So I have a (small) confession to make. I actually watched a Harry Potter movie in China. I have no idea what it was called. If they displayed the title during the intro, I missed it. Or maybe it was Chinese.
What, may you ask, drove me to such insanity?
Clearly I had no desire to actually see the movie. Nor had the lady who accompanied me. But when we got to the cinema in Beijing late in the evening, it was the movie in English that had not yet started. Tickets were 50 Yuan each, if I recall correctly.
The movie’s plot is fairly simplistic. Potter’s school gets taken over by a headmistress who, for no real reason, begins to enact all kinds of totalitarian rules and tortures the pupils. When she cancels the practical use of magic in class, the kids band together, and Harry Potter becomes their substitute teacher. (“If we don’t learn how to use magic, how can we defend ourselves from the evil villain?”).
The kid’s voluntary studies are uncovered by the school’s staff, and their secret classroom is betrayed by Potter’s romantic side plot, a Chinese chick. (Why is it that the foreigners are always the traitors? It doesn’t help that the betrayal is explained much later as not the girl’s fault; Harry never looks at the girl again, and there’s hardly any closure of the issue.)
But t doesn’t really matter because, uhm, something happens (the movie doesn’t really explains any of it; the characters act basically on pure divine inspiration in the form of Potter’s nightmares) and a small group of children (and later adult wizards) confront whatever-his-name-was in a magic ministry. Epic battle and all. Whatever.
So there’s a lot of problems with the movie. I’ve already mentioned the Chinese girl. And I shan’t get into the idiocy of the basic storyline (kids with little twig wands… meh). But there are other issues. The plot has no real beginning or ending, and there’s hardly any substance to it, the climactic battle sucks too. The adults take over from Potter; nothing gets resolved, and when the movie ends we’re basically back to where we were before it started. And did I mention that the characters are incredibly annoying? All of them; there is not a single character that doesn’t get on the viewer’s nerves after about three seconds of screen time.
There are of course also some highlights to the movie. The imagery is quite nice in several scenes (the magical school / castle’s well designed, especially the aerial views). But that is hardly a reason to waste money and time on the movie. No, the real highlight of the movie is that it eventually ends.
I guess I have seen worse movies. But I’d be hard-pressed to name one.
The bottom line is: Yeah, I was right, Harry Potter sucks cold donkey balls.