Downton Abbey: Season 4 (2013)

downton abbey series 4


What I liked:

  • Mrs Hughes can be really hardcore when she wants to be (looking at how she helped Branson and handled Edna – very cool, very brutal).
  • How much Mary has grown into a more business-centric woman, it’s very good.
  • Obviously Cousin Violet is right up here again, the woman still makes me laugh, and was probably the best thing aside from Tom in this season.
  • Green getting paid back for his heinous crime. I really didn’t think the show would go through with that story arc, but then they did, and holy crapsticks, that was intense.
  • Carson and Mrs Hughes have always been quite close – but it seems that they are (pretty please) getting closer, sort of romantically? Oh, pretty please! Can you tell that this is something that would make me very happy?
  • How Cousin Violet and Mrs Crawley are actually quite fond of one another, yet neither will ever, ever admit it.
  • How much the times have changed from when the show started to where it is now – the way of life for everyone is changing.
  • How Tom is still grieving for Sybil, but doing his best to find a way to cope. Also, after everything, he has still not written off his humble roots, and never treats the servants like crap.

downton abbey tom mrs hughes you must bear it

What I didn’t like:

  • This Edna story still being in circulation. Could she just back off of Tom Branson and leave it at that?! Ugh, she is a vile creature.
  • How this season never really found its legs. It seemed lost and confused, and like it had no idea which direction to take after Matthew’s death.
  • Speaking of – he was dead six months and Mary was already coming out of her shell slowly with other men. Not being funny, and yes, she must be happy, but really, this was just a bit much for me.
  • The histrionics of this season – they never, ever stopped. I mean every season is dramatic, for sure, but this season felt like such a drag, and that I wasn’t a very big fan of. Oh well.
  • Thomas. I swear, he will never stop irritating me. The sly snake. I know that the show tries to give us a human side to him every now and again, but it falls flat cause I just know better than that, and we have always seen his worst side.
  • Mrs O’Brien just running off in the dead of night. Yes, that suits her character and all, but just abandoning Cora does not – she was very fond of her.
  • The way William handled the Ivy/Daisy situation, and then goes back to Daisy in the end, as though that is okay. Please. Not cool. You don’t get turned down by one then run for the other.
  • Mrs Crawley still annoys the heck out of me. For reals. Add Sprat (Cousin Violet’s butler) to that list – the man has no manners, and even Cousin Violet thinks he can be rude to those that are not on society’s good list, and that is saying something.
  • Cousin Rose is quite the annoyance, if we are being honest. I did not like her inclusion in the story, and her character is spoiled and bratty and entitled, and I cannot stand it. Ugh. And she tries to get under her mother’s skin, and being so spoiled she doesn’t even care if Jack Ross gets hurt in the process, as long as she has gotten back at her mother.
  • Edith and Mary are back to being super nasty to each other, though both are lost in their own grief, that’s what makes this what it is, though no less acceptable.

downton abbey season 4

GRADE 6.5Well. I didn’t expect to get such a bland season, but there we have it. Not bland in the sense of no drama, because goodness knows that there was overkill of that, but this season was just not nearly as good as the others, and it was certainly not my favourite. It was quite a drag to get through.

For one, we get more of Cousin Rose, and her spoiled nature and air of entitlement get under my skin right quickly. Plus she is just so annoying and squeaky and whiny. There was the whole story arc with the black singer, Jack Ross, and I would have supported that romance wholeheartedly if it was not just a device for her to make her mother mad. He did not deserve that, and loved her enough to let her go to not be a pariah in society, and that speaks volumes to me about his character. Then there is this whole thing of Mrs O’Brien fleeing in the dead of night. Sure, that is how her character would work, but I just cannot see her suddenly dropping Cora in the lurch – she was so loyal to that woman. Oh, well, I guess that is what it is.

Matthew being gone was horrible, and Mary certainly wasn’t doing well, but I was pleased to see Carson, Cousin Violet, and Tom banding together to draw  her out of her shell, and if definitely gives us a whole different Mary to work with – a girl who is smart, using her brains, and actually doing something with her life other than changing dresses, attending dinners, and being courted. Sadly, though, that brings us back to Edith and Mary swiping at each other all the time, being ugly to each other. I had really hoped we had moved on from this. Also, Edith really has no luck in the world, and her courtship with the married Michael was bad enough, but when he disappeared and left her pregnant? By golly. I think I am also starting to accept in this season that we will never, ever be rid of Thomas. For reals. It sucks. What a pest.

Goodness, I was stoked to still have Tom Branson around, you all know  how much I love him, but the drama here! That Edna snake irritated the crap out of me,  but I was pleased to see how Mrs Hughes stepped in to handle that situation. I mean whoa lady, well played! I will always appreciate that, while Tom has moved up in the world,  he does not treat anyone like less than him. What an admirable trait. Also, I really liked seeing how Cousin Violet and Mrs Crawley were together in this season. That is the sweetest, strangest little actual friendship brewing there, and it entertains me. I felt so bad for Mrs Crawley after Matthew passed, and I must say she is less grating here again as the mother in mourning than she has been the last few seasons.

Anyway, another jam packed season to be sure, but one that let me down on so many levels. This season struggled from the get go to find its feet, and made it a chore to get through. There was more drama than you could shake a stick at, and there were times I felt like it was all just too much. I don’t really have all that much to say about this, to be honest. Oh well. Hopefully next season looks up again.

downton abbey season 4 cards

Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010)

donwton abbey series 1


What I liked:

  • The costume design. It was sumptuous, stunning, suiting and perfect. I was very impressed.
  • Maggie Smith. There is no way that you can watch this show and not absolutely love Cousin Violet and her antics. She is so strongly opinionated, but technically has a heart of gold under that prickly facade.

downton abbey cousin violet what is a weekend

  • The cast is wonderful. I think they all bring something of worth to the table. Jim Carter as Charles Carson is great, Brandan Coyle as John Bates is just perfect, I love him, and I think he and Joanne Froggart as Anna Smith work wonders together. Siobhan Finneran’s Mrs Sarah O’Brien and Rob James-Collier’s Thomas Barrow are such wily snakes. They really get under my skin.
  • Dan Stevens. Because holy wowzers, he is freaking adorable and such a gentleman and a heart-stealer. Argh! Besides the fact that he plays Matthew Crawley so well, Matthew’s character itself is just so… perfect. Definitely not cut from the same cloth as his infinitely richer counterparts, he is a hard worker, smart, loyal, good looking and so down to Earth.
  • Lady Mary Crawley’s character growth. It really took me from totally hating her to just being irritable with her at the best of times. I no longer wanted to shoot her though.
  • The courtship between Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew. I mean, I am a little phased by the whole cousin thing, but at the end of it, and despite the fact that she was introduced as a super bitch and remains quite so throughout, her character grows quite a bit, and I found myself rooting for them to finally get over their issues and get together.
  • Watching Cousin Violet and Cousin Isobel together is worth every second of screen time. They just have no time or patience for one another, but go about it in such different way. Plus, how competitive are these two?
  • Sybil Crawley. Jessica Brown-Findlay captured her wonderfully, and this character is simply a favourite of mine. The way she helped Rose Leslie’s Gwen to find work, and how she is so free spirited and happy and pro-feminism is just great, and I am quite a fan of it. She is so independent, and I love the banter between her and Allen Leech’s chauffeur Tom Branson. He compliments her because he is also so different and political and he encourages her, but he looks out for her.
  • How the divide between the rich and the poor and the working class is illustrated here. The servants work themselves to the bone, and the rich don’t necessarily realise all the work that gets done, the effects it has, and how much they differ from the help. For instance, Mary is quite dismissive about positions within the house, though she becomes rather embarrassed when she realises how important they are to other people (looking here specifically at what went down with William when he was looking after the horse).
  • The humour. It is very sharp and very dry, I love it!

downton abbey season 1 branson and sybil

What I didn’t like:

  • I am not necessarily a fan of the way that time jumps, and months/years have passed, but the n arrative continues as though there has been no time lapse.
  • The relationship between Edith and Mary. I know it is there for the dramatic side of things and all that, but sheesh, how bitchy can you get with your sibling?!
  • The whole legal predicament – it is explained, but not as nicely and as smoothly as I would have liked, meaning I get the gist of it, but not too much the technicalities of it.
  • How totally self-centred Mary is, and how she spends far too much time listening to outside influences.
  • Thomas and Mrs O’Brien – two snakes if ever I saw them!

downton abbey season 1 mary and carson

GRADE 8.5I watched this once up until season three, then fell out with it, and decided a few months back to rewatch this and actually finish it this time around. I was particularly in the mood for something British. Naturally this ticked all the boxes, and I popped it in.

I was drawn in from the very first episode, no kidding. I love a good drama, and for a period setting and story, this was lovely. There were laughs, there were hard times, there were great relationships, there was some insane scheming, and there was character growth.

Typical of a show/book with such a massive array of characters, I was worried that I would forget them all, or not know how they all fit in. This is a normal fear when bombarded with so many people, especially seeing as how they were all introduced in the first episode basically. Getting to know Downton was a wonderful experience, and I am a big fan of the cast. Maggie Smith is a scene-stealer, of course, and her character of Cousin Violet is just immensely wonderful. She is so underhanded, so wealthy, so out of touch with how the rest of the world works, you cannot help but laugh at her. I particularly enjoyed her quip about weekends, and the competition/rivalry between her and Isobel is so worth watching. It is hilarious, and everyone is aware of it, some humour it, mostly because getting awkward doesn’t help. They are both immensely strong willed women. I also like how she is not as cold as you think, and sometimes she does particularly sweet things, but she does’t like to draw too much attention to it (such as when she relented and allowed Bill Molesley to win the flower fair).


Then there is Matthew Crawley. I cannot lie and say I did not fall deeply in love with his character. He was more in tune with reality, solidly middle class, not dismissive like the rest of the Crawley clan, smart as a whip and simply gorgeous. He was just… different, and I liked that. Not to mention that I think Dan Stevens is absolutely super hot, and he was adorable here (just look at his relationship with Molesley after he realises how the food chain works). Jessica Brown-Findlay was another actress I was very happy to see. I think she is beautiful, and her character of Sybil is wonderful – strong-willed, cheeky, a feminist to the core, and helpful. She is also more genuine than the rest of the family seems to be, such a free spirit. I must admit, I loved watching her be all rebellious, and thought that her and Tom Branson were so sweet together.

Bates was another character I deeply admired. He was loyal and genuine and such an honest man, and he would not shift blame. When he started he was treated so badly, and it actually hurt to watch, but eventually commanded the respect of just about everyone, and that was great. Also, I liked how he had served with Lord Robert Crawley in the war, and everyone treats him terribly and dismissively and he was actually friends with Robert, and it changes things when the rest of the servants realise this. He doesn’t use connections/relations with people to get ahead, however, and will never take anyone down with him maliciously, no matter what. Thomas and Mrs O’Brien irritated me, they were such forces of evil! T

he distinct portrayal of how times are different and cultural mores and norms that have differed is something I thoroughly enjoy watching, too. Wow, there is so much going on in this show actually that I am not sure how to address it all. I don’t want to leave anything out, but there is just too much that is right with this! Obviously this means that if you have not yet watched this, you should rectify that immediately. 

downton abbey put that in your pipe and smoke it

The Potter Perceptions: Order of the Phoenix (2007)

harry potter and the order of the phoeniz

Eric and I rolled in for part five of this whole long thing, any he was lucky that he only had to do it once. I was so angry to find I had accidentally lost all my notes that I had made on this (and yes, I made notes. I undertook to be as precise as possible), and only realised the loss of them long after I had moved on. I had to go back to this… ;( Why, cruel world?! So yes, my list will be a lot meatier now that I have had to do this twice, and I also got a lot more detailed about things.


After the last one was SO disappointing I wasn’t really pumped for this so I hesitantly fired this one up.  This started off kind of good andI was all “heeeeeeyyyyyy – Harry’s aunt is showing a little leg….” and then yummy Osha from Game of Thrones showed up and I was all “I’m listening…….” and then there’s a bunch of stuff about Pooter being on trial and his headmaster comes in and saves his ass like always and then the lady from RAT is running the show and expelling everyone and kicking teachers out and that was all kind of lame.

And then there was the big secret room training montage that I thought was all right and Pooter finally overcame his innate and primal fear of girls and kissed one on the mouth. Then there’s a cool fight somewhere underground following a ridiculous looking set of sequences in a museum or vault or something that would surely have all of these teenagers put in prison for destroying everything. Oh – there’s also the fakest looking giant and fakest looking centaurs I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know how the next three will grab me but, after “Prisoner” I think this is the only other good one so far. Even for it’s faults, this one seemed more mature than 3 of the other four. What else?? I liked the little blond haired girl and that scene where they’re running through that field. I also liked that he didn’t turn into a fucking fish and go swimming wearing his eyeglasses. Off to the next one!


The good:

  • Harry’s Patronus. Finally takes on the form of a stag… mostly.
  • George Harris. He is very well cast as Kingsley Shacklebolt.
  • Grimmauld Place. Really looks like it belonged to Dark wizards.
  • House elf heads. They were mounted on the wall.
  • Kreacher. I must say, I expected more ear fluff and all, but overall he is pretty nasty and grumpy and not nice.
  • Extendable Ears. They were good though the effects were really bad.
  • David Thewlis and Gary Oldman. They are outstanding as schoolfriends Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
  • Arthur Weasley’s Muggle obsession. It is entertaining to see him so excited about Muggle inventions.
  • Ministry of Magic. It looks great, getting in was right, I just really miss the identification badges they were supposed to get.
  • Inter-office Ministry memos were done well.
  • Harry’s hearing. The hearing and court itself was alright.
  • Thestrals. Looked quite good, despite the CGI.
  • Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. What a damn fine casting choice. As good as Snape, if you ask me.
  • Umbridge’s introduction. It was good. Everyone was incredibly unimpressed.
  • Umbridge and the pink. They got that right. The disgusting mewling kittens in her office, the office pink, even pink sugar. Always wearing pink. So nasty.
  • Umbridge’s voice. So good because it grates on you, sort of like her character.
  • Harry’s vile mood. They mostly get it right in here and how everyone seems to be treading lightly around him to avoid his snapping.
  • First Defence Against the Dark Arts class. This was brilliant. It was so loyal to the book and accurate. Harry’s argument over Cedric’s death, his total defiance to the new Ministry rules, how they hate him and all, just excellent.
  • Harry’s detention. The detention with Umbridge was good. I will not tell lies cut into Harry’s flesh and carried the story of all that was wrong with Umbridge.
  • Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is good.
  • McGonagall and Umbridge fighting. This was classic. Maggie Smith really is an excellent McGonagall.
  • Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall. She was the perfect actress, though I wish more of her sass was captured.
  • Educational Decrees. There were a lot of them and this movie shows how many there were that just continue to be put up.
  • Snape being questioned by Umbridge. “Obviously”. This was an incredibly amusing scene.
  • Sybil Trelawney sacking. This was actually quite well done, what with Dumbledore keeping her on the school grounds and McGonagall supporting a teacher she is not fond of.
  • Dumbledore avoiding Harry. At least they did not forget that this was a real thing.
  • Hogs Head meeting. The Hogs Head was well done, and the turnout of people interested in actually learning defensive magic.
  • Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom. I really liked this casting. He was awkward and sweet enough.
  • Room of Requirement. I thought that they did a really good job with this.
  • Neville working hard. He really worked at bettering himself with Dumbeldore’s Army, he improved a lot.
  • The DA. It was fun to watch them work together; it really felt as though they were up to underhanded things and what not.
  • Inquisitorial Squad. This was excellent.
  • Emotional capacity as a teaspoon. This was a good little conversation, and actually shed light on a few things.
  • Arthur’s attack. Looked good, even though it was in the wrong place, cause Nagini was already in the Hall of Prophecy.
  • Alan Rickman. I know I keep coming back to this, but he is so thrilling.
  • Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. She was adequately mad for the job.
  • The Occlumency lessons were cool.
  • Breaking into Snape’s mind. It was cool but there were a lot of flaws with it, and the biggest flaw was that the memory was rushed and it was in Snape’s mind and not the Pensieve.
  • Umbridge interrogating Harry was excellent.
  • Hermione faking the weapon story was alright.
  • Centaur attack on Umbridge was fine, even though Harry and Hermione were not in danger afterwards.
  • The Hall of Prophecy. It actually looked really nice.
  • The Death Eaters. The still look good and I like the way they move and stuff.
  • Jason Issacs as Lucius Malfoy.
  • The arrival of the Order in white. The arrival may not have been accurate but looked nice.
  • Voldemort and Dumbledore duelling. This I actually liked, it was pretty awesome.
  • Ralph Fiennes. Still an amazing Voldemort.
  • Ministry finally catching on. Shows how shocked they all were.

The bad:

  • Harry whipping his wand out in front of Muggles. Since when has this become the regular practice?!
  • The Dementors. They look absolutely ludicrous now.
  • Dementors’ Kiss. I still hate the way it looks… pfffff.
  • The CGI. What the hell, still really awful in here.
  • Mrs Figg. She just appears and is not freaking out. Her story and role is never really explained, the whole scene feels off.
  • Ministry letters. Since when do they read themselves?!
  • Harry’s hearing. He is now being punished for using magic, but all the other movies there was no issue? I am confused. Another place these movies set a rule and then contradicted themselves.
  • Harry’s rescue. Flying through London on their brooms for everyone to see? What the hell? What happened to secrecy?
  • Grimmauld Place reveal. The place itself is well done, but the magic cast upon it to preserve secrecy is not explained, and Moody just taps and they can enter? Why? How?
  • Mrs Black not screaming and screeching everywhere.
  • Fountain of Magical Brethren in Ministry of Magic being split up was not cool.
  • Harry’s hearing venue and time change. It just didn’t come to be right, and was not explained or anything.
  • Kingsley Shacklebolt hunting Sirius. It would be great to have heard how he was in charge of the Sirius Black manhunt, feeding the Ministry misinformation while working for the Order.
  • The chair in the hearing. It didn’t have chains and things on it, so it was not nearly as menacing.
  • Dolores Umbridge. The film simply doesn’t capture how truly dark and twisted and evil she is.
  • Ron and Hermione not shown to be prefects.
  • Public common room fight. Seamus Finnigan chirping Harry in the common room, and the Weasley twins were silent. As if!
  • No Quidditch. Not that I am bothered about not seeing it, but it was not worked in at all that this was something the students did.
  • Fred, George and Harry are not kicked off the Quidditch team and don’t have their brooms locked in Umbridge’s office.
  • Raw meat in bag. Does Luna really (as cooked as she is) just walk around with raw meat in her bag? I highly doubt it.
  • Weasley Family Feud. Nowhere does it explain that Harry was even shunned by Percy Weasley, and that the family has split up over Percy having no faith that Voldemort has returned.
  • Neville finding the Room of Requirement. That should have been Dobby. It was necessary to keep his loyalty to Harry alive, so that his character meant a bit more later on.
  • Cho and Harry. This isn’t really explained and doesn’t make sense how this even came to be.
  • Filch watching DA meetings. Since when does he know so quickly?
  • No DA Galleons. I really liked this, and it was pretty important. I mean one of the Educational Decrees was banning groups of students gathering together, and now they are all just chatting about the next meeting? I think not.
  • Harry and Cho kiss. What an awkward scene.
  • No St Mungos. I actually really wanted to see this. It would also have shed more light on Neville’s tragic story.
  • Occlumency. That started abruptly.
  • Relationship between Harry and Sirius. I really wish they developed it more, it would have meant so much more.
  • Grimmauld Place origins. I think it is ridiculous that they only introduced so late on that Grimmauld Place belonged to the Black family.
  • Thestral explanation. Luna explaining, not Hagrid in Care of Magical Creatures.
  • Harry’s Department of Mysteries dreams. They weren’t explained or detailedenough to make sense of the Sirius trick later.
  • Umbridge not investigating Hagrid. Her hate for half-breeds was never shown at all, or why Hagrid suspecting he would get sacked.
  • Hagrid’s absence. What the hell? You can’t even pretend they covered this.
  • Simplicity of mastering the Patronus Charm. It wouldn’t be considered advanced magic or particulary awesome if everyone could get it so quickly.
  • Cho ratting out the DA. Evidently another something we all missed as readers.
  • Harry and Cho. There was no relationship at all to fall apart.
  • No Rita Skeeter. Who told the world Harry’s story? Where was The Quibbler?
  • School not revolting after Dumbledore leaving. There was no “umbridgitis” or hell to pay or teachers joining in on the discord.
  • Harry, Fred and George not being banned from Quidditch. It was important.
  • Flight of the Weasleys. It wasn’t done right, it wasn’t amusing or fun or epic. Plus no Peeves to do their bidding? No swamp left behind?
  • Harry, Hermione AND Ron going to Grawp? Not only that, he looked ridiculous!
  • Dumbledore’s flight. It was so inaccurate, short-lived and lame overall.
  • Veritaserum. Harry was not almost fed it to discover the whereabouts of Dumbledore.
  • Centaurs. They just look silly. Also, their anger at being used by Hermione not shown.
  • No rescue mission badges at Ministry. Yes, small thing but still!
  • Hall of Prophecy entry. It was way too damn easy.
  • Prophecies. They tell the prophecy inside the balls instesd of rising up and saying it again.
  • The complete prophecy was not read. It is not explained that Neville could have had Harry’s life or that Voldemort chose Harry and marked him his equal.
  • Silent prophecies. When wrecked they didn’t really wreak havoc due to silence.
  • The Veiled Arch. It wasn’t so great, and no real veil to confuse.
  • Harry relinquising the prophecy. In which lifetime?
  • Sirius didn’t die battling Bellatrix. This was a defining moment for goodness sake and they couldn’t even gey that right?!
  • No mirror. Sirius and Harry didn’t havr the mirrors that could change everything.
  • Weak explanation. Besides the fact this movie must have been a menace to follow for those that hadn’t read the book, the conclusion and explanation was so inadequate.
  • Harry’s anger and pain. It wasn’t even touched on remotely.

Alright. For the greater good I watched these twice now within a few weeks. I know the list is longer, but I got really detailed with this one. Meh. Oh well. Guess what? Only three left! This really has been a mission, though I have been having a blast at the same time with the whole concept and putting it together!

The Potter Perceptions: The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

harry potter and the philosopher's stone

Recently an idea struck me while thinking of Shitfest and my Potter (book) reviews that were going up, and I had an epiphany. I enlisted the help of the ever-trusty Eric over at the IPC. I have read Potter since I was a kid, he has never read them, but watched a few minutes of the last one (I think, I stand to be corrected). I wanted an unbiased point of view of the films threaded through the opinion of someone who was irrevocably let down by one of the worst film franchises in all of history (I may be persecuted for this). Eric has the view that I never will have, and I a view he currently doesn’t. He watched without reading, I watched after reading. I firmly believe if you read the books after watching, you might still enjoy the movies (it seems to be the case with a lot of people I have met).

But rapidly after I threw this ingenious idea out there, something else struck me… how could I do this to myself? Then I realized, never mind me, I roped Eric into this whole debacle, too, without a thought in the world for his well-being!

In any event, here are our thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s / Sorcerer’s Stone!



One day I was minding my own business, eating a bowl of fruit, probably doing some morning beer farting and I looked at my email and our friend Zoë had posted something about one of those Harry Potter books. I don’t remember what I said to her that day but somehow we ended up signing a contract to watch and write about all 314 of these damned movies. To start this thing off, I want to note that I have never read one letter of any of these books and only seen a few frames of the very last movie in the series (the actual very end of the last movie) so I went into the first one with a clean slate and no real bias other than “aren’t these kid’s movies??”

So I got this thing in the mail one day and put it in one afternoon and watched the first five minutes of it and thought “WHAT THE FUCK did I get myself into???” Some dude in a wizard’s cap was waving something around and street lights were turning off and some cat turned into a lady and then some dude rides a motorcycle out of the sky holding a baby…???!!??!?!?! Well, I turned that shit off and put in something else and emailed her that I didn’t really know if this was gonna work out.

A few days later I put it back in and Harry Potter was living in a closet and his uncle or whatever really hated getting mail so they moved into a lighthouse out in the middle of the ocean and then the bicycle guy was there with a freaking cake and I was really hating this movie all the way and turned it off again. A few days later I got pissed ecause this was clogging up my Netflix queue and I was being forced to watch shit on YouTube so I put it back in and muscled through it.

I think this franchise has made 47 billion dollars and everyone in the world has written about it, so there’s nothing new I could add but I just wanted to put this out there. I didn’t hate it. The action scenes – as sparse as they were – were actually pretty good and the special effects were still looking good 12 years later. The sappy shit like the flying broomstick game and the shit with his parents really put me off but in the end, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. I’m not saying I am looking forward to the next one but I’m not dreading it like I was when I pressed play a week ago.


I got myself into this. Me, and me alone. Oh well. I have been putting off the viewing for weeks, because I know how much I love the Potter film franchise – which is to say, not at all. But hey, before I could even consider putting a pin in the crazy operation, Eric hopped on over and gave me his views on the film as planned. He had endured the two and a half hours, it was my turn now…

Upon watching these films a second time, I tried really hard to like them more than I know I ever have. However, I went into a nerd rage soon after it had started, which promptly led me to dragging my best friend Natasha into my bitch session, which she gladly jumped into. I thought for me the way I am going to look at these films will be a pros and cons list, it is the only way I won’t fly off the handle, so let’s start with that then, shall we? I will go with the positives, first, and then go into the not so good. This way I have to make sure that I look for something nice, too!

The good:

  • Sticking to characters and their descriptions. As much as possible, anyhow. For example, Hermione actually had sort of bushy hair here, Neville really was round faced, Ron had a shock of red hair, the Weasley twins were fantastic, Dumbledore had the long hair and beard and half-moon specs. Argus Filch was disgusting, and pretty much what I thought him to be in the books.
  •  Alan Rickman. I know it belongs with the bit above this, but I think it truly deserves a whole thing to itself: Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape. He was the true embodiment of everything I ever pictured when reading about Snape in the books. Alan Rickman nailed it, got him down to a tee.
  • Robbie Coltrane. He was pretty good, seems to have that slight Hagrid humour down, and was actually roughly the correct size in this film.
  • The Hogwarts Express. Truly, a beautiful scarlet steam train waiting to take all the magical folk out to their magical school on the ever secret Platform 9 ¾.
  • Sticking (mostly/sort of) to the original plot from the books. Most of the correct dialogue was used; most of the correct scenes were used, even if they were changed to accommodate the idea that the director had for the show.
  • Maggie Smith. She was a great Minerva McGonagall, though I really thought there were too many times where a ghost of a grin was visible. She did, however, embody the strictness that is McGonagall.
  • The score. I really think that John Williams did a pretty damn fine job of the score, it is really great for what it is supposed to represent – it was magical and hopeful and downright pretty cool!

The bad:

  • The blue eyes. Dammit, seven entire books and we are constantly told about Harry’s incredibly green eyes, and they waltz in with a blue-eyed actor. Has nobody ever heard of contacts?! Sorry, truly something that annoyed me.
  • Richard Harris really just failed to embody the zany Professor Dumbledore. Not a bad attempt, but as serious as Dumbledore is, he is also pretty nutty, to be honest.
  • Quidditch. Are there no such things as referees anymore? All the books depict the matches and the strict rules. This movie? Knock them off of their brooms, who gives a damn? Nobody is watching anyway, apparently. Plus it sucked overall.
  • Neville Longbottom was not given as much attention as he should have been.
  • The relationship between Draco Malfoy and Potter. They completely missed how vile this kid is, and how the rivalry between him and Harry is not truly adequately explained.
  • Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback. No contact with Ron’s brother, Charlie, who works with dragons in Romania to assist on their plight to get Norbert out of Hogwarts, fast? Please. That was pretty important. Nobody knew about the dragon like they made out here.
  • The Sorting Hat. It seems to let the whole Hall know exactly how he is deliberating the Houses in which to place the student, and they cut the Sorting Hat’s song out altogether.
  • The Hogwarts ghosts. Oki, maybe more the Bloody Baron. Since when is he laughing, joking and all that? No.
  • (Courtesy of Nish) Talentless rugrats. I promise, they did nothing in terms of carrying the story and their acting was completely wooden… granted, they are kids, but that is also no excuse for me, there are a lot of great kids acting!

The movies tended to get progressively worse the further you go into the book series. This movie was long, and for all that time, they managed to keep it predominantly loyal to the book. The story it contained was mostly the same. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was far more accurate than most to follow, though definitely no great film. There were good things, and there were flaws, but I suppose most movies are like that. I know that bringing a book to screen is not always the easiest thing, and that there are changes that need to be made. Also, these movies came when Potter was in a serious hype mode. I know that I am a die-hard fan of the books but I am truly not so of the movies.