Harry Potter

Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter

I didn't know exactly what to expect when I saw that the Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter was up on Netflix Instant View, but I thought would give it a try. Part of me is glad I did, but the other part wants to slap me silly.

I am a sucker for this kind of documentary, and I have watched more than my fair share, but the idea of a philosophical look at the themes of Harry Potter looking at both the Christian and Occult symbolism of the work just sounded interesting.

As I expected, the occult perspective came from a Golden Dawn angle. In fact, the host performs the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram twice.

While there is a lot I could talk about, I can sum it up by saying that the film is Lord of the Rings unnecessary pan shots of locations around Edinborough and in a library that are often not explained. The content borders on the superficially new age, but from time to time they point out something that made me think for a moment.

It is not the best movie, and I cannot really recommend it. I rated it a 3 of 5 stars, or meh. If you find the topic interesting and have patience to endure the slow spots, check it out. But if you don't, then don't feel like you missed much.

Exploring: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Plot / Story:

Based on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7), part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort's immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart.

Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort's Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort...alive.

Harry's only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. But as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale—the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks.

Little does Harry know that his future has already been decided by his past when, on that fateful day, he became "the Boy Who Lived." No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the task for which he has been preparing since the day he first stepped into Hogwarts: the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

  • Release Date:   Part I: 19 November 2010   Part II:  15 July 2011
  • Listed as:   Fantasy, Adventure
  • Studio:   Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Director:   David Yates
  • Produced by:   David Heyman, David Barron
  • Written by:   Screenplay: Steve Kloves  Novel: J. K. Rowling
  • Stars:  Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes

Pictures

Harry Potter faces Voldemort

Trailer


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Rumor: Rowling Considering Potter EBooks

Is J.K. Rowling considering releasing the Harry Potter Books in eBook Format?  The rumor is yes it's being actively considered.

Neil Blair, partner at the Christopher Little Agency (CLA) which represents Rowling, said the agency was "currently considering all the options and opportunities that this evolving space provides". The agency was "actively" looking, whereas previously it had just been "monitoring the developing area", he said.

Richard Charkin, executive director of Rowling's print publisher Bloomsbury, declined to comment on whether Bloomsbury was in discussions with the author on e-book plans, saying: "That's between us and CLA."

I think it's a lot of wishful thinking and that we won't see it.

Yes it would be very nice to have the Potter books in a format that made it easier for me to carry them around and to reread them.  I love the idea of only holding a light weight iPad or Kindle instead of the much heaver and cumbersome book.

(via Writer's Blog)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Family Picture

Some early pictures were leaked online for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. *******Warning Spoilers Ahead for those who have not read the books******

For those who have read here is a fun set picture showing that they will include in some of the books epilogue.   I found it touching to get to see how the kids ended up and it's nice to know they will do the same in the movie.

It's kind of sweet to see an older Ginny and Harry Potter with the young Potter.

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(via /Film)

IMAX and Warner Bros Team Up for 20-Film Deal

IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc., announced today that they have completed an agreement to release up to 20 Warner Bros. films in IMAX’s format over the course of the next three and a half years from 2010 through 2013.

This agreement will bring more 2D and 3D movies to the IMAX format.  The two companies have already been working together on many projects so it came as no surprise to hear the news but why make it a formal announcement?

Other exciting news from the announcement included mention of several movies along with their tentative release dates.  Some of the movies we already knew of and others moved from the realm of rumor into real projects.  Please keep in mind some of the dates are just hopeful ones and not set in stone.  Take for instance the Hobbit, they are still in script work and at the time of writing this they probably don't even have a finalized budget yet.  Though with out any hiccups they could have the movie out by the date listed.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (3D) November 19, 2010
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II (3D) July 15, 2011
  • Hobbit: Part 1 December 2012
  • Hobbit: Part II December 2013
  • Batman 3
  • Superman

Since Batman 3 is in the early stages of development please do several things for everyone's sake.

  • More detective elements like in the last Batman movie.
  • Study the Levitt Paridigm, please!  We can handle several plots going on in a movie but give us one main plot per movie.  Don't try to cram two movies into one!  This one should be about Harvey Dent who should have been introduced and set up in the last one but now what?

Don't reboot Superman again I liked the last one which says a lot since I usually don't like Superman.  Maybe for fun make Solomon Grundy the villain for this one.

What would you want to see in the next Batman and Superman film?

(via /Film)

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Does 3D really enhance your movie experience?

A 16 mm spring-wound Bolex camera. Image via Wikipedia

After reading about Warner Bros. latest gimmick to get people to watch movies in the theater.  I started to wonder does 3D really enhance your movie experience?

Warner Bros. is Converting  Clash of the Titans and Harry Potter to 3D.  They will be released in 2D and 3D simultaneously.

“We are experienced and have been successful in the conversion of 2D to 3D going back to such hits as The Polar Express, select scenes in Superman Returns and the last two Harry Potter films.” (via /Film)

I get that the studios want us to believe that 3D is the next great thing because it pushes the importance of going to the theater to watch a movie.

My problem is that no matter how visually stimulating a movie is if the story and acting are terrible, abusive, or just empty then what is the point.  I can only hope that the studios are spending as much money, time and effort to fix those issues with movies as well.

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The really real reason why science fiction is dying

Speed Reading Class
Image by iBjorn via Flickr

Paul Jessup thinks he knows why Science Fiction is dying:

Heinlien. Asimov.  At the latest, Orson Scott Card (but mostly just for Ender’s Game). I don’t see anyone ever looking for something new...

This is why SF is spiraling downward in sales. It’s fans just aren’t buying it anymore. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc. so I don’t mind that it’s popular and selling. But some part of me wonders- is SF meant to be kept in the past? Is that why Steampunk is so popular right now, because it’s an emulation of the past? I’m not sure. But this is a problem (Paul Jessup).

Is classicism the problem?  Well, it is part of it, but it is only one of many.

Lessons Lost

The biggest problem SF has is that the industry didn't learn from the New Wave SF of the 60's and 70's.  These authors, most notably Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, didn't allow themselves to be constrained by the limits of industry enforced genre.  There stories were a little bit science, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror.  The incorporated whatever they thought they needed into their stories to make them good.

Genre has become increasingly rigid.  Publishers forgot that Speculative Fiction is the literature of the imagination.  It once explored the question, "What if" without any limits save those of the author's imagination.  As the genres stiffened, sales have continued to go down.

Lack of Imagination

This genre lock is not the only problem facing SF.  Have you seen any of the marketing for new fiction?  No?  You are not alone.

If a new classic is published and no one knows about it, will it make any sales?  Yes, among the author's friends and family.  That is about it.

Publishers and authors need to find new ways to generate excitement about new titles, but that is not enough.  Fans need to find better venues to share and spread the word about their favorite new books.

Bless me, for I have sinned

I have to admit that I really haven't read any new books in a long time.  With the exception of Night's Knights, Brave Men Run, and Burning Skies.  These don't count because I read them after meeting the authors.  I also don't count the Harry Potter books or franchise fiction.  Personally, I find it too hard to find new books to read.

As a writer, I feel like I am confessing a mortal sin.  I want to read more, but I am not sure where to find new books.

I've thought about reviewing books myself, but I don't feel like I have the time to wade through the weeds to find the books.

So, I ask you.  Where do you find out about new books?  How can we promote SF books better?

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The really real reason why science fiction is dying

Speed Reading Class
Image by iBjorn via Flickr

Paul Jessup thinks he knows why Science Fiction is dying:

Heinlien. Asimov.  At the latest, Orson Scott Card (but mostly just for Ender’s Game). I don’t see anyone ever looking for something new...

This is why SF is spiraling downward in sales. It’s fans just aren’t buying it anymore. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. I love Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, etc. so I don’t mind that it’s popular and selling. But some part of me wonders- is SF meant to be kept in the past? Is that why Steampunk is so popular right now, because it’s an emulation of the past? I’m not sure. But this is a problem (Paul Jessup).

Is classicism the problem?  Well, it is part of it, but it is only one of many.

Lessons Lost

The biggest problem SF has is that the industry didn't learn from the New Wave SF of the 60's and 70's.  These authors, most notably Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury, didn't allow themselves to be constrained by the limits of industry enforced genre.  There stories were a little bit science, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror.  The incorporated whatever they thought they needed into their stories to make them good.

Genre has become increasingly rigid.  Publishers forgot that Speculative Fiction is the literature of the imagination.  It once explored the question, "What if" without any limits save those of the author's imagination.  As the genres stiffened, sales have continued to go down.

Lack of Imagination

This genre lock is not the only problem facing SF.  Have you seen any of the marketing for new fiction?  No?  You are not alone.

If a new classic is published and no one knows about it, will it make any sales?  Yes, among the author's friends and family.  That is about it.

Publishers and authors need to find new ways to generate excitement about new titles, but that is not enough.  Fans need to find better venues to share and spread the word about their favorite new books.

Bless me, for I have sinned

I have to admit that I really haven't read any new books in a long time.  With the exception of Night's Knights, Brave Men Run, and Burning Skies.  These don't count because I read them after meeting the authors.  I also don't count the Harry Potter books or franchise fiction.  Personally, I find it too hard to find new books to read.

As a writer, I feel like I am confessing a mortal sin.  I want to read more, but I am not sure where to find new books.

I've thought about reviewing books myself, but I don't feel like I have the time to wade through the weeds to find the books.

So, I ask you.  Where do you find out about new books?  How can we promote SF books better?

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DVD Releases: December 8, 2009

Out this week we have one DVD to feature:  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Do we Love It, Rent it, or Avoid Like Plague?

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Owner


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Sci Fi Wire doesn't know the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Image via Wikipedia

I was initially intrigued when I saw a post on Sci Fi Wire by Wil McCarthy called: Is Mysticism overtaking science in sci-fi?

It sounded interesting, and I really wanted to discuss the question until I saw the Movies they decided to pick on:

Wait, wait, what?  They picked a:

They didn't list a single science fiction or sci-fi movie!!

The closest they came is maybe Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but that is like comparing Spy Kids to a James Bond movie.

Fantasy and Horror are genres that change something about the nature of the world to affect their Fantasy or Horror.  That is the nature of these genres.  Asking them to be scientifically accurate is to ask them to stop existing.

(sigh)  I hope Sci Fi Wire would at the very least go to Wikipedia, and learn a little something about genre before they lose all their credibility on the issue...

How embarrassing!

If you would like to discuss Whether Mysticism is overtaking science in Sci fi, leave a comment below and let's get the conversation started.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince On DVD and Blue-ray

harry-potter-halfbloodprince-dvdHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will be out on Blue-ray and DVD December 8th!  The Blue-ray combo pack will feature commentary hosted by Daniel Radcliffe, emma Watson and Rupert Grint.  Copies will be available to order from Amazon any day now.

Get your copy from Amazon here

Warner Brothers will also release Harry Potter Ultimate Editions for year one and two.  Years 3-7 will be released latter.

Harry Potter Ultimate Editions will contain

  • One hour feature from Creating the World of Harry Potter (8 hours in total spread out throughout the 7 years)
  • Theatrical and extended versions of the Films.
  • Over 2 hours of special features.
  • Magical Collectibles.

I love the Magical Collectibles feature.  It's a mystery, hopefully not like eating Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.  I'm not too keen on getting a boogie flavored magical collectible.

harry-potter-ultimatecollection

For More

Why Read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

harrypotterandthehalfbloodprincebook6.jpgThe latest Harry Potter move the Half-Blood Prince is very well done and the best of the films yet.  Here is the Top 10 reasons why you would want to read the book in addition to watching the movie. ****contains some spoilers for the Movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince*****

  1. Discover the true importance of the half-blood prince.
  2. Answers to how the Wizarding world handles the Muggle officials and maintains their secrecy mandate.
  3. An amazing battle in the Hogwarts Castle.
  4. Learn far more about Voldemort, his past, his motivations and get to see him as a more realistic villain.
  5. The Romantic story line:
    1. Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour:  The book has a wonderful, entertaining, and inspiring story line here that was not in the movie at all.
    2. Harry and Ginny's relationship:  In the book we get to see them together for a while and we get more detail and more depth.
    3. Ron and Hermione's relationship: get more detail and more depth.
  6. The shop scene was much better in the book and it includes the defense charms which help to show the changing times.
  7. Ron the Quidditch star:  A lot more on Ron's struggles and triumphs.  Plus the song "Weasley is our King"
  8. The true terrifying in depth look at Fenrir Greyback
  9. A more sympathetic, detailed view of Draco Malfoy and a better understanding of his character.
  10. A far more touching and inspiring ending.

Get your copy of the Harry Potter books and movies from Amazon here.

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter Half Blood Prince Movie Poster 1Overall Rating:  10 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a very well crafted movie and the best one of the series to date.  The task of transforming a book into a movie is a difficult task even more so with the depth, length and multitude of fascinating subplots that the potter series contains, my hats off to Steve Kloves and David Yates for an outstanding job.  In the Half-Blood Prince they fully used the movie medium to make this movie stand on it's own, it's the first of the movies that does not require the audience to have read the books to get the full story.

This was a great tale well told with only a few changes I would have liked to see.  Though they did an amazing job balancing out the emotions and tension of the movie the end was very sullen.  The theater was silent it's ending was like attending a memorial to a long dear friend who lived a long and enriching life.  In it's self not a bad thing and part of what is the desired result but the book coupled that with a stronger message of hope.  I wished they would have left the battle in from the book and shown the white tomb.

I strongly recommend this move.  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is great in the theater and will be an owner for me.

The Plot / Story: As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.

Likes

  1. well balance of tension and mood containing both highs and lows
  2. The effects looks great: though the Sectumsempra curse was far more graphic and terrifying in my head I'm glad they did not do that for this film so as not to scar the children in the audience.
  3. How they fully used the movie medium to incorporate a more full story including in the clues needed like the use of the wanted poster to convey the dangerous nature of Fenrir Greyback
  4. This is the first of the Potter movies to tell it's respective complete story without needing the audience to be familiar with the books to get the deeper messages
  5. How they handled the clues surrounding Snape
  6. The inferi were awesome:  I'll confess even expecting them I still jumped when they appeared.
  7. Daniel Radcliffe & Rupert Grint did a great job acting:  they really shined in their respective moments when under the influence of potions and in an altered state of mind, they made the part believable

Dislikes / Concerns

  1. The end was extremely somber bringing up a concern with it's rewatchability and in turn it's box office draw.  It saddens me to admit or even have to say this because sometimes great films don't have the financial draw like a popular and fun film.  I only hope that the populace remembers that box office earnings are not a measure of a great film.
  2. I wished the ending had included the battle from the book at the end of the movie and the White Tomb to help lift the ending.


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Bill Nighy is Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It wasn’t long ago that Bill Nighy was first rumored to be in the last two Harry Potter films as new Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. Then he confirmed the role and now, as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens (/Film).

rufusbust-lfbill-nighy

I love Bill Nighy and this is a brilliant casting.  Oddly enough, he is the face that popped up in my mind while I was reading the book!

Rufus Scrimgeour reminded me of Victor from the Underworld Saga, and Nighy did a brilliant job in those films.  I cannot wait to see him in Deathly Hallows.

The Last Airbender Teaser Trailer

I have been one of the voices in the Racebending debate around the new The Last Airbender, but this new teaser looks good but not great.

My first complaint is that the martial arts do not look as natural as I would like for Aang.  Secondly is the voice over.

They make the movie sound like it will be a Star Wars meets Harry Potter film, and while that is a good thing to bring a broader audience to The Last Airbender, I only hope that does not mean they have rewritten the story to fit into that mold.

Other than that, it looks good.  I cannot wait to see more.

(via /Film)

Theater or Renter: July 2009

Theater or Renter: July 2009 includes 5 SF movies Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, G-Force, Orphan, Aliens in the Attic,.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs:

Release Date:  1 July 2009

Listed as:  Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Romance

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Director: Carlos Saldanha

Produced by: Lori Forte, John Donkin

Written by: Michael Berg, Peter Ackerman, Yoni Brenner

Stars: Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Chris Wedge

The Plot / Story: After the events of Ice Age: The Meltdown, life begins to change for Mannyand his friends: Scrat is still on the hunt to hold onto his beloved acorn, while finding a possible romance in a female sabre-toothed squirrel named Scratte. Manny and his new wife Ellie are expecting a baby, which leaves Manny anxious to ensure that everything is perfect for when his baby arrives. Diego is fed up with being treated like a house-cat and ponders the notion that he is becoming too laid-back. Sid begins to wish for a family of his own, and so steals some dinosaur eggs which leads to Sid ending up in an underground world where dinosaurs roam free, and where his herd must rescue him, while dodging dinosaurs and facing danger left and right, and meeting up with a weasel known as Buck who hunts dinosaurs intently.(Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

Release Date:  15 July 2009

Listed as:  Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: David Yates

Produced by: David Heyman, David Barron

Written by: Screenplay: Steve Kloves, Novel: J. K. Rowling

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Helen McCrory

The Plot / Story: As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously "This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

More on Harry Potter here.

G-Force:

Release Date:  24 July 2009

Listed as:  Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Studio:  Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Director: Hoyt Yeatman

Produced by: Jerry Bruckheimer

Written by: Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, Tracy Morgan, Will Arnett, Bill Nighy, Zach Galifianakis

The Plot / Story: A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Orphan:

Release Date:  24 July 2009

Listed as:  Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Studio: Dark Castle Entertainment

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Produced by: Joel Silver, Susan Downey

Written by: Screenplay: David Leslie Johnson, Story: Alex Mace

Stars: Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett

The Plot / Story: A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Aliens in the Attic:

Release Date:  31 July 2009

Listed as:  Adventure, Fantasy

Studio: Regency Enterprises

Director: John Schultz

Produced by: Barry Josephson

Written by: Mark Burton, Adam F. Goldberg

Stars: Robert Hoffman, Ashley Tisdale, Carter Jenkins, Austin Butler

The Plot / Story: In Maine, a group of kids must protect their vacation home from invading aliens. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)


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Brian's Top 10 Movies

It's very hard to pick only 10 movies so I went with the top 10 but at the moment that I would pick:

  1. star-wars-yoda-lightsaberStar Wars all of them:  Big fan of the setting, story, and myth.
  2. The Matrix Collection: The great way this series gets one to give a second look at the systems that they exist in, how to bend the rules and evolve.
  3. Transformers: (80's animated and the live action one)  Giant Robots Fun
  4. Harry Potter films:  what a wonderful story arc, the books are better
  5. Star Trek in particular Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan
  6. The Day the Earth Stood Still
  7. Serenity
  8. V for Vendetta:  the political exploration and the exploration of the power of symbolism and symbols.
  9. Planet of the Apes: the 1968 version it's a great social exploration.
  10. Frank Herbert's Dune: kind of a fudge because it aired on TV but I watch all of them as a long movie

What are your top 10 movies at this moment?

See John The Rogue Demon Hunter’s top 10 picks here

Harry Potter Half Blood Prince Pensive Clip

This clip from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was aired at the MTV Movie Awards with a funny intro by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson.  In it we get to see the set up and beginning of the scene where Dumbledore and Harry Potter enter the Pensive to visit the memory of Dumbledore's first meeting with Tom Riddle.  I love the look of the Pensive.  Watch the clip below.

(via SCI FI Wire)