Monday, July 16, 2007

Triple Feature

On Sunday, Monique and I decided to catch up on some summer blockbusters. For me the priority was seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I left the decision of the second movie up to her.

The fifth Potter flick was amazing. Before I continue, there are spoilers ahead, so please exercise self-discipline now. Okay. I won't go into the whole plot, but there were some amazing developments. Like South Park, Harry and his friends live in a world where the adults are for the most part clueless - they refuse to believe that the evil one (he who shall not be named) is back, and make themselves as much a hinderance as possible for Harry and the few sensible adults (the Order of the Phoenix).

Most of the movie is that fight - against the intractable magical establishment - rather than the evil one. At the end, when Harry and his now-trained friends do what they have to do to fight the bad guy and his minions, the real greatness begins. We see magical battles far beyond people waving sticks at each other, especially when the Order shows up. It was like Star Wars Episode 1 when Qui-Gon and Obi-Won fought Darth Maul. We'd seen stilted lightsaber battles in the other three Star Wars flicks, with Luke and Vader, but suddenly in Episode 1 we were seeing real, trained Jedi fighting all-out. The magical battles in Harry Potter 5 felt like that kind of upgrade.

Another plot development that shocked me was the revelation that Harry's dad James was not so squeaky - clean and perfect, and that when he was Harry's age at Hogwarts's school he bullied the young Professor Snape. This explained quite a bit about Snape's behavior toward Harry in the previous movies. I think that this will play out more in later movies, too.

After Potter, we went to a cool new restaurant for lunch, Noodles & Co. Man, it was delicious. When we got back to theater, Monique was torn between seeing Transformers and the fourth Die Hard movie. She finally decided on Transformers.

Transformers was pretty cool, in that it was a great big screen action flick. Some of the parts at the begining really bogged down, though, with the young teen boy getting a car and dealing with the standard cookie-cutter jock alpha male and the hot supermodel he wanted to steal from him. Once we got to the fighting giant transforming robots, though, it moved a lot better. I hated some of the attempts to be cute, with lots of peeing involved by both dogs and robots. I also hated the Al Pacino - wannabee secret government guy. Another example of the clueless adults cliche.

After Transformers was over, I was ready to go home, having the beginnings of a mild headache from all the loud stuff I'd spent the day listening to. Monique, however, suggested we try a third movie and make it a triple - feature. I grudgingly agreed, as long as she paid for it and got me some cold bottled water. We made it into the crowded, small theater while the previews were still running.

Live Free or Die Hard was great, and I soon forgot my mild headache. Nothing can touch the first Die Hard movie for greatness, but this one was pretty solid, even with the addition of the smartass hacker sidekick. Bruce Willis did a great job making the character of John McClane do what he does best - fight bad guys in extreme situations and escape impossible deathtraps. It was a fun movie and the perfect ending to our triple - feature.

I still had a headache at the end of it all, though. And we still have a few movies out there we want to see, but that is for another day.

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