Tag Archive: movies

Because my first impressions can be wrong sometimes, mmmkay?

I will be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the series when I first heard of it around a year ago. There’s a not-too-exciting review of both the book and the movie on this very blog. But I went to watch Catching Fire with some friends earlier tonight, and I have to say I changed my mind…about the movies only! My biggest issue with this series is that it’s probably the only one I know of where the movies are actually better than the books. The prose just doesn’t hold my attention, but all that means is I won’t ruin how much I enjoyed this movie by reading the book.

Jennifer Lawrence’s acting truly surprised me – even though she’s won an Oscar, I wasn’t expecting her to be so good! Everything right down to the tears seemed genuine enough that it left me wondering if she was really crying. I’m still in awe of how she can express changing emotions so clearly (or appear so stony, as called for) without moving anything but her face. I LOVE her now and I think she did a fantastic job.

Everyone else played their roles to their best effect too, and the action sequences and special effects made me cringe so hard in my seat a couple of times. Despite the storyline being so similar to Hunger Games, I didn’t find it predictable or stale. But I have to say, the costumes were the best part. The burning wedding gown can be seen as superficial showing off or deeply symbolic depending on individual interpretation, but it is a true artistic accomplishment. Personally, I didn’t even have to read the book to understand the statement it makes – the dress it turns into recalls the simplicity of just before the Reaping in the previous Hunger Games, and the addition of wings represents the liberation Panem is going after. To me, the fire represents the rebellion taking place.

The idea of rebellion in this series is really what gets its target audience hooked. So many teenagers are going through that phase in their everyday lives, and every one of them will feel a certain sense of solidarity when they see it put on screen. That’s why it’s a little disturbing how violent and gory the film is, but on the other hand, our particular generation is pretty much exposed to that all day long as it is. I know a lot of viewers (especially the older ones) have an issue with the seemingly purposeless violence going on, and I won’t pretend that’s not warranted. At the same time, the kids watching this are the same ones who already live in a nation where a mind-blowing number of real-life, well-publicized mass shootings occur within one year, so I don’t think there’s too much more damage to be done.

All in all, Catching Fire was an amazing movie all around – graphics, costumes, acting, the whole package. The storyline hasn’t been particularly meaningful so far, but it’s still definitely worth a watch – maybe even worth an Oscar – for its other merits.



Harry Potter Fact #209

Omg…and to think I’ve considered Ron and Hermione a done deal since the 3rd book…

Harry Potter Month is back!

Ok, yes. I’ve been gone for a while (again). But fear not! September was Harry Potter Month last year on my blog, and I’m doing it again. I may intersperse other things in there (being that *ahem* I’m running out of material), but it’s happening. I KNOW there are more fans on WordPress, show yourselves!

Harry Potter Fact #83

🙂 Perfect.

Harry Potter Fact #242

A lot of people I know say this one might be their least favorite book because of how angsty and moody Harry is (and also because of who dies at the end). It’s true, his character really does get darker in this book and we discover some of his imperfections. It’s hard to relate to for younger kids, but for me, it came out at the perfect time. I’m one of the lucky ones who was the same age as Harry when all the later books were released, and 15 was not a good time for me. It was kinda nice thinking about his troubles for a bit.

I also love the glimpses of the previous generation we get in this book…not to mention Dumbledore’s Army. Bad. Ass. To top it off, Order of the Phoenix contains my favorite Potter villain. I enjoy loathing Dolores Umbridge almost more than Lord Voldemort because as the series goes on, she becomes proof that bureaucracy, when corrupt, can be its own class of evil. She institutionalizes everything that Harry fights against, and he still finds a way to get around it. The way J.K. Rowling writes about abandonment and anxiety just makes his courage that much more admirable.

Plus, this is the book where Fred and George Weasley make their grand exit from Hogwarts, which is without a doubt one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. I can’t even count how many times I dreamed about sticking it to the teachers/admin and walking out of school when I was 15. To see it done so creatively and described in such vivid detail always makes me smile. That scene translated beautifully onto the silver screen, too. I went to the midnight premiere when the movie came out and the entire theater was cheering!

I like seeing Harry’s darker side in this book…it prevents his character from falling into the stereotype of the perfect hero who everyone loves. I can’t think of many other novels in which the writer makes the negative perception of the protagonist this believable. I’ll admit, there were some points at which I didn’t really like Harry myself, but I think it’s needed in order to stop him from ending the series looking like a saint.

For me, this book is the one that has the perfect blend of humor, dark themes, and run-of-the-mill teenage worries. The later ones start to reflect deeper political and social issues more, which I love, but can’t always connect with the same way.

Harry Potter Fact #126

I never even thought about this…he loves her so much 😦 I hope they’re together in the afterlife. Also, Chosen One or not, Neville is still a badass.

Believe it or not, even though this is just the first book, it was kinda hard to narrow it down to just 3. Here are mine, in no particular order:

1. When Hagrid comes to collect Harry from the little rock in the middle of nowhere the Dursleys have taken him to. This is such an amazing scene for a lot of reasons. Harry and Hagrid begin a deep and beautiful relationship with this meeting if you think about it. Jo said in an interview that the only thing she knew for sure about the ending of the last book is that Hagrid would walk out of the Forbidden Forest carrying Harry in his arms. He’s the one who rescues baby Harry from the ruins of his parents’ home in Godric’s Hollow, takes him away from the Dursleys after 10 full years of misery, brings him into Hogwarts for the first time, takes him away from the Dursleys again in the beginning of Deathly Hallows….And of course, this is when Harry gets the news that he is a wizard. Hagrid giving Dudley the pig’s tail doesn’t hurt either! 🙂

2. When Harry looks into the Mirror of Erised and sees himself surrounded by his family. I’m choosing this vision instead of when he sees himself holding the Sorcerer’s Stone because the former is the one that haunts him throughout the rest of the series. What he sees in that mirror remains his greatest strength as he grows up and fulfills his destiny, even though there are so many times later on where it’s tested. It was also a very personal moment for me as a young kid reading this book.

3. When Hermione, Ron, and Harry defeat the troll in the girls’ bathroom and Hermione takes the blame by saying that she went looking for the troll, and the boys were just trying to help her. The reason Hermione was there (and unaware of the troll) in the first place is because of a mean comment Ron made about her earlier, but when the three of them are caught with the smoking wand (so to speak), they forget everything else and just protect each other. This is when the friendships within the trio are cemented, and in hindsight, a clear metaphor for the journey they embark on together. It was such a wonderful scene in the movie. Made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, despite all the troll snot and destruction.

Runners-up: Harry killing Quirrell-Voldemort with his bare hands, Snape saving him from being thrown off his broom in his first Quidditch match.

What do you think? Agree/disagree?

Half-Blood Prince, Hogwarts professor, Death Eater Snape. I’ll confess I had the hardest time dealing with all the truths about him revealed at the end of Deathly Hallows. For a while I was mad at how fanfiction-y the whole thing sounded, and thought Jo just pulled an incredibly far-fetched, oversimplified explanation out of nowhere to tie up loose ends. Then I thought about it and realized that it was probably her plan all along. Sometime after that, he replaced Sirius as my favorite male character. (Of course I love Harry, but come on, he’s the protagonist. I can’t name him my favorite character.)

He was awful to Harry, Sirius, Remus, and even Wormtail years and years after everything had happened, and I’m not saying that’s okay, but it is an inevitable consequence of his remaining just as strongly devoted to Lily. The thought came to me that if Lily had married him instead of James, she would still be alive. Harry wouldn’t exist, and Snape might never have turned good, but he is cunning, intelligent, brave, and yes, distrustful enough to have protected her successfully. That sounds TERRIBLE and I’m sorry!!! But I’m sure the thought occurred to him as well, and that’s the real reason for the hate towards James – and by extension, towards Harry.

Everything else aside, his love for Lily doesn’t change how vicious he was. It doesn’t erase all the evil things he may or may not have done as a young Hogwarts student or Death Eater, but it does give him another side. He’s the embodiment of Sirius’ words: “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters”. Of the three abandoned boys, Snape is the one who can’t be defined as clearly good or clearly evil, and that’s why he’s so fascinating to me.

The course of his life is as altered by Lily’s death as Harry’s is. I think his being capable of loving that deeply combined with his skill at deception and concealment make him almost more dangerous than Harry, in a way. I feel like he’s a much more complex character than most of the others in the books.

Runners-up: Sirius Black, Ronald Weasley

Harry Potter Month is here, everyone! I’m starting it from my smartphone at work (some people don’t get Labor Day weekend off, you know) so I apologize if the formatting is messed up or something. I’ll fix it once I get home. Enjoy, “like”, comment, and be merry this weekend!