Harry Potter Mania

Last Friday, my office manager, Lulu, and her friends went on their annual outing to see the Harry Potter movie – in IMAX. Did you know they’ve been putting it out in IMAX format for 3 years? I had no idea.

Well, heck, I had to see this! So I booked tickets to the IMAX in the AMC at Universal Studios’ CityWalk. What a kick! We haven’t been up there in ages. (Who wants to pay $10 for parking? OK, with validation, it’s only $5. And it is in a structure.)

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What’s most interesting is how CityWalk has grown. There’s a bustling central plaza, with street minstrels, hawkers and vendors, lots of restaurants and fast-food joints, and any number of ways to part with your money. But I don’t remember CityWalk connecting directly to the entrance of Universal Studios when they first opened it. An excellent
marketing coup.

Oh, the movie? Yes, well, not only were they running it on an IMAX screen, there was about 20 minutes of 3-D towards the end. Rick was saying that it would have been terrific to see a Quidditch match in 3-D. Apparently, in the last flick, they did just that.

The IMAX part of it? Nhyh…not that great. They really didn’t film the movie in IMAX. (Or at least, it doesn’t seem as if they did.) All they seemed to do is project the film to a big screen. Not that great. Though there were a couple of scenes that felt IMAX-i.

Oh, the movie? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was much less gruesome than I expected it to be, based on the book. In fact, the film was downright fun. The actors are definitely growing up. And even the awkward geeks are looking quite good.

Though, I really don’t like Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore. Just because Richard Harris died in 2002 and a new actor took his place, is no reason to make Dumbledore look ratty. With the make-up and hair, Gambon could have looked just like the original character. Sorry, I always find the ‘new’look distracts from the action and the performance.

Imedla Staunton plays Dolores Umbridge (pronounced umbrage, like insult or offense). And she is
wonderfully offensive. You’re going to love hating her.

Maggie Smith, is of course, always magnificent. Is she ever anything else?

The entire cast is a total joy. If you want to see who played all the characters, and read some of the tidbits and gossip about the movie that Warner Bros. probably won’t tell you, follow this link.

The film doesn’t impart nearly the same sense of terror as in the book. It’s quite mild that way. For instance, the nasty house elf at Sirius Black’s was quite a danger in the book. In the film, he’s merely an annoyance.

And the Weasly Twins don’t get nearly enough play with their delightfully nasty pranks.

Overall, it’s a fun movie. You’ll enjoy it.