14 July 2007

Broken Record

I said I'd be back with more Harry Potter movie reviewing but after reading Orson Scott Card's review of the movie I don't feel the need to, since the man has (and much more eloquently than I could, I might add) said exactly what I wanted to say. So rather than give a more in depth viewing of the movie analysis after my second time around, I'm going to do what we did through all of England on our study abroad: synthesize everything. Or bobbette everything if you want the other vocab word.

I learned in England not to go anywhere without paper, especially to plays and movies and concerts and things because if I didn't have a notebook handy I'd forget what I wanted to say. It's easy enough to make those notes in classes or on campus-or other places when there aren't stories to follow but seeing plays without a notebook is hard-there's too much going on to remember that one line that you liked or the one scene that touched you. As a result, I've written down the lines that got to me in one way or another when I watched the movie today.

Like OSC says, it's interesting how intelligent this movie is. There's so much there to consider. This movie touched me in ways the book didn't. The book is so laced with humor that, at times, I don't know if I really felt the seriousness of the situation. Or the cruelty. Seeing is different than reading though-I'm thinking particularly of two scenes that were in the book. The first is the detention scene with Harry-that first one when you first see Umbridge's satisfied smile and the words being etched on Harry's hand. Goodness...you know, I love Umbridge as a character. she's a brilliant villain. Reading her makes me admire Jo's ability to create two toned characters that are both humorous and villainous-really meaty characters you can sink your teeth into. But seeing her made me feel sick inside. That scene unnerved me in ways that it didn't when I read it. Maybe this is because I'm thinking more about becoming a teacher and have all these massive ideas on what public education should be-but hearing Umbridge tell Harry that "you know deep down inside you deserve to be punished"-ugh. The other scene was seeing Trelawny be sacked. A good portion of this is probably because the director decided to take the scene seriously-I seem to remember it being slightly comical in the book-but Emma Thompson is so brilliant that seeing her half trip over her suitcase made that sick feeling come back. Harry is right when he tells Hermione that whatever "this" is, it isn't simple.

These books are much more complex than people give them credit for. Yes, they're housed in the children's section, but they don't deserve to be any more, I don't think. Or people should stop thinking of them simply as children's literature. Like it's degrading. Think of how many incredible children's books there are out there that teach really powerful, deep lessons-much better than any serialized romance or crummy thriller you'd find in the regular Fiction section. Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia, for example-they deal very seriously with what it is to have friendship and what it means to face death. The Giver. Tuck Everlasting. The Boxcar Children. All these books about children who are faced with really serious situations and decisions-whether or not to drink a water that will make you live forever or face death-how to survive without parents-and we shun them as books that don't make children think? Make people think? Harry Potter is no different. People shun them aside as children's literature in the worst sense of the phrase because they are fantasy and involve children-but these books make people think in ways that I would wager more than half the books in the fiction section at Barns and Noble could.

This movie brings some of those themes out-I definitely left the theater both times with things to consider. Take two of the lines from the movie for example-Umbridge telling her class that they'll learn about defense in a "secure risk free environment" and Sirius saying "what's life without a bit of risk". We had lots of discussion about risk on our study abroad. I'm not a really risky person. I am, in a way since I do theater-every audition is a risk-but I don't really see it in that way any longer because it's something I just do. So what are they saying about risk? Because neither way is really the right way. Living life without risk or too much risk isn't what Jo is promoting here-or the film for that matter. We see where Sirius and Umbridge end up. Where is the medium?

The movie did some really great things with developing Harry's character that I loved particularly. The scene at the end when he gives his speech to Voldemort (kind of reminded me of Moses 1 in the Pearl of Great Price...was that blasphemous?)-at the end of it he says "I feel sorry for you (Voldemort)". After all he's been through, afraid that he's becoming his enemy-he expresses sorrow for him. It's Frodo admitting he feels bad for Smeagol/Gollum. Brilliant. The other bit I really liked was Harry's speech on how all the greatest wizards were children once-and if they can do it, then so can the DA. I love that because I love thinking about the power of youth. I think lots of this is because I felt so much more grown up than I was when I was younger. My emotions were very real to me. I wanted to be taken seriously. So when I see kids doing what I wanted to do-create a symbolic DA of sorts and be able to fight against adults and win-I get really excited. It's why I loved Matilda so much. It isn't bashing on adults-it's not denying the feelings and emotions and intelligence of children, who really do understand much more than most people give them credit for because we're told to sugar coat everything.

Spiritually the part of the movie that touched me most was the idea that Harry has where he thinks he's becoming Voldemort. I think we're a little too hard on ourselves as members of the church sometimes. We really are a bunch of transcendentalists, in a way-there's a lot of emphasis on perfecting yourself. I think we sometimes get really focussed-or at least I do-on what it is we're doing wrong. Because we focus so much on these things we aren't good at, I think we assume that God does too. But I think we give ourselves too little credit. Dumbledore says it later in the film-it isn't what makes us like (Voldemort/Satan)-it's what makes us different. It's the times when we do live up to our own expectations, and succeed. It's when our intentions are pure. We focus so much on exactness that we forget mercy-we forget that God wants us home more than anything.

Anyway. That's enough Harry Potter for now. Good grief-it's all I blog on now. Mostly this is because I don't have anything else of interest going on. I don't want to write about how stressful selling my contract is because then I'd have to think about it some more.

My sister was baptized today-it's crazy because I remember when she was born and thinking I would be twenty when she got baptized. That's pretty old for a twelve year old. I remember thinking I could be married or dating someone at that point (so much for that)-and here it is. It was a pretty emotional day. I won't go into all the details or the background on it, but it was incredible to see her. There was a baby picture of her in the program right next to one of her now-forgive me while I wax sentimental for a second-I love my family. Having everyone in my family together is something of a luxury now with me at school most of the time and my brothers always out with friends and my dad with work and...it's a rare occasion. We've been through the mill as a whole family in the last few months with problems that don't need to be shared with the world, but let me just say that seeing my family come together today really reminded me of how it can (and should) be-and how grateful I am for the gospel.

No comments: