Sunday, June 20, 2004

Last week I went with Natalee and Shuli to see "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" on the big screen.

One of the things I like about Israel is that when you buy a ticket to a movie, your seat number is printed on your ticket. The earlier you buy the ticket, the better your seat (they start with middles of rows in the center of the theater, and work outward from there). Since Shuli had ordered the tickets over the phone that morning, we had wonderful seats, and we didn't have to rush into the theater to claim them. We met in front of the theater 15 minutes before showtime, took our sweet time ordering (kosher!) popcorn, and sauntered in to our two-thirds-of-the-way-back, middle-of-the-row seats. I love that.

As for the film, here are my thoughts (no spoilers, don't worry):

* If you didn't read the book, you will still be able to follow the basic plot outline of the film, but you will miss a lot. Many important plot points or explanations happen so quickly that if you blink you miss them. Still, it is scary and funny in all the right places, and visually appealing.

* As always, the book is better than the film, if only because there is much that the movie, by necessity, leaves out. The film leaves out the explanation of who made the Marauder's Map! Perhaps more astoundingly, it completely leaves out an explanation of why Harry's patronus looks like a stag, which makes certain elements of the climactic scene a bit confusing for anyone who hasn't read the book.

* I really like the new actor who has taken over the role of Dumbledore from Richard Harris, zichrono livracha. Truthfully, Harris never exactly fit my image of Dumbledore -- the voice was all wrong-- and the new guy fits my mental picture much better.

* The "you should have quit while you were ahead" award goes to Rupert Grint, who once again has but one facial expression in this film, which serves for "Oh, no, I'm very scared" as well as "I'm bored," and "I'm confused," and "I'm attracted to Hermione but won't admit it."

* Daniel Radcliffe comes in second for the same award, having 2 facial expressions: One for "Yay! I'm on a broom or other magical thing that flies really fast!" and another for "Oh, no, I'm very scared/bored/confused/ not attracted to Hermione but the director wants some dramatic tension so we're going to make it seem like I am attracted to her, to keep the audience guessing about what will happen."

* Emma Watson, as Hermione, is terrific.

* All three of the main cast members look a little too old for their parts. They are supposed to be 13, but look 15, which makes sense because that's what they are.

OK, I gotta go work. Bye!

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