way mirror that Sirius Black gifts to Harry in Order of the Phoenix miraculously finds its way into Harry’s hands in this film, though it was never featured in previous films. They make no attempt to explain what this mirror fragment is, what it does or where he got it, which is highly odd. Fans of the books will understand what it is and what it means, but for those who are following the story only through the movies, this will come as completely out of left field. The strangest thing is that it’s never explained, the audience is simply supposed to accept that Harry suddenly has some broken mirror that he carries around with him for no apparent reason. I accepted it, assuming the filmmakers expect us to fill in the blanks with what we know from the books. But it seems like a strange choice for them to introduce a magical object and focus on it heavily but never explain its origins.

KREACHER’S STORY, OR LACK THEREOF
While I was thrilled to have Kreacher brought into the picture, and they obviously worked very hard on the CGI for the House Elf, I really missed the fleshing out of his back story. Kreacher’s tale in the book is quite significant, and it was completely drained of emotion in the film. I wanted to see Kreacher’s facade fall, to see him display his pain openly and weep for his lost master. There was no opportunity to see Kreacher’s personality turn around, to see how kindness can rehabilitate even the most vile of characters!

THE GREATER THREAT OUT IN THE WORLD
Because the film focuses so narrowly on Harry and Hermione (and only a little bit on Ron, too), there was a real missed opportunity to convey, even briefly, the greater threat that Voldemort is to the world at large. While we see little glimpses here and there in a newspaper headline, or witness Neville Longbottom standing up to Death Eaters on the Hogwarts Express, we don’t get a true sense of the dangers out there … what the Snatchers are and what they are doing, how the Ministry is rounding up Mudbloods and forcing them to relinquish their wands and their status in society. There’s no sense of what is happening at Hogwarts now that Snape is Headmaster. I think it would have taken just a few moments to show us what was happening in the greater world, just snippets or quick flashes of the remaining members of Dumbledore’s Army standing up to Snape and the Carrows, the members of the Order being attacked or followed, Muggles disappearing, etc. Though the book is also tightly focused on the trio, the film drags a bit by doing so. Perhaps instead of Ron telling us about how he finds his way back to Harry and Hermione, we could have seen a glimpse of him hiding from snatchers and then using the Deluminator to return to them.

WHO TO TRUST?
One of the major themes of the first half of the book is discovering new information about Dumbledore and the break-down of Harry’s hero. Though the question of Dumbledore’s past is brought up in the wedding scene through a conversation with Ron’s Aunt Muriel, it is not touched on again. The confusion and questioning of Dumbledore’s motives is a major theme of the book. Harry has been given this task, but he deals with a real crisis of faith in terms of whether or not Dumbledore is truly to be trusted. Perhaps they plan to save that storyline till part 2, where it can complete it’s arc within one film. I certainly hope that they will give it proper attention.

Also in reading books 6 & 7, a major question is whether or not to trust Snape. The movies have seemingly dropped the ball on this question, and make it fairly obvious where Snape’s loyalties lie. Harry doesn’t seem concerned with Snape at all, he isn’t infuriated by Snape’s betrayal the way he is in the book, he isn’t infused with rage and the need for revenge. He doesn’t see Snape as responsible for the deaths of Sirius AND Dumbledore, and therefore when all is revealed in the final installment it will have little to no impact.

THE FINAL SCENES
This I think is the weakest part of the film. Though emotions run high with the death of a beloved character, and Dan has acted beautifully in that portion of the film, the final sequence fails to really show how the threat has heightened with Voldemort’s new acquisition. This could have been achieved by the trio having their conversation about which Hallow they would choose, and Ron emphasizing the lure of having an unbeatable wand. Also missing was the VERY significant moment where Harry makes the choice between pursuing the Hallows vs. continuing his hunt for the Horcruxes. His decision and it’s implications would have made the cliffhanger way more powerful. This is where Harry really starts to grow up – the first moment where he chooses inaction vs. action. Every move after this is incredibly deliberate on his part. The set-up for the final film would have been far more pronounced if he had voiced that there was this choice for him and he had made his decision, knowing the consequences of allowing Voldemort to attain the Elder Wand. Again, they could have chosen to whittle down some of the Harry/Hermione tenderness scenes to highlight this far more poignant moment from the books.

There are definitely more nit-picks I have, but I will limit myself to these for this review. In considering the entire film as a whole, it was rich with emotion, visually stunning, set to a bittersweet and lovely musical score, and had the right tone. There are certainly many loose ends to tie and a number of new pieces of information that will need to be introduced in order to carry the next film forward, and I am concerned as to how they will bring in so many points and then resolve them within one film.

My overall opinion is wholly positive. As a fan, I loved this film and am grateful that the filmmakers finally decided to rely primarily on the source material, which is so rich and detailed that it doesn’t need modification. Much of the dialogue is extremely close, if not exactly as it is in the books and the sense of urgency and foreboding is communicated effectively. The scary moments are positively frightening, the emotional moments are truly tearjerkers and the fun moments are heartwarming. Having already seen the film twice, I look forward to a third viewing and know that I will enjoy it just as much!

The ultimate Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows fan review by guest blogger Anandini. You can find more of her writings on Harry Potter on potterpensieve.tumblr.com or her Bollywood blog and podcast on Bollystalgia, and she has been a guest on Upodcast’s Dabanng podcast. We do not know a bigger Harry Potter fan so there was no better person to write up a review/ in depth analysis of this first half of the final installment. Besides being a Potterhead she is also a Bharata Natyam Dancer, a singer and an avid reader. You can also follow anandini on Twitter or Tumblr.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Green Lantern Trailer!

In brightest day,  in blackest night,  No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power… Green Lantern‘s light! The trailer for the Green Lantern has just hit the net.
DC‘s third most popular superhero (after Superman and Batman ) starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins and ‘Gossip Girl’ Blake Lively directed by Martin Campbell is coming to our screens next year! Is it time to charge up our power rings and take our Lantern Oaths? Check out the trailer after the jump! Read More

Darth Vader vs Hitler! Epic Rap Battle!

Well what can I say after such a title! Except clearly Lord Vader won hands down!!

Not much to say at this point, asides you checking out the clip and let us know who won the battle in your opinion!

Jersey Shore: The Video Game

Probably the crassiest show on television at the moment but for many a guilty pleasure. What if Jersey Shore was an 8bit video game? The Guys and Gals from College Humourhave answered that question. I dno’t watch the show enough to get all the references but still funny to see Snooki and The Situation in this old school avatar! Check out the funny clip after the jump!

Let us know what you thought of the vid on the comment section below!

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Star Wars: episode i…Pad

 

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Adam Buxton was creating this amusing take on what Han, Luke, Chewie and the others would have made of the iPad

Kudos to Adam Buxton for this and note the Mac start-up sound at the beginning…

Review: Due Date

Director Todd Philips follow-up to the unbelievably successful Hangover is a re-imagining of the Steve MartinJohn Candy classic: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. But this time it’s Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galafanakis taking the main leads. Due Date is a Road trip comedy  as most of Todd Philips’ filmography where Robert Downey, who plays a grumpy architect, needs to get to his wife’s delivery room in time for the birth of his first son. But that is until his paths cross with Ethan, a hapless wanna-be actor travelling to LA, a man who has quirks galore.

No matter what the publicity machine says, Due Date is certainly not the funniest movie of the year. I would go as far as to say it only has a handful of jokes. I think I counted 5.

There is a general consensus that Robert Downey Junior is awesome in everything he does but in Due Date he is relegated to playing the straight man to the quirky Galafanakis who plays his usual self with some added campiness that is never directly addressed. Ethan (ZG) wants to go to “Hollywood” to work in Two and a Half Men which is his favorite show and he carries a masturbating dog in his handbag.

There are quite a few gags set up that go nowhere and the comedic beats are very uneven. Some jokes start off as moderately entertaining but end up with a melodramatic punch line which just leaves the audience confused. Even the cameos from the likes of Danny McBride (Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Out) have no real pay off.

After the initial ruckus on the flight, the duo land up near the Mexican border playing on some themes from recent news stories i.e. paranoia of airline security or hardened stance on Mexican immigration but the writers have chosen to go for gross out moments instead of trying to say anything of relevance or funny.

The movie relies on the chemistry between the leads and the main leads are clearly enjoying themselves unfortunately this is not the case for the audience leaving. The remaining cast members are  un-etched characters. Michele Monaghan plays the exact same role as the bride in the Hangover which is screaming on the phone and asking where Downey Jr’s character is and why he isn’t arrived where he was supposed to.

The one positive I did take from the movie is that Galafankis is a competent dramatic actor especially in a few scenes where he has to show heart and doesn’t hide behind they quirkiness and weirdness. Too bad the audience wasn’t expecting this and laughed when they maybe weren’t intended to. (but then again who am I to judge when you should or should not laugh)

You will forget everything about Due Date the moment you leave the theaters and maybe that’s for the best.

Go watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles or even Between Two Ferns Zach Galafanakis webseries in you want more laughs!

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HELP! Glee beats the Beatles!

Do they know that L with thumb & fore-finger means loser?

More disappointment this week for Beatles fans when it was revealed that one of the most enduring records in pop history was broken. Having held the top spot for a non-solo artist with the most records in the top 100 since 1964 (with 71) the juggernaut of a show that is Glee can now count on 75 singles having entered the American top 100.

The fab 4 show us how it's done but it doesn't mean Help! in semaphore 😉

What you may ask, does all of this mean? Well, if you’re a Beatles fan like I am, then on the surface it’s depressing. Surely the fab 4 were more musical, more talented and in hindsight, more loved than those 1 dimensional Disney-esque puppets the public can’t seem to get enough of? Well, apparently not; at least in terms of top 100 records anyway! However, start to scratch the surface and some of the Glee shine (could be a furniture polish with that name) starts to fade.

Not only do the Beatles win a top 10 head to head (34 v 1) but even this one from Glee was a cover version of a song people only like in an “aren’t the 80s cool”, ironic way, because ultimately Don’t Stop Believin’ is kinda crap. Jeez, the band was even called Journey FFS! Furthermore the Beatles didn’t release 5 singles a week and weren’t backed by multi-media marketing frenzy and more channels through which to buy music.

So bask in the artificial glory all you Glee lovers out there…the Beatles will take you on mano e mano when the back catalog is out for legal download and if anyone even knows what Glee was in 45 years time I’ll be mightily surprised.

I rest my case.

P.S. Kudos to Asim for creating the headline!
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Sofia Vergara’s Accent Prank on Ellen

Modern family is quickly becoming onf othe funniest shows on TV and the second season is defintely not letting up with delivering consistent laugh out loud moments. Altough all of the cast are hilarious, we do have a soft spot for Gloria, the fiery Colombian, played by the ravishing Sofia Vergara.  Recently she got together with US talk Show host Ellen and did a little prank on some innocent dude. Watch the clip after the jump!

Sofia‘s accent is a running joke on the show and they even took it a bit further in the Halloween special that came out last week.

Pretty sweet and if you don’t agree I’m sure you will enjoy just seeing more of Sofia whatever the hell she does!

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CurrySmugglers: Project Munni

Do you want to see your eminent Upodcast host Asim dance on the Internet and make a fool of himself! Of couse you do! Watch Project Munni, our tribute to one of our favorite movies of 2010 Dabangg and our friends from CurrySmugglers. Watch the video after the jump!Â

The CurrySmugglers is one of the best musical podcast around if you want to know what’s going on in the Desi, Urban and Arab music scene, you need to be plugging in every week! The awesome hosts PareshG and SachinB are good friends of Upodcast and Paresh was even part of our Bonus Episode on Bollywood Item Numbers.

The video gives a good explanation on what we were trying to do, so I’ll let it speak for itself! (you will be left speechless after watching it though!)

That move has been called “the Chakki Peesing”! You need Desi credentials to perfect it!

Maybe you can recognize some of our friends from our Dabanng podcast Review special on Upodcast Anandini and Filmigirl!

Here’s is the original Munni clip as you can see Asim was trying to go for a pretty Salman Khan specific look! ( and failing miserably)

Be Sure to Check out CurrySmugglers podcast and The Diwali Special Dropping Today! Click Here! Or Follow them on Twitter!

Leave comments and Be nice People!

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