Monday, February 25, 2013

The voice of the Dark Duke

What a strange feeling!

The other day, I found myself flipping through the television channels and I came across a film called The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.

Yes, that Ralph Fiennes. The Voldemort Ralph Fiennes.

I think it's the first time I've seen a film with Fiennes in it since The Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out. And how strange it was to hear that voice again! Scary.

Fiennes plays the Duke, controlling and emotionally inaccessible husband to Knightley's title character. In some ways, his character here is almost as evil as the Dark Lord, using and abusing the people around him for his own purposes, never caring what they might want out of their lives.

But it was the voice that got me. That was Voldemort's voice Fiennes was using in the worst of the scenes and it sent a shiver through me. No, not the ridiculous voice of the cavorting Dark Lord in Part 2; the evil whisper of the earlier Voldemort, from The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix.

As strange as it was, however, it was a lot more welcome than seeing Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe doing a soft shoe on last night's Oscar telecast. Ugh.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Harry Potter and The Rebound

Just a quick note on something interesting that happened today.

We decided to pop in a movie this morning and chose from our collection a film called The Rebound, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. It's a romantic comedy from 2009 and, frankly, I had never even heard of it when I picked it up for really cheap ($3.33) at a local video store.

Written and directed by Bart Freundlich, The Rebound is a surprisingly good rom com with just the right amount of heart. It tells the tale of a 40-year-old divorcing mother of two (Jones) who hires a sweet 25-year-old man (Bartha) to be the full-time nanny to her kids while she re-starts her career.

One of the key challenges facing their romance is the difference in their ages. Jones does a nice job in it and Bartha brings a convincing innocence to his role. We really enjoyed the film.

Why write about it on a Harry Potter blog?

Because it's really the first movie I've seen where a character is seen reading J.K. Rowling's novels on screen. First, we see Bartha holding Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (it is an American movie, after all) while babysitting Jone's children. I guess we're supposed to understand that he had been reading the book to them.

In a later scene, Bartha is seen reading The Deathly Hallows in bed. Knowing that his youth is already being held against him, Bartha argues that, while his choice of reading materials might seem juvenile, a lot of adults also enjoy these books.

I couldn't agree more.

And it's really fun to see these books I love so much appearing in this film. It made me wonder, however: I know that a lot of films and TV shows make Harry Potter references but how many so far have actually shown the books onscreen?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Harry, Dumbledore and the Resurrection Stone

I have a question. When Harry walks into the Forbidden Forest to face his death near the end of The Deathly Hallows and turns the Resurrection Stone thrice in his hand, why doesn't he invite Albus Dumbledore back from death as well as his mother, father, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin?

I think it's really nice, and quite fitting, that Harry calls back those four people.

But why not Dumbledore, the man about whom he has been mooning for the entire duration of the book? It doesn't make sense. Given the opportunity to talk to someone, anyone who is already dead, why wouldn't he choose to talk to the man with all the answers?

It's strange. It doesn't make sense, really, when you consider where Harry's mind has been for months prior to that pivotal moment. I think it's a lovely scene as written (and as filmed, to be honest), but it doesn't seem right to me.