Archive for the ‘Reeling it In’ Category

A Wildly Uninformed Preview of the Deathly Hallows

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 | Craig Ostrin

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing here. I’ve spent the last three years of my college life defending my total indifference to the Harry Potter phenomenon. Oh sure, I was just as into the series as anyone when I was younger. In fact, thanks to my British uncle, I read the first one before it even came out in the U.S. (which makes me better than you). I ate those books up—right up to “Goblet of Fire.”

That’s when I got off the Potter train. After the fourth installment, it seemed like these books were just following the same formula as they got longer and longer for no real reason. The first three were pretty manageable, but “Goblet” was a monster of a book and frankly, I had better things to read at the time.

Through no desire of my own, I have managed to see the film adaptation of “Goblet” no less than three times. I’m not really sure how it happened, but it did. I’ve also seen movies one, two and six. Having no clue what went on the fifth book, you can imagine I was pretty confused during “Half-Blood Prince,” but hey, my friends paid for the ticket, and the theater served liquor.

Speaking of the sixth movie, my friends say Snape is on Harry’s side, but he did not look friendly at the end of “Half-Blood.” I mean, did you see what he did to poor Dumbledore? Expect a long-awaited showdown between the Boy Wonder and Severus Snape. Harry will definitely be out for revenge.

That said, I don’t think Dumbledore will stay down for long. Expect him to follow in the long tradition of magical grey-haired mentors: if you strike him down, it’ll only make him more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

The real question is, how will Dumbledore make his triumphant return? Will it be a dramatic ride over the horizon with an army of giant eagles at his back, swooping in to save Harry from certain death, à la Gandalf? Or will he appear to Harry at crucial moments, magically guiding him from the beyond, in classic Obi Wan style? I can’t wait to see how they handle the post-Voldemort barbecue celebration in the forests of Hogwarts. Perhaps we’ll even get to see what Harry’s parents look like when their ghosts join in the festivities.

I might be getting ahead of myself here, but it’s pretty obvious that what we’ve seen so far is a textbook example of the Godfather Misdirection Method. Sure, you think Harry Potter’s the main character, because that’s what you’ve been led to believe over the last ten years. In fact, “Deathly Hallows Part 2” will almost certainly reveal once and for all that Dumbledore was the star of the story all along. Trust me, it’s much harder to convey in literature, but once you see it on the big screen, you’ll understand.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the ground Ms. Rowling is breaking here. According to my research, there has never been a gay protagonist in any film ever. So when you’re settling into your seats tonight at the theater, remember that you’re witnessing history being made.

No research whatsoever was done for this article. Please send adoring letters to [email protected] and hate mail to [email protected].

Oscars’ Best Picture Category Expanded to 10?!?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 | Student Life Staff

On January 22, 2009, this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominations were announced: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk”, “The Reader”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”. Minutes later, Oscar watchers and bloggers were in an uproar: No Best Picture nominations for fan-favorites “The Dark Knight” or “Wall-E”!

These were two snubs that people just couldn’t get over (especially, “Dark Knight”). Personally, I wasn’t surprised or disappointed. I wasn’t that big a fan of “Wall-E” and I was annoyed with all of the “Best Movie Ever” buzz “The Dark Knight” was getting. Plus, the Academy never nominates superhero movies and has only ever nominated one animated movie (”Beauty and the Beast”).

For weeks, people were complaining about the Academy’s inability to keep up with the times or people’s tastes. I thought that since they were voting on what they thought were the BEST movies and not the most beloved or popular, that they chose fairly well (with the exeption of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).

Now, the Academy has announced that they will be expanding the Best Picture race to include 10 nominees instead of the usual 5. Is this a direct result of the uproar caused by the “Dark Knight” snub? Many think so. I do too.

With this expanded list of nominees, the Academy will be able to include their high-quality, standard fair, as well as some of the fan favorites. It definitely opens up the category to a wider variety of nominees, but is this necessarily good?

On one hand, yes, this gives many more deserving films a chance to win (or be nominated for) Best Picture. It opens up the category for action films, animated movies, comedies, documentaries, foreign films and other genres that usually are entirely left off of the nominee list.

Last year, no doubt this would’ve made sure that “The Dark Knight” and “Wall-E” made it into the nominee list, while giving bigger chances to well-deserving movies like “The Wrestler”, “Doubt”, “Rachel Getting Married”, “Revolutionary Road”, and many more. It allows the Academy to honor more deserving movies.

That being said, doesn’t this change also dilute the honor of being nominated? No longer is a nominee one of 5, but one of 10. In my opinion, it seems to lessen the prestige of being nominated. Also, what if there aren’t 10 movies that are completely worthy of being nominated? Some nominees will just seem like fluff.

Well, I haven’t made up my mind as to whether this was a good or bad move, but in the meantime, what does this mean for this year? Well, it would seem that Pixar’s new film “Up” is most certainly a lock for one of the top 10 spots. While most of the Oscar bait isn’t being released until the fall/winter (”Invictus”, “Nine”, “Precious”, “Amelia”, etc.), a few other early releases seem to have a bigger shot at the top prize.

“Star Trek”, for instance, with its high critical and public appeal, seems to have greatly increaced chances. Next month’s “Public Enemies” does as well. Maybe even “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” can score one of those 10 nominations (probably not, but I’m crossing my fingers anyways).

While the jury is still out on whether this was the right decision or not, it does seem like this will help many films that wouldn’t have gotten nominated in the past; and is there really anything wrong with that?

What do you think?