Friday, 15 July 2011

Film Review: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (2011).

"It All Ends Here" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. This fantasy film directed by David Yates, adapted by Steve Kloves and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the second of two cinematic parts, as well as being the eighth and final instalment in the Harry Potter film series. It is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010). The story continues to follow Harry Potter's quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes in order to stop him once and for all.

This British-American film series, based on the novels by author J. K. Rowling, is now coming to a bitter-sweet end. Beginning with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2001 and culminating with Deathly Hallows – Part 2 this year. But how this unlikely phenomenon begin? Late in 1997, film producer David Heyman's London offices received a copy of the first book in what would become Rowling's series of seven Harry Potter novels. The book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was relegated to a low-priority bookshelf, where it was discovered by a secretary who read it and gave it to Heyman with a positive review. Consequently, Heyman, who had originally disliked "the rubbish title", read the book himself. Highly impressed by Rowling's work, he began the process that led to one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time. Heyman's enthusiasm led to Rowling's 1999 sale of the film rights for the first four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. for a reported £1 million (US$2,000,000). A demand Rowling made was that the principal cast be kept strictly British. Rowling was hesitant to sell the rights because she "didn't want to give them control over the rest of the story" by selling the rights to the characters, which would have enabled Warner Bros. to make non-author-written sequels. Then conversations began with potential directors, including Chris Columbus, Jonathan Demme, Terry Gilliam, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and Peter Weir to helm the first instalment. It was then narrowed down to Columbus, Gilliam, Parker, and Silberling. Rowling's first choice was Terry Gilliam. However, on 28 March 2000 Columbus was appointed as director of the film, with Warner Bros. citing his work on other family films such as Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) as influences for their decision. Steve Kloves was selected to write the screenplay for the first film. He described adapting the book as "tough" since it did not "lend itself to adaptation as well as the next two books". In 2000, after a seven-month search, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was discovered by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves seated just behind them in a theatre. Also in 2000, the then unknown British actors Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected from thousands of auditioning children to play the roles of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively. Their only previous acting experience was in school plays. Grint was eleven years old and Watson ten at the time they were cast. Filming of the series began at Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, England, in September 2000 and ended in December 2010, with post-production on the final film lasting until summer 2011. Leavesden Studios was the main base for filming the series. For much of the series, each novel was adapted into a singular film. However, for the seventh and final novel, Warner Bros. decided to split the Deathly Hallows, into two cinematic parts. The two parts were filmed back-to-back from early 2009 to summer 2010, with the completion of reshoots taking place on 21 December 2010; this marked the end of filming Harry Potter. Heyman stated that Deathly Hallows was "shot as one film" but released in two feature-length parts. All the films have been a success financially and critically, making the franchise one of the major Hollywood "tent-poles" akin to James Bond, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. The series is noted by audiences for growing visually darker and more mature as each film was released. The franchise would become the 2nd highest grossing film franchise of all time behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, with the eight films released grossing over $7.7 billion worldwide. Without adjusting for inflation, this is higher than the first 22 James Bond films and the six films in the Star Wars franchise. Chris Columbus's Philosopher's Stone became the highest-grossing Harry Potter film worldwide upon completing its theatrical run in 2002, while Alfonso CuarĂ³n's Prisoner of Azkaban grossed the least.

The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. As well as Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange, Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid, Warwick Davis as Filius Flitwick, Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, John Hurt as Mr Ollivander, Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, Kelly Macdonald as Helena Ravenclaw, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, David Thewlis as Remus Lupin and Julie Walters as Molly Weasley. The cast gave the best performances of any instalment and probably the best performances of their careers. Especially to the three leads, they proved to be the right heroes and role models for these times filled with troubled youths. They have become such an integral part of the franchise that it would be impossible to imagine anybody else embodying those roles.

With the unflinchingly grim Deathly Hallows - Part 2, the Harry Potter franchise comes to an exciting, poignant, and overall satisfying conclusion. It's scorchingly tense. The movie is genuinely powerful and this might be the most emotional blockbuster in recent memory, a film that starts out full of magic and goes on that promise, then to deliver a glimmer of hope in the final moments. It’s a bold statement about the unforgiving nature of war and death, unashamedly dreadful conflict between good and evil and the devastatingly human spirit in its emotional effect.

Simon says Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 receives:

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Film Review: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (2011).

"The battles are over. The war begins" in Transformers: Dark of the MoonThis science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, written by Ehren Kruger and based on the Hasbro Transformers toy line. It is the third installment of the live-action Transformers film series and a sequel to 2009's Revenge of the Fallen. Sam Witwicky and the Autobots must unravel the secrets of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon before the Decepticons can use it for their own evil schemes.

In mid March 2009, before the critically panned but commercially successful release of Revenge of the Fallen, Paramount Pictures announced a third film, as well as a July 1, 2011 release date and that it would be released in IMAX 3D. Original writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman declined to return for the third film. So Revenge of the Fallen '​s co-writer Ehren Kruger became the sole screenwriter for the film. Due to the revived interest in 3-D technology brought in by the success of Avatar (2009), talks between Paramount, ILM, and Bay had considered the possibility of the next Transformers film being filmed in 3-D. Bay originally was not much interested in the format, but he was convinced after talks with James Cameron, who even offered the technical crew from that film. By late May 2010, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Jess Harnell, Tom Kenny and Frank Welker reprised their roles, with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Patrick Dempsey, Leonard Nimoy, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong and John DiMaggio were cast as newcomers. Megan Fox was originally expected to return. But, according to various published sources, Fox's absence from the film was due to Bay ultimately choosing not to renew her role in light of her comparing him and his work ethics to Adolf Hitler. Bay later claimed that Fox was fired by executive producer Steven Spielberg, a claim which Spielberg denied. At the same time, with a budget of $195 million, principal photography commenced and wrapped in early November. Filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Esther and Titusville, Florida; Gary, Indiana; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Moscow, Russia; Pollepel Island, New York; and Washington, District of Columbia. Though about 70% of the film's live action footage was shot in 3-D using Arri Alexa and Sony F35 cameras, more than half of the film still had to be converted into 3-D in post production to fix technical flaws 3-D filming produces. 35 mm cameras were also used for scenes where the 3-D cameras proved to be too heavy, or were subject to strobing or electrical damage from dust

The performances given by the cast are some of the worst performances they have ever given, as well as being some of the most worthless performance given by them. End... of... story.

It's another noisy, underplotted, and overlong special effects extravaganza that lacks a human touch. The longer this franchise goes on, the less interesting it becomes; it just wears you down.

Simon says Transformers: Dark of the Moon receives: