Saturday, July 14, 2007

Review: Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix

In the end of the last Harry Potter film , The Goblet of Fire , Professor Dumbledore told the students of Hogwarts that dark times lied ahead , due to the deah of Cedric Griggory , killed by Lord Voldemort ( Ralph Fiennes ) . A few minutes later , and after saying goodbye to their friends from France and Bulgaria , Hermione asks her best mates if they think that everything is going to change , and they all seem to agree that everything is going to change , in this new Harry Potter film , the fifth in the franchise . Everyone seems to agree that this new film is darker than the two previous installments : Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire , but I think that when people and critics say that this film is darker , they´re not referring to violence , even though the film has been rated PG-13 in the U.S : unlike its predecessors , this film has a far more darker tone as far as the mood of the characters is concerned . Of course , it does have some jokes , provided by the Weasley twins and other students at Hogwarts , but right from the beginning , we feel that this Harry Potter film has no room for out of this world silliness and jokes that make one laugh his heart out.
The film introduces some new characters , like the house elf who works for Sirius Black , but the one who has more screen time is the new teacher against the dark arts , Dolores Jane Umbridge , played by Academy Award nominated actress , Imelda Staunton . As the matter of fact , Staunton´s performance is really the best of all the actors involved in this project . Her Dolores teaches , but doesn´t really care about teaching her students how to defend themselves from the threat that even Minister Cornelius Fudge seems reluctant to accept : the return of the dark lord. She´s cynical , obsessed with order and her wickedness knows no boundaries , for she thinks that children who do not obey rules , must be severely punished . But apart from Imelda Staunton´s character and the three main characters played once again by Daniel Radcliffe as Harry , Rupert Grint as Ron and Emma Watson as Hermione , none of the actors/characters has enough screen time , like for instance Emma Thompson´s character : Professor Trelawney , who plays a pivital part in the book. The young actors do their job well , showing us that they have managed to grow with their characters and have become teenagers , aware of the consequences of their actions when they set themselves to fight against much stronger wizards like Belletrix LeStrange , another new character , played by Helena Bonham Cartert. All the other actors , do their jobs well , but still , when it comes to performances , Imelda Staunton literally steals the show ( Alan Rickman is also very good as Snape , but he doesn´t get enough screen time ! ) .
The special effects , even though they are not bad , could be better , and that´s one of the problems with this film : all the previous films had scenes that somehow managed to stay in our minds , like all the chalenges of the TriWizard Tournament in the Goblet of Fire , and Harry´s trip to the Licking Cauldron in The Prisoner of Azkaban- Hagrid´s brother and the centaurs are a step back , considering all the achievements of the previous films , when it comes to special effects . The fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort on the other hand , is quite impressive and basically steals the show as far as action sequences are concerned - Sirius house elf , the Dementors , Azkaban prison and the scene which takes place in the room where Harry listens to a very valuable prophecy are also some good examples of the wonders of computerized wizardry. Another problem that this film has is that it somehow assumes that everyone has read the book , for there are references to places and things alike that might sound strange to people , like me , who have never read the book . The score is amazing , better than that of of the previous film , intense , dramatic , funny ( Dolores theme is simply brilliant ) and sad ( when one of the characters dies ). The sets , designed by Stuart Craig deserve an Oscar nomination , for the Ministry of Magic is simply amazing because it looks like a real ministry or an organization where thousands of people spend most of their time and Sirius house. The photography and the wardrobe are quite impressive as well , especially Imelda Staunton´s outfits and images of London´s most historically famous landmarks , like Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament.
Some say that Harry Potter has lost its magic . I say that perhaps we used to see magic as something good and capable of the most extraordinary deeds , either good or bad. Harry Potter and his friends have realized that magic is powerful and dangerous and all of them turn to the dark side , if they break their fellowship.

Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix : de David Yates , 0 a 10 : 6

Friday, July 06, 2007

Review : Transformers

E eis que depois de tanto tentar , Michael Bay consegue fazer um bom filme , embora de todos os filmes do Mr. Armaggeddon , apenas tenha visto dois. Transformers é um filme bom , embora pudesse ser melhor , pois mais uma vez somos brindados com diálogos um tanto ou quanto ridiculos e a uma constante atirar de areia para os olhos . No entanto , caso o espectador deseje ser conquistado por toda esta panóplia de som e efeitos especiais gingantescos, acabará por ser absorvido por este universo digital . Acho que é a primeira vez que Michael Bay consegue arrancar dos seus protagonistas desempenhos satisfatórios , não fosse Shia Labeouf uma das grandes jovens promessas de Hollywood. Os secundários , particularmente o par de actores que desempenham os papeis de pais do protagonista também se destacam pela positiva . Quanto á outra jovem promessa deste filme , a actriz Megan Fox , digamos que embora o seu desempenho não seja mau , não foge muito ao estilo daquelas que eu chamo "Bay Girls " , actrizes como Liv Tyler ( que talvez tenha sido a melhor ) e outras , que levam uma vida conturbada , aliando-se num espirito independente e desenvolto. Para além destes actores , poucos são aqueles que se destacam pela positiva , embora Bernie Mac e Anthony Edwards nos façam rir ás gargalhadas com as suas baboseiras do costume - piadas de teor racista , etc.

Mas as verdadeiras estrelas deste filme são os efeitos especiais , que embora não sejam perfeitos , conseguem captar a nossa atenção . Todos os robôs do filme , com destaque para o líder dos Autobots , Optimus Prime e todos os seus companheiros , que têm direito a tempo de antena suficiente para darem ares da sua graça , ou melhor , ficamos a conhecer traços da personalidade de cada um. Quanto aos vilões , embora mais espectaculares , pelo menos no que ao seu visual diz respeito , apenas ficamos a conhecer um , o mais pequeno , porque os outros só têm o destaque que merecem quase no fim do filme.

Se o filme tivesse realizado pelo seu produtor executivo , Steven Spielberg, provavelmente estariamos perante um clássico do século XXI , mas talvez , caso Spielberg tivesse dirigido o filme , este levar-se-ia demasiado a sério . Com Michael Bay , presenciamos um típico filme de Verão , que será um dos grandes sucessos do ano , ou talvez , o grande sucesso do ano de 2007 , destronando Spider-man III, embora o Mundo inteiro esteja à espera do próximo Harry Potter que estreia já para a próxima semana, mas isso fica para outra altura .

Transformers : de Michael Bay , 0 a 10 : 6