Harry Potter

* It's not exactly "Once More," since the review isn't up yet, but hey, I like my header, and I wanted to write this all out before I forgot about it. Or fell asleep.

I'm running on five hours' sleep. It was worth it, of course: Quidditch costumes! Gryffindor scarves! Hagrids and Narcissa Malfoys! A nicely done trailer for The Lightning Thief which confused most audience members! (Dude behind me: "Is this a real movie?") Listening to the girl two seats from me explain that the Potter kids are as obsessed with trainers as Dr. Who! "What are trainers?" the man I assume was her father asked. "Chucks," she answered confidently. It was one of many moments in which I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. (I became instantly fond of this young woman when, as Harry and Dumbledore somehow crossed a restless ocean to the cave near the film's end, she whispered, "How did they get in there?")

Potter movies are impossible to review. Not literally, of course — it's just that it's a longer process than usual to sift out my outraged/charmed/enrapt/horrified Potter-fan reactions from reactions to the actual movie. At this point, I do wonder if it's necessary: Is anyone still going to Potter films who hasn't read the books, or at least seen all the other movies? Do I need to wonder about spoilers when there's a Threadless T-shirt announcing what happens at the end of the book? But even if I wrote the entire review in full-on yes-I'm-wearing-a-Harry-and-the-Potters-T-shirt-so-what? mode (and wasn't falling-on-my-face exhausted), there wouldn't be room for everything.

So: Click here for, er, more than a few more thoughts on the Prince.

... at least for the next seven hours. Actually, no; I only wish I could be utterly lost in Harry Potter land until 12:09, at which point I'll be highly caffeinated and ready to (hopefully) enjoy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But reality will intrude. It does that. So annoying.

I don't read reviews before seeing movies I know I'm reviewing, but sometimes tidbits of info slip through the cracks — which is to say, people post little things to Twitter. Like updates on Draco Malfoy's attractiveness. I'm OK with knowing that. I don't think it's going to ruin anything for me. I'm also OK with knowing that The Oregonian likes the movie, and that The AV Club is a little more reserved (I only read the first sentence). Most of the buzz is good, which makes me happy, given that I was frustrated with the last movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Actually, I still am frustrated with that movie, which missed the point of the book's dramatic climax completely by having adults swoop in and whisk the youngsters out of danger. It was supposed to be dangerous. It was supposed to require that they do some of the work of saving themselves. It was supposed to set a darker stage. And it got safed up for a major motion picture audience.

Meh. I'm keeping my Potter spirits up with stories like the one about star Daniel Radcliffe giving a young reporter the interview of her life. I'm not going to wear a wizard costume tonight, but my failure to look the part doesn't mean I'm any less excited. And I don't plan on leaving my handkerchief at home.

The previous films in EW:
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

So as you can probably tell by the Twitter stream to the right of the blog posts, I'm kind of addicted to Twitter (I have my own feed as well, where I'm, er, much more active).

A few things I read because of Twitter today:

• Michael Gambon doesn't read J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Also, he wanted "a more intense" Dumbledore than had been in the books. I guess he didn't know that Dumbledore is gay AND WE CANNOT HAVE TEH GAY MAN SHAKING TEH BOY B/C WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR THE CHILDRENS?! Anyway, kind of a fun story. Molly has vowed to get a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince into the paper this week, so you'll all know more soon.

And what the heck, here's a trailer:

• Wonkette is funny, but the people who comment on her posts are even funnier. An example:

• The Portland Art Museum (acronym PAM, like Seattle's SAM, which, why can't we have SEAM (Springfield/Eugene Art Museum) instead of JSMA, you know what I mean?!) is hosting a very cool tattoo event with magic and fire dancing.

• Cats know how to manipulate us. (Duh.) I love this part (quoted in this version):

The manipulative purrs seem to be most frequently used by cats who have the most one-to-one contact with their owners, rather than those who live in large households where purring might get drowned out by the general din.

• And this is very, very wrong. Possibly more wrong than the remake of Footloose I've been hearing about.

Over and out.

When do we get those high-speed trains? 'Cause I need a faster, easier way to get back and forth from PDX these days. Today, I'm missing a press screening of Harry Potter Laughs All the Way to the Bank Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (thanks, Shawn Levy, for inspiring that strikethrough). I'll go see it Wednesday and review it on this here blog the same day. I PROMISE. My fingers aren't even crossed or anything. EDIT: I take it back. I'm going to go at midnight Tuesday and write like a ... fast writer thing so there will be a review in this week's paper. Because big Wednesday movie openings mean I can do absurd things like that.

Next Monday, I'm missing a screening of Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, which shows as a benefit for the Portland Women's Film Festival. Bigelow's new film is supposed to be a good'un. Here's hoping it gets here eventually.

And tonight, do-it-all-and-do-it-yourself woman of awesomeness Jessica Hopper reads at Powell's on Hawthorne. On the Portland Mercury's blog, "everyone's best pal*" Joan Hiller-Depper interviews Hopper about her new book, The Girls' Guide to Rocking.

I actually went to Portland on a whim on Thursday, but that's a story for its very own blog post.

* This may sound like a snarky way to refer to someone, but I think Ezra Caraeff is being totally sincere: Joan is possibly the friendliest person I have ever met. No joke. Most of us could take lessons in niceness from Joan and lessons in doing stuff from Jessica. Which is just one more reason it'd be nifty to be in Portland tonight.

This one made me whimper aloud: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pushed back to summer 2009. The details are all in that link, but here's a key quote from the press release:

In making the announcement, [WB President Alan] Horn stated, “Our reasons for shifting ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to summer are twofold: we know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment. Additionally, like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writers’ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films—changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of. We agreed the best strategy was to move ‘Half-Blood Prince’ to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer.”

OK, I lied: The most disappointing bit of this release is the news — not new, but still, it hurts — that David Yates will also direct the two-part Deathly Hallows. Yates directed the last HP film, Order of the Phoenix, and to my mind stripped it of a very key point: In the film's climactic sequence, the kids hardly did any fighting. They weren't in the battle; they were in trouble, then they were rescued by adults. That's not what happens; what happens is they become really aware of the seriousness of the fight they're in — not just because of a certain death, but because they're casting spells and fighting for their lives in a way that only Harry has experienced before.

In Yates' film, though, the older generation saves the day. There were other changes, of course, and the film was too Cliffs-Notesy, lacking emotional heft, but that was the most egregious mistake of the lot.

Sad. Sad, sad, sad. Bring Alfonso Cuarón back, damn you!

Anyway. None of this makes the first trailer for Half-Blood Prince any less awesome:

Now we're talking.

(I also love the Campion/St Vier shirts another online shop seems to have run out of, but that's a wee bit more obscure.)

It may be time for me to actually put my "Republicans for Voldemort" sticker on my car...

Three things to brighten a certain kind of person's Thursday:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be made into two movies. OK, yes, this is yesterday's news. But it's still fantastic news; if only they'd taken that path around, say, the last film (Order of the Phoenix). Lots of talk about how it serves the story and not the bottom line is floating about, which raises my bullshit flags a little bit, but frankly, I don't care; I just want the movie(s) not to suck.

2. The possibility of the sequels to The Golden Compass getting made is ... still a possibility. As Variety reports, the film "is on course to make box office history as the first film to gross $300 million in foreign while failing to reach $100 million in North America." The film's producer, Deborah Forte, "won't give up the fight," and is quoted as saying, "I will make 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass.'"

As disappointed as I was in Compass, I still hope the sequels get made. And not just because it's more exposure for the fantastic Philip Pullman.

3. From USA Today comes this story: "Rapier Wit: Western Martial Arts tradition enjoys a renaissance." Why is it relevant locally? Because Northwest Academy of Arms' Maestro Sean Hayes is quoted in the story. (I admit to thinking this is extra cool because I take Maestro Hayes' fencing class, as does my colleague Chuck Adams.)

And with that, I have just one thing left to say for the day: Go Ducks!

So just yesterday I posted a little thing that mentioned The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the handmade book by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling that was sold at auction for nearly $4 million. (For those not keeping up, Tales is referenced in — is in fact quite important to — Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows.) All yesterday's news said was that an agent purchased it.

Turns out the real buyer was Amazon.

What does this mean?

It means we get to see it. And look at it. And talk about it.

Three cheers for Amazon, I say.

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