Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Monday, November 18, 2002
Harry Potter and the Cash Machine
The Harry Potter sequel is pretty enjoyable. All the cast from the original is back, along with Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a self-promoting twit who serves at the annual Defense Against Dark Arts replacement. Branagh hams it up shamelessly, which is perfectly in character. Another strong addition is Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, a character who, unlike Lockhart, will be returning in future installments. The returning cast members all turn in good performances. I especially liked Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley - his reaction when his mother sends him a nasty letter is priceless.
Towards the end of the first movie, I found myself nodding off and checking my watch. There was less of that this time - the story is stronger and builds dramatic tension more effectively, mostly a result of the source novel being better than the original. Like 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer`s Stone', this film sticks closely to its source material, although some gratuitous action sequences that I don't remember from the book are thrown in. Also tending towards the gratuitous and intrusive is the musical score by John Williams.
This will be the last of the Harry Potter movies directed by Chris Columbus, whose work is more striking for technical proficiency and showy sequences than marrative skill. The next installment, not due until 2004, will be directed by Alfonso Cuaron, a much more exciting choice. Cuaron is the director of one of the better recent children's movies, 'A Little Princess' (1995), as well as the emphatically adult-themed 'Y Tu Mama Tambien' (2001), a marvelous film. The delay in releasing the next film may be due to Cuaron's commitments to his current project, an adaptation of P. D. James's 'The Children of Men'. It will be worth the wait to see what Cuaron does with the increasingly complex material of the next two novels.