My (Way Late) Harry Potter Review

/ Movies /

November was a crazy month filled with lots of writing and, unfortunately, the blog was forced to take a back seat. However, I did manage to find time to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 on opening weekend. Now that I have some time, I thought I would throw out my two cents on the film.

Basically, I loved it. I say that now, but after I see it another time or two, I’m sure I’ll start noticing the little things that they got wrong and the things that they left out. Nonetheless, when I left the theater, I was really satisfied. At this point, I think I would even venture to say that it’s the strongest of the films so far and definitely the best since Goblet of Fire, which is probably my favorite otherwise.

I think the main reason that I liked it so much was that it was so loyal of the book. I think everyone’s biggest complaints about the movies in general, at least since Prisoner of Azkaban, is that they leave out key scenes, themes, dialog, or other elements of the novels. In fact, most of the films aren’t just guilty of this once or twice, but several times.

Of course, I think everyone understands that it’s impossible to convert a full novel to a feature length film without losing something and we are forced to forgive WB on some level. But with HP7 being split into two films, the writers were able to include so much more than usual and it was great.

For once, I felt like scenes were given a reasonable amount of time to play out. It didn’t feel so rushed. In fact, there were times that it may have even dragged just a little. For example, I’ve heard the complaint by some that the camping scenes went on too long and were boring. I actually think that they did a great job. In the novel, those chapters WERE depressing and somewhat boring. Mostly, they were frustrating because Harry and company didn’t know what to do. I thought that the film did a great job capturing the frustration that J.K. Rowling meant the characters and the reader to feel.

Another thing that was great about HP7 was the acting. Dan, Emma, and Rupert have come a long way as actors and I thought they did a pretty good job. However, it was the other actors that were really fantastic. The films always seem to be excellently cast and this was no exception. The actor that played Yaxley was particularly good.

The movie really kept me glued to the screen and the two and half hours just cruised by. I totally wasn’t ready for it to end; I could have sat there for five hours to see the full thing without a problem. I’m definitely excited to see Part 2, which I think will also be fantastic. They should have plenty of time to really do an awesome job with Gingrotts and the final battle. July can’t come soon enough!

Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

/ Video Games /

My brother and I have been playing Lego Harry Potter together since it was released a couple of months ago. Last night, we finally completed the game, earning 100% of all characters, red bricks, gold bricks, house crests, and students in peril. Overall, the Lego games are a lot of fun and this was no exception.

We have played every Lego game together since the Star Wars Prequels version came out a few years ago. Honestly, that first game might still be my favorite and though I enjoyed the following Original Trilogy version quite a bit as well, there is just something about being able to choose from a plethora of lightsaber-wielding Jedi and Sith (especially Darth Sidious!) that is hard to beat. Nonetheless, I would put Harry Potter as a close second. It was definitely better than Indiana Jones and Batman, which I felt were both lacking in the character department.

Lego Harry Potter includes 24 playable levels, six for each of the first four books. We played through them on story mode pretty quickly and though we didn’t have any trouble beating the levels, we found that we didn’t get many of extras. For each level, you can unlock three characters, rescue a student in peril, attain “True Wizard” by collecting a certain quota of coins, and find the four parts that make up a Hogwarts crest. I think we ended up playing most of the levels three times before we collected everything.

Collecting the coins, student in peril, and crest would also give you a gold brick for each. In order to unlock a bonus level and the final character (Lord Voldemort), you need to collect all 200 gold bricks. In addition to the levels, you can also wander around Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, where there are additional students in peril, gold bricks, and 20 red bricks.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite find everything on our own and had to keep a laptop nearby the last couple times we played so we could look up the final few gold bricks hiding within Hogwarts (which is one hell of a maze) and the last student in peril.

This game really is a blast for kids and adults. If you are into Harry Potter, and even if you aren’t really a gamer, it’s a lot of fun and allows you play with all of the characters you love (and hate) from the series. Highly recommended.

Comic-Con Recap #5: Sunday

/ Geek Stuff /

Sunday was kids day at Comic-Con and everything was scheduled to be wrapped up at 5:00 PM. I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the Sunday panels and overall atmosphere. After three days of pure glory, the convention kind of went out with a fizzle. I actually think I would prefer to just eliminate Sunday scheduling and go out with a bang (or maybe next time I would just skip Sunday).

The other part that was weird was that almost all of the panels were geared towards kids, but there weren’t really many kids at Comic-Con. And what kid wants to sit through an hour long panel anyways? I give them credit for trying to introduce a kid-friendly atmosphere, but I just didn’t think it worked very well.

Comic-Con exclusive LOST figures
(atop a beautiful hotel comforter)

So what ended up happening was that the Exhibit Hall was a zoo, largely because all the adults that had four day passes still showed up and needed something to do. That is exactly what happened to my brother and I. Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely cool to finally spend some time in the Exhibit Hall and finally pick up some souvenirs, but I would have liked to sit in on a panel or two.

Now that isn’t to say we didn’t try to sit through a panel. My brother and I are both huge Harry Potter fans so, naturally, we showed up at the Harry Potter fandom panel. Admittedly, I was nervous about there being an army of 14 year old girls in attendance, but we needed something to do and decided to give it a shot.

To be perfectly honest, about 15 minutes in, I was already thinking that it was the worst panel that I had attended. I guess I thought that the panel of well-known Potter fans would, you know, talk about the upcoming movies and perhaps discuss the footage shown in Hall H on Saturday. Instead, the panel opted for long-winded soliloquies about why the Potter fan community is still so strong.

Comic-Con exclusive Star Wars figures

But just when I thought I might doze off, it got worse. The crowd started singing the words to one of the songs of the Harry Potter musical and shortly afterwards they opened it up for fan questions. I got nervous when a dozen teenage girls sprinted to the microphone in the middle isle, but I didn’t actually walk out until the third consecutive “shipper” question was asked. Yikes.

I had been thinking about attending the Buffy musical screening, but after the Potter fiasco, I was scared to go anywhere near Ballroom 20.

Overall, Comic-Con was completely awesome. I definitely want to go again, but I’m not sure if it will be next year. If I lived in southern California, I think I would go every year. A lot of people that had been going for several years complained about the lines and the crowds (which was certainly understandable), but they were manageable if you planned things out and just accepted that you weren’t going to see every cool thing at the convention.

Well, I think that is it for the Comic-Con recaps. I’m out. Godspeed.

First Day on the Job

/ Geek Stuff /

Hello world. Oh crap, can I start my first post with struck through text? Yes. I can. And I just did.

So what is this little old blog all about. Well, it’s really quite simple. Every day I engage in some geeky activity that I find enjoyable and this is my way of sharing those experiences.

For instance, today I set up a blog played a couple of levels of Harry Potter Lego on Xbox with my brother. It was awesome until I got Hagrid stuck between a rock and a tree and couldn’t get him out. There must have been a glitch in the game. We were almost done with the level and I thought we were going to have to quick, but we found a way to go back far enough with one character that the game was forced to regroup everyone and we finished the level.

Then we watched an episode of Arrested Development, which we recently discovered, on Netflix. I love this show. It is so funny. It is definitely my new favorite.

So what is in store for the blog? Well, you’re looking at it. I plan to muse about those things that I enjoy most: movies, books, and tv (most of which fall into the science fiction and fantasy genres). I’m also hoping to post some of my thoughts about Comic-Con, which I attended for the first time this year.

Well, that’s enough for the first post. Godspeed dear readers.